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Training might be the first thing that comes to mind when contractors think about a user conference for construction estimating or construction operations software, but classes presented by the supplier are not the only opportunity to get more proficient and get more out of the technology.

Fifty-eight percent of attendees responding to a survey following last year’s B2W User Conference said the chance to network with peers and learn how they use the software was a “most important” or “more important” reason for attending.

“My favorite thing is actually the interaction between peers,” explains Shaun Andreas, an estimator and project manager at Degner Construction. “There’s a very big degree of openness and willingness to share information.”

Rich King, CFO at Schlouch, Inc., who has attended and spoken on panels at several B2W User Conferences, concurs. “I’ve really enjoyed interacting with not only the B2W staff, but also with other people within the construction industry,” King says. “That networking has been really valuable.”

The networking benefit stems from the unique dynamic of the conference. No other environment puts so many contractors in one place and presents them with so many opportunities to share information about their diverse experiences with the software. Those opportunities range from structured sessions to the informal meetings that take place constantly throughout the event.

Software users can’t get that engagement with fellow users on a day-to-day basis. Replicating that interactivity is also impossible for B2W trainers working with individual companies throughout the year, even though they pull best-practice experience into those sessions.

The fact that contractors at the B2W User Conference come from throughout North America and so many different work types also breaks down competitive barriers that might otherwise keep them from sharing tips and tricks.

“Just being around your peers is extremely beneficial, because they are the ones actually using the B2W product,” says Darren Collins. The vice president at Lancaster Development has come to every user conference since his company started with the B2W platform in 2014. “It is a great benefit that, you have this ability to talk face to face and make contacts and you come away from this UC with other people other resources that you can talk to that understand the actual implementation and use of the B2W products.”

VIDEO: Why We Go: Executives at Lancaster Development on the B2W User Conference

“I do recommend for users to go to the Users Conference,” summarizes Tracy Schmeck, IT director at Brubacher Excavating. “Not only do you get ideas for what’s coming out – new updates – but the interaction with other users is very beneficial. You might think you’re the only one that has an issue, but somebody else might have that same thing and, put your heads together and you’ve worked something through. You can’t put a dollar figure on that. It’s just there.”

VIDEO: Why We Go: Brubacher IT Director Tracy Schmeck on the B2W User Conference

Greg Norris