FCA Participants Happy to Be Back in Live Event Saddle

Last week, the Florida Collectors Association held its annual conference at a hotel in Sarasota. It was, as far as I can tell, the first live industry event since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in mid-March. The FCA offered a full slate of educational and networking opportunities for those who attended the event in person, while also offering an opportunity to participate virtually to those who could not — or would not — make the trip. AccountsRecovery.net asked some of those who were in attendance to share their perspectives about the event. Here is what they said.

Harry Strausser, Applied Innovation

Unlike most industry conferences for 2020, the Florida Collectors Association decided to take a leap and offer a hybrid meeting delivered in both a live and virtual format. This delivery method offered attendees a choice in meeting engagement based on their current personal and corporate COVID stances. Those attending in person were clearly enthused about the person to person engagement opportunity. Conversations were robust and sessions were nicely developed to offer quality and timely content. The culture certainly included social distancing with seating and vendor set up. Masks were worn in public areas and receptions/dinners were held outside. The beautiful weather of Sarasota certainly afforded outside time when possible. The actual feel of the meeting sessions (in the same room as the vendor booths) was very similar to that which we are accustomed. The simultaneous live broadcasting via Zoom of all programming worked beautifully and was managed by Mike Gibb of Accountsrecovery.net. An excellent job! As an industry leader and speaker for over 30 years, the last seven months has been the longest timeframe I have been off the road. It was great to see industry friends, share in outstanding education and network with industry operators. Thanks to the FCA for bravely navigating uncharted meeting waters in the ARM industry!

Jeremy Mapes, Mapes Consulting

I thought it was great. Everyone had their masks off by the time I got there. But that speaks of Florida’s “herd immunity” and I wouldn’t necessarily expect the same in other states. I think everyone who had the guts to show in person were ready to interact I saw handshakes, fist bumps, and hugs. It felt pre-pandemic.

Jack Brown, Gulf Coast Collection Bureau

Attending FCA last week was a great step to the “next” normal. It was so nice to get back together with friends and colleagues we had not seen since at least ACA’s Spring Forum in March. While it felt somewhat different than pre-pandemic meetings, some of the features including live streaming speakers and remote attendees will be here to stay. I can’t express how much I appreciate [AccountsRecovery.net] for working with Matt [Kiefer] and the FCA to make that happen. My favorite part about attending an in person event is the fellowship with other members and industry participants. There were several new members that I got the opportunity to meet, which is almost impossible in a pure virtual event.

Victoria Pirrung, BillingTree

Did attending a live event feel like it did before the pandemic?
It was close! Seeing people was certainly a giant bonus. Although the Pandemic was still on my mind, I felt the venue lent itself to social distancing. Very high ceilings, two to three people at a table, etc. We also had our evening group events outdoors.

What was the biggest change from attending a live event before the pandemic?
Not shaking hands or hugging people, social distancing, and a lot of interaction outdoors. Many hotel services weren’t available, which is understandable, but it was still nice being at a live event.

What was your favorite part of attending the event?
Seeing people, interacting in sessions, and feeling a slight return to normalcy. I was able to drive to this event and Sarasota has a mask mandate so it felt like I could dip my toe in before a big trip.

Bob Ross, Provana

Did attending a live event feel like it did before the pandemic?
Not really, much smaller and we had distancing, masks, etc

What was the biggest change from attending a live event before the pandemic?
The size

What was your favorite part of attending the event?
Interacting with people and actually talking about our business live

Jason Davis, ERC

Did attending a live event feel like it did before the pandemic? 
No, it was a step in the right direction in terms of getting back to some sense of normalcy, but still was not the same.

What was the biggest change from attending a live event before the pandemic? 
Although I have never attended the FCA meeting before, I feel that both attendance and participation was pretty light. This could be due to the pandemic, lack of overall membership, companies being busy this time of year, etc.

What was your favorite part of attending the event? 
I got to catch up with a few people I have not seen on the conference circuit in quite some time, which was nice. Getting away and being able to socialize was also very nice.

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One comment

  1. It was great to see everyone that attended in person and virtually for FCA. As most have mentioned, it was a great step in the right direction to having our standard slate of conferences back on the calendar for 2021. Mike Gibb and the FCA board of this years event did a great job making sure that the event was both safe and without any disruption of the agenda in offering both virtual and in person attendance.

    We look forward to seeing you all again next year and sponsoring the event as we always do.

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