Given our Rock and Roll theme, the buildup to the FLC National Meeting would not be complete without a Top 10 List of reasons to get excited about attending. (We decided against a Top 40 or a Hot 100 list – you’re welcome.) I’m sharing my list to get you thinking about your own plans for our first in-person meeting in four years. And there’s still time to register if you haven’t done so yet!
Unlike Billboard charts, the items on my Top 10 list are not in any particular order—except perhaps for the last one.
10. Training. The National Meeting is, at its core, a training event. This year we have a fully loaded Training Day that will suit your needs across multiple areas of interest. We will of course have our bedrock T2 for Beginners and CRADA sessions. But we heard your requests and have added more advanced sessions including negotiations, marketing and more!
9. Sessions. The learning doesn’t stop when Training Day ends. While Training Day focuses on full day to half day topics, the rest of the meeting features shorter sessions on a range of topics that will be packed with practical tips and tricks you can take back to your office. These are more standard meeting sessions—exchanges of information between peers about things that impact how you work.
8. Keynote speakers. This year we are kicking off each of the session days with a Keynote Speaker! Both keynote speakers hail from Ohio. On Wednesday, Candice Matthews Brackeen from the Cincinnati Innovation District will discuss opportunities involving venture capital and tech transfer. On Thursday, Cleveland’s own John Nottingham of Nottingham Spirk will talk about his experiences with innovation commercialization and startups.
7. Awards. We will once again recognize the best of the best in federal tech transfer at our annual Awards Ceremony. This prestigious event includes awards focused on Excellence in Technology Transfer, Interagency Partnerships, State and Local Economic Development, and special recognition of achievement by individuals. This year, you and your colleagues will enjoy dinner while hearing about these examples of outstanding work and thinking about how you might be able to use these ideas at your lab.
6. Lab Director’s Forum. Only one of the individual awards mentioned above comes with its own session. That is the award for Lab Director of the Year, honor a leader of a federal lab who has made tech transfer a priority. You know as well as I do that when leadership makes T2 a priority, things get done. This year’s winner is Dr. Eric Moore, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Chemical Biological Center (CBC). He will join Dick Paul, Chair of the FLC National Advisory Council, for this special session on Wednesday afternoon.
5. Town Hall. The National Meeting is also the annual business meeting of the Consortium, which all are encouraged to attend. This year, in addition to a high-level overview of the FLC, we will focus on our path forward and the development of a new Strategic Plan—and we need your feedback and input to make sure we continue to focus on things that matter to ORTAs. This is an interactive session intended to hear from you, the federal tech transfer community.
4. Demo Room. This year we will have a Demo Room where you can learn about products and services offered by our sponsors and exhibitors, as well as new resources offered by the FLC. You’ll see and hear about how these tools can help enhance your office’s efforts to fulfill your mission. This is an opportunity to ask questions and really get a sense of how these solutions look and feel.
3. Vendors. One of the real advantages of an in-person meeting is the chance to interact with sponsors and exhibitors, who play an important role in the federal tech transfer community—not only by supporting our National Meeting but by providing products and services that help tech transfer offices function more efficiently and more effectively. Make sure to visit the exhibit floor and see what new collaborations result.
2. Networking. This has long been my top reason for attending the FLC National Meeting. Getting to know people across agencies that do what you do is very empowering. We have a vibrant tech transfer community that has been dimmed somewhat in the last several years by our inability to gather. Face to face interaction with people from other offices can set the stage for many types of strategic opportunities, and meeting individuals from organizations that might become tech transfer partners is a bonus. We often say tech transfer is a contact sport, and that goes for working with your peers as well as your potential partners.
1. You! Your own personal and professional development is by far the biggest reason for any of you to attend the National Meeting. The meeting is designed to deliver a positive experience to expand your knowledge and career. It is also a chance for you to be part of the bigger picture of federal technology transfer—to take advantage of the power that comes from a dynamic group of people working in the same profession.
I do hope to see many of you this year as we put the COVID blues behind us and remind ourselves of the many ways in which federal labs rock!