The Nexstar® Network Super Meeting 2013, held in early October in Indianapolis, was a successful, optimistic event, according to attendees.

“It was a very successful meeting,” said Jack Tester, president and CEO, Nexstar Network. “It was the largest attendance in 34 super meetings, and, from our participant evaluations, it was also the highest rated super meeting we’ve put on, so we’re really happy with that.

“We review every single session and the big thing we heard from people is they believed there were some things they could take home right now and use to improve their businesses,” he said. “It wasn’t just general, non-specific information. They got very tangible business advice they could put into action right away.”

Superb Content

The meeting featured a trade show, pre-conference sessions, and breakout sessions featuring Nexstar coaches and master trainers. Additionally, the Nexstar Legacy Foundation held a dinner for its Troops to Trades program, which raised more than $150,000.

Mark Paup, president, Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Grimes, Iowa, said the meeting allowed him to reenergize his business sense.

“The daily business got to the point where it could run itself, so I get kind of lazy every once in a while,” he said. “This helps reignite that fire under me and helps make me aware of new things I need to put into place, new ideas that are out there, and affords me the opportunity to network with other companies.

“There’s a lot of energy at it. You’re networking with other companies and getting great ideas, so it boosts you to get back out there and realize why you’re in business. It recreates that purpose of what you’re doing.”

Debbi Waldenberg, president, Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical Inc., Kalispell, Mont., said the wealth of information will prove beneficial in many areas.

“We like the information we get, all the support, the coaches,” she said. “It is mind-boggling, the amount of information they place in your fingertips.”

Relatively Speaking

Former Dallas Cowboys legend and 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Emmitt Smith provided the keynote address.

Smith, a three-time Super Bowl champion, is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards. Since retiring from the NFL following the 2004 season, he has ventured into the business world, forming Emmitt Smith Enterprises Inc., which oversees two businesses, EJ Smith Construction and E Smith Legacy, a real estate company.

“His messages about perseverance, focus, goal-setting, having a vision, and striving toward that are common themes,” Tester said. “Hearing somebody who has the credibility to say it because he’s lived it, somebody who was the best at his profession of all time, makes those messages more relevant versus a professional speaker who gives the same message. Emmitt has clearly lived it.”

Paup said he was blown away by how good Smith was, considering the attitude many shared of him following his stint as a commentator on ESPN.

“I thought his speech was awesome,” Paup said. “I was really impressed with his story. I thought it was spot-on with business owners and managers. I thought he made practical sense. Some of the people they’ve had in the past were with Fortune 500 companies, or doctors, or something where they don’t connect on a daily, personal level. I thought he did a great job of keeping it real.”

Waldenberg said Smith was such an excellent speaker because of the unique background he brings to the table.

“I thought Emmitt Smith was very good,” Waldenberg said. “I wish he would’ve tied his football career in to how it inspired him to be a better business owner, but he was an excellent speaker.”

The Nexstar Foundation’s Troops to Trades dinner featured speakers in addition to both live and silent auctions to raise money for the Troops to Trades program, which supports training for military veterans who want to enter the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical industries.

The auction featured various items, donated by Nexstar member companies or strategic partners. Nexstar offered several items, including a full year of unlimited Nexstar training.

“The Nexstar Legacy Foundation had a huge boost,” Tester said. “Our members really stepped up. The foundation has done some great work to better connect younger people to this industry, including the military.”

The money raised from the dinner will go toward scholarships and training for young people, and military veterans looking to enter the industry.

Lasting Thoughts

Tester said the meeting was largely optimistic. He noted that while talking to members, he didn’t recall more than two conversations which he’d consider neutral at worst.

“We’re very happy,” Tester said. “There are things we can do better, but on a whole, this was an excellent meeting, and we’re very happy with what our membership was provided and the work that was done there.

“We’ve got to keep it fresh. Our members are seekers. They want the next thing. So we have a blend of what’s new, but our meetings are also about reinforcing the fundamentals.”

The Super Meeting allowed Paup to take several things back to his business, some of which he’s already implemented successfully. He said there hasn’t been a year where he hasn’t implemented numerous positive changes following a Nexstar meeting.

“I go into these things open-minded. Once you get to a certain point, you have a lot of these things in place as a business,” Paup said. “Once you get them in place, you go kind of looking for a couple of nuggets that you can add immediately. We’re at the point where we can go to these meetings, go to each thing, and take something away. The guerrilla marketing, for example, is something I didn’t even really consider. I figured it’d be about direct mail and all that other stuff, but it was about guerrilla marketing, which is low-cost. So we’ve come back and done four or five things related to that and it’s worked out great. That really blew us away.”

At the conclusion of this year’s meeting, Waldenberg was left feeling very good about her business.

“It’s a great reminder to come back, get back to basics, and get on track with your team,” she said.

Publication date: 12/9/2013 

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