Conference Organizer Spotlight: Kyle Reed, Finance Chair – IEEE 2018 Haptics Symposium

The 2018 IEEE Haptics Symposium, held in San Francisco, California, was one of the most successful in the conference’s decades-long history. Sponsored by the  IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, the event brings together haptics experts, researchers, and professionals to share advancements, collaborate, and shape the future of the field. The 2018 Haptics Symposium exceeded budgeted surplus and attendance projections, in addition to closing much faster than the IEEE average.
 
A team effort
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Reed at Poster Session

The dedication of volunteers like Finance Chair Kyle Reed was critical to the strong performance of the event. “Much of the success of the conference was due to the great colleagues on the organizing committee,” he says. “The other members of the organizing committee did a great job advertising, making sure we could accommodate all the attendees, and so many other aspects that were largely unseen by the attendees. The success was absolutely a group effort.”
 
Location was a key driver of attendance and revenue. “San Francisco was a more expensive location than past conferences, which posed some challenges with costs and venue,” Reed says. “Although we increased the cost of registration, we still had the highest attendance of this conference, which was likely due to the location near many technology companies.” The conference achieved a 68% increase over budgeted surplus; aided by raising the “most sponsorship funds” in the event’s history.
 
Anyone involved planning a conference knows it can be an intense but rewarding experience. Reed credits staying organized to keeping the process moving and on schedule. “I largely operate based on lists and specific tasks to be done on certain days,” he shared. “I often prioritized tasks that involved other people since I expected that it would take time for others to get back to me….So, in some sense, I would focus on pushing things forward that were out of my control since I could complete the tasks I had control over when I had time.”
 
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2018 IEEE Haptics Symposium

IEEE Meetings, Conferences Events staff were also instrumental in supporting the conference, particularly around closing. “The assistance I received from IEEE was very helpful and timely,” Reed says. “Emma Pasula was a tremendous asset throughout the middle and end of the conference financial period. I have no doubt that the conference would have closed much later if it had not been for her help.”
 
A great Organizing Committee
When asked what he liked most about being an IEEE conference organizer, Reed shared, “I enjoyed working with the great organizing committee and getting to know them better. The success of the conference was definitely a result of the great people on the committee and all their hard work.”

What’s next for Reed in his role as an IEEE conference organizer? He says, “I would definitely be interested in being a conference organizer in the future, but I’m going to take a break for the next year so I can focus on some other goals. The 2020 Haptics Symposium conference will be in Washington DC, which I expect will bring many of the same benefits and success as this year’s conference.”