Countdown to Convention by Janet Dickelman

Whether you have never attended a convention or have been coming for years, we want to see you in Columbus! Our first tour begins on Thursday, July 4th. Beginning Friday, July 5 through Wednesday, July 10 affiliates, committees and technology sessions will be held. Opening general session is Saturday evening, July 6th and the ACB banquet is on Thursday the 11th. Our final tour will be Friday, July 12th.
 
2013 convention pre-registration is open. You can register online at www.acb.org.  Last year's registration went smoothly, but there were some issues, especially with the login screens. We listened to your suggestions and made updates to the form. You can now begin your registration on one computer and update it on another computer. We have also changed the log-in information, so it will be easier to create your password.
 
Once again we will be offering pre-registration via phone. Our efficient crew from last year, Pam Cox, Nicky Schlender and Dave and Deb Trevino will be waiting to assist you. Please remember that there are times when callbacks are numerous and it may take a couple of days for someone to call you back. To register via phone, call 1-800-866-3242. When leaving a message for a pre-registration callback, be sure to leave your name, phone number, time zone and best time to reach you.
 
For up-to-date information pertaining to the ACB conference and convention, subscribe to the convention list by sending a blank e-mail to acbconvention-subscribe@acb.org

Calling All Dogs!

Once again Tim and Maria Stone of Scoop Masters will be maintaining the dog relief areas. They will deliver dog food directly to your hotel room at the Hyatt beginning July 3rd. To take advantage of this great service, you must pre-order your dog's food no later than 9 a.m. Pacific time on June 30th.
To order online, visit www.premiumpetfood.com/acb. You can also order over the phone by calling 1-800-787-7667.

Interpreter Services

If you plan to attend the convention and need a support service provider or interpreter, please contact Lori Scharff, who will assist in making arrangements. Send her an e-mail with "interpreter for Columbus" in the subject line, loris1@optonline.net. Or contact her via phone, (516) 695-6370.

Mobility Aids

Do you need a wheelchair or a scooter in Columbus? Margarine Beaman is working on procuring wheelchairs and scooters for convention attendees. Please contact Margarine by June 15th with your name, phone number and arrival and departure dates at oleo50@hotmail.com. When you arrive in Columbus, give me a call at (651) 428-5059 and we'll make arrangements for you to pick up your equipment.

Airport Shuttle to the Hyatt

Arch Express has agreed to provide ACB with a fabulous shuttle rate from the airport to the Hyatt.  The rate is $22 round trip ($17 one way). Arch would prefer that you reserve your ride in advance.  Make reservations online at www.archexpress.com or by telephone at (614) 252-2277, or toll-free at 1-800-325-1882.  Make sure to mention you are with the ACB convention, and provide them with your name, airline, flight number, arrival time and cell phone number. Also indicate if you will be using a wheelchair and if you need a lift-equipped van.

Paratransit Services in Columbus

To use Central Ohio Transit Authority services, you need to fax information to Tonia L. Pullins at (614) 272-3015.  Be sure to include your phone number and either a copy of the approval letter with expiration date on the transit company letterhead, or a copy of the front and back of the ADA picture ID, showing the expiration date. To set up a ride, call (614) 272-3033.  Rides should be scheduled at least a day in advance; same-day rides are not guaranteed.  Rides are $3.50 each way; same-day rides cost an additional $1.50 per ride. You should plan for at least two hours between rides, whether the second is a return or a continuation to another location. When scheduling a ride, you will be asked about manner of payment (cash, ticket, or pass), pickup and destination addresses (have the zip code ready in case it is requested), whether you need the lift, and if you have a  service animal. PCA's ride free; one guest is permitted at $3.50 per ride.  If your ride is 20 minutes late, call dispatch at (614) 272-3007.
Are you an exhibitor, advertiser, sponsor or interested in volunteering at the 2013 convention? It isn't too late to sign up for any of these great opportunities. Visit our web site, www.acb.org.

Exhibits

Michael Smitherman has received registrations from many vendors; some are familiar exhibitors who have joined us in the past. We welcome our returning exhibitors and are always glad to see new faces. As I write this, I know there will be several first-time exhibitors joining us in Columbus.  Vendors who have reserved booths will be listed in the conference and convention program, and you can obtain an exhibitor list when you visit the exhibit hall in Columbus.

Back this year by popular demand is Marketplace, which will run Saturday through Thursday prior to general sessions. It's a great location for affiliates or committees to sell non-food items.

Sponsorships

Corporate sponsors help defray conference and convention costs for the information desk, communication center, ACB Café and a myriad of other items. Sponsorship information will be listed in our program, recognized in our daily newspaper and announced by Margarine Beaman during general sessions. If you have an opportunity, make sure to acknowledge how much you appreciate those sponsors for helping to make many convention activities possible. 

Volunteers

One of the most important aspects of our convention is the assistance offered by convention volunteers. Volunteers are at the airport to meet and assist convention attendees when they arrive and depart Columbus. They are at the hotel to help locate meeting rooms. Those of us who attend the conference and convention truly appreciate their assistance in an unfamiliar environment.

Room Reservations

Reservations for the 2013 convention at the Hyatt Regency can be made via phone or online. To make your reservations via phone, call 1-888-421-1442. Be sure to mention you are with the ACB convention. If you'd like to make your reservations online, go to www.acb.org.  There is a direct link to reservations at the 2013 conference and convention link. Room rates are $89 per person (single, double triple or quad) plus applicable taxes.

Convention contacts

Exhibits: For additional information on vendor or Marketplace registration, contact Michael Smitherman, amduo@bellsouth.net or (601) 331-7740.
 
Sponsors and advertisers: Margarine Beaman, oleo50@hotmail.com or (512) 921-1625
 
Volunteers: Sally Benjamin, volunteer@acb.org or 1-877-630-8399
 
Convention questions: Janet Dickelman, Janet.dickelman@gmail.com or (651) 428-5059