We opened up registration this week for the TapRooT® Global Summit which begins on August 3rd, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas (you can also register for the Pre-Summit Courses which will commence on August 1st).

I am sure you will hear a lot about the amazing Keynote Speakers and Best Practice Presenters in this forum over the next 6 months; but I wanted to take a moment to discuss one Keynote Speaker in particular and share a personal story.

My first day with System Improvements was May 3rd, 2006 and I immediately became a TapRooT-ite.

Wait… is that a word? TapRooT-ian? TapRooT-eer?

Err… let’s just say I immediately fell in love with TapRooT®.

It was not hard to fall in love, as May 3rd, 2006 also happened to be the first day of the TapRooT® Summit in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Yep, you read that right. My very first day of work was at a large Global Summit.

A story we tell around the office (that always gets a few laughs) is that our President Mark Paradies referred to me as “that helpful hotel employee” the entire first day of the Summit (we had not yet met). He laughed profusely when he learned I was a new employee and NOT a hotel concierge, just helping out. (I was just glad to hear I was not described as “that UN-helpful hotel employee”.)

To describe my first day: I was simply enthralled by the spectacle.

Here was this amazing group of attendees and speakers, from all over the world, uniting out of a common interest of making their co-workers SAFE and happy with their jobs. People dedicated to SOLVING problems. What do you think this group of people is like to be around? If you guessed, ‘pretty fantastic’, you are correct.

But no memory stands out to me more than watching Michael Durant, best selling author and inspiration for the movie Black Hawk Down, give his Keynote Address.

I was just so impressed with this man, and by proxy I was so impressed with TapRooT®.

This next part is not an exaggeration. I swear.

I went home that night with his book In The Company of Heroes in tow, and I sat down and read it cover-to-cover that evening.

The book still sits prominently displayed on my bookshelf today, unscathed, despite several attacks from my dog on my collection of literature (So even my dog seems to respect Durant’s work).

In our Summit planning meetings the last few years, I have dropped Michael Durant’s name a few times as a potential Keynote Speaker, hoping he might get a return engagement. I just found out this week that he will be back at the Summit this year in San Antonio.

Book your flight tomorrow. This guy is great, and my dog tends to agree.

I really believe this is going to be a great Summit, and we will not have another Summit until 2018.

(cough) There might also be this new software called TapRooT® VI that will be prominently featured at the Summit. I might have heard some good things about it.

And maybe, just maybe, you will leave a TapRooT-er, or a TapRooT-ist?

Dan Verlinde is a Partner and Director of Information Technology and Software Development for System Improvements, Inc.

His dog has been un-employed since birth, but his hobbies include eating any paperback on the bottom three shelves.