Hobby Outposts from the North: Virtual Industry Summit Preview – Everything in sports and entertainment, and the accompanying hobby, has been thrown off the normal path thanks to Covid-19, and the annual Industry Summit, taking place Monday, October 19 through Wednesday, October 21, is no exception.

Hobby Outposts from the North: Virtual Industry Summit Preview

Ted Barker
Senior Sales Executive,
Industry Summit Director & Co-Host
Beckett Media

This year’s conference will be going fully virtual, which means that it won’t be business as usual for what is arguably the most important meeting of minds in the hobby. Between manufacturers, distributors, dealers, media and other parties, the Industry Summit attracts the biggest decision makers and influencers in collectibles. Going forward for 2020 does have its setbacks, but as we have seen with other conferences, there will be a lot to see and discuss – from the comfort of your home or workspace –  with incredible keynotes and other discussions happening throughout the three days of operation.

The full schedule of events is available right here to view, but we’re going to get a bit deeper into how the Virtual Industry Summit came together. Here now is my conversation with Ted Barker, Industry Summit Director and Co-Host and Beckett Senior Sales Executive.

JW: Obviously the current Covid climate necessitated the move to digital, but from your perspective are there advantages to having the Summit as a virtual conference?

TB: Absolutely, there are several. There are dealers who aren’t able to travel in a “normal” year because they don’t feel they can be away from their shops 4-5 days, who are now able to attend. We are already 75% ahead in dealer attendees than last year. It is allowing international attendees. We have registrants from Australia, China, Canada, Denmark who wouldn’t have been able to attend this year due to the travel restrictions. Additionally, we have speakers who [we] had on our radar who were unlikely due to the time commitment that we are now able to feature, it’s an all-star group now.

JW: What has the response been like, overall, to moving the conference to a virtual landscape? Are you finding you’re engaging more (or different) dealers and industry reps than in the past?

TB: As mentioned in the first question – yes more AND different. There are many first-time attenders and we’ve increased dealers/breaker attendees, as of today, by 80 and that number continues to climb. We expect a flurry in the last week.

JW: Despite the virtual nature, the Summit still has heavy hitters for keynote speakers. Walk me through the selection process – do you look solely for big names who’ve bridged into the business world, or are there other facets that come into play?

TB: We have specific reasons for each of our keynote speakers. Mike Singletary (sponsored by GTS by the way) is an inspirational speaker who teaches life lessons and will fire up the Summit to kick things off. Jamal Mashburn not only had an outstanding playing career, but he has transitioned into a multi-faceted titan of industry. He will speak on entrepreneurship, teamwork and business strategy. Randy Nelson is a corporate trainer who has spent the pandemic leading companies through the process of planning during the lock down and planning for success moving forward. He spoke at the Summit in 2018 and was well received. In the country’s current situation, he will make a key impact in his address that will help all the business owners in attendance. Next year we may look for different attributes from our keynote speaker, but for this year, this roster [is] exactly what we were looking for.

JW: If someone has never attended the Industry Summit in the past, why is this year the time to break that streak?

TB: You attend from the comfort of your laptop or mobile device, you will be educated, the content is terrific, the sessions are loaded and put together from feedback from last year’s attendees. The virtual booths offer a more intimate presentation from over a dozen outstanding companies. It will be fun. Practically, registration is $299.00 – the first 350 paid registrations (we are closing in on that number), receive welcome gifts that are valued at approximately $800. The list is on the website www.theindustrysummit.com and there are over 70 prizes that will be given away in drawings worth over $10,000.

Hobby Outposts from the North: Virtual Industry Summit Preview
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