Indy Super BLAST 2013 Recap
The Indy Super BLAST 2013 was a huge success! It was by far the biggest and best BLAST yet. With more than 500 people in attendance, the general sessions were full and the speakers gave truly dynamic presentations. According to Rob Brown, President, Oklahoma Association of Blind Merchants, "This conference was the best that I have ever attended at any level. The agenda, the guest speakers, the entertainment, the food, etc. were all exceptional. I brought home knowledge and tools that I will use to help make me a continued success in my business endeavors and in my life as well."
On Monday, May 20, the buzz was all about the exclusive state licensing agency training. It was packed wall to wall and even needed extra chairs for everyone in attendance. "It was a very informative day of training, and I think it was long overdue. In this industry we have to cover every angle of every situation, and this SLA training helps us accomplish that," said Terry Smith, Business Opportunity Specialist for the National Federation of the Blind.
Also on Monday was the Quality Coffee Certificate Program, CPR training and the Creating a Coaching Culture presented by The Leadership Institute - Women with Purpose. Having a women's seminar was a first for BLAST, but due to such positive feedback it may not be the last.
Tuesday, May 21 kicked off with an inspirational speech by Jim Gashel, Vice President of Business Development for K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. that left the audience in goosebumps, and later the healthy vending panel presented on the proposed "healthy snack" ratios that could seriously affect blind operators. The excitement didn't fade as anticipation for that afternoon's trade show had attendees lined up outside the doors. Once they opened, entrepreneurs made their way from booth to booth, filling their bags with products and talking with executives from Coca-Cola, Einstein Bagels, National Vending, AT Guys and more.
The following two days didn't disappoint with inspirational luncheons, energetic speakers, presentations and featured breakout sessions. Gary Nelson of Liberty Bell Enterprises, Inc.'s "The Vending Doctor: Immerse Yourself in the World of Profitable Vending Operations" was standing room only! Brenda Manasco, Assistant Supervisor for the Business Enterprise Program of Missouri, said, "What a game changing experience! The training for both state agency personnel and managers was well presented and useful. It really broadened my view of the program. The networking opportunity was invaluable! I would recommend attending BLAST to any person involved in the Randolph Sheppard Vending Program."
Thursday morning's general session came to a close with the teaser that the next BLAST will be heading to Texas in the fall of 2014 - so stay tuned for an official annoucement.
The Business Leadership and Superior Training conference continues to be bigger, better and stronger. The National Association of Blind Merchants would like to thank everyone in attendance for their enthusiasm and support. We truly could not do it without you, and we hope to see you next fall. Let's do something outrageous!
In case you missed it, check out these great pictures!