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The annual NRG Conference is going on in St. Petersburg, FL now.  I was just sent this photo of one side of the model and vendor room - currently about 60 models on display.  There will be updates and a full follow up posted here.

Kurt

MODEL ROOM.jpg

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On the middle table towards the back the high case contains 30+ miniatures by Gus Agustin.  He's got some others nearby but the case was so the tiny little ones don't go home with somebody else.  We do open the show room to the public.

Kurt

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Chuck:

About 80 attending - very low this year - probably due to the hurricanes.  During the crucial sign up period we had the big one and then about the time people started to consider going again the second one popped up.  Being on the Gulf side it was iffy for a bit and then I think some just said to heck with it for this year.

 

I can guarantee that there will be no hurricane issues next year.  The location will be announced at the banquet tonight.  Watch here tomorrow.

 

Kurt

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Actually it was 108 total that attended the conference - forgot to add in directors, officers, speakers and some wives.  Looked at the older spread sheet - sorry.

 

The location of the 2018 Conference will be Las Vegas, NV at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino - October 25, 26 and 27.

 

Will have more about this soon.

 

Kurt

 

 

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 There are many wonderful models on display.  Just a few examples.

 

Overview

A60DAD3F-060D-40E3-BB2F-07143052D194.thumb.jpeg.a80924c04d7e01a6c6c3ed38410b9abb.jpeg

 

very nice longboat by MSW user Pythagoras 

 

8854AD30-8609-4A0B-8A91-B658C41A9528.thumb.jpeg.12bee8053e7e990768ebd05315d186eb.jpeg

 

and particularly impressive was the large number that Gus Agustin brought in small scale

 

1EDDD47F-8B46-4C90-8B84-4A13925C62F5.thumb.jpeg.f6179383507b27733bda07e0dfbee35a.jpeg

08FBA2B0-D1D2-4035-BE8C-A02FEB76C4CC.thumb.jpeg.9201ed10eb2f103e1bab56aae6795160.jpeg

 

 

 

Edited by MEDDO

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WOW.......Las Vegas, what a great chance to steep ourselves in Navel History!  

What’s wrong with Annapolis, Norfolk, Boston, Charleston and for that matter even Chicago or Cleveland.  To my way of thinking NRG is unlike many organizations and perhaps doesn’t need a Las Vegas convention like the United Amalgamation of Left Handed Kninibler Pin Manufactures (UALKPM).  

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I think Las Vegas is a low rent, completely inappropriate venue for our organization, unlikely to sample the strip clubs, gambling dens and whore houses this city so amply provides.   Unfortunately, I doubt I will be able to make it.  And with attendence of 110 in Tampa, compared to what, 500?, at Mystic, this idea is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.

 

Questioning my sponsorship of NRG, yours,

John

 

Edited by Landlocked123
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Well, John, you may have a point, but as a former Left Coaster myself, I was always dismayed by conventions (not necessarily NRG conventions) constantly being held east of the Rockies (and often FAR east of the Rockies), even if 2/3 of the population does live there. I know many westerners will be glad next year's convention is closer to home. You can't please everyone!

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Along those lines Chris, we could do Los Angles, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland or Seattle.  I would gladly take my limited resources and go to any one of those cities than LV.  J.

Edited by Landlocked123

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2 hours ago, Landlocked123 said:

WOW.......Las Vegas, what a great chance to steep ourselves in Navel History!  

What’s wrong with Annapolis, Norfolk, Boston, Charleston and for that matter even Chicago or Cleveland.  To my way of thinking NRG is unlike many organizations and perhaps doesn’t need a Las Vegas convention like  the United Amalgamation of Left Handed Kninibler Pin Manufactures (UALKPM).  

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I think Las Vegas is a low rent, completely inappropriate venue for our organization, unlikely to sample the strip clubs, gambling dens and whore houses this city so amply provides.   Unfortunately, I doubt I will be able to make it.  And with attendence of 110 in Tampa, compared to what, 500?, at Mystic, this idea is one of the worst I’ve ever heard.

 

Questioning my sponsorship of NRG, yours,

John

 

Or Bremerton WA. We have a large shipyard, Naval Air Station, Naval Station AND Keyport. Keyport also known as Torpedo Town USA is home to the Undersea Museum. And there is  Casino right down the road.

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As Spiro Agnew said, 

I really don’t want to be “nattering nabob of negativism” but on what basis are these decisions arrived?  I’ve never seen any questionnaire or request of opinions to survey, regardless, I still revert to my original question, ‘why Las Vegas’?  Who is involved in making these decisions?  And what are the possible justifications for Las Vegas?  I throughly enjoyed the the NRG conference I attended and would do many more, but there is no way I’m going to Las Vegas.

 

ps. I’m no prude or religious zealot, but I still don’t see now LV fits the mission of the NRG. J.

 

pps. Taking into account Chris’s feelings about a “left coast” conference, NRG knows the locations of their (and probably MSW’s) memberships and can choose from relevant geographical locations convenient to the majority of the respective memberships.  J

Edited by Landlocked123

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I would like to make a few points of clarification about the choice of Las Vegas as the next NRG Conference site:

 

1) There are rarely more than 150 people at ANY conference, no matter where it is held, including Mystic a few years ago. The average is about 120-130, so, yes, St. Petersburg was a little low but not too far out of the ordinary;

2) The purpose of NRG conferences is education and camaraderie, the venue site has little to do with that. Yes we often have localized tours on the Thursday before, but those are rarely attended by more than one half of the total conference attendees, and usually less than that;

3) A few years ago the NRG conducted a survey of members asking where we should hold conferences. Las Vegas was one of the more popular responses;

4) The biggest complaint/concern that the board hears regarding conferences is the total cost, especially the cost of travel and hotel which are the two biggest factors. In choosing Las Vegas we think most people can get there easily and less expensively as air fares can be found to LV at lower than normal prices compared to other locations. Also, maybe with fewer connections. The hotel we are using is offering very reasonable room rates. It is not on the Strip in LV but is in a very nice location that is in an almost suburban setting and without the seedier elements. The hotel provides hourly shuttle service to the airport and to the Strip, if one wishes to go there.

 

I know that some people have legitimate personal concerns regarding Las Vegas and that is OK. But all sorts of organizations hold meetings and/or conventions there just because it is so accessible and can be affordable. So these comments probably wont satisfy everyone, but it is important to know the facts about attendance numbers and how choices are made. The NRG board does not operate in a vacuum and we are trying to address members concerns as best we can.

 

More info will be on the NRG website soon.  

 

Thanks and I hope to see many new faces next year in Las Vegas.

 

Mitch Michelson

NRG Board Member and Chairman 

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Mitch,

 

Thanks for for the clarification.  I guess I really went over the top in my posts.  It just I would really like the conference to come back to “right” coast and I think Annapolis or Norfolk would be great fits.  Sorry for any annoyance I’ve caused.

 

Sincerly,

John

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Just to add my two cents worth.  Unfortunately I likely wouldn't attend a conference only because of the travel expense no matter where it was held. My personal thought would be that the conference is held in a location that adds the hobby / subject.  It should be held in a location that supports the hobby (or subject matter).  I have been insanely jealous of some of the activities you have during your conferences such as ship tours, nautical museum tours and the like. I bought the CD that has past magazine issues and was envious of all the activities available during the various  past conferences.  I don't doubt that Las Vegas was a popular choice for the annual conference but is that only because it affords members a diversion.  I say stick with coastal cities / towns to support the interest of the members.  Just my thought.

 

PS - I also realize that no matter what you do you will never please everyone.

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I've come full circle on this.  I was at the meeting where Las Vegas was announced, and my first response was disappointment and considering not attending.  Thinking more about it, I think it is very reasonable to try.  I go to lots of professional meetings for work, where the trip is the meeting, and I don't do anything else in the city (airport to meeting to airport to home).  

 

My reflection on this NRG meeting was much the same.  I was there for both the meeting and workshop, and did not go on the tour.  It was a great meeting, and my experience had nothing to do with the choice of city. I went for the meeting content, and spent most of the time at the hotel.  Ease of getting in and out was important, and if I need to travel more than a few hours, good flights and cost are key.  I think I would have had the same excellent experience regardless of city.  I understand the need to accommodate west coast members, and going two time zones way preferred to three for me.  

 

For this meeting, the only non-meeting things I did were going out to eat, getting together with relatives, and going to the Salvador Dali museum, which was awesome.  It was also completely non model ship related (maybe The Persistence of Memory  as a stern decoration on a Swan class ship?).

 

Bottom line - I think NRG can have a great meeting regardless of city, but only if we can get people there.  Cost and travel time are important.

 

Dave

Edited by davec

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 I wish to echo Derek’s comment above.  Over my 42 years of Guild membership, I have attended 6 NRG conferences, all held where I could also visit an important maritime museum or facility that I felt would contribute to my research interests.  Equally important was the assurance that my wife who travels with me would be safe, comfortable, and happy.  Since expense is a concern for all of us, spending to go to a NRG conference makes sense only if we both return home having had an enjoyable experience. In my opinion, the Mystic 2015 conference gets five stars for touching all of these buttons.

 

While we have yet to get the details, the Las Vegas site is unappealing as it is not tied into any interesting museum or port activity, and I am not convinced that my wife would feel comfortable venturing into Las Vegas by herself.

 

For me to spend the money to leave home during one of the nicest months of our northern midwestern autumns  the conference organizers will have to line up a program of top notch, fresh, speakers who can tell me about things that I don’t already know.  After all the purpose of our organization is research.  Otherwise, I’ll stay home and enjoy the great fall weather.

 

Roger

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I think I understand the motivation to hold NRG Conferences in different venues for the fairness to all members in the US and those abroad. I have to say I have not attended a conference since Buffalo NY due to a number of life reasons. But did so prior. Yes it is getting expense to attend and I suspect that is some of the reason for low attendance. I would also offer that the MSW site may even be dissuading members from attending. To me this site has become one of the greatest resources for information sharing that exists.

 

Let me suggest that one way to engage more members is to consider either a live web cast and/or a recorded session for purchase through the NRG Store. I do not know what the break even point for having a session in a major metropolitan area would be for NRG but maybe, just maybe, a measure such as this could help defer those costs.

Edited by Thistle17
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Very interesting (oops, hit publish by accident, rest of post follows). My first reaction to Las Vegas was, roughly, WTF? I have to agree with Roger that I would find it far more interesting to attend a conference in a setting that has some form of legitimate nautical interest, which does not have to be "coastal". For example, NRG held a conference in St. Louis a few years back, and that's a great choice that's more central and affordable than most coastal cities but still has a legitimate claim to maritime interest (Kansas City would be a good choice in this regard, too, as the host to one excellent steamboat museum and within a day trip of another outside Omaha).

 

I've been looking forward to the announcement of the next NRG conference as I'd really like to attend one, but there's no way on God's green earth that I'm going anywhere near Las Vegas, again for reasons similar to Roger's. I don't care if it's "cheap", once I'm making travel plans to anywhere more than a few hours from home it doesn't matter much if the hotels are $50 more per night or the airfare is slightly higher. I'm making vacation plans at that point, likely with Mrs. Cathead, and Vegas has nothing that attracts us and much that repels us. If NRG is going for cheaper than coastal cities, many Midwestern cities (KC, Louisville, Memphis) have legitimate river interests and are accessible and affordable. Even New Orleans has the "party" culture that apparently some people want while having far more of actual nautical and diverse interests for the rest of us.

 

Criticism doesn't come easily to me, but I have to say I'm disappointed in this venue and certainly won't be considering attending. This is like holding a National Audubon conference in the middle of a 1,000 acre cornfield.

Edited by Cathead
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Great idea Thistle17 with a webcast for a seminar for members not able to get to a venue.    At work we use skype to communicate live across the continent and there are a lot of other tools available that are very effective.  Definitely something for NRG to consider. Scott

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    My hat is off to the NRG Board for working hard to make these conferences happen.  I was involved in planning the 2007 Conference in San Diego,and to a lesser degree, the 1999 Conference there as well.  It takes alot of effort.  Now that the NRG is doing this pretty much without a host club helping out, that work is concentrated.  I think they are doing a good job balancing the various interests and desires. 

 

    As Mitch indicated, many members had indicated LV as a preferred site.  Obviously some don't care for it.  Many want a location with a maritime flavour.  For me, that is great, but because my time is limited I can only attend the Friday-Sunday events.  Someday when I have more time available to me, that will change...instead proximity is important.  Would I attend a conference in Norfolk or Annapolis?  I would love to, but less likely.  That doesn't mean I oppose the choice.

 

    When will the conference be in Whitehorse? :cheers:

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Chuck,

 

You make fair points. I've served/am serving on several boards and it's very easy for members to second-guess board decisions when they weren't part of the process and aren't doing the work. No matter what you do, someone will get worked up about it.

 

That being said, it's still my opinion that there are sufficient accessible, affordable options that actually have a maritime connection and allow for useful and special experiences beyond the conference hall. But it's just one year, so certainly not a disaster, and taking others at their word it may even benefit attendance if enough members have expressed a desire for it. I just hope it's back to a more relevant location the year after.

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I am writing this sitting at my kitchen table while the 35th Gales of November Conference is taking place only five miles away.  This is a Great Lakes  maritime history conference affiliated with our local maritime museum.  Although admission is relatively inexpensive I am having a hard time convincing myself to attend.  In this case, cost and location are obviously not factors.

 

What is a factor is a lack of  interesting speakers.  Since this conference has been going on for 35 years, many speakers have been “recycled” several times.

 

My message to the NRG directors is that without the support of a local maritime institution the conference will succeed or fail on the quality of its speakers.  If the Guild can field a roster of high quality speakers who will commit well ahead of time the conference will succeed. Otherwise people will stay home.

 

 I would suggest that the roster should include one or preferably more speakers that are performing research that could inspire attendees to tackle some new modeling opportunities.  Some ideas, a speaker from Texas A&M, someone from the Red Bay Galleon project, the TriCoastal Marine people who reconstructed the C.A. Thayer, or someone from the LaBelle project.  I would also suggest Jim Delgado, author and marine archeologist, and Joe Lombardi marine surveyor who specializes in historic vessels.

 

I recently ended an eight year stint on the board of our local symphony so I know how hard it is to maintain interest in what many consider to be a dying art form.  I realize that our NRG directors are faced with similar problems and difficult decisions.  

 

Roger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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