Flying to ASBDC conferences

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler

I appreciate that most of my airline flights happened because I worked as a business librarian for the New York Small Business Development Center and attended ASBDC conferences.

The NY SBDC had gotten a contract from the Small Business Administration to provide reference services for all of the SBDCs around the country from October 1, 1992, to September 30, 1998. The contract had previously resided with the Georgia SBDC, and they had to ship all of these reference resources to us.

Part of my job at the time was surveying the state programs, so I always called the new state directors and tried to meet them at the ASBDC conference. At the time, ASBDC was the Association of Small Business Development Center. It was later rebranded as America’s Small Business Development Centers.

1993: I went to Library Director 1 to the ASBDC conference near Lexington, but it was in the ‘burbs, so I had no sense of the city.

1994: I went with Library Director 2 (LD2), who had just started working, to Salt Lake City for the ASBDC conference at a resort in Snowbird, about 14 miles from SLC. I wrote about one aspect of this trip here.


1995: The ASBDC conference was in New Orleans. LD2 was going to present there with her one office favorite. (I thought of getting into that dynamic; maybe another time.) I insisted that it was my job description for me to go; she decided there was too much reference work for me to be away from the office.

Meanwhile, my then-girlfriend, now my wife, had gotten a trip to Hawaii due to achieving an insurance education matrix. The trip was taking place at about the same time. Did I want to go? Of course, but if LD2 wouldn’t let me go to the Big Easy, she certainly wouldn’t release me to go on vacation.

At the last minute, LD2 did allow me to go to N.O. because she had too much equipment to schlep. This conference was actually in the city, which was great.

1996: Orlando was the destination of the ASBDC conference. LD2 brought me and her new office favorite. No, I did not get to Disneyworld. Just before the return trip, New Favorite got sick and threw up. LD2 decided to sit with me instead.

I was amidst this intensive 34-week study of the Bible called Disciple. By that point, I was probably reading Joshua or Judges. LD2, as it turned out, was a bit of a scholar of Hebrew scripture, which she talked about at length. When we got home, she gave me study materials for the rest of what I’d call the Old Testament. Suddenly, after two years, I became one of their favorites; this was very weird.

Deep in the heart

1996 (not ASBDC conference): One of the Library Director’s jobs was to attend the various state SBDC conferences and tout Research Network services. Texas was having theirs, but it was around Yom Kippur, so LD2 wouldn’t go. They sent me instead. I flew to Houston, got a ride to Galveston, and had a lovely time.

Then, I was to go to the Oklahoma SBDC meeting, which was in Durant. I took a plane from Houston to Dallas and another from Dallas to Durant, which had to be the smallest airport I’ve gone to. We met in a nondescript room in a nondescript building. I gave a spiel for two or three hours, flew back to Dallas, and then to Albany.

1997: LD2 had left the program. I went to Denver with two others, then drove an hour to Keystone, a resort town.

1998: LD 3, who is great, BTW, and I attended the conference in Savannah, GA. Before it officially started, my father drove down from Charlotte, NC, for a few days, as noted here. The New York SBDC had just lost the contract to the San Antonio SBDC for reasons (another time)

1999: The conference was in San Diego. I got to see my sister. The light rail in the area was quite impressive. Another librarian and I attended the San Diego Chargers NFL game on October 3. The Chargers came back from a 0-14 deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 21-14. It’s only the second NFL game I’ve ever seen, the first being October 20, 1969, when the New York Jets defeated the Houston Oilers 26-17 at Shea Stadium.


2000: The conference was in Miami Beach, FL. I recall that the carpeting at the Fountaine Bleau was wet when we arrived from recent flooding. It was really muggy the first week in October.

2001: Our state director had already gone down to Dallas. I was supposed to give a presentation at the conference. My flight was scheduled for September 12. The conference was canceled.

2002: The conference was at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN, which I recall being a massive venue. At some point, we got a free copy of a Toby Keith album, which brings to one the number of Toby Keith albums I’ve ever owned.

2003: The ASBDC conference was in San Diego again at the Sheraton. I saw my sister again.

Subsequently, our state director decided, for budgetary reasons, that most of us couldn’t go to the ASBDC conference unless we were giving a presentation.

2008: I presented at the ASBDC conference in Chicago, and we were in the city. For all the times I’d gone through O’Hare, it was the first time I actually was in the state for purposes of counting it on my list.

2018: I suggested that a librarian attend the ASBDC conference to our new State Director, and they agreed. I went to Washington, DC. However, although I was allowed to fly, I chose to take Amtrak. I’ll take the train for relatively short distances.

Absent these conferences, my flying would have been quite limited.

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