Every year at about this time we start strategizing about how we’re going to market the PNDC. We always highlight a speaker or two (see page 20), and talk up the Exhibit Hall, but beyond that, it can be a challenge to conjure up something that doesn’t sound like a rehash of last year’s superlatives. It’s important to us that you attend for myriad reasons — this is your show, after all — and it’s meant to be the place you come every year to get the best continuing education in the country.
Our Committee on PNDC works tirelessly to create a show that’s both seamless and stimulating -— attending scores of conferences a year between them, taking notes, sitting in on lectures and workshops — and getting a bead on what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s going to set us apart from the other guys. They know that between study groups, online learning and other CDE opportunities, there are a lot of places for you to spend your ducats.
But there’s a lot more riding on the success of the conference: your participation in the PNDC allows the Association to do many other things on your behalf. It drives more than 30 percent of our operating budget for the year, and in doing so ensures that regulatory and legislative challenges to organized dentistry in the state of Washington don’t go unchecked. It provides the funding for the lion’s share of what the WSDA does on your behalf, and allows you to focus on the business at hand — your practice. It powers the communication efforts between members on our Web site, in our updates and email chains and here, in the WSDA News. As stakeholders in this organization, you too have a vested interest in its success.
With that in mind, we sought out a new voice to champion the PNDC: yours. A month or so ago we sent out an APB for your opinion on the conference and asked you to tell us why you consider the PNDC to be your show. Along with platitudes about lectures and workshops, the steals and deals in the exhibit hall and the generous giveaways was one common thread: nearly every respondent said they loved the camaraderie of being there with peers and colleagues.
Dr. Richard Mehrer of Wenatchee, Wash., had this to say:
“My staff and I look forward to attending the PNDC for the
chance to socialize, get supercharged by the many speakers,
and feel a part of organized dentistry. We feel isolated from
professional contact and enjoy the opportunity to network at
the PNDC. Relaxing while being energized is the best of
Streamlining the experience
First and foremost, the PNDC is a conference for dentists. Since nearly every lecture and workshop is appropriate for dentists to attend, we don’t have an educational track for dentists — instead, we’ve focused on developing tracks for all your dental team members. Tracks allow your team members to fine tune their experience to maximize their CDE potential, and the better educated your team members are, the more efficient your practice will be.
Dr. Lance F. Wicklund of Bainbridge Island, Wash. and his dental team members appreciate the value of tracks, saying:
“Each year we go to the PNDC as a team. It is our
conference because no other event allows team members to
learn and socialize together so well. All of us love the chance
to learn at continuing education classes how to better help
patients and enjoy our role in dentistry more. Team
members make sure to spend time walking the aisles of the
exhibit hall to learn about new products and ideas. We
wouldn’t miss the PNDC!”
Like everyone running a business (or dental practice), we’re continuously kicking around ideas to improve our product and attract more people — things like fine-tuning online registration (which now accounts for nearly 60 percent of all registrations) to make the process easier and more adaptable, finessing conference dates (you wanted it in June, you got it), expanding the hours of the Exhibit Hall, and keeping the cost of the conference low so even more of you can attend. Two years ago we added color coding to make finding lectures and workshops tailored to your position easier — both in our publications and on site. We even expanded options to attend the show for free (see page 23), with speaker and room host opportunities and complimentary passes given to retired dentists who routinely volunteer their services at local clinics.
Shop ‘til you drop… and so much more
We’re still going to hype the great vendors, bargains and giveaways in the Exhibit Hall though. Attendees like Dr. Stuart Rich of Auburn (see left) know to bring their checkbook to the conference. Top dental vendors display and demonstrate cutting edge technologies, offer special conference-only deals, and make sure they’re staffed with experts who can answer your questions about their equipment, services and products. But you can also learn about volunteer opportunities, get a relaxing massage or have your photo snapped in our photo booth area — all free of charge. Don’t forget the giveaways — each year the PNDC gives away fabulous prizes just for attendees — flat screen televisions, gift certificates and scooters, just to name a few. And the Washington Oral Health Foundation keeps things festive with their famous Wall of Wine, Silent Auction and Raffle events. This year, you’ll have the chance to “Dunk -A-Doc” for the foundation — you won’t want to miss the chance to dunk your colleagues for this great cause.
Dr. Kal Klass of Seattle agrees, saying:
“The PNDC is our conference and it is my conference because
it embodies my philosophy in life: helping others. It is also what
success means to me and should for all of us. How many people
we improve the lives of means how successful we are. The
conference helps us do this by giving us the tools we need to
be successful dentists and to better treat our patients in many
ways. Their embracing of charities also helps to achieve this
Come to the conference - staying local was never so fulfilling
In this economy staying in state can mean saving a bundle — especially when you bring your crew. But you’ll also reap the benefits of a well-planned conference, and that’s a value that will give back for years to come. Shela Hemstrom of Cashmere, Wash. even thought up a new acronym to describe why the conference is so compelling:
I consider the PNDC my conference because I am able to
attend and receive almost all my credits of CE in one venue.
The classes are top notch and the location is awesome,
I love being able to spend time with old friends. Inevitably I
run into past teachers, co-workers and employers. I LOVE
attending the PNDC!!!
P= Perfect location
N= Never an irrelevant class
D= Dentally related
C= Continuing Education