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Welcome back to the Heartland 

Welcome back to the Heartland 

Sarah CongerWATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Heartland Conference is back in person on Sept. 13-15 and will include many of the trappings its attendees have come to love – the welcome bag that includes cookies, the hog roast, the fireworks, the golf tournament. 

“Everyone at VGM is so excited to welcome our members, vendors and industry experts to our hometown to experience our conference live and in person this year,” said Sarah Conger, vice president of events and corporate projects. “Since last year was virtual, this is a milestone year for us. Some things will be the same; some things will be different. Things will be as normal as they can be.” 

Here’s what Conger had to say about what attendees can expect – from safety precautions to CEUs to surprises. 

‘Safety is top of mind’ 

Conger says hosting an in-person event in an ongoing pandemic calls for mitigation strategies like conference rooms with “more elbow room,” transportation that will be capped at 50% capacity and numerous sanitization stations. “Safety is top of mind,” she said. “We’ll continue to monitor the CDC guidelines and the (case numbers in our county). We’re keeping a close eye on both.” 

A new farewell 

New to the slate of networking and social activities this year is “Farewell at the Farm,” which replaces the Gala that VGM usually hosts on the last night of the conference. “It’s more laid back – the theme is the Wild Wild Midwest, so a cowboy-type theme,” Conger said. “It’s a great opportunity for our members, vendors and experts to network with each other.” 

Hello CEUs 

Sure, the networking and social activities are great, but Heartland will also boast 70 in-person and virtual sessions over the course of the conference, as well as the two weeks following the conference, and 30 new presenters. “We’ll also be offering DMERT (repair) certification for the first time,” Conger said. 

Milestones and surprises 

To celebrate the conference’s 20th anniversary, VGM will unveil “VGM Journey” – a guided tour of the headquarters, during which attendees learn more about the company’s culture and footprint, and how to maximize their membership. “There will also be some surprises during the hog roast and fireworks,” Conger says. 


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