On May 1st of this year I was in Atlanta, Georgia where I gave a presentation at the PMI Atlanta Chapter's 2010 Professional Development Day. I must tell you that I was blown away by the professionalism with which this event had been set up. As you walked in the building there were volunteers everywhere pointing out the way to walk and offering to help you. Check-in was a breeze and then it pretty much continued in this well-oiled-machine fashion throughout the day.
So I wanted to know... how do you plan, organize and execute such an event year after year?
I had my recording equipment with me and I got a chance to sit down with Charles Galoppe, who is the event's project manager and we were joined by Dean Gudlauski, VP of Marketing and Promotions for the PMI Atlanta Chapter.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #145. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, nice to have you with us.
On May 1st of this year, I was in Atlanta, Georgia where I gave a presentation at the PMI Atlanta Chapter's 2010 Professional Development Day. I must tell you, I was blown away by the professionalism with which this event had been set up. As you walked into the building and it was a humongous building, the Home Depot main office there, there were volunteers everywhere pointing out the way for you to walk and offering to help you at every step. Check-in was a breeze and then it pretty much continued in this well-oiled-machine-like fashion throughout the day.
So I wanted to know, how do you plan, organize and execute such an event year after year for the volunteers in your chapter?
I have my recording equipment with me and I got a chance to sit down with Charles Galoppe, who is the event's project manager and we were joined by Dean Gudlauski. He is the Vice President of Marketing and Promotions for the PMI Atlanta Chapter.
The overall focus of this particular interview is less on project management as a practice. Even though you are going to hear a few insights on how they managed this event, nevertheless, my goal with the interview is more to help other PMI chapter volunteers and of course, volunteers from other professional organizations as well out there who are thinking of offering such an all-day training event to their membership. So project management volunteers, listen up, learn and enjoy the interview.
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Charles Galoppe and Dean Gudlauski of the PMI Atlanta Chapter
Cornelius Fichtner: So with me is Charles Galoppe, Project Manager of the Professional Development Day here from PMI Atlanta Chapter and also Dean Gudlauski; he is the Vice President of Marketing and Promotions. Currently, Charles is wearing the headphones and the microphone. Hello Charles!
Charles Galoppe: Hello Cornelius.
Cornelius Fichtner: And Dean doesn’t have any microphone in front of him so we’re waving at Dean. Hello! And if Dean wants to say something and he finds that: “Now, this is a question I have to answer, we got to make a quick switch here with the headphones and microphone.
So Charles, the PDD, why does PMI Atlanta offer a yearly Professional Development Day?
Charles Galoppe: Well, the main reason Cornelius that we offer PDD here in the Atlanta Chapter is to add value for our members to come to an event. It’s actually our signature event of the year and the whole thing is basically to add value to the members along with the dinners and the lunches that we have each month.
Cornelius Fichtner: So this is what you pay your membership fee for? This is your primary event?
Charles Galoppe: This is our signature event.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, signature event.
Charles Galoppe: As a member, we have a lot of events. We tend to have a monthly dinner meeting. We also have two lunch meetings each month and we also have seminars each month as well.
Cornelius Fichtner: What size is your chapter?
Charles Galoppe: We have approximately 3500…4500, sorry Dean, members in our chapter.
Cornelius Fichtner: It’s good to have someone there from the Board, isn’t it, to correct you? And how many volunteers are involved in this particular event?
Charles Galoppe: We had 20 volunteers assisting us throughout last year. But for the day of the event, we actually have 50 people.
Cornelius Fichtner: I was just going to say because you have volunteers sitting in the elevators, pushing the button for you whether you want to go up. I pushed the button myself, she complained: “That’s my job. Don’t push the buttons.”
Charles Galoppe: That was a logistics nightmare, but yes, we do have people on our elevators.
Cornelius Fichtner: Do you offer it every year and how many times have you already offered it?
Charles Galoppe: This is our 4th year. We did not offer it last year. And the reason we did not offer it last year was two reasons:
We want to start moving the event in the Spring time. We usually held it in August and we found out that August was not a good month with everything that goes on in the month of August. In Atlanta, the children go back to school so a lot of people, that’s like the last free weekend before they have the kids to go back to school.
And the other big thing last year was the way the economy was going. We felt it was not a good year to have the event and like I said, the sole reason to do this is to provide value to the members so we didn’t feel like we would have been able to provide that value last year and that’s why we scheduled it for May of this year.
Cornelius Fichtner: Let’s take a look at how you actually set up the event as the project manager have to ask you: Do you follow a written process?