HIDA/99 and Chicago: A Winning Combination

Chicago is home to some of the best sports, restaurants and architecture in the world. This year the Windy City is home of the Health Industry Distributor's Association's (HIDA) Annual Trade Show and Education Forum. Exhibits and education will be from Oct. 9 to 11 at Chicago's Navy Pier as HIDA/99 aims to educate attendees about the health industry's newest products and trends while providing a casual atmosphere to enhance networking and to have a little fun.

Educational Opportunities

HIDA/99 boasts the most extensive lineup of educational programs ever offered by the association. Along with this new, in-depth education comes a new conference format. This year HIDA offers three conferences with 11 different 61/2-hour courses.

The Distribution Management Conference is intended for executives and managers of hospital, imaging, physician/alternate care and long-term care distributors. Topics include market-based management, distribution strategy design and manufacturer-distributor partnerships plus others.

The Sales and Marketing Conference, which is exclusively for sales and marketing representatives and managers, features course topics including how to have a special touch when selling, technology for sales professionals and selling in the physician market.

Home care provider personnel, including home medical equipment (HME) providers, home infusion providers and service agencies, can chose to attend the Home Care Conference. This conference targets some problem areas and hot topics unique to home care such as reimbursement management, home care compliance and how to be a profit-maker in home care.

New Forums

This year's conference also will include new educational forums for two key groups of people. The Sales Achievers Forum is open only to sales professionals nominated by their company's chief executive officer or sales manager. Beginning on Oct. 8 and continuing the next day, the forum features programs on health care industry trends and strategic selling skills.

The Executive Strategic Forum convenes on Oct. 10 to allow participants to discuss emerging health care trends and to gain insights into the future of the health care industry. This one-day forum is open only to chief executive officers and top officers from distributors, manufacturers and home care companies.

The HIDA trade show floor also features new additions, including the Business Pavilion and Consultant Booths. The Business Pavilion will provide a central location for business services, such as phones, faxes and email as well as TODAY@HIDA/99!, HIDA's new Online Convention Daily.

The Consultant Booths will feature tabletop exhibits where industry consultants can discuss their areas of specialty.

Once again, HIDA will feature the OpTech Pavilion, which showcases exhibits geared towards operations and systems. The HIDA Pavilion also returns to house many of the vendors who provide HIDA members with services as a benefit of their membership. Association staff, consultant partners and business partners will be on-hand to meet with attendees and address their individual concerns.

Networking

The show also provides a time for networking with colleagues by attending various social events planned by HIDA. First time attendees of the show can chose to attend the HIDA Newcomers Reception at the Riva restaurant on Oct. 9, and golfing enthusiasts can play a round of golf with other attendees during the annual Golf Outing at the Ruffled Feathers Golf Club.

HIDA/99 officially opens at Saturday night's Kickoff Party to set the tone for the rest of the show. The party, and later the trade show floor, will feature sport adventures such as a Velcro obstacle course, robotic boxing, virtual fishing and a par-3 golf challenge.

Sunday morning's Chairman's Industry Brunch continues the sports theme with keynote speaker Dick Vitale, top basketball analyst with ESPN and ABC. After his address, which HIDA promises to be spirited and energized, attendees can hit the trade show floor ready to see what exhibitors have to offer. HIDA's annual meeting is the morning of Oct. 11. Exhibitors and attendees are invited to come to the meeting where board officers for the 2000 term will be elected.

The Navy Pier

Chicago's Navy Pier, the site of HIDA/99, first opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility. Through the years it has provided a place for military training, a venue for concerts and exhibitions and a home to the University of Illinois, Chicago campus.

After going unused during the 1970s and 80s, the pier was refurbished and now encompasses more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and attractions.

Two of the pier's most visible attractions are the Ferris Wheel and Musical Carousel. The 150-foot-high Ferris Wheel is modeled after the very first Ferris wheel, which was built for Chicago's 1893 World Colombian Exposition. The Musical Carousel adds a nostalgic feeling to the pier, featuring hand-painted animals used throughout the carousel's history and scenes depicting the history of the Navy Pier.

Visitors can visit the great outdoors inside the Crystal Gardens, a one-acre indoor botanical garden with palm trees, seasonal floral displays and fountains.

HIDA attendees can whet their appetites at the Navy Pier's unique restaurants ranging from elegant fine dining to home cooking. The Riva restaurant, the site of the Newcomers Reception, specializes in fresh seafood, steaks and pasta, and it offers a view of Chicago's skyline. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., created after the movie Forrest Gump, offers home cooking and, of course, shrimp. Waiters at the restaurant might test your trivia knowledge about the movie while you dine on a "Bucket of Boat Trash."

Fast food connoisseurs can dine at McDonald's The Future, a 7,500-square foot restaurant that features laser light shows, videos, electronic gadgets and a retail store. Adventurous visitors might choose to take to the water with a dinner cruise or sightseeing boats.

Chicago

Beyond the Navy Pier, Chicago offers many other world famous sites. The tallest building in the world, the Sears Tower, reaches up into the sky 1,454 feet or 1, 707 feet with antenna towers. Visitors can travel in a speeding elevator up 1,353 feet to the Skydeck. On a clear day, visibility is approximately 40 to 50 miles, and visitors can see Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Back on the ground, visitors can take a sightseeing tour of Chicago's famous architecture, take in the beauty of Buckingham Fountain, enjoy one of the city's many parks and walk through, the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the last free zoos.

Of course, Chicago is also home to winning sports teams. The Bears, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox have all brought glory to Chicago at one time or another.

With a giant Ferris wheel, 46 museums, 200 theaters, 7,000 restaurants, 29 miles of lakefront, 552 parks, and the world's tallest building, Chicago and the Navy Pier offer plenty of after-show activities for HIDA attendees.

To find out more about HIDA/99 contact the association at (703) 549-4432 or on the web at www.hida.org

This article originally appeared in the October 1999 issue of HME Business.

About the Authors

James P. Brennan is a technology manager with Arch Chemicals Inc., Smyrna, Georgia. He has been working extensively with water chlorination chemistry for the past 30 years. He can be contacted at (423) 780-2007.

Jim Papac is the founder of Levo USA, Tyrone, Ga. and has 16 years in the wheelchair, seating and positioning field He can be contacted at (888) 538-6872.

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