This guide has been assembled to assist and inform ACI Chapters who are considering hosting, or have committed to host, an ACI Concrete Convention of their responsibilities. The requirements, suggestions, and recommendations set forth in this guide were established for developing successful and interesting conventions.
Conventions are significant in the overall success and operation of ACI. A function of conventions is to provide the opportunity for ACI members, through committees, to come together to formulate the Institute’s codes, standards, recommended practices, and administrative policies. An equally important function of conventions is to provide a forum for the presentation of technical and educational sessions. An ACI Concrete Convention is a forum for persons interested in the cement and concrete construction industries to share ideas, discuss and resolve problems, and network with individuals involved in these disciplines. The local Chapter hosting the convention helps provide an enjoyable atmosphere in which the convention attendees can achieve their goals.
ACI holds two conventions a year—one in the spring (mid-March to mid-April), and one in the fall (mid-October to mid-November)—and typically attracts 1700 to 2100 attendees per convention, dependent upon location. A convention is 4 days in length (Sunday through Wednesday, with some activities before/after). The location for a convention is typically selected 4 to 6 years in advance. The destination is thoroughly evaluated by ACI staff. Criteria for site selection include:
- Financial impact to attendee, exhibitors, Chapter, and Institute
- Ample meeting space in no more than two venues
- Ample sleeping rooms connected or close to meeting space
- Availability of preferred dates (Spring: mid-March to mid-April; Fall: mid-October to mid-November; avoiding holidays)
- Adequate number of nonstop flights and competitive air carriers
- Adequate economical and reliable ground transportation options
- Restaurants withing proximity and at varying price points
- Attractiveness of destination to attendees
- Additional requirements based on specific convention and/or destination
Chapter Convention Committee Role
The Chapter should form a Chapter Convention Committee (CCC) to coordinate convention activities. A representative of the CCC should attend all conventions and key committee meetings (Hot Topic, S801, etc.) a minimum of 2 years preceding the convention date. A committee roster for the CCC should be submitted to ACI Event Services prior to each convention. Exhibit C depicts a sample committee roster.
Chapters should strongly consider using two Co-Chairs to lead the CCC as well as the subcommittees. The use of Co-Chairs to oversee the CCC and subcommittees results in a more equitable dispersion of the workload. The organization of a convention can be broken down into several subcommittees (see Parts 2 and 3).
Beginning 2 years prior to a convention, the Chapter is required to report to ACI Staff on the planning efforts of the host Chapter. Exhibit D shows the reports required by ACI staff and their accompanying due dates.
Only the final details and the necessary changes should be left for the last 6 months. Each subcommittee Chair should target all major decisions, approvals, and commitments to be completed 2 months prior to the convention.
The CCC should develop a final report following the convention and submit it to ACI staff. The final report should include the following:
- Total budget amount
- Amount raised from sponsors, including individual amounts (Chapter-Funded Convention only)
- Attendance figures
- Chapter’s overall experience hosting the convention
- Information about the structure of the committee and volunteers used during the convention
- What worked and what did not
- Suggestions for future Chapters
The Co-Chairs are the thread between the subcommittees and ACI staff. It is important that they communicate frequently with both parties.
Suggestions for Selecting Chair/Co-Chairs
- Start early! Select the convention Co-Chairs, and subcommittee Chairs at least 3 years in advance.
- If possible, select convention Co-Chairs who are not involved with too many ACI committees.
- Select Co-Chairs who are familiar with managing multiple groups or projects all working toward a common goal.
- Select as many subcommittee Chairs as possible who have attended an ACI Concrete Convention in the past.
- Select Co-Chairs and Subcommittee Chairs who are not timid about delegating responsibilities and overseeing their completion. Volunteers are prepared to help but are often hesitant to manage tasks without guidance from a Chair.
- If a Subcommittee Chair is not keeping up with deadlines, the Co-Chairs should be ready to replace them. A successful, tactful method of replacing a substandard Chair is to re-designate them as a Co-Chair and select another person as the new Chair. This can keep everyone who originally volunteered involved.
Chapter Convention Committee Meetings
The CCC should pay close attention to the timeline for convention preparation. Initially, the CCC should hold meetings on an annual or semi-annual basis. Six months to a year before the convention, the frequency of the meetings should increase to every 1 to 2 months. Six weeks before the convention, meetings should be held every 2 weeks. Those Chapters hosting an ACI-Funded Convention may not be required to meet as often. With vacations and normal construction activities, very little is accomplished June 1 through September 1. The CCC should plan accordingly. Minutes should be kept at each of these meetings and a copy sent to ACI Event Services.
Members of the CCC will receive a complimentary convention registration for attendance at their hosted convention only. ACI staff will provide volunteer name badges at no charge to volunteers who staff the Chapter Desk or assisting in another capacity. These volunteers are not permitted to attend committee meetings, sessions, or networking events. All other individuals attending the convention must register and pay the convention registration fee.
The Co-Chairs should create a budget with input from the subcommittees and ACI Event Services. A sample budget worksheet is shown as Exhibit M. Chapters hosting an ACI-Funded Convention can expect to budget $5,000 to $50,000+ depending on how many optional items they would like to organize; see Part 2 of this guide for more information. Chapters hosting a Chapter-Funded Convention should expect to budget $175,000 to $325,000+ to cover the funds needed to host and sponsor the required convention activities; see Part 3 of this guide for more information.
ACI contracts with hotels and meeting facilities 4 to 6 years in advance of the convention. When a host Chapter commits to a convention, it is important to know that ACI commits to certain conditions in the venue contract that may affect the host Chapter. The CCC should be aware of the following general rules:
- Venues require that all food and beverage in the venue be provided by the venue.
- NO outside food or beverages may be brought into the venue for a function being held in that venue. However, in some cases, the venue will agree to outside food and beverage, but surcharges will apply in those cases. These charges are passed on to the group or individual who brings in outside food and beverage.
- Venues require ACI to meet a food and beverage minimum. ACI relies on food and beverages events from Chapter-Funded Conventions to assist in meeting these minimums. Failure to meet this amount may result in financial penalties to ACI. It is very important that the host Chapter assist ACI in maintaining the integrity of this portion of the contract.
- Venues do not allow ACI or its host Chapters to publicize or refer attendees to other hotels. ACI is contractually obligated to reach a minimum number of guest room reservations. Should ACI not meet the sleeping room block minimum as committed in the contract, ACI could be liable for substantial charges for the use of the meeting space and the shortfall for sleeping rooms.
Each hotel and city has requirements specific to that location. It is highly recommended that the Co-Chairs discuss with ACI’s Director of Event Services the contract for your city in case there are additional conditions for which you should be aware.
For a Chapter-Funded Convention, the host Chapter may need to contract a location for the Concrete Mixer Reception, arrange for transportation, select a tour company, etc. In these instances, the Chapter is required to send the contract to ACI Event Services for review prior to the signing of any contract. This is to ensure that the Chapter is adequately represented in the agreement and not subjecting the Chapter to any contractual obligations they cannot meet.
Use of ACI Logo
To meet the requirements of the ACI Brand Guidelines, which were designed to protect the integrity of the ACI logo, ACI Event Services must approve the use of the ACI logo on letterhead, flyers, handouts, and any materials produced for promotional purposes. ACI staff can assist with developing these materials if necessary. Please contact ACI Event Services for assistance. An example of the correct usage of the ACI logo is shown as Exhibit E.
The ACI Concrete Convention is an ACI-branded event with its own dedicated logo and brand guidelines. All convention material developed and distributed by ACI and/or the Chapter must include the convention logo and follow the convention logo brand guidelines. The convention logo brand guidelines are shown as Exhibit E.
Chapter Pin Logo
The CCC may design their own Chapter pin logo. This Chapter pin logo may appear on any of the materials that the CCC develops, including items such as the convention pin, sponsorship materials, Chapter t-shirts, CCC letterhead, promotional materials, and any other items the CCC will distribute independent from ACI. Every Chapter pin logo must incorporate the ACI logo and the year the convention will be held. To protect the integrity of the ACI logo and to ensure the ACI logo is used in a manner consistent with the ACI Brand Guidelines, all Chapter pin logos must be approved by ACI staff. ACI graphic designers are available to assist with logo development and design at no charge. During logo development, Chapters should take into consideration the number of colors used for promotional printing and/or embroidery purposes. Any ACI graphic design changes requested by the Chapter after the final logo is approved will be billed to the Chapter at $100 per occurrence.
Hot Topic Session
The Hot Topic Committee, a subcommittee of the Educational Activities Committee (EAC) in collaboration with the CCC, selects a “Hot Topic” for presentation at an upcoming Hot Topic Session. This event is typically held on the first night of the convention after the Opening Reception. It is usually a timely topic of general interest to convention attendees. The CCC may request to co-sponsor the Hot Topic Session for their convention. CCC members should attend Hot Topic Committee meetings to provide input on topics selected for their convention, beginning no later than 12 months prior to the convention. Please note, the Hot Topic Committee makes the final determination on what topics are selected for conventions. In rare instances, an approved topic submitted by the CCC may be cancelled, should an urgent topic within the industry take precedence.
Chapter Functions at Convention
The host Chapter is strongly discouraged from holding a Chapter function, such as a Chapter Dinner Meeting, during the convention week. Experience shows that attendance by your Chapter officers, the ACI President, or similar can be difficult with the demands on their time during the convention week.
Chapter Hotel Suite
For the duration of the convention, the host Chapter is furnished with a complimentary hotel suite. The suite is provided by ACI; however, any incidental charges (movies, room service, phone calls, Internet, etc.) are the responsibility of the Chapter. This suite is provided for the host Chapter to have a place to hold meetings during the convention, provide a location for Chapter members to gather, or to host sponsors or others who have helped support the convention. The Chair or Co-Chair of the convention customarily resides in this suite, but it should not be regarded as a personal room and should not be used for personal functions. This room may not be given to other attendees for their private use.
The Chapter, at their discretion, can plan a Chapter function with beverages and snacks in the Chapter suite to thank the CCC members for their hard work. Such functions should not conflict with any other ACI-sponsored events (Opening Session, Opening Reception, Concrete Mixer, Excellence Gala, and President’s Reception). ACI Event Services can assist with making the arrangements for this event and will bill the Chapter for any costs incurred following the convention.
Chapter Sleeping Rooms
Except for the Chapter Hotel Suite, any members of the Chapter wishing to stay at the hotel are responsible for the payment of their own hotel room and incidental charges. It is recommended (but not required) that each subcommittee Chair and all other individuals heavily involved from the local Chapter stay at the hotel for the duration of the convention to ensure traffic or other obstructions will not delay their arrival.
Convention Volunteers and Chapter Desk
Chapters should plan to recruit volunteers to assist during the convention. Volunteers are needed to staff the Chapter’s information desk, greet/direct attendees, assist with the Student Competition, provide directions, etc. ACI will supply a name badge for those volunteering at the convention.
The CCC will be provided with an information desk near the exhibit area at their convention as well as the convention prior. This information desk is staffed by Chapter volunteers who can answer questions about the local area and promote convention activities. The Chapter Desk should be staffed (with a minimum of two volunteers) while the exhibit area is open (Saturday from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Sunday through Tuesday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; and Sunday during the Opening Reception).
The Co-Chairs will be invited on-stage during the Opening Session to welcome attendees to the convention. The Co-Chairs may wish to cover the following in their comments:
- Welcome to the city
- A thank-you to the host Chapter, CCC members, or other related partners
- Events that the Chapter has put together
- Special events or tours
- Sessions sponsored by the Chapter
- Visiting the exhibiting sponsors
- Last-minute housekeeping items provided by ACI Event Services
The Chapter will have up to 2 minutes to address the audience during the Opening Session. It is highly recommended that the Chapter submit a script to ACI in advance.