Today I experienced another early awakening with this year's conference on my mind. After another early morning airplane ride, we will be on location, with the ongoing challenges of providing a productive and enjoyable meeting experience for our attendees. In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, some of our difficulties seem rather insignificant.

However, to an attendee, no problem is too small. Therefore, I am again reminded that I need the assistance of every facility's event manager to make sure that we can really pull it — the most enjoyable annual conference ever — off. This week we will discover if all the planning and arranging were worth the effort.

When I was 10 years old, I decided that I needed my own newspaper route like my friends who lived in town — which was seven miles away. The nearest daily newspaper was 30 miles distant, and the weekly newspaper was delivered by our rural mail carrier. I ordered a roll of 15 Grit newspapers from Harrisburg, Pa., and, with my bicycle, set off to see how many I could sell. This developed into a weekly 10-mile bike ride to sell those 15 papers. At a net profit of 4 cents per 15 cent newspaper, it was very important that everyone be home and that there be no subscription cancellations. I really needed everyone!

This week, each member of our staff will be on his/her best behavior; with our best foot forward, we will endeavor to produce an enjoyable meeting. However, we can't do it without you — the numerous on-site personnel who really make it happen. Just one bad bed, one disappointing meal, one late shuttle, one lost reservation, and you get the point — “I Can't Do It By Myself.”

As we approach the 2005 holiday season, and another great RCMA experience,this time in San Jose in January, we need you and your expertise to help us make it happen again. You really do count, and we are counting on you. Team effort is still vital, and you are part of the team.