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By Charles Glaser, RSVA President,
(Vendorscope Winter 2009)

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All of you know that last year was the first year for RSVA to present Sagebrush. After our first Sagebrush (2008), most attendees were very complimentary. Were they just nice people being nice or would they come again? They came again. Not only did they come again, but they brought their friends.

In the planning stages, we took into consideration many factors, especially those surrounding the downturn in the economy. We realized that many Federal and State Agencies had frozen travel. We knew from our own experiences that sales were down in our facilities and money was beginning to tighten up. To be honest, I hoped we would come close to last year's attendance numbers.

What a pleasant surprise when we not only equaled last year but substantially surpassed it! We had more attendees, more exhibitors and more sponsors. This success is a testament to the vendor/managers and agency staff who do their best to make our program successful. It is a testament to the companies that value our business. It is a testament to our supporters who share in our success and to all the work our convention committee did to orchestrate a conference where we have learned how to be more successful. We tried new products, gained knowledge of changes in equipment that will make us more productive, listened to speakers who know the challenges we face and overcome them, and most importantly, used the opportunities to network and enjoy our time together.

Our theme for this year's Sagebrush was "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." It is important for all of us to know how our program has evolved, where we are today and to listen to people like our keynote speaker, Rehabilitation Services Administration representative, Dr. Tom Finch, talk about plans for the future. If we only learned one thing from this year's program, it was that we must always prepare for "change" and that we must insist that changes are positive.

Statistics that were presented, demonstrated positive change. As a program, our sales increased and although managers and facilities decreased slightly, manager earnings increased. The positive side of this trend must continue if our program is going to achieve its mission.

RSVA has already started planning next year's Sagebrush. One of our goals for the Sagebrush 2010 program will be to "build on our success." We will be addressing facility development in our Business Enterprise Programs to help shore up our weak areas and hope that by 2011 all of our numbers will be in the positive column. Look for more on this and other topics that we will be working on for next year in upcoming Vendorscopes.

I thank all of you who attended and supported the 2009 Sagebrush Conference. It is you who help us "build on success." We look forward to seeing you and your friends next year at Sagebrush or at our summer conference in Orlando in July 2009!


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