International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education (ISAME)

“In 2006 I decided to convene an international symposium on assessment in music education, which would take place in 2007 at UF. While I knew what had to happen to develop a compelling academic program, I had no expertise in the logistical side of event planning. I was referred to the UF Conference Department, and I have engaged their services since then. We just completed my 5th symposium, and the 6th and 7th events are already in the planning/development stages."

-Timothy S. Brophy, Ph.D., Director, Institutional Assessment

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"The primary benefit of using the UF Conference Department is the planning service – everything from selecting/securing hotels and reviewing venues (and I have held this in different locations throughout the world), website design and maintenance, registration, financial/budget management (including paying bills!) to assistance with meal planning for banquets. The service is thorough, responsive, and allows me to focus on the academic program for these events. I particularly appreciate the on-site services during the events, whether I hold this in the US, Asia, Europe, or Australia – the department ensures that there are representatives at the symposium to assist with the conference while it is taking place. The secondary benefit has been working with and getting to know their fine staff over the years, all of whom are competent and collegial.

I have recommended the Conference Department to my colleagues. They offer excellent service at a reasonable cost, and the value of this service to those of us who chair and organize events is exceptional.”

- Timothy S. Brophy, Ph.D., Director, Institutional Assessment, Professor, Music Education, University of Florida Office of the Provost

 


Intl. Bioinformatics Workshop on Virus Evolution & Molecular Epidemiology (VEME)

“I needed professional help to organize an international workshop, especially logistics on lodging and resource management and I heard that UF Conference Department had an excellent reputation. The event was an amazing success."

- Marco Salemi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pathology

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“I needed professional help to organize an international workshop, especially logistics on lodging and resource management and I heard that UF Conference Department had an excellent reputation.

The event was an amazing success. The personnel of the Conference Deptartment provided a fantastic organization, they took care of logistics, hotel reservations, events (social dinner, welcome party), transportation arrangements for students, as well as dealt with collecting fees and paying for anything that was budgeted. They were pivotal in the advertisement of the workshop and in dealing with any problem/issue related to registration. Overall, the provided a central practical support that allowed my team to focus on the science without worrying about all the many practical aspects of the organization. We could not have had such a successful event without the help of the Conference Department.”

 -Marco Salemi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute

10th North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC)

“The initial reason we sought the help of the UF Conference Department was primarily to assist us in the collection of fees electronically. We have also heard that they can provide diverse service and greatly facilitate logistic challenges of organizing major conference."

- Michal Kowalewski, Chair of the Organizing Committee
- Troy A. Dexter, Associate Chair of the Organizing Committee

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“The UF Conference Department was able to provide us so with much more diverse assistance than we had anticipated initially. They were able to find us exceptional services at reasonable prices, including: audio/visual equipment vendors, caterers, promotional material suppliers, printing services, transportation services, and venue locations. Since they utilize such a large network of services, they were able to negotiate with vendors and venues for prices which we would not be able to negotiate on our own. They have an excellent sense of design and were able to utilize our venue space in a manner that allowed attendees the ability to interact without feeling overly crowded. Most importantly, they were there when something went wrong, including booking errors, missed flights, registration changes, etc. Our attendees provided glowing reviews of the convention thanks greatly to the hard work of the staff at the Conference Department. Running a conference is a major endeavor. There are so many details that can slip through the cracks. The Conference Department was there every step of the way to keep things on schedule and within our budget limits. We could not have succeeded without them.

For all the above reasons we would recommended them to our colleagues without any hesitation. In fact, we have already recommended the conference departments to our colleagues and they were also pleased with their services.”

- Michal Kowalewski
- Troy A. Dexter

The Mark Wilson Conference

“Before discovering the UF Conference Department (UFCD), I used to plan and execute meetings entirely on my own. However, I have been organizing my meetings with the talented and professional staff at the UFCD for the past five years and I don’t know how I managed without them previously."

- Jacob Burks, MBA, Assistant Director, UF Center for Molecular Microbiology 

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“Before discovering the UF Conference Department (UFCD), I used to plan and execute meetings entirely on my own. However, I have been organizing my meetings with the talented and professional staff at the UFCD for the past five years and I don’t know how I managed without them previously. They provide an online registration page, collect and process registration fees, monitor registration progress, and provide participant demographics that would otherwise be difficult for me to capture. Additionally, they assist with setting up and monitoring my budget and they provide an account for holding/utilizing registration proceeds. The registration and financial information they provide is easily accessible via the XMS and FMS systems, respectively, which are user friendly and provide real-time access to participant and monetary metrics. I primarily utilize the UFCD for processing participant registrations but I also receive a variety of ancillary support from them because the staff are professional meeting planners and therefore have a wealth of hands-on experience and expertise regarding all aspects of meeting planning and execution that they are more than willing to share. I highly recommend the UFCD to anyone who organizes meetings. I predict that, like me, once you experience the support they offer, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.”

- Jacob Burks, MBA, Assistant Director, UF Center for Molecular Microbiology
- Annual Meeting of the Oral Immunology/Microbiology Research Group

Innovation Showcase

“Our office has worked with the UF Conference team since 2009 on the Celebration of Innovation Showcase. This event is our premier annual event and we rely on the Conference Department’s expertise and advice to help us manage this large scale prominent event."

-Kathy Sohar, Coordinator UF Tech Connect, OTL/Florida Innovation Hub, Celebration of Innovation Showcase

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"Our office has worked with the UF Conference team since 2009 on the Celebration of Innovation Showcase. This event is our premier annual event and we rely on the Conference Department’s expertise and advice to help us manage this large scale prominent event. Because the Conference Department handles so many events, and works closely with the UF Hilton Center, they are well versed in understanding the logistics of the venue and the event. They can proactively plan ahead and also make adjustments real-time, as is always necessary during events. Our representative, Katie MacWilkinson was amazing! She handled details, both large and small, with great efficiency and reliability. Katie was always responsive to our requests, even while she was on site at other events. One of our veteran coordinators was out on maternity leave this year during months leading up to the event and we leaned heavily on Katie’s support – she was always helpful and pleasant!"

- Kathy Sohar, Coordinator UF Tech Connect, OTL/Florida Innovation Hub, Celebration of Innovation Showcase

 


A Master Course on Power and Sample Size

“We were going to need a lot of help planning and carrying out our NIH funded short course, so we inquired about the Conference Department’s services after they came recommended from two other staff members.” 

 -Lillian Vargas, M.Ed., Research Coordinator, Health Outcomes and Policy, COM

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“We were going to need a lot of help planning and carrying out our NIH funded short course, so we inquired about the Conference Department’s services after they came recommended from two other staff members. Our main concern was collecting registration fees. Katie MacWilkinson, our main contact, was able to explain the process and guided us throughout course planning, execution, and post-course follow-up. Our event ran smoothly because the Conference Department provided services that were tailored to our specific needs. They helped up register participants and collect money via the personalized website, book hotel blocks, track registration via the online system for progress reporting, and manage our conference budget.  I would recommend the Conference Department to my colleagues because they were instrumental in the success of our course. I really don’t know how we could have run a UF event without their help. It saved us time and money, which is always an ideal situation!

 -Lillian Vargas, M.Ed., Research Coordinator, Health Outcomes and Policy, COM

Real Estate Trends & Strategies Conference

“I have found the UF Conference department to be an important ally in maintaining success in my events. While I appreciate the assistance provided from beginning to end, in my particular case, the assistance provided leading up to the event date itself invaluable.” 

Nikki Wagner, Assistant Director, Kelley A. Bergstrom Real Estate Center

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“I have found the UF Conference department to be an important ally in maintaining success in my events. While I appreciate the assistance provided from beginning to end, in my particular case, the assistance provided leading up to the event date itself invaluable. A few days before an event, my phone line and emails blow up with questions from vendors, guests, secretaries, speakers, etc.  and I am the point of contact for all major concerns. To have the conference staff able to handle simple requests like re-sending receipts, answering location questions, or issuing refunds, so that I can focus on the trouble shooting aspect of providing excellent customer service to our paying guests is important. The department is good at keeping me in the loop about customer questions, answering those that don’t require my input, and double-checking information if they aren’t sure how to answer.

Nikki Wagner, Assistant Director, Kelley A. Bergstrom Real Estate Center

AEESP Distinguished Lecture Event

"Our event benefitted tremendously from working with the Conference Department! Registration went off without a hitch, the event itself ran extremely smoothly, and the event spaced looked great!"

Christine Angelini, Environmental Engineering Sciences, AEESP Distinguished Lecture Event

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I sought out the UF Conference services after talking with my colleagues in Environment Engineering who had used their services to plan an event. After hearing their enthusiastic feedback about how helpful the staff was, I reached out to see if they could help me plan a day-long event on campus for about 100 people and received an immediate response. I specifically needed help from the Conference Department in setting up a registration page, booking a venue on campus for a special lecture, lunch and poster session, creating name tags and an attendance list, arranging parking, and a variety of other event details.

Our event benefitted tremendously from working with the Conference Department! Registration went off without a hitch, the event itself ran extremely smoothly, and the event spaced looked great! The event ended up being an excellent opportunity for my department to showcase our work, the campus, and our students to our visitors and our famous speaker. Without their help, I think we would have had a very hard time projecting ourselves with such professionalism. Our coordinator really made sure all of the details had been thought through and taken care of.

I enthusiastically recommend the Conference Department to my colleagues and others considering planning University events. Having their assistance not only much of the burden of organizing the event off of me and my colleagues but also significantly improved the quality of the event that we were able to put together. I think the extra expense of soliciting their help was well worth it!


Capacity Building Workshop-Soiling Mitigation for Solar Energy and Innovations in Concentrating Solar Power

"The Conference Department helped us find great venues for our events, made great suggestions for food/beverage, got a great deal on the selection of vendors. Guests know where to go as clear instructions and signs are always there, plus professional assistants on-site. The staff reminded us key things to do with good timing so that we get things done in time."

Chang-Yu Wu, Environmental Engineering Sciences, Capacity Building Workshop-Soiling Mitigation for Solar Energy and Innovations in Concentrating Solar Power

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I had a need to run meetings and professional organizers are important to the success of the meetings. So, I sought professional assistance. A professor does not know all the details how to run a conference. Furthermore, it would better to use a professor’s time for things that only a professor can do. It’s better to put conference organization in the good hands of professional conference organizers. I had three such meetings in Fall 2016, and they are went great, thanks to Conference Department.

The Conference Department helped us find great venues for our events, made great suggestions for food/beverage, got a great deal on the selection of vendors. Guests know where to go as clear instructions and signs are always there, plus professional assistants on-site. The staff reminded us key things to do with good timing so that we get things done in time. Guests are very happy with our events, and that’s the key testimony of the success of the Conference Department’s service.

Professionals do professional things best. Working with Conference Department allows the faculty organizer to concentrate on the technical/scientific program so that everyone can enjoy the time. It’s great service that you don’t want to miss.


Smell Taste 2017

"Katie MacWilkinson and her team were fantastic. They worked with our particular needs, adapted to surprises when they arose, brought us in on budget, and even identified a grant that offset some of our costs."

Steven D. Munger, Ph.D., Director, UF Center for Smell and Taste, Smell Taste 2017

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The Center for Smell and Taste was planning a first-of-its-kind educational conference (SmellTaste2017) for people with smell or taste impairments. We did not have the manpower or expertise to handle the logistics: in addition to the normal challenges of negotiating hotel room blocks, booking venues, engaging sponsors, managing registration and paying bills, we also needed to interact with attendees coming from all over the world and identify caterers that would work with us to design special menus that would appeal to somebody with altered or absent smell or taste. Katie MacWilkinson and her team were fantastic. They worked with our particular needs, adapted to surprises when they arose, brought us in on budget, and even identified a grant that offset some of our costs. They let us concentrate on the content of the conference and interactions with the attendees. We will definitely be using the UF Conference Department to manage our next meeting.