The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) hosted the highly anticipated Bid and Proposal Conference (BPC) at the magnificent Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel and Resort in Orlando, Florida this year and several NCA Board members had the opportunity to attend. The conference brought together industry professionals, experts, and enthusiasts for an immersive experience filled with insightful sessions, networking opportunities, and the latest trends in proposal management.

BPC Orlando brought together proposal management professionals from around the country, and also around the world. The event provided valuable insights, networking opportunities, and exposure to the latest trends and innovations in the industry. Attendees left the conference equipped with practical knowledge, new connections, and a renewed enthusiasm to drive success in their proposal management endeavors. The APMP’s commitment to facilitating professional growth and collaboration was evident throughout the conference, making it a must-attend event for proposal management professionals. A few highlights:

Presenters and Speakers

The conference kicked off Monday bright and early, and with a hearty and healthy breakfast. The inspiring keynote address was presented by Connie Podesta, Hall of Fame motivational speaker, award winning author of nine books, and an all around powerful presenter, inspiring two million people in a thousand organizations in every major industry. Her speech left everyone in stitches – it was described as “Always extraordinary, entertaining, and enlightening” by Steven Coles. There was a lot of discussion regarding whether you were a circle or a square (or a squiggle?), and everyone left the hall smiling.

For the rest of the day and following two days, attendees had the opportunity to attend a variety of engaging sessions led by industry experts, covering several tracks simultaneously: “Leadership & Professional Development”, “Managing Processes”, “Tools and Tech” and “Win the Business”. These sessions covered topics such as proposal writing techniques, winning strategies, emerging technologies, and effective team collaboration. There was a lot to fill over three days, with the simultaneous sessions, with several familiar faces from our own NCA Chapter. Mike Parkinson, the Graphics Guru and owner of Billion Dollar Graphics, presented “WIN THEM ALL! 8 Master Techniques to Make Props for ALL Evaluators”. Sarah Shaffer, past APMP 40 under 40 Winner, presented “From Proposal or Capture Manager to a Manager of Direct Reports.” She shared tips on how to bring the skills that excelled an individual contributor to a Manager role, as well as have a healthy work/life balance.

Sponsors Exhibition and Vendor Showcases:

The exhibition hall was abuzz with activity as vendors and solution providers showcased their latest products and services. Attendees had the chance to explore a wide range of proposal management tools, software solutions, and consultancy services. Exhibitors engaged with participants, offering live demonstrations and personalized consultations, providing educational platforms for professionals to discover innovative solutions to enhance their proposal management processes.

There were the popular proposal consulting agencies such as Hinz Consulting, Shipley Associates and Lohfeld Consulting. There was unique merchandising (check out those shoes from SMA!), fun and cute swag (NCA gave out sunglasses for the Florida sun) and raffles for prizes. The hotel outdid themselves in decorating the space, with every corner catered to the event, and walls literally covered with information. Sponsors help make these conferences a success, and we appreciate their support!

Networking: Connecting with Friends, New and Old

One of the key highlights of the conference was the numerous networking opportunities available to attendees. APMP facilitated interactive sessions, roundtable discussions, and meet-and-greet events that encouraged participants to connect with fellow professionals, share experiences, and expand their networks. The Affinity Groups (Military and Veterans, Pride, Professionals of Color, Young Professionals, Mental Health) Luncheon and meet-ups allowed attendees to forge valuable connections with like-minded professionals they could relate with, which in turn establishes new partnerships and allies within the proposal management community.

Time wasn’t all spent on educational and professional development opportunities; attendees also had time to unwind and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Orlando. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel and Resort provided a stunning backdrop for the rousing networking events, like the Regi-ception and the Casino night themed TARA, not to mention the several chapter Happy Hours and Meet-ups. Guests also had the chance to explore the resort’s amenities, such as its golf course, spectacular swimming pools, and spa facilities.No matter the time of day, there was something to do – talk about feeling welcome!

Prizes and Surprises:

The conference ended on a high note when APMP and sponsors presented several lucky individuals who won raffles that provided everything from free consulting hours to cash prizes. But, the real surprise was seeing Bruce Farrell on stage – it was a well-kept secret that kept people talking the whole time! It is heartwarming to see the proposal community rally around its members – Bruce, you were clearly missed!

That’s a wrap on BPC 2023, can’t wait to see everyone in New Orleans next year!