TENA Review: Humbling and Inspiring To Be in This Industry

September 18, 2013

Todd Piett

As I sit on the plane flying back to the Northeast after attending the Tennessee Emergency Number Association Conference (TENA), I’m struck that I left this conference truly affected at a personal level.  While conferences in many industries are educational, public safety conferences, and specifically those involving the fraternity of emergency communications professionals are especially inspiring.  TENA did not disappoint.   Here’s a few, sappy but true, non-technical takeaways from the past couple days:

  • It’s awesome to be able to help save lives!  Sometimes the impact of our mission can be lost in some of the day to day drudgery.  Especially for those of us on the vendor side or in a more technical role, the human impact can be missed in the bits of bytes of how things function.  Hearing Brian Black from Crockett County describe how a person suffering from an epileptic seizure is alive today because a well trained call taker and first responder aided by information from Smart911, were able to quickly respond to what would have otherwise been an open line call with no address to which to respond was really humbling.  That’s “the bug” that people refer to when they become part of this industry.
  • It’s awesome to work with people you respect!  I challenge you to not become spoiled by the fact that most folks in our industry are really trying to make a positive impact.  Spend any time outside public safety and you’ll find how blessed we are to be surrounded by people with a “mission first” attitude instead of just their careers, and people that are genuine and fun to be around.  I really enjoy seeing people at the conferences and spending time with them, even if I do feel a got a bit snookered on the corn hole toss game…
  • It’s awesome to be able to engage in positive discussions between folks with differing opinions!  Throughout TENA, and at other conferences I’ve attended this year, I’ve either been involved in or watched great debates.  In each case, I never saw things get personal – the goal was really about exchanging information, learnings and opinions.  That’s how we get better. 

Thanks to everyone who puts on these great events, and thanks to all of you that make working in this industry such a pleasure.

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