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Starting new traditions at TCA: new conference center, chapters, commitments.


Jan Hackmann, 1990 corporate president of the Tele-Communications Assocaition and 1991 chairman of the board, in "real life" is director of tele-communications for MultiCare Medical Center, a 450-bed hospital allied with the 100-bed Allenmore Hospital. Both are in Tacoma, Wash.

She started out as secretary of her local chapter and became president of the Northwest Chapter in 1981.

Communications News interviewed her in Tacoma.

1990 is a year of change for TCA. Let's start with the expansion into the new San Diego Convention Center.

It's been a year of changes for TCA. Moving into the new facility is one of them. We're really looking forward to additional space and being in a real convention center. We wonht have to convert other areas into exhibit space.

How many feet this year?

About 175,000. We had 121,000 at Town & Country. It's going to be nice to have all the exhibits on one floor.

It's also going to be convenient to have all the seminars in one place instead of scattered around a campus. One location is going to be a real plus on the educational side. All seminars will be at the Convention Center, except for some early morning sessions after breakfast, which will be at the Marriott.

You're having a seminar Monday afternoon before the show starts, an orientation for new people as well as for old members who need to get re-oriented. What's that about?

For several years, new members came to the conference and were overwhelmed. No idea what is going on, what they should be doig. This year we decided to have a first-timers orientation. With the move to the new facility, it looks like that could be a large session.

We want to give first-timers tip on how to plan their days, allowing time for both seminars and exhibits.

Many of today's telecomm professionals are moving into the integrated areana and looking for educational opportunities. Technology is changing fast. We must maintain an awareness of products and services available.

You've formed several new chapters within the past year, right?

Sacramento, our newest, spun off from the Bay Area chapter. We also added chapters in Orange County (California) and Maryland.

Maryland is your farthest-east expansion. What's the outlook there?

We've had members from all states as part of our organization for years. But, yes, the Maryland chapter has solidified the national concept, getting away from being a totally "West Coast" organization.

What are the advantages to a regional group bringing itself under TCA's umbrella?

There are many benefits, but at least two major ones.

First, the educational opportunities available at the annual conference and being a part of the association.

Second, the regulatory area. Our very active government liaison committee is involved in regulatory issues both at the federal and state levels.

What is the status of the vendor council?

Our vendor interface actually is divided into two separate groups. The vendor council is on the corporate side of the organization. We also have a conference exhibitor advisory board.

The conference group meets with the conference committee several times each year and works through show details. The vendor council is more overall organization-wide in scope, versus just being directed to the conference. The vendor council meets semi-annually.

Will all exhibitors actually be at the show this year? Will there be anyone left out as they were at T&C?

We still have a waiting list. The move to the Convention Center presented many challenges to the conference committee. TCA did not want to expand into the new facility and not be able to handle it. Gradual expansion is the key.

I've heard complaints on both sides from new exhibitors who wanted to get in and from old exhibitors who wanted more square footage. Both say you're favoring the other side.

There continue to be limits on how much space the long-time exhibitors can have this year, as well as limits on the total space we will be using at the Center.

With the expansion of the show both in size and number of people, will you add full-time staff in the main office?

We're looking at staffing all the time. We don't have any definite plans to add staff, but I expect it to happen.

You mentioned earlier going international. Doesn't ICA already have that marketplace "tied up"?

We do have international members. Formation of internaitonal chapters will certainly be a strategized move. Our thrust is still to have chapters that will benefit members. If we have a group of members in a foreign country that could benefit from being a chapter of TCA, it ought to happen.

Is TCA anywhere with vertical groupings--hospital, financial, hospitality users?

I don't know where that program will go. There are quite a few healthcare members in the Northwest chapter. We've proposed getting them together to discuss issues specifically related to hospitals.

There would be an advantage to being able to bounce off industry-specific ideas to a group of people, perhaps on a sub-meeting prior to or after a regular TCA meeting.

What other changes do you see or programs do you want to see in the next year of TCA?

I still see the thrust as being chapter oriented. One of the major benefits to the member continues to be the monthly chapter meetings and being able to get together with their peers and fellow managers.

What I would like to promote would be additional member participation in TCA. I've been actively involved for about 10 years in TCA. The more you become involved, the more you get from it.

Where do I get involved? How do I get started?

At the chapter level we have various committees--education, membership, program, regulatory. If you have a specific interest, volunteer to work in that area. Several chapters have small trade shows. Those are excellent places to get involved.

If you're able to attend the annual conference, get involved on the vendor liaison committee. Meet and interact with the vendors.

There are corporate committees that people can become involved in as well.

Each chapter has a board that meets once a month to plan chapter activities, much as the corporate board looks at the whole organization.

Sometimes we tend to become a little cliquish, but that is typical of any organization.

Is it hard for a newcomer to break through that wall?

It is. TCA is trying to promote new blood on the boards and committees.

By draft?

Sometimes that's the only way. Many times if you wait for people to volunteer it won't happen.

Often we ask for volunteers and follow up with a phone call. A lot of times all it takes is a phone call saying, "I think you can do this job."

What got you into TCA?

A draft. Mike Woody was president of the Northwest Chapter. They were having difficulty filling the chapter secretary position.

I was a fairly new member of TCA, perhaps two years. He called me and wanted to know if I would work in that position. I accepted.

I held that position a year and a half and moved into other chapter positions, up through the chapter president. From there, I started working on corporate and other chapter activities which led to where I am today.

Some members worry TCA will get too big too fast.

We hope that isn't going to happen. We don't ever expect to lose the volunteer flavor of our conference or association. We are an association of volunteers, except for the office staff supporting those volunteers. We don't want that to change.

There have been comments from a lot of people that the move to the Convention Center is going to change that flavor. "It's bigger, it's not going to be as familiar...."

Yes, it's a new facility; we aren't going to know every little nook and cranny of it at first. But give us a couple years. We'll be in good shape, knowing all the little things we ned to know there, too.
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Title Annotation:Tele-Communications Association Pres Jan Hackmann
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:interview
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:When is dial management necessary?
Next Article:Legal issues haunt telecomm managers.

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