the beautiful south

This year, OPI’s annual US conference is heading to the lone star state

Tejas’ is the word that gave the state of Texas its name – an Indian word meaning friendly. And from these roots derives the state’s well-publicised motto: friendship. In a small and close-knit industry like ours, such a backdrop seemed fitting to stage OPI 2005, the 11th annual conference for senior executives in the North American and international office products industry, which is to take place at the Westin Stonebriar Resort in Frisco, from Sunday 16 October to Tuesday 18 October.

And indeed, the move from the hustle and bustle of Chicago – the conference’s home of the last two years – to the self-contained five-star resort in this small, welcoming town in north Dallas, is all about creating that environment of familiarity and fun. And of course about offering delegates the chance to enjoy some southern sunshine and hospitality.

The Westin Stonebriar is easily reached from both coasts and internationally, situated just 20 miles from major air hub Dallas Fort Worth. And as OPI will be the only group in the resort at the time, delegates will find networking relaxed and easy, and the surroundings a welcome break from the pressures and hurries of professional living.

Perhaps the best way to take in the green beauty of north Texas – and perhaps the odd coyote, bobcat and monarch butterfly – is from the renowned Tom Fazio-designed golf course, which is the centrepiece of the resort. And if this is not serene enough, the resort spa features a wide range of therapeutic treatments to rejuvenate mind and body. To add to the experience is the ‘heavenly bed’ that has become a trademark of Westin resorts. But despite such luxury, the resort reflects today’s less generous travel budgets with room rates at less than $190.

If you are keen to escape the tranquillity, however, Frisco houses the best shopping in north central Texas in over four million square feet of retail space. And the commotion of downtown Dallas is also just 30 minutes away.

But our aim of course is not merely to relax and open the mind; it is also to stimulate it. The events and editorial teams at OPI are busy collating ideas and designing a poll of vendors, wholesale personnel and dealers to be carried out in Q2 in order to ensure that our speaker line-up is our most progressive ever, covering essential issues that are most relevant to your company.

Similarly, the content of breakout sessions will be broadened to provide discussion forums on subjects of core interest to your business. These sessions, which aim to supplement – not duplicate – the education provided at events such as United’s Vision, SP Richard’s ABC and the dealer group shows, will be particularly useful for dealers.

And of course, there will be networking opportunities abound, enhanced by organised social events, such as our legendary Sunday golf tournament that is making a welcome return this year. OPI is proud of its reputation as matchmakers of successful business contacts and we look forward to collating many more this October in Texas.

As always, we recognise that the financial commitment for smaller resellers needs to be minimised and the dedicated support of our sponsors allows us to offer complimentary registrations to qualifying independent dealers.