First off, I wish to thank all of the attendees of the 1997 Midwest Amiga Exposition. We had about 800 people visit us over two days (we're still working on a final count). And secondly, I want to clarify a few things:
Since my name appeared prominently on the documentation, website, and emails that were sent out for the show, many people might have assumed that I was primarily responsible for organizing and running this event. This simply is not true. Many people were involved in the planning and execution of this event and deserve to be recognized for their efforts.
Ronn Black: Ronn is the President of AmiCON for the last two years and was instrumental in finding a place for this and last years show. He also coordinated the initial show floor layouts, the various financial considerations, and was involved in every detail of the planning and decision-making process. He contacted many of the more prominent vendors and opened up channels of communication for Amiga Inc., NewTek (who unfortunately, could not attend), and Amiga International. He was the primary person responsible for seminar schedule coordination, banquet details, audio/visual support, and the room in which all of these things took place. He was a valuable asset at the show, by handling many of the issues that arose during the event. Incidently, without Ronn, we would not have even had vendors for our first show. Ronn knew Kermit Woodall and several other Amiga developers and through that network, we were able to garner support. Without those key people we would not have been able to convince other developers and companies to support our show.
Greg Finzer: Greg is the Librarian officer for AmiCON for the last two years and spent many extra hours helping coordinate AmiCON's presence at the show. Greg coordinated the T-Shirts and the other saleable items for AmiCON both for this year and last and even set up the .html files on our website for preshow shirt orders. He was heavily involved in the design of the mouse pads and T-Shirts and in obtaining permission to use the "Powered by Amiga" logo from Amiga International. Greg was instrumental in selecting a printer for our shirts and reveiwing, almost daily, the many logo changes necessary to get a sharp image. Last year he spent countless hours on real-time video demos for the AmiCON table and he also donated the use of his machine, this year and last year, for display. He helped man the table for sales and was involved in the selection of this years' location. At the same time, in addition to all this, Greg has spent many, many hours on updating our sadly neglected BBS, converting it to CNet, setting up all of the user screens, file areas, and CD Tower hardware.
Kenneth Dean: Ken is our Vice President and our primary show announcer. Ken was heavily involved in the decision-making processes that helped coordinate this show and helped us greatly with his valuable input. Ken spent almost all of his time at the Expo manning our sales table, selling items, and answering hundreds of questions about the planned events of the show. Ken spent many hours assembling the giveaway prizes for this years show frequenting many local computer stores and mail order companies to find enough worthy items for our hourly drawings. Incidently, Ken lives nowhere near any of these stores, so not only did he have buy all of the items, but he had to travel many miles to obtain them. Ken also attended and represented AmiCON at the User Group Network meeting, held by reps from Amiga.org on Sunday.
Bill Bennett: Bill has been our Membership officer for the last two years. Bill had one of the most difficult jobs for the show. Bill was responsible for coordinating people to support the Expo. He handled schedules for the ticket tables and for many other miscellaneous duties, too long to list here, where people were needed. Bill spent many, many nights calling members, figuring out schedules, and making sure we had enough people to help. Also, just in case, Bill had people coordinated for several vendors who did not have enough support at the show, so that they could have a break and not leave their tables unmanned. Bill was also responsible for planning many of the upfront details of the show and helping to select the location for this years' event. Very meticulous and able to see the "other side of the coin", Bill's common sense and input helped guide us through decisions that could have been potential problems later.
Dave Bartz: Dave is the current Treasurer for AmiCON. Dave was also involved in the many early details about the event and helped to decide between several choices in location. Dave made sure the contractual details for the hotel were taken care of and kept in close contact with the other planners to make sure the details and dollar amounts in the contracts were correct. Dave helped us budget and plan for this event, and made sure the money was in the bank to handle the bills after the show was over. He has also provided us with all of the financial details following the Expo and kept all of our bookeeping up-to-date and pertinent, which in itself, is no small task. Dave helped man the AmiCON table, selling shirts and answering questions, for the two day event as well.
Ray Hashman: Ray has been a member of AmiCON for almost 5 years. Ray was present at almost all of our preliminary planning meetings, helped set up the ticket input form for our website, and even joined us on his free time to look at the potential sites for the show. Last year, he pledged his support to man the AmiCON table and demonstrate real-time video animations, he and Greg Finzer created. Both Ray and Greg spent over a week single-framing various scenes to create one of the coolest video displays I have ever seen running real-time on a Non-Video Toaster Amiga. Ray donated his time and his Amiga to displaying these and many other things at our show. This year, Ray also manned our table, helped sell items, fed starving coordinators (blueberry bagels really hit the spot!), once again brought his hardware, let people play on his machine, and helped entertain everyone who walked by.
Saul Hoffman: Saul is one of our Officers-At-Large and helped out Paul Nolan of Siamese Systems by letting Paul borrow his Amiga 2000. The very 2000 that was part of the "Sick 2000 Workshop" a year earlier at our show. Saul also helped take tickets as did many others and has been a long-time invaluable member. At one time Saul was our newsletter editor and even had regular subscribers outside of AmiCON.
There are also a whole list of members who donated their time and efforts to providing the often unacknowledged leg work for the event. These people helped take tickets, helped exhibitors with issues, answered questions, ran various errands, carried around equipment, and countless other details, often working longer than asked. Our heartfelt thanks goes to the following members for these and many other things (In alphabetical order): Chris Barbus, Steve Cornett, Lou Gintner, Ralph Lupidi, Lonnie McKee, Joe Merz, Greg Pearce, John Rule, John and Robin Six, Diane Teramana, Frank Tornichio, and Joe Vanyo.
And one very special thank you to McIver Woody, for providing the kernel for this idea, way back in the Spring/Summer of 1996 and for being there to help out each year. We couldn't have done it without you!
Everyone listed above donated time and resources to make this event a reality. No one gets any money for helping coordinate this event. All profit is put into the bank and used to fund next years' show. If anyone thinks this is a profitable venture and that AmiCON or individuals from AmiCON are getting paid by doing this, they need to think again. For any profit we've put into the bank, we've spent 3-4 times that amount just to rent facilities and pay expenses for the next event. Many, if not all of the people who helped, also have families and full-time jobs to contend with. And some of these people contributed money to pay for miscellaneous expenses from the event and will most likely never be reimbursed fully.
And one last thing: All AmiCON members and officers, no matter if they worked at the event or not, paid the preshow price of $12.00 to get in.
Thanks and we'll see you next year!
David M. Pearce