by Tim Nicholson, Director of Customer Services, Entrinsik
I always look forward to the annual Datatel User Group Conference (DUG). I started attending in 2005 while I was the Director of Administrative Systems at Wake Technical Community College, and now as Customer Services Director at Entrinsik. Whether it’s catching up with old friends, making new ones, talking business, or shaking my booty, DUG is always an exciting time! This year was no exception.
Part of the excitement was centered on Ellucian, the result of the merger of Datatel and Sungard HE, and this being the last DUG conference. Next year’s conference will apparently be a combined meeting with Colleague and Banner clients in Philadelphia, PA. Many attendees were wondering what the new conference will look like, and how much would change. Everyone agreed – it will not be the same.
I personally had some excitement when I ran into J.R. Martinez in the sports bar Monday night. He was the keynote speaker for the conference. Many know J.R. from Dancing with the Stars or All My Children, but more importantly, he served in the Army as an infantryman for the 101st Airborne in Iraq. He suffered severe burns when the truck that he was driving struck a land mine. It turns out that J.R. is from my hometown in Georgia. I saw him in the bar and spoke to him. When I asked if he was from Dalton, Georgia, he laughed after I told him I was too. He even mentioned me during his keynote. It’s not everyday that you meet a real-life superhero and celebrity.
At this year’s conference last week the big excitement, however, was around the Entrinsik booth. Like most years, clients dropped by to say how much they loved Informer, or to discuss questions they had. This year, though, the big draw was DASHBOARDS! Many of the DUG attendees were unable to attend our ICON user conference held a few weeks prior, so it was their first time to see our dashboard product.
Attendee after attendee would come up and say, “One of my staff members attended your conference and told me I HAD to see these dashboards!” The excitement was culminated in the presentation done by Brad Leupen at Entrinsik and Nicole Nicholson (yes, that’s my wife!) from Wake Technical Community College, which turned out to be standing room only.
It is sad to see DUG go away, but it will be exciting to see what the future holds for the new group. It will be an opportunity to meet even more new friends, new clients, and hopefully to still shake my booty with those crazy fun-loving Datatel…sorry…Ellucian folks!
See you next year in Philly!
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