Shelley Fredericks of Fredericks Fuel and Amy Katsigiannis, BTC and Special Projects Coordinator at ADD Systems, join Brian Cohen, ADD Systems Multimedia specialist and host of ADDcast, to discuss the importance of the BTC and what to expect at the 2023 event!
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Brian: Welcome to ADDcast. I’m ADD Systems Multimedia specialist, Brian Cohen. Today we’re talking about the 2023 Business Tech Conference, which is officially less than one year away. The 2023 BTC will be held May 8-12, 2023, at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando, Florida. 2023 also marks ADD Systems’ 50th anniversary, so we’re feverishly working behind the scenes to make this event the biggest and most exciting BTC to date. Expect exciting product announcements, valuable partner sessions, networking opportunities, and incredible evening events – a 50th anniversary celebration like you’ve never seen before. Joining me first to talk about the 2023 BTC as well as past BTCs is Shelley Fredericks of Fredericks Fuel. Shelley, thank you so much for joining us today.
Shelley: Good morning, Brian. Thank you.
Brian: First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself as well as Fredericks Fuel.
Shelley: I am a co-owner of Frederick’s Fuel and Heating Service. I own the company with my husband Mark Fredericks. We have been in business since 1878 and as with many of the companies in our industry, we are several generations in. Fredericks Fuel delivers home heating oil and services oil burner and air conditioning equipment to homes in the northern New Jersey region. We are fortunate enough to have two of our sons working in the business with us and bringing our knowledge to them so that they can continue the legacy.
Brian: Now Shelley, considering how long you’ve been in business, how long has Fredericks been partnered with ADD?
Shelley: Oh my gosh, we have been a client since 1975. Now, I wasn’t in the business then, I was still in school. My father-in-law, John Fredericks, was one of the very early adopters of ADD Systems. We also own the Keel Oil Company in Riverdale, New Jersey. I believe Keel Oil may have been the third company to sign on with your founder, Bruce A. Bott. I think Fredericks Fuel was the fifth company to join the ranks.
Brian: Fantastic. Well, we thank you for those years of partnership with us. So Shelley, how long have you personally been attending the BTC?
Shelley: We have only been to two previous conferences in 2014 and 2017. We were all signed up to come in 2020, but of course, that got canceled and postponed. Sadly, we didn’t attend sooner than 2014 because life got in the way. We were raising our children and May tends to be a month of Little League and dance recitals and graduations, so we just were not able to fit it into our schedule. But now it has become a priority for us and we schedule our events around it.
Brian: Fantastic. Based on the two BTCs that you’ve attended, what are some of the things that people can expect to gain from attending the BTC?
Shelley: Well, there are so many aspects to the BTC. Of course, the sessions provide what’s new, what’s going on, what other companies are doing and what’s the latest technology, but then there’s the aspect of the events other than the sessions. There are meals, gatherings and special events in the evenings. Of course, there is the networking aspect when you talk to fellow users. What I find to be so great is getting to meet ADD Systems employees who you perhaps have been speaking to on the phone for many years and now you finally get to see what they look like.
Brian: What are some of the most important takeaways you’ve been able to bring back to your company to help your business from attending the BTC?
Shelley: Well again, when you attend these sessions, you learn what’s available and what’s coming. It’s very exciting and makes us go back to get in touch with our salesperson and want to learn more.
Brian: Earlier you mentioned networking is an important part of the BTC. It’s also an important part of our industry as a whole. Can you share some of the networking aspects you’ve been able to take advantage of at the BTC?
Shelley: Well, there are just so many sessions and other events associated with this conference that give us the opportunity to talk to other people. We get to meet people we may have spoken to on the phone and talk face to face and learn from ADD users about the different ways they take advantage of ADD products. Even just getting to mingle with people when you meet them in the hallways, at a dinner and of course, talk about what’s going on in our industry.
Brian: Now, outside of things in the industry, the BTC has always been a family event. Can you talk about some of the family-friendly elements of the conference that you’ve enjoyed?
Shelley: This, to me, is one of the most exciting things about this conference, the family aspect. ADD Systems is a family company. The mom and dad, Bruce and Gale, started the company. They have six children, all of whom are greatly involved, as are some of their spouses. At this event, we get to meet them, talk to them, see them and see their children. I would encourage everyone thinking about attending, if possible to take their own families. What better place to host a conference than Disney. While there are daytime sessions for you to attend, your families can enjoy aspects of Disney, whether it be the parks, beaches, pools or the hotel environment in the meantime. You can be at the meetings and they can enjoy their day.
Brian: Now, do you have some personal favorite BTC memories that you’d like to share?
Shelley: One thing that stands out for us is that when we attended our first conference, we had not seen Bruce and Gale Bott since Bruce’s illness. My husband and I went over to greet them and say hello and when Bruce saw me, his eyes teared up. This was at a point where he had lost his ability to speak, so when he teared up and we teared up, it just showed us the value of the long-term relationship that we have with the Botts. Again, we’ve been with them since the 70s, from the beginning really, and always just had such a warm and comfortable relationship. So even though it’s kind of sad that I would think of this as a fond memory, it just was really a touching moment.
Brian: That’s a beautiful story. Now, for those that are attending the BTC for the first time, do you have any advice you’d like to offer them?
Shelley: Yes, bring your family, number one. Number two, plan ahead. It’s Disney, so it requires much planning. Plan your meal times, reservations and your park strategy ahead of time. We happen to be big fans of Disney and know from going there that you cannot just show up. You need to have a plan, so that is my biggest suggestion for any family members attending. Plan ahead.
Brian: And what would you like to say to someone who’s maybe on the fence about attending the 2023 BTC?
Shelley: Go. It is such a great event. Not only the sessions, but they offer special events in the evening that the average visitor to Disney would not be able to enjoy. We’ve been to dinners in Epcot in a private setting and a private viewing of fireworks with refreshments. I cannot say enough good things about this whole event. There’s mealtimes together, ADD Systems provides wonderful breakfast opportunities, in other words, continental breakfast where everybody can gather and say good morning and then head on to either the park events or the sessions. It’s just a lovely atmosphere. It’s Florida, so the weather’s great, Disney is a beautiful location, the hotels, restaurants, the grounds; it’s more than an amusement park. Tying all that in, getting to learn things while you’re there too, makes it the greatest experience.
Brian: Well, you just said a lot of different things that you’re looking forward to. So if you had to pick one, what’s the thing you’re looking forward to most about the 2023 BTC conference?
Shelley: This makes me smile, just being able to attend an event again. We were all set to go to the 2020 BTC, which was canceled. At the time, ADD Systems was really smart and postponed it until 2023. I remember thinking what’s wrong with 2021? Why can’t we just move it one year? But they were right, and they were smart. Hopefully, a year from now, we’ll be out of COVID, and we can fully enjoy getting back together, dining, enjoying the rides, going to meetings, and just being back together and back to normal.
Brian: Shelley, I couldn’t agree more. I look forward to meeting you in person for the first time at the 2023 BTC. And I’d like to thank you so much for joining us, as we all look forward to seeing you next year in Orlando.
Shelley: Well, thank you. I’m so looking forward to it as well!
Brian: And joining us now is Amy Katsigiannis, as BTC and Special Projects Coordinator at ADD Systems. Amy, thanks for joining us.
Amy: Hi, Brian! Thanks for having me.
Brian: Amy, ADD Systems is turning 50 years old next year, and as it syncs up with the BTC, what are some of the things we have in store for those in attendance?
Amy: Well, Brian, we’re really excited that the 50th anniversary is coming up. It’s a very big deal to the Bott family and to ADD Systems, so we’re excited that it coincides with our next BTC. We’re hoping to make this the most extravagant BTC to date. Some of the events we have planned are a welcome reception at Shipwreck Beach, an evening in Animal Kingdom at Pandora, the world of Avatar, and an evening at Typhoon Lagoon. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Brian: Excellent. Now for those who are first-time registrants for the BTC, can you talk a little bit about the registration process?
Amy: Sure! The registration process is really simple. You can visit our website at addsys.com/BTC/registration and the registration form is right there. It’s very easy to go through. I recommend you take advantage of our early bird special, which will end on December 31, 2022. Of course, if you have any questions about the registration process, feel free to reach out to any of us at email@example.com, and we’re happy to help.
Brian: Now if somebody is looking to become a sponsor or an exhibitor for the 2023 BTC, what should they do?
Amy: We have a lot of exciting opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors. They range from a platinum sponsorship to a gold sponsorship, to kind of a pick and choose what you’d like to sponsor, from exhibitor booths to educational sessions. There are lots of options. If anyone has any questions or would like to become a sponsor or exhibitor, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian: Now, Amy, if people are looking to learn a little bit more about the BTC to kind of figure out how it fits in for their company, what should they do?
Amy: They can visit our website at addsys.com/BTC. We’ll be updating our website over the next few months with all of our exciting information. You’ll be able to see our agenda, learn about our exhibitors, view the exciting activities we have planned, read some facts about why to attend, and also book your hotel! We’ll be updating all of our social media channels, so be sure to follow us there.
Brian: Excellent. Amy, thank you so much for joining us today.
Amy: Thanks, Brian.
Brian: And as Amy said, to learn more about the 2023 BTC. Visit addsys.com/BTC. To keep up with the latest happenings at ADD Systems, visit addsys.com/blog, or connect with us on social media by following ADD Systems on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If you have any questions about ADDcast, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. Thanks for joining us today, and have a great day.