The TechAdvantage® Experience makes its debut in New Orleans this March, and organizers say the annual conference and technology exhibition will give attendees information and insight they can use throughout the year.

“We’ve rebranded TechAdvantage and enhanced its programming elements to expand opportunities for participants to forge relationships and adapt the presentations they see to meet their local challenges,” said Eric Commodore, NRECA’s director of meeting and event planning.

The TechAdvantage Experience takes place March 1-4 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. NRECA’s Annual Meeting will be happening Feb. 27 to March 4 at the same location.

New to the conference this year is TechAdvantage ENCORE, a living database that launches two weeks after the actual event. Registered guests will be able to access videos and PDFs of all presentations through the end of November 2020.

“You can watch playbacks from your computer, tablet, or smartphone at your leisure,” said Mary Ackleson, TechAdvantage program manager. “We’re also making the experience available beginning in February as an advance-purchase standalone product for people who can’t travel to New Orleans to attend the show.”

Representatives of more than 300 exhibitors will be on hand throughout the conference to discuss the challenges electric co-ops face and the products and services they provide as solutions.

There are more than 70 breakout sessions, 14 pre-conference workshops and 16 TechPark TechTalks on the schedule this year, said Steve Young, an NRECA marketing manager. Topics include broadband and communications, cybersecurity, data analytics and data mining, disaster recovery, safety, and facilities management and security.

A “Women in Power” lunch on March 2 will provide networking opportunities for co-op executives and senior managers. “Conference attendees will also hear from some of the top presenters who were featured at IEEE’s Rural Electric Power Conference last spring,” Ackleson said.

The keynote speaker for the March 2 opening general session is security consultant Frank Abagnale, whose early experiences with fraud, embezzlement, and white-collar confidence schemes were chronicled in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film “Catch Me If You Can.”

Entertainment night features award-winning vocalist Wynonna. Since debuting with the mother-daughter act The Judds in the 1980s, Wynonna has taken top female vocalist honors from the Academy of Country Music and has sold 30 million albums, while picking up more than 60 other recording industry awards. She now fronts The Big Noise, one of the top acts on the country/folk music scene.

TechAdvantage attendees are also invited to attend a special reception at New Orleans' famous World War II Museum, where much of the technology on display was created during the early days of the electric cooperative movement, Commodore said.

“The TechAdvantage Experience is a destination conference in its own right and a perfect complement to the NRECA Annual Meeting, offering even more value for vendors and visitors alike,” he said.

Check out the TechAdvantage website for more information. The last day to reserve a hotel room at the conference rate is Jan. 22.