The 2019 Higher Ed Facilities Forum brought together over 100 university administrators from across the nation with the industry’s leading suppliers. The Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL provided the perfect backdrop for three days of thought leadership and connection, made even more meaningful by the intimate size of the forum.
The retreat kicked off with an inspiring keynote by High Point University President Nido Qubein. Qubein saluted facilities leaders for their all-important role in the university ecosystem. He also shared crucial insights on earning a well-deserved seat at the table, which emerged as a common theme throughout the forum.
HEFF ‘19 strayed from the traditional panel format of conferences, instead featuring a mix of TED-inspired talks and interactive discussion groups. This innovative format was appreciated by attendees, with Tony Rivas, AVP of Facilities Management at Pasco-Hernando State College, commenting, “the format of having peers with real examples speak was highly helpful and engaging.” Kevin O’Rourke, VP of Capital Projects and Facilities Management at St. Francis College, agreed: “The Higher Ed Facilities Forum was full of excellent information.”
The intimacy of the gathering was a major benefit for attendees. “The size of the group and length of the sessions were perfect for sparking great ideas and forging meaningful connections,” said Angela Spangler, Director of Market Development at the International WELL Building Institute.
For industry vendors and service providers, HEFF ‘19 provided an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the higher ed landscape and get uninterrupted face-time with senior administrators. “From a vendor standpoint, it was a perfect setup and as effective as I would have anticipated,” said Heath Drimmel, Strategic Advisor at Advent.
Attendees also valued the chance to deepen connections from the forum with memorable outings, from a catamaran cruise on the Atlantic to a dinner cruise on the Intracoastal waterways. HEFF ‘19 also took advantage of the warm climate with rooftop discussion groups.
Live entertainment on the dinner cruise
All in all, the inspiring three-day retreat was a true meeting of the minds, equipping facilities leaders with fresh approaches to the industry’s greatest challenges and a network of peers and suppliers from across the nation.