BTA Holds National Conference in Chicago

The Business Technology Association held its national conference June 7-8 in Chicago, and a packed day-and-a-half agenda combined with a thriving vendor fair, numerous dealers in attendance and a river cruise complete with fireworks made for a successful event that felt like 2020 never even happened.

Kicking off the event on the first day was Marcus Sheridan, a speaker who is familiar to many longtime BTA event attendees. Sheridan, author of the marketing book “They Ask, You Answer,” presented “The Digital Consumer: How Today’s Buyer Has Changed & What Your Business Must Do About It.” Following Sheridan was his teammate at IMPACT, Zach Basner, who presented “The Visual Sale: How to Embrace the Visual Revolution & Create a Culture of Video in Your Organization.” These two jumbo-size presentations finished off Day 1, which wrapped up with a cocktail reception sponsored by Xerox.

Marcus Sheridan, left, and Zach Basner, right, kept attendees up to date on sales and marketing best practices.

Day 2 started bright and early with breakfast (Tigerpaw always earns my loyalty by sponsoring my coffee) and an opening dealer panel, “Keeping It in the Family — Succession Planning in a Multigenerational Business.” Featuring Dale and Brantly Fowler from Zeno Office Solutions, Bill MacDonald and Ashley Whisonant from Capital Office Products, and José and Mallory López from Barlop Inc., the panel was an interesting contrast in generational viewpoints.

succession planning

Don’t worry, parents. Your business is in good hands. 

Next up was Pulse Technology’s Chip Miceli’s “Finding & Retaining Employees in a Tight Labor Market.” With every industry experiencing labor shortages (including airlines and air traffic control if my trip home is any indication), it’s essential to do everything possible to retain your existing employees.

chip miceli find talent

Where are you looking for talent? How are you convincing them to join your company? And most importantly, once you have them, what are you doing to retain them?

In a similar vein, Chris Taylor of Fisher’s Technology presented “Maintain or Migrate: What Do We Do With Culture Now?” For many reasons, including the ones listed above, company culture is more important than ever. What does yours look like?

chris taylor

Concern, frustration, anger, politics, negativity, drama: Unavoidable at Thanksgiving dinner, but if this is your workplace, employees will just find a new one.

The next dealership panel was “Making an Impact: Creating the Business of Tomorrow.” Moderated by Karlee Travis, leaders at Impact Networking shared their experiences and guidance in diversifying offerings to create tomorrow’s business.

impact panel

Fred Barrionuevo, Emerging Technology and AI lead, Jeff Leder, CEO, DOT Security, Patrick Layton, VP of Managed IT Services, Mike Lepper, VP of Sales, along with founder Frank Cucco share how to create the business of tomorrow.

The final panel was the highly anticipated vendor panel. Moderated by Bob Goldberg, the panel consisted of Mike Pietrunti, SVP of U.S. Multibrand Dealer Channel, Xerox; Laura Blackmer, President of Dealer Sales, Konica Minolta; Tami Beach, Head of MPS Channel Sales, HP; Jim Coriddi, VP of Ricoh Family Group U.S. Dealer Division, Ricoh; and Óscar Sánchez, President & CEO, Kyocera Document Solutions America. The panelists fielded numerous questions about supply chain issues, print alternatives, current dealer programs and future plans, and more.

vendor panel

Now questioning the OEM representatives is Bob Goldberg.

Wrapping up the event was an outing on the river in the Odyssey glass-enclosed boat (which was important because it was cold outside that enclosure!) The Sharp-sponsored outing allowed attendees to enjoy music, food, cocktails and fireworks.

chicago river cruise

Portrait of a freezing author on a Chicago river cruise. The view from the deck was worth the frostbite.

A very special event that took place on the first night of the event was a surprise retirement party celebrating Jim D’Emidio’s 35-year career with Muratec America and Konica Minolta. Following are just a few of the pictures from the event, during which Jim was toasted by many of his longtime colleagues and other associates including Bob Goldberg, Laura Blackmer, Rick Taylor, Mike Stramaglio, Patricia Ames, and many more.


is editorial director of BPO Media’s publications Workflow and The Imaging Channel, and senior analyst for BPO Research. As a professional writer and editor, she has specialized in the office technology industry for the last 20 years. Prior to that she worked in public relations and has a master's degree in communication arts.