Our 2010 International Training Conference & Expo has come and gone, and feedback we’re getting is that it was among our better events. The three full days of training, lectures and hands-on labs brought together old friends, new contacts, and the vendors who support them in their investigative work. Spouses got to tour beautiful historical sites, and everyone got the chance to celebrate members’ achievements at our annual banquet.
Finding tools that fit their budget, learning about tools and techniques from other investigators, and bolstering their own expertise are among the reasons why investigators from law enforcement, corporate security, information technology, private consultancies, and academia come to our conference every year. Last week, the six lecture tracks (networking, the cloud, digital forensics, legal topics, social networking, and cell phones) running concurrently with six vendor lab tracks over three full days offered a balanced conference, which at least one first-time attendee perceived as more vendor-neutral than others.
Others appreciated the range of topics. Chris Curran, a civilian computer forensic examiner with a California police department, attended lectures and labs that supported both the operational and legal aspects of his job. “Donn Hoffman’s class, ‘The Forensic Examiner’s Self-Defense: Managing Difficult Prosecutors & Conquering Cross Examination,’ laid out some great strategies for communicating with the prosecutor handling a case,” Curran explains. “He also took time to explain key issues that are not under the prosecutor’s control and how they make for last minute requests to forensic examiners.”
Curran also attended “SHIFT: A Workshop for Professionals Exposed to Child Sex Abuse Images at Work.” “The workshop provided great insight into identifying causes of stress both at home and on the job, finding ways to deal with the stress, and learning to build a team to support those in this line of work,” he says. “The tag team approach of Lt. Kris Carlson and Kathy Majerus was well organized and very smooth. I thought it to be one of the best sessions I have attended at any conference.”
Other highlights included our keynote speakers — Steve Cooley, Patrick Gray, Shawn Baker and Marc Goodman — Tuesday’s Computer Forensics Jeopardy, a forensic tower giveaway from the nonprofit Innocent Justice Foundation and our sponsor Forensic Computers Inc., and some after-hours beer-and-food vendor labs.
Todd Shipley, 2010 international president, says that among the lectures, labs and four keynote speakers, “Our annual conference this year in Atlanta was a great training experience for our members and non-member attendees. The level of training our conference has provided is unequaled. We brought in trainers from all over the country and had attendees from all over the world – Taiwan, Norway, the Netherlands, even Pakistan.
“What is exciting for us as an organization is that next year is our 25th anniversary as an organization. In addition to this milestone we will also have our first truly International President, Duncan Monkhouse from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.”
The social side
The HTCIA conference isn’t all work and no play. Many attendees’ spouses joined them in Atlanta, and after hours – following tours of nearby plantations, or local museums – joined the attendees for social events, including the Northeast Chapter‘s traditional afterparty on Monday night and the annual awards banquet. Following the ceremonies and dinner, engineer-turned-comedian Don McMillan of TechnicallyFunny.com took the stage for the evening’s entertainment.
“From my perspective the conference was a real success,” says Duncan Monkhouse, the conference chair. Although attendance was lower due to the economy, he notes, “I believe that nearly everyone left with a feeling that they had had a wonderful time and learned a thing or two. The conference met most of my goals, easy registration, great program, mostly great food, great hotel, great exhibit hall, wonderful volunteers and great networking opportunities.”
We’re looking forward to providing the same high-quality training and networking in San Antonio, Texas this coming year. Located along the city’s Riverwalk, and running from Sept. 19-21, the 2011 HTCIA International Conference & Expo promises something for everyone. Stay up to date on conference developments via this blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We look forward to seeing you next year!