BIoT Canada

1,000 Attend Vancouver Show

Healthy numbers recorded at the Canadian conference as well as at the annual winter summit in Orlando.

March 1, 2007  

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The 2007 BICSI Canadian Conference, which took place March 4-7 at the Westin-Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, broke all expectations with 1,000 attendees.

The conference exhibit hall was not only sold out with 56 exhibitors, but there was a waiting list for space if it became available.

The BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla. in January, meanwhile, broke pre-conference seminar records and boasted over 6,000 attendees, exhibitors, guests and visitors. The exhibit hall was full with 209 manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.

Pre-conference registrations to the Spring Dallas Conference, Dublin Conference in June and the Fall Conference in Las Vegas are exceeding expectations. Clearly, the industry views BICSI members as being worthy of their time and efforts.

In Vancouver, the Ross G.H. Cotton Canadian Region Award was presented in an unusual fashion.

Established in 1992, the award typically recognizes the efforts of an individual in the BICSI Canadian Region who promotes BICSI’s educational programs and commitment to professional development within the telecommunications industry.

This year, the efforts of more than one individual were recognized. In fact, two organizations were noted for their outstanding work in not only promoting BICSI’s goals and objectives, but the overall information transport systems (ITS) industry in Canada – CNS Magazine and Network Cabling magazine. Paul Barker, the editor of CNS was on-hand to cover news and events at the conference, but to his surprise, he became part of the story.

Finally, at the conference, BICSI president John Bakowski paid tribute to Ray Gendron, a telecom and structured cabling specialist who founded the BICSI Cares Inc. fundraising campaign purely by accident, who died recently in a Montreal palliative care facility following a battle with cancer.

“The telecommunications industry has served us well,” Gendron, a past president with the organization, once wrote. “The objective of BICSI Cares Inc. is to be a good corporate citizen and give something back to those less fortunate.”

The initiative began when Gendron jokingly decided to pass a hat down a row of seats at a BICSI conference in the late 1970s and to his surprise it came back filled with money. Since there was no way of knowing who gave what, he decided instead to donate the cash to a charity.

The motto “BICSI Cares” was officially adopted in May 1992 and since then, more than US$900,000 has been collected and presented on the last day of each conference to a charity in the host city.

Over the years it has given money to charities worldwide to help build schools, feed the hungry, stop domestic violence, combat illiteracy, sustain the environment, and especially to help children in need. Sick, homeless, poor, neglected, and abused, as well as injured children and those with birth defects, have all found help.

Bakowski described Gendron as a “great human being as well as a friend to everyone he ever met.”


One benefit that is extended to BICSI members’ immediate family is the Ray Gendron/BICSI Cares College Scholarship award.

Amanda Gill, daughter of Kulwait Gill, RCDD of Vancouver, is one of the three winners this year.

Amanda attends the University of British Columbia and is majoring in Computer Science. The scholarship to Amanda is valued at $5,000 for the 2006/2007 academic year.

The other winners were Michael Hester II, son of Michael Hester Sr., a BICSI Northeast Region member; and Mark Oden, son of Thomas Oden, a BICSI Southeast Region member. Congratulations to all.


Another type of giving, which I think is important is to work with the next generation of ITS professionals who are now entering the workforce.

After all, they will be the employees who will keep our businesses and industry sound and productive in the future.

Please help me in identifying contacts at trade school or community college venues. I would like to hold regional meetings at these campuses for the purpose of introducing BICSI and the ITS industry to the faculty and the students.

With the fast-paced of change within our industry and beyond, today’s students will be learning outdated information while they are still in school.

As BICSI members, by inviting them to participate in regional meetings, we can help them get the latest information about the technologies and changes within the industry.

Richard Smith is the Canadian Region Director of BICSI and the manager of Aliant Cabling Solutions in Moncton, N.B. He can be reached at