I’m back at my desk after a fantastic few days deep in the heart of Texas. Despite an ice storm (which I hear is a tradition when the STMA Conference is held in San Antonio), the show was by my observation hugely successful. So many educational seminars, so many awesome networking events and SO many people! So many people from so many places, in fact, this year’s show set a new record: Nearly 1,600 attendees and 164 exhibitors from eight countries made their way to the Harry B. Gonzales Convention Center. A testament to the global reach of the show.

As always, the diversity of topics and caliber of speakers at the educational sessions were exceptional. Courses ranged from “Understanding Our Changing Weather and Climate” to “The Lost Art of Communications” to “Sports Fields as a Stormwater Best Management Practice,” and all were well attended. I also noticed plenty of full seats at the Innovative Sessions held on the trade show floor Friday morning. Hopefully you all gained new techniques, insight and information you can bring home and put into play on your field.

The SAFE Foundation, the charitable arm of the STMA, reaped the rewards of your generosity, raising over $30,000 through the golf tournament, casino night and auctions held during the week. These proceeds will go to a variety of educational programs and grants, as well as scholarships to benefit future field care pros.

Speaking of scholarships, I chatted with a few members of the Gateway Chapter who told me about a points system they recently introduced. Members earn points for attending chapter events throughout the year, and those who earn the most are rewarded with scholarships to the national conference. Sounds like a great incentive to encourage chapter involvement.

It was a pleasure to meet some of our readers face to face and to reconnect with those of you I only see once every January. Thanks to all who took the time to chat with me and share your thoughts on the industry.

I cannot overstress the value of networking with your peers, and I’m so grateful to be part of an industry full of people who are so willing to share their knowledge with others, who encourage each other to be successful, and who are always striving to learn more and become better at what they do. Thank you all for doing what you do!

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.

In case you missed any of the action in San Antonio, we’ll feature a full wrap-up of the 25th annual conference and exhibition in next month’s issue. I hope everyone had a safe, delay-free journey home, and I’m already looking forward to reconnecting with you all in 2015 … see you in Denver!

Katie Meyers