General Arrangements Committee Manual

General Arrangements Committee Manual


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 


GENERAL ARRANGEMENTS COMMITTEE (GAC) CHAIR

While the AIChE Meetings Department will coordinate the overall meeting operations, it is desirable and helpful to have representatives from the local section involved in specific areas of the meeting’s planning. Essentially, our common goal is to provide an enjoyable, worthwhile experience for our attendees and to promote the Institute’s activities to both members and nonmembers.

In order to accomplish these objectives, the General Arrangements Committee and AIChE headquarters staff will work closely in many areas of the meeting’s development. This manual outlines the key areas of responsibility for the General Arrangements Committee and is based on recent and past experiences in the organization of Spring National and Annual Meetings.

The GAC Chair may appoint the following positions* to accomplish the overall goals of the Committee:

  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary
  • Finance Chair
  • Plant Tours / Guest Program / Entertainment Chair
  • Program Copy / Publicity Chair

* This is merely a suggested form of organization and the Chair should feel free to combine or eliminate any subcommittees as necessary.

The General Arrangements Committee Chair is encouraged to hold periodic meetings with the sub-committee chairs to get first-hand information on their progress.  In turn, these various chairs may find it useful to hold meetings of their own committees.

The GAC Chair is responsible for the advance planning and organization of the entire General Arrangements Committee.  This can best be accomplished by maintaining close contact with the AIChE Meetings Department.  The following are some general guidelines:

  • All contracts for services and special events requiring a financial commitment must be signed and organized by AIChE Headquarters. The AIChE Meetings Department is knowledgeable on the subject of contracts; therefore, they should be used as a direct resource to minimize exposure to liability in the event of unexpected problems.
  • All ticketed events, including plant tours, guest program tours, and social events, must be entirely self-sustaining, including transportation.  The GAC committee is asked to provide and arrange 2-3 plant tours for the meeting (Once the tours are decided busing will be arranged by AIChE Headquarters).  Guest program tours and all transportation for tours/events is planned and arranged by the AIChE Meetings Department.  We strongly recommend that the GAC Committee help AIChE with suggestions for various guest program tours and one evening event.
  • Requests for hospitality suites should be referred to the AIChE Meetings Department.
  • It is important that at the conclusion of the Meeting, GAC sub-committees submit a final report on their activities before, during and after the meeting.

As an expression of AIChE’s gratitude, the GAC Chair and Co-Chair are invited with their spouses/companions to attend a reception hosted by AIChE Board of Directors on the Saturday evening prior to the Annual meeting.  GAC committee members working on behalf of AIChE and spouses are also invited to attend the Saturday reception.  Invitations will be issued from AIChE headquarters approximately one month prior to the meeting.

Complimentary meeting registration is available to Committee members who have specific duties at the meeting site and who will not be attending the technical sessions.  The maximum number of complimentary registrations is 15.

In addition, the General Arrangements Committee may spend up to $500 on a post-meeting celebration.  This gathering is another way to express AIChE’s appreciation for the time and efforts of Committee members.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE GENERAL ARRANGEMENTS COMMITTEE CHAIR

Before the Meeting

10 months Appoint chairs to head the various sub-committees.
10 months
up to meeting

Hold meetings of the sub-committee chairs to create
suggestions and planning of special events,
guest programs, and plant tours.

Send a list of committee members (and their functions)
with names, addresses, and telephone numbers to
the AIChE Meetings Department.

For the Annual Meeting, your contact is Jeff Wood (jeffw@aiche.org),
For the Spring Meeting, you contact is Ilia Killeen (iliak@aiche.org).

6 months Check with Program Copy / Publicity Chair regarding
copy for printed program.  The deadline for submission of
material to AIChE is approximately five (5) months
before the meeting date.
5 months Confirm that final and full program copy has been sent
to AIChE Headquarters.

After the Meeting

1 month Remind General Arrangements sub-committee chairs that
meeting reports are due.

We request that you write a report of your activities as General Arrangements Committee Chair suggesting deletions, changes and improvements to this Manual.  Your experience and recommendations will be of great help to us, the AIChE staff, as well as future General Arrangements Committee Chairs. |

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ENTERTAINMENT CHAIR

The function of this chair is to suggest entertainment functions that will be enjoyable for meeting attendees.

Welcoming Reception

Historically, the Welcoming Reception has been the most well attended event of the meeting. It provides a venue for attendees to meet one another and is held on the Sunday evening before the meeting.

Most General Arrangements Committees have been very successful in obtaining contributions from local industry to subsidize the Welcoming Reception. We encourage you to pursue this, since there is no budget to support food for this event.

The following are some important items to note while planning the Welcoming Reception:

  • All expenses associated with the Welcoming Reception must be covered by the money raised by the GAC. This includes all food, decorations, fund raising costs (i.e., phones, and postage) and any other miscellaneous costs that may occur.  (The donations only pertain to food, not beverages.)
  • Before beginning the fund raising activity, target local companies and decide who you will contact.  It is best to start early because budgets are tight. We recommend that you approach potential sponsors for donations in the range of $1000-$5000.  All donations should be made payable to AIChE and sent to headquarters for deposit.  Organizations that contribute funds to the Welcoming Reception will be recognized by appropriate signage at the event, in the registration area, and in the program book.  Additionally, tables will be available for these sponsors to display a small quantity of literature.
  • For a Spring Meeting, typically 500 people attend the reception, but at an Annual Meeting the number can grow to 2500-3000.
  • It is more cost efficient to hold the Welcoming Reception in the meeting headquarters hotel. Even though the cost of food and beverage may sometimes be less expensive at another location, other charges such as transportation and room rentals often negate these savings.
  • All contracts and food and beverage orders are completed through AIChE Headquarters.  Again, remember that this event must be self-sustaining. All costs must be covered by donations. Cash bars are implemented to maximize the amount of money that will be available for food.
  • Many people use the Welcoming Reception as an opportunity to network and catch up with friends.  In order to provide an environment conducive to conversation and interaction among attendees, it has been decided not to have entertainment at this event.  This is a specific directive of the AIChE Executive Committee and must be honored.


Evening Event

At a Spring Meeting, the best day to hold the GAC meeting evening event is either Tuesday or Wednesday, and at an Annual Meeting the most popular day is Wednesday.  It is extremely important to have Committee members attend the evening events to make sure things go smoothly and be available to handle any emergencies that may occur.  The GAC is asked to provide suggestions so that the AIChE Meetings Department can work directly with a local destination management company to come up with an exciting event.

The following are some important items to note while planning the Evening Event:

  • Based on past history, and taking into consideration the number of other activities scheduled at a meeting, only one evening event may be planned.
  • The evening event must be entirely self-sustaining. When deciding on suggestions for this event, be sure to include hidden costs such as buses, gratuities and any other items not included in the price quoted by the event locations.
  • As you plan your suggestions for the evening event, be realistic in the number of attendees that will purchase tickets. Typically this event at a Spring Meeting will range from 20-40 attendees, while an Annual Meeting may attract from 30-50.
  • AIChE will base the ticket price on these numbers so that the tickets purchased will cover the full cost of the event. Unfortunately, since there are no additional meeting funds to cover any shortfall, if ticket sales do not meet the necessary minimums, we will be forced to cancel the event.
  • Please note that the AIChE Meetings Department will sign all contracts, and AIChE should be consulted before any details, such as ticket prices, are finalized.

DEADLINES/RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT CHAIR

Before the Meeting

10 months  Explore suggestions for the evening event.
Begin fundraising activities.
9 months Finalize suggestions of the evening event.
8 months AIChE Meetings Department to finalize program copy on
Evening Event to Program Copy Committee.
3 months AIChE Meetings Department to finalize menu and other
details for Welcoming Reception.

After the Meeting

1 month Remind General Arrangements sub-committee chairs that
meeting reports are due.

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ON-SITE REGISTRATION/FINANCE CHAIR

One primary function of the GAC is to work with AIChE staff in handing out packets and answering questions.

Annual Meeting:  For the first three days of the meeting, we need five
committee members.  Two members are needed for the remaining days.
Spring Meeting: For the first three days of the meeting, we need four
committee members.  Two members are needed for the
remaining days.

 
Committee members should arrive 30 minutes before Registration opens each day.

1.5 month Contact AIChE staff to schedule whom will be helping
and other details.
One day prior to
the meeting start
Meet with the AIChE representative for approximately
1 hour. This training includes a briefing on the
registration process.

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GUEST PROGRAM CHAIR

The functions of the Guest Program Committee are to:

  1. Suggest to AIChE Meetings Department entertainment for attendees such as trips to historic or scenic places, shopping excursions, museum tours, luncheons, etc.
  2. Staff and operate the Guest Headquarters, if there is one.

The Guest Headquarters is an informal setting where registered guests of meeting attendees can gather.  If refreshments are ordered, they are paid for by guest registration and ordered by the AIChE Meetings Department.  It is a good idea to have a list of interesting attractions and their locations at the Headquarters so people may plan their own activities if they wish.

The following are some important items to note while planning suggestions for the Guest Program:

  • Based on past history, only one tour per day may be offered or two half day tours. The last day of the meeting should be avoided since it is virtually impossible to sell the minimum number of tickets that would be required.
  • The AIChE Meetings Department will have all expenses associated with a tour covered by the cost of the ticket.
  • The AIChE Meetings Department will base the price of the ticket on minimum rather than maximum number of attendees.
  • Unfortunately, since there are no additional meeting funds to cover any shortfall, if ticket sales do not meet the necessary minimums, we will be forced to cancel the event.
  • The AIChE Meetings Department will sign all contracts, and AIChE will take care of all final details such as the number of tours and ticket prices.
  • In general, tours should not run longer than 4 hours (half day) or 8 hours (full day) including travel time.
  • It is extremely important for a committee member to accompany each plant tour and be familiar with its details. He or she should make certain to return from the tour with the same number that started the tour.

DEADLINE/RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE GUEST PROGRAM CHAIR

Before the Meeting

10 months Appoint subcommittee members.
9 months Hold meeting with committee members to brainstorm for tour options.
8 months

Discuss suggestions with AIChE Meetings Department.
Arrangements with event locations and bus company,
bus costs and the AIChE Meetings Department will
handle confirmation ticket prices for tours.

AIChE will handle the program copy; i.e. tour descriptions,
ticket prices, departure and return times, exit locations for
bus departures, tour limits.

4 weeks AIChE Meetings Department will confirm final arrangements
with selected locations.

During the Meeting

Accompany plant tours, staff guest headquarters.

After the Meeting

1 month  Report to the General Arrangements Chair on Guest Program
Committee's activities.


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PLANT TOURS CHAIR

The function of the Plant Tours Chair is to plan and coordinate tours of local plants or sites to be visited by meeting attendees.
Suggestions for tours should be solicited at the earliest possible date. For example, plant tours may be made to industrial plants or government installations. You should consult with the Meeting Program Chair as to suitability and scheduling to enhance the technical program.

Details discussed with each facility to be visited should include:

  • The maximum number of people that can be accommodated on the tour;
  • Security regulations (trips may be limited to U.S. citizens); attendance by employees of competitors; any special requirements.
  • Name of official plant contact for final confirmation of arrangements.
  • Information about each tour for inclusion in the printed program.
  • Possibility of meals.
  • Use of cameras.

The following are some important items to note while planning the Plant Tour Program:

  • Based on past history, only one tour per day may be offered.  The last day of the meeting should be avoided.
  • In general, tours should not run longer than 4 hours, including travel time.
  • Base the price of tickets to cover the full cost of the event. The tour must be self-sustaining.  Unfortunately, since there are no additional meeting funds to cover any shortfall, if ticket sales do not meet the necessary minimum, we will be forced to cancel the event.
  • AIChE will contract for plant tour transportation.
  • All contracts must be signed by the AIChE Meetings Department, and AIChE should be consulted before details such as the number of tours and ticket prices are finalized.

Letters confirming each tour should be sent by the GAC Plant Tours Committee to the plants as soon as the tour has been arranged.  The plant should furnish the Committee with a short description of the tour for the printed program.

A contact should be designated at each plant to facilitate the handling of all details.  A review of the details should be made with the plant contact approximately one week before the meeting.  The contact should be notified of the number of visitors to expect on the day the tour is scheduled.

It is extremely important for a committee member to accompany the tour and be familiar with its details.  He or she should make certain that visitors making the tour comply with the posted rules of the facility; for example, regulations for safety, cameras, etc.

Transportation

Chartered bus service is the best mode of transportation to and from the facilities to be visited.  If a large number of people are taking the tour, (more than one bus) it may be desirable to have more committee members accompany the tour (at least one per bus).  Once the plant tour locations are set, the AIChE Meetings Department will handle the transportation needs.

The committee member accompanying the tour should count the tour attendees so that he or she will return to the meeting headquarters with the same number that started on the tour.

DEADLINES/RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE PLANT TOURS CHAIR 

Before the Meeting

10 months

Recruit committee members.

Hold a committee meeting to discuss possible plant tours.
Assign each proposed tour to a committee member to
investigate the plant's suitability, interest, size of group
it can accommodate, and restrictions.

9 months Hold committee meetings to select tours.
8 months Write a letter to each company to be toured, requesting
a personal visit and information on cameras and security
restrictions.  Inform plant contact of the anticipated size
of group to be accommodated, anticipated time of the tour,
and obtain information about possible luncheon
arrangements at the plant.  Also, request a short description
of the plant.  Send copies of letter to committee members.
6 months

Follow up on letters received from companies confirming
arrangements.  Assign Committee members to each tour.
Discuss arrangements with AIChE Meetings Department
so that transportation can be booked.

Submit program copy to Program Copy Committee;
i.e., Plant Tours Summary, Plant Tours Policy, Plant Tours
Descriptions, ticket prices, departure and return times,
exit locations for bus departures, tour limits.

3 weeks Review arrangements made by Committee members
with plant contact.
2 weeks Confirm final arrangements with AIChE Meetings
Department so they can confirm with transportation company.

During the Meeting
Notify company's contact of number of visitors to expect.  Also, notify company if a tour must be canceled.

After the Meeting

1 week Write thank you letters to companies
1 month Report to the General Arrangements Committee Chair on
Plant Tours Committee's activities.

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PROGRAM COPY CHAIR

The function of the Program Copy Committee is to assemble complete, accurate and detailed information on the special activities planned for the meeting.  In addition, pictures of event locations and local attractions should be provided, when available, and will be used in the program book, when space allows.  (The AIChE Meetings Department may need to edit copy because of space limitations in the program).

The most recent copy of a comparable meeting program book is useful as a guide and to help ensure that no information is overlooked.  The following are the sections that the Program Copy Committee is responsible for:

  • Plant tours - Event name and description, day and time, price and minimum/maximum.  If there are any special details, such as pre-registration or citizenship requirements, it should be clearly stated in the program copy.
  • Guest program - Event name and description, day and time, price and minimum/maximum.  Please indicate whether or not the tour is appropriate for children.  AIChE will help get this material.
  • Evening event - Date, time, location, description, price and minimum/maximum. AIChE will help get this material.
  • Names, affiliations and function of all General Arrangements Committee members and pictures of the Chairs.  Because of the limited amount of space, some General Arrangements Committees prefer to use a group photo rather than individual pictures.

Additionally, because AIChE wishes to present a cohesive and coordinated marketing effort for each AIChE meeting, the AIChE Meetings Department, along with our marketing staff, will assume responsibility for an appropriate design and message for the program book cover.  However, ideas for the cover are certainly welcome.  The Meetings Department will also assume responsibility (based upon information provided by the MPC) for the Meeting Highlights page.

The Meetings Department will take responsibility for placing the program copy on the AIChE web site.

DEADLINES/RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PROGRAM COPY COMMITTEE

Before the Meeting

10 months Set up list of program copy to be collected.
9 months Send notice to sub-committee Chairs that program
copy is to be received within three months.
8 months Receive program copy from committees.
7 months Send edited program copy on disk to AIChE Manager
of National Meetings.

After the Meeting

1 month Report to the General Arrangements Committee Chair on
the activities of the Program Copy Committee.

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PUBLICITY CHAIR

Annual and Spring Meetings, as well as expositions, provide many opportunities for AIChE's Marketing/Communications staff and members to work together to build a showcase for the Institute's achievements and aspirations. Only the creative thinking and coordinated efforts of the members and the headquarters staff can assure that a meeting will be a public relations success.

We are very lucky.  With tens of thousands of members across the nation, we can cultivate contacts with editors, reporters, television talk-show producers and people who influence news decisions.  The members who join a meeting's Publicity Committee provide invaluable expertise, assistance and advice to Marketing staff during the six month period prior to, during, and immediately after the meeting.

The person who chairs the committee should select committee members who represent different segments of the host area.  For example, if a meeting is to be held in Philadelphia, the Chair should try to enlist committee members from Delaware, Southern New Jersey, Center City and the suburbs.  If possible, the Chair should also try to find representatives of other areas of the host state -- in this case, he might select Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Wilkes Barre-Scranton.  In this way, when the meeting gives rise to some event which may have more newsworthiness in specific areas, the representative committee member helps in getting the story to the press in those areas.

With members volunteering their efforts, coordination is important.  The Marketing Staff at AIChE headquarters will coordinate the overall public relations operation, consulting frequently with the Publicity Committee Chair.  The Marketing Staff will give the Chair and members advice on how communications tasks should be performed.  The manager's primary function, however, involves defining objectives and implementing a public relations plan, deciding what should be done to achieve those objectives and ensuring  that these decisions are implemented.

Committee members are responsible for a number of functions designed to improve coverage of meetings and to promote the Institute.  These responsibilities include:

  • Preparing a list of media contacts in the host area (such lists are frequently available from Chambers of Commerce and Convention Bureaus);
  • Advising the headquarters staff on issues of particular interest in the host area;
  • Developing ideas for stories and features to pitch to local media and also for use in AIChExtra.

They work with the headquarters staff and the press in setting up interviews with key speakers and participants, gathering needed information, and promoting meeting activities to press representatives.

Advance copies of selected speeches and technical papers to be presented in the course of the meeting generate the preparation of news releases at headquarters.  These are mailed to both the trade and general media and inserted in the press kits.  A general release describing meeting highlights is also drafted.  The Publicity Committee Chair and members can use these materials when visiting editors to acquaint them with the meeting.  These working visits should take place approximately two to four weeks in advance of the meeting.  The in-person visits should be followed up with telephone calls a few days before the meeting begins.  Of course, get-acquainted letters or meetings can be initiated when the committee is formed.  You may wish to make use of background brochures and papers describing AIChE and chemical engineering issues in these get-acquainted efforts.  The Marketing Department can supply you with these materials.

The headquarters staff secures Press Headquarters materials and equipment.  If the Publicity Committee believes that the situation in its area calls for special press room requirements, these matters should be brought to the attention of the Marketing Department.

The Publicity Committee's last duty involves writing a report in the weeks following the meeting describing the Committee's work and accomplishments.  The report may also contain the Committee's recommendations on changes and improvements in the General Arrangements Committee Manual.

After the meeting, with AIChE's higher profile in the host area's media, local sections and their members will be in a position to continue to improve public relations and communications.  Contacts made should be maintained and credibility and visibility nurtured.  Opportunities to present the Institute's story will be permanently improved.

Cooperation between the Publicity Committee and the AIChE Marketing Department lays the foundation for the Institute's on-going public relations effort on behalf of America's chemical engineers.

DEADLINES/RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE PUBLICITY CHAIR

Before the Meeting

9 months Select committee members.  Suggest any special
requirements for the Press Headquarters in the host city.
7 months Get acquainted with the local  Convention and Visitors Bureau
and Chamber of Commerce.  Obtain media lists and plan your
initial contacts (please send copies to AIChE Marketing
Department).  You may also wish to secure materials
promoting your city for display at the AIChE meeting
preceding the one in your area.
3 months Revew the meeting program to find the best publicity
opportunities -- those with the greatest appeal to the media
in your area.
Send letters to executives of local chemical and allied
industries and to chemical engineering department heads
at universities explaining the importance of the meeting and
urging their cooperation in stimulating meeting attendance.

During the Meeting

Be available for possible press assistance.

After the Meeting

1 week Collect press clippings for your report.  Forward copies to the
Marketing Department, which will also use a clipping service to
ensure broad coverage.
1 month

Report to the General Arrangements Chair on the Publicity
Committee's work.

Your final duty is to write a report of what you did, how you
operated, and to suggest deletions, changes and improvements
in the General Arrangements Committee Manual.

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