Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer


By Audrey Fraizer

NAVIGATOR 2013 will give you a view of emergency communications like you’ve never seen before.

And, that’s no exaggeration.

For starters, the conference features a 25% increase in the number of speakers (from an average of 95 speakers to 122), and many of these are new to the NAVIGATOR speaker scene. Not that the “tried and true” were dropped from the pack but, rather, the conference introduces people eager to get their first NAVIGATOR shot in the classroom.

They have speaking experience, explained Conference Coordinator Claire Colborn; however, their public speaking resumes are not specific to NAVIGATOR.

The conference committee choosing from among the close to 200 applications submitted did so on purpose.

“We anticipate the same caliber of speaker our audience expects,” she said. “It’s just that this year, we had more people from outside the familiar list of names sending in proposals for presentations. We thought it would be great to encourage the variety.”

The nearly 100 sessions scheduled retain the five new tracks added in 2011—Motivation, Stress Management, Human Resources, Next Gen 9-1-1, and ACE—and the traditional tracks in leadership, operations, management, protocol usage, quality assurance, technology, continuing dispatch education, and training.

The popular Special Interest track highlights operational continuity (think the EF5 tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011, and other natural and manmade hazards), shiftwork survival, and PSAP challenges in border communities. Motivational speakers will address improving morale and dispelling negative behavior, while sessions in the management column provide building a dream team and surviving the changes ahead. The latest about the Police, Fire, and Medical protocols will be on tap—as always—the same with quality improvement and technology.

“The best advice I can give is look at the schedule [in this issue of The Journal],” Colborn said. “I think our audience will be surprised by the extent of presentations. No two sessions are the same.”

Almost every bit as exciting to Colborn and the NAVIGATOR marketing team is the chance to show off Salt Lake City and the range of activities available close to downtown and at world-famous national and state parks within less than a day’s driving distance for those deciding to extend their stay or return at a later date.

But don’t despair if you can’t take extra time away from work.

Director of Marketing and Communications Kris Berg and her staff of designers—with a little help from local outdoor enthusiasts—are taking the feel of mountains, desert red rocks, and alpine forests to a downtown venue (called the Salt Palace) favored twice each year by the Outdoor Industry Association.

“If you’ve never climbed a rock realistic landscape, here’s your opportunity,” Berg said. “We’ll have the safety equipment and holds for creating a climbing adventure without the dangers. It’s a real friendly introduction to one of Utah’s most popular sports.”

The fun and adventure doesn’t stop at the wall, however.

Other sports to try on the inside will include slightly above the floor slack lines, stationary bike races, and as close as we can get to a winter sport experience without the snow. Box lunches, vendor exhibitions, continental breakfasts, and all the other trappings of NAVIGATOR will also be in store, along with nationally known keynote speakers such as Olympian Jim Shea, Jr. a retired American skeleton racer who won the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Everything is within a mile radius; although, if walking’s not your thing, chartered buses will be providing shuttle service between the Salt Palace and Grand America Hotel and from those two locations the buses will also make stops at the new IAED/PDC building. Tours to the new public safety building are also scheduled four times each for two days.

NAVIGATOR 2013 will be the show of shows, at least until 2014, Colborn said.

“This is where it all started and we’re eager to show off Salt Lake and how far protocol has come over the past nearly 35 years,” she said.

NAVIGATOR was last held in Salt Lake City 20 years ago, when the title was coined to foster the connection between contemporary dispatch and protocol. The Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS) was taking off big time, and there had to be someplace people from all over the world could go to:

• Learn best practices

• Stay on track

• Network

“The idea was to bring people together,” Berg said. “Our priority was to show that they are part of a career and, maybe more importantly, a community of people committed to what they do. It didn’t matter where they lived. They belonged.”