By Andy Slawetsky – ACDI held their annual Solutions Summit in Tempe, AZ Nov. 14 – 16. Under the theme Boots, Buckaroos & BBQ, the desert was a perfect place to hold this year’s conference.
There were some big dealers there and quite a few sponsors and partners as ACDI took the opportunity to show their love and appreciation for their resellers over the course of the event.
Here are the dealers that attended:
- Applied Imaging
- Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office
- Capital Office Solutions
- Centric Business Systems
- Donnellon McCarthy
- Takes Office Solutions
- Edwards Business Systems
- EO Johnson
- Office Depot
- Pacific Office Automation
- Perry PROTECH
- So Cal Office Technologies
- Virginia Business Systems
- Zeno Office Solutions
That’s quite a list! There were several sponsors in attendance too, including DocuWare, GreatAmerica, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, PaperCut, PrinterOn, PSIGEN and Toshiba as well as others.
ACDI VP Mark Hart had a large suite where they hosted the welcome party on the first night.
Cocktails flowed as did the home made moonshine (VERY GOOD!) and people were having a great time, clearly in the mood to socialize. It was a great first night and thankfully, we didn’t have a super early start the next morning.
The event was very casual, both in terms of dress and meetings and was clearly about building relationships as much as it was about hearing from ACDI and the solutions companies they invited. The morning sessions were short, with many of the sponsors given 15 minute spots in which to present to dealers. Presenters were encouraged to not to get into deep specifics about what they do, so the brief sessions thankfully didn’t turn into commercials. Topics ranged from a happy birthday to CJ Cannata from Toshiba’s Maegan Lujan to PSIGEN president Glenn Johnson talking about opportunities he sees for copier dealers.
Prior to the opening sessions both mornings, attendees had the opportunity to visit the tables of the sponsors, see some demos and talk shop. The PaperCut station was particularly busy as they were showing some future additions to the portfolio. Dealers also spent time doing this during breaks.
The sessions opened with Mark and Matt Bennett from ACDI giving us overviews on ACDI, what the meeting was about, their incredible growth and their go forward strategy. ACDI has recently moved into their new state of the art facility in Benton AR to accommodate all the hiring they’ve done over the past couple of years.
After ACDI came Joe Rubino and Jennifer O’Leary from Papercut, who provided an overview on the PaperCut roadmap and some amazing growth numbers. PaperCut is now being used by 63 million people. Incredible! Following PaperCut, Toshiba’s Maegan Lujan gave CJ his birthday present after a short discussion about managing business information.
We took a short break and then ACDI mixed up the tables and held a lightening speed dating kind of session where dealers and vendors spent time with each other discussing a variety of topics and issues. It was a nice way to break up the morning.
Next came Phil Boatman of Lexmark and then Alecia Kramer of GreatAmerica wrapped things up before lunch.
An hour later, we were whisked off to a ranch for an evening of entertainment. This may have been one of the most fun evenings I’ve had since I’ve been covering this industry as dealers had an absolute blast at the fully functioning dude ranch.
There was horseback riding, quick draw and target shooting with old revolvers, desert jeep tours, skeet shooting (I still have a massive bruise), hatchet throwing, a lasso station and more, with a great BBQ after dusk.
One of the best parts of this event is that the ranch donates 15% of everything to a local charity that helps children in need.
Everyone should do events like this! Towards the end of the event, Rich from ACDI celebrated his 40th birthday by riding out on one of the 4,000+ lb. bulls. AWESOME!
The next morning featured a panel with John Lopez of Milner, Tiffany Bates of Capital, John Swallwell of Perry, Dan Rickert of EO Johnson, Matt Schotten of ImageNet and Damon Webb of POA.
This was a serious “who’s who” of respected IT/solutions leaders in our space and it was a great panel as they responded to prepared questions and then opened it up to the crowd.
There were 3 speakers before and after the panel. In one, ACDI president Josh Lane spoke and further discussed their future roadmap. You can see Josh’s presentation here. After Josh (or maybe before…it’s a blur), Glenn Johnson from PSIGEN gave the longest and arguably the best presentation of the event as he spoke to listeners about the future of this channel. He’s upbeat for those of you reading this. Greg from DocuWare also spoke to the crowd.
After the final session, attendees split off to their respective excursions, heading to a beautiful golf course or the spa for some relaxation before the event’s final dinner that evening by the pool.
This event was clearly held to strengthen relationships between ACDI, their partners and some of their best dealer customers. Mission accomplished. It was a fantastic few days and attendees had an amazing time.
ACDI spoiled these people and pulled out all the stops and I’m sure it built an even greater loyalty with these dealers, at least at some level. I greatly appreciate being asked to cover this event and I can certainly understand why these dealers love ACDI.