APMM Conference - Membership IRL (In Real Life)

submitted by Samanthi Martinez, Executive Director, Conference Event Planner, and model maker's spouse

 

          
  Conference 2010 - Boston, MA (photo: S Martinez)                                                               

  

What Makes the APMM So Special?

I'll never forget the first APMM Conference I witnessed. It was Redondo Beach, CA in 1997, and my husband Duane who'd been a member for about a year, decided to take the whole family to California from Austin, Texas for a family vacation to coincide with the Conference. While the kids and I planned sight-seeing spots, Duane scoured the printed Conference program - remember, the internet was just starting back then! Both Duane and I had grown up in Southern California and had fond memories of visiting the pier at Redondo Beach and couldn't wait to see the place again after many years.

What Duane experienced at that first exposure to the APMM *in real life* still remains with me more than 20 years later, especially since I've seen it happen time and again with other model makers. He returned to our hotel room that first afternoon completely charged by meeting people who understood the work he did, not just on a daily basis with tasks and techniques, but with the character, temperament, and skill-set that makes a model maker unique. He had felt that energy that Pete talks about in his President's letter, and his brain was awash with ideas, discoveries, and an inspiration that he would take back to the shop. He'd met people he had only heard of (virtual legends in model making!), and forged friendships that he still maintains with fellow professionals. He had met his "people", his tribe, his brethren.

While workshops and tours are essentially what the APMM "sells" at the Conferences, the community that gathers remains an important aspect of belonging to an organization like ours.  That community flourishes on the MILE, but even that venue has grown stronger and less protective of "those proprietary secrets" because suddenly, all those email profiles are actual people - people you've met at the Conference. No longer strangers, they are brothers (and sisters) from another mother,  colleagues from another company.

You'll likely have to come up with justification to attend and will cite the learning opportunities, the exposure to vendors and suppliers, and the sneak-peeks that only a tour will provide. You'll analyze your budget, clear your work schedule, and take leave of business and family, but what you'll be going to is one of those rare chances to make connections, strengthen your alliances, and be inspired by the excitement of a line of work that isn't so much WHAT you do, but WHO you are.

I hope to see you in Grand Rapids!

 

Details, details, details...

At just five months until our event, it might seem too far off to worry about it, but there are a few details you should attend to sooner than later.

Hotel - Well, for starters, you might consider contacting the hotel (either by phone if you want to go old-school, or through their website) to reserve your room. We'll be using a smaller hotel this time because of the excellent location so we'll have fewer rooms in our room block. If you are planning to stay elsewhere, keep in mind the added cost and inconvenience of transportation to and from events. Staying at the hotel also allows you to continue conversations that started on-site and gives you better access to fellow attendees.

SMMC - If you are a student or know one, ask them to consider submitting a model to our student competition. It is a fine way to showcase the talents of up-and-coming professionals. Students are able to connect with prospective hiring managers and might even score an interview for a job or internship. Plus, there are cash prizes!

WIMM - In a field where women remain the minority, we're taking the opportunity to gather our forces, share experiences, and build the networks that last. Our Women in Model Making roundtable, while exclusively for women, is an essential part of the Conference experience.

Tours - Though we're not quite ready to make the big announcements, you can be sure that our tour stops will include the coolest shops in the area. There's no other way that you'd be able to see these shops unless you managed to get a job there. Consider this your chance to "see how the other maker lives" and come away with mind-expanding ideas and solutions.

Workshops - Uniquely APMM, you don't have to sign up in advance for the sessions you'll attend. Instead, you'll breeze from breakout room to breakout room, picking up the techniques, discoveries, and innovations that come from professionals bringing their A-game and willingly sharing their knowledge. You may even give some of your own input and find that there's more to be gained from open discussion than by harboring secrets. We'll soon post detailed workshop descriptions and you can plan ahead for what you want to see/do/learn.

Meal Events - Usually, there's no shortage of good food and great beverages at the Conference. We all learn better when our stomachs aren't growling, right? The workshop lunches, the coffee breaks, and snack attacks are also times that attendees can get to know each other and share stories. Our schedule leaves evenings free to explore Grand Rapids and socialize with colleagues. Being close to downtown means you won't need a car or taxi to get around.

The APMM is committed to building and strengthening our community of professional model makers. If we can make accommodations or help you with getting to the Conference, please let us know.

  

 

 Samanthi Martinez 
 
 
 

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