The Chicago weather cooperated for MWSUG 2014 with nice crisp fall temperatures, clear skies and beautiful sunrises over the lake. Aside from the weather, here are my five favorite memories of MWSUG 2014:
1. Location-location-location. The location and venue were fabulous! Not only were we along the Chicago River with a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, but we were also close to shopping, restaurants, museums, a large Midwest SAS User Community and the SAS Chicago office. Transportation was easy with the “el” close by too. Great choice for both local users and those who travelled.
2. “Real” classrooms for the Hands-On Workshops. The HOWs were held a block from the conference hotel in the SAS Chicago office. What a treat for the instructors and for the attendees to learn in the beautiful classrooms. I presented a HOW on Enterprise Guide 6.1 and would like to thank MWSUG conference organizers and the Chicago and Cary SAS staff for their help with the setup of the machines and classroom.
3. Learning new tricks. For me, one of the best things about presenting is how much I learn from the audience. Thank you to the audience in my “Quick Hits: My favorite SAS Tricks” presentation – I have some great new ideas for enhancing the presentation before sharing it in Montreal at MONSUG and Quebec City at Club SAS de Quebec at the end of October.
4. I love water. When I lived in Chicago for six years (1988-1994), my favorite pastime was a long bike or walk along the beautiful waterfront. So the Monday evening Cruise (including dinner, music, dancing) was fantastic. The weather was beautiful, the food was great, and watching SAS users relax on the dance floor is always fun. A great chance to reconnect with friends.
5. Technical guidance from SAS. Once my presentations are over, my first stop is always the Innovation and Networking Area. I spent more than an hour getting help from SAS staff experts. Vince DelGobbo is always so helpful with my list of “how – to” questions around MS Office Add-Ins, Excel Pivot Tables, and ODS. Michelle Buchecker provided some excellent suggestions around extending my knowledge of SAS Marketing Automation and Customer Intelligence solutions.
In a nutshell, I enjoyed the energetic conference – it was well-run with excellent collaboration between the volunteer MWSUG conference organizers and the staff from SAS. Thank you!
If you would like to view the conference proceedings and see who won the best paper awards, visit the Conference Wrap Up. And save the date for next year’s conference in Omaha, Nebraska from Oct. 15-18.