September 21-23, 2021
Austin Convention Center | Austin, TX

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Industry News for the entire team who designs, plans, constructs and manages healthcare facilities

The Leaflet Article


Meeting in the Polar Vortex

Jenabeth Ferguson, Vice President, Symposium Director

Have you had a single conversation lately that hasn’t included some mention of the weather? I’m not sure there is a part of the country that hasn’t been impacted by extreme or overwhelming weather this winter. Chicago certainly has had its fair share and once again our advisory board was planning to gather there for our annual meeting and the weather was not cooperating. Luckily the Polar Vortex had lifted so it was a balmy 14 degrees on the day of the meeting. And once again despite the weather and the lengths folks had to go through to get there, we had over 30 board members present. This year we gathered at exp, Inc.’s office on North Michigan Ave which was great because those of us coming into town & staying at the Hyatt could use the Pedway to get to and from without going outside. 

We have been holding this meeting in January in Chicago for 8 years and I am always still amazed by the dedication of these individuals. They are all busy professionals with family and personal obligations just like you and I. Yet they set aside a day on their calendar, head to Chicago to sit in a room and offer all of their expertise, insight and knowledge on how we can once again make sure the Symposium serves your industry.  

This group is made up of architects, engineers, interior designers, contractors, researchers and healthcare administrators representing major design firms, small independent consultants, major manufacturers, large health systems and small hospitals. Throughout the day you can’t imagine the directions the conversations take. What continues to impress me the most is the willingness of everyone to talk about the challenges they are facing individually and as organizations in today’s world. But in order to share these issues they have to be willing to talk about them in front of their competitors – sitting around the table are folks who on a daily basis are going after the same projects. Yet in this setting, they are able to put that aside in order to serve the Symposium and ultimately the industry as a whole.

What comes out of this day are countless ideas on how to enhance and improve the Symposium, such as which topics we need to address and the best speakers or organizations to talk about them. We spent some time this year on the flow of the schedule and the best way to maximize everyone’s time at the event. There was lots of discussion on types of networking events and in what environment everyone mingles best. At the end of the day I walk away with pages of notes and ideas with things that need flushing out and those that can be easily implemented. This is just one of the ways this group influences the Symposium but it certainly is a very important component. Please be sure to check out who makes up our esteemed advisory board at

Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

PS Have a thought about the Symposium? Please feel free to contact me at any time at

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