Arching like a wave on the banks of the Grand River stands the new DeVos Place Convention Center, site of several events during the 2005 MCUL Annual Convention and Exposition (AC&E), slated for Thursday through Saturday, May 19-21.
“DeVos Place is a huge modern exhibition space intended to propel Grand Rapids toward becoming
a premier business center for the Midwest,” said MCUL Education and Events Manager Amy Schuerman. “It boasts leading-edge technology capable of supporting a variety of meetings, conventions and learning opportunities. It would be hard to find a more appropriate locale for this year’s AC&E, themed ‘Full Steam Ahead.’”
Keeping with tradition, the AC&E will unofficially open with the 11th Annual Michigan Credit Union System Charity Golf Outing on Wednesday, May 18. The outing will be held at the Meadows Golf Club
at Grand Valley State University and include 18 holes of golf, dinner and a few surprises. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Credit Unions for Kids.
Tradition will also be served with the Children’s Miracle Network Silent Auction on Thursday and Friday, helping raise additional funding for CMN.
“A major change incorporated into this year’s AC&E is an increase in the number of education breakout sessions,” Schuerman said. 2005
participants can choose from 45 individual sessions, more than twice as many as last year, focused on nine areas of credit union operations such as board matters, lending, human resources, marketing and technology.
For the first time ever, there are five breakout sessions scheduled for Thursday. “The additional sessions are where the credit unions will really enjoy the benefits of bringing more personnel to the AC&E,” Schuerman said.
Thursday also has a special focus for Small Asset Size (SAS) credit unions. “Minding Your Own Business” is the topic of this year’s SAS Conference, scheduled from 8-11:30 a.m. Presented by Barbara Wirtz, the seminar will focus on building credibility as the leader of a small credit union.
In the afternoon, Wirtz will also present an education session, “Conductors Extraordinaire: Orchestrating Excellence in Small Credit Unions,” which will help small credit union “musicians” focus on delivering outstanding performance to their members.
Popular credit union speaker Rory Rowland will host sessions on “Executive Benefits” and “Web Site Strategies.” Other sessions include “Creating a True Sales Culture,” “How to Market to the Latino Market,” “Disaster Management Planning” and “Lending in the 21st Century.”
Another change will take advantage of the AC&E’s social atmosphere and give attendees more opportunity to interact with colleagues at the closing banquet and entertainment program on Saturday night. The International Credit Union Development Award, the Credit Union Community Volunteer Award, and the Michigan Credit Union Foundation activities overview have been moved from the Saturday evening agenda to the Saturday Honors Breakfast.
An event sure to be an agenda highlight is Friday’s Keynote Session. Retired Navy Cdr. Scott Waddle will deliver his message, “Failure Need Not Be Final.” Waddle was the commanding officer of the USS Greeneville, a Navy submarine that struck a Japanese fishing vessel in 2001, sinking the vessel and killing nine onboard. “We’re very excited to be able to give everyone the opportunity to hear Scott’s compelling story,” said Education and Events director Ann Jones. “Almost everyone remembers the Ehime Maru incident, and to be able to listen to the man who actually lived it is a rare opportunity.”
Other speakers at this year’s AC&E include CUNA Chairman Dick Ensweiler, a former MCUL staff member, and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, who will be special guests at Saturday’s 71st Annual Business Meeting. OFIR Commissioner Linda Watters will speak at Thursday’s Government Affairs Committee Open Meeting, and Roger Little will be a guest speaker at Friday’s Luncheon With Elected Officials.
Registered guests of AC&E participants will find plenty to do during the convention, with two programs. Friday, a luncheon and coffee tasting, or “coffee cupping,” will be facilitated by Paul Pardales, owner of Beanstro, a Michigan-based specialty coffee roaster that supplies the Credit Unions For Kids coffee used as a fund raiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. The event will feature a history of coffee, its origins and how it has become such a popular beverage worldwide.
Saturday, guests will enjoy a cruise down the Kalamazoo River and out onto Lake Kalamazoo aboard the Star of Saugatuck, an authentic sternwheeler paddleboat. The leisurely trip will give riders a chance to view local scenery and wildlife. A box lunch will be provided, and after the cruise there will also be time to browse the shops of picturesque Saugatuck.
The 2005 AC&E will close with the Saturday Grand Finale Banquet and Entertainment. This year’s entertainment will feature a performance by Gary Jenkins and the Thundering Hearts.
“With the awards ceremony moved to the Honors Breakfast, there will be more time for banquet-goers to enjoy an excellent meal and the entertainment program, as well as socialize with other attendees,” Jones said. “The opportunity to visit with friends and colleagues is one of the things that makes the MCUL AC&E Michigan’s most anticipated credit union gathering each year.”