New People and New Ideas

It’s been a busy week for some members of the ISSST2013 Organizing Committee and I’d like to catch you all up on some announcements and new projects.

  • We’ve started a new non-profit corporation here in Arizona called The Sustainability Conoscente, Inc.  The word “conoscente” (kōnəˈshentē) is a variant spelling of the word cognoscente, which means expert.  But the conoscente spelling also means “acquaintance.”  So, if we condense the name to just “The Conscente”, what it means is a network of experts with whom we are acquainted — which sounds perfect.
  • The new non-profit corporation will allow us to handle our own finances and enter into our own agreements, without depositing our money at any particular University, or being subject to the bureaucratic obstacles associated with University purchasing systems.  It also has the advantage of allowing us to retain any surpluses generated by the 2013 symposium into 2014  no matter where the Conference Chair is employed, which we could never do with IEEE,.  We’ll have to establish by-laws and a Board of Directors and file for 501(c) status with the Internal Revenue Service, which we’ll do.

    Beth Shafer, Current Events Co.

    Beth Shafer, Current Events Co.

  • Speaking of entering in to agreements, we’ve hired a woman named Beth Shafer, who runs Current Events Co. in Dover NH.  Beth is an event planning professional who hasbeen working with Hewlett-Packard and other technology companies for years.  Her company consists primarily of two people, which is exactly the right size for us.  She’s already connected us to an on-line registration site provider and we’re currently evaluating their proposal.  If you need to contact Beth directly, send me a note and I’ll forward her contact info.
    Doerring

    Emilie Doering, Sustainable Energy Systems RCN

    • Lastly, I’ve hired an undergraduate Administrative Assistant named Emilie Doering to support the NSF-funded Research Coordination Network on Sustainable Energy Systems.  Because the annual RCN meetings coincide with ISSST, Emilie is able to provide some additional logistical support for our meeting planning.

    Having the additional staff support will help release the Organizing Committee members and I to pursue more special projects.  A number of new ideas are bubbling to the surface.

    • On-line participation.  There are two possibilities for on-line participation.  Bringing distant speakers in and beaming local speakers out.  Our experiments with new video sharing software last year tells us that the technology is pretty close to being workable and cheap.
    • Dinner cruise.  One of Emilie’s first tasks was to investigate the possibility of a dinner cruise on a paddlewheel Ohio river boat that could accommodate the entire conference.  Sure enough, there are several possibilities that the Organizing Committee will discuss on our next call.  If you would be interested, then please drop a reply not here on the blog.
    • One-day registration.   To encourage local participants, we’ll be offering a one-day only registration that allows participants to sign up for just Wed, just Thrs., or just Fri.  The one-day fee will provide curiosity seekers with a less expensive way to sample the symposium.
    • Ugrad-faculty grad school mixer.  Undergraduates want to find good faculty mentors for graduate school, and faculty want good graduate students.  But these connections are increasingly difficult to make, given the variety ways that grad programs incorporate sustainability.

    The fact is that new ideas aren’t in short supply.  The bottleneck now is having the people — both leaders and managers — that can bring these new ideas to fruition.



[…] everyone!  This is actually Emilie Doering, the new administrative assistant (mentioned in New People and New Ideas).  It’s nice to virtually meet […]


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