Let's take a look at some of the key US conferences and trade shows for the first half of 2016, and see what is being offered for tech team leadership. Not only will these help your tech team expend their knowledge base, but they open opportunities for networking with other technical ministries staff. Building a support structure is key for when inevitable problems arise.
The NAMM Show
January 21-24, 2016
NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchandisers, and is primarily useful to visit the manufacturers of smaller gear and equipment for the music industry. While not open to the public, you can attend by being extended an invitation from a NAMM member, and your music and sound equipment provider may well be a member and can provide this. While probably the least helpful event on this list, it's a chance to meet microphone manufacturers and providers of smaller ticket items like portable audio systems, as well as all sort of musical instruments and associated backline gear such as guitar amplifiers.
February 22-26, 2016
The NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) show is geared towards churches and parachurch organizations involved in television, radio and internet broadcasting. Both training as well as an expo where manufacturers and service providers are represented is available. http://www.nrbconvention.org
March 16-19, 2016
Salt Lake City, UT
The USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) conference and trade show is geared towards live theater, and could be an excellent choice for churches whose presentation style is less flashy, using more theater techniques than concert techniques. Training sessions on lighting, sound, as well as a full expo for manufacturers of lighting, sound and staging equipment gives many opportunities to learn new techniques and see the latest equipment that would help you outfit your facility.
April 16-21, 2016
Las Vegas, NV
The www href=“http://www.nabshow.com”>NAB(National Association of Broadcasters) show, always held in Las Vegas, is THE show to attend if you do any sort of broadcasting, including streaming to the web, or even video transmission/capture for satellite campuses. Training opportunities abound, and the trade show for equipment manufactures is massive. This is a show where you need to plan strategically what companies you want to visit with, because even if you focus on the trade show for the entire five days it's open, you wouldn't get through the entire show floor. Typically 100,000 people attend the NAB show each year. Did I say it's massive?
San Antonio TX: May19-20, 2016
Raleigh, NC: May 16-17, 2016
WFX Reach is the regional version of the larger WFX annual conference. It provides similar training and "make you think" opportunities for church pastoral, facilities and technical ministries staff in a smaller, local package. Held at a church, it offers great opportunities for your church staff to get to know other church staff and volunteers who area nearby, and thus is a fantastic opportunity to get the similar excellent training and networking with lower travel costs. If you're in the Raleigh or San Antonio areas, don't miss it!
June 4-10, 2016
Las Vegas, NV
InfoComm is focused on featuring the latest technologies for audio, video, display, projection, lighting and staging, digital signage, digital content creation, networking, signal distribution, and much more. This show offers training on all things AV, including rigging: the process of safely hanging equipment and structures from overhead. The trade show covers all the usual audio, video and lighting technologies, but tends to be more focused on presentational technologiesprojection, media, digital signage. This would be an especially good show to go to if you are exploring implementing digital signage in your facility.