Latest News Archive

April 18, 2014 The 2014 SGMP NEC & Expo on-site show guide is now available for digital download

Click Here
April 3, 2014 SGMP Webinar on June 12th "Smart Meetings Management: How Today's Government Event Planners Succeed"

The 3rd Installment of our 2014 Webinar Series is on Thursday, June 12th, from 2-3pm Eastern Time and will be presented by James Brixius from Cvent and Amanda Yates, CGMP from the United States Department of Education.

Register Now

The Smarter And Easier Way To Host Meetings

As a government meeting planner, you face an uphill battle in obtaining the right approvals, working with limited resources and managing restricted budgets.

The process is time consuming and daunting, but it doesn't have to be.

During this webinar, you will discover ways to streamline, centralize and simplify this entire process – to ultimately save time and drive your success.

You will learn

1. Different ways to maintain compliance with meeting policies and expectations
2. How to manage communication campaigns, facilitate registrations
3. Effective ways to analyze events to demonstrate ROI
4. How to demonstrate fiscal accountability and efficient spending by managing your event budget efficiently
5. The keys to hosting effective meetings
6. How to follow a seamless process to warrant proper workflow and a clear path to approval
March 27, 2014 SGMP's 2014 National Education Conference & Expo to Deliver Significant Industry Education

Press Release.
February 28, 2014 SGMP Gilmer Institute of Learning Call for Nominations

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals is looking for leaders! Nominations are now being accepted for all six elected trustee positions for the 2014-2016 SGMP Gilmer Institute of Learning. The incoming trustees will be installed at the 2014 SGMP National Education Conference in Portland, Oregon. The term of office will be July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016. If you wish to be considered as a candidate, or wish to nominate someone else with their consent, the official call for nominations and the nomination form are posted on the homepage of The nominations period will remain open until 5pm Eastern time on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

The mission of the Gilmer Institute of Learning (GIL) is to enhance the purpose and goals of SGMP by providing support to our members and chapters through educational opportunities and certifications, training, resources scholarships and endowment funding. While each trustee has a specific professional area of focus for their responsibilities and projects, all trustees have a voice on all topics and a vote on all issues. Trustees may be tasked with working with other trustees to meet the mission of SMGP.

Here are brief position descriptions for the elected trustee positions:

Scholarship & Certification Trustees

Set criteria for and review chapter scholarship programs, the national scholarship program, and national's certification and certificate programs.

Fundraising Trustees

Plan and execute the annual silent and live auctions at the National Education Conference and auctions during the fiscal year, review chapter and national fundraising programs, and explore corporate sponsorships and endowment funding.

Education & Program Trustees

Promote SGMP's online program bank for use by chapters, develop new chapter programs within SGMP's core competencies, assist chapters to create appropriate chapter education programs, and maintain chapter program standards.

In addition to the six trustees who are elected by the membership, the GIL is led by two chairs. The Advisory Chair (the national president or appointee who oversees the policies and focus handed down from the National Board) and the Operations Chair (the executive director & CEO or appointee who oversees the execution of goals, operations & finances as well as the volunteer efforts & tasks).

Thank you, in advance, for your nominations!
February 20, 2014 SGMP Webinar on April 3rd "What You Don't Know About 'System Award Management (SAM)'"

The 2nd Installment of our 2014 Webinar Series is on Thursday, April 3rd, from 2-3pm Eastern Time and will be presented by Beau Barnett of Stafford Consulting Company.

Register Now

After this training, participants will:

1. gain a general understanding of the System for Award Management—the purpose of its existence and the history behind the system.
2. be able to successfully register for the system and be officially certified to do business with the federal government
3. be able to re-certify, update their certification and successfully complete a renewal of their certification

Beau Barnett has been an Acquisitions Expert and Professional Trainer for over 13 years and has trained for Department of Defense agencies and civilian agencies as well. These experiences include all topics of the acquisitions life cycle: requirement inception, award, administration, oversight, program management, finance, and contract close-out, to include various other topics. He has performed all of these functions at junior, mid-level, and senior management positions. He has worked for GSA in federal acquisitions and currently owns his own consulting company.

February 11, 2014 CIC Releases New Data on Economic Impact of Meetings Industry

The Convention Industry Council (CIC) released data on the Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy . An update to a 2009 study, new figures show significant increases in meeting participants, tax contribution and job growth from 2009 to 2012. Meetings contribution to GDP surpasses that of the air transportation, motion picture, sound recording, performing arts and spectator sport industries.

Press Release.
February 5, 2014 SGMP Announces New Public Relations & Outreach Partnership

Press Release.
January 29, 2014 Registration Now Open for SGMP's First-Ever Education Day on Feb 20th

SGMP Education Day 2014 will occur in the Training Center at SGMP Headquarters in Alexandria, VA on Thursday, February 20th. Earn while you learn…all in one day and all in one place. An Education Day one-pager provides session descriptions and all the details you will need to participate! Members Can Register NOW by logging into the SGMP website and clicking on the "Upcoming Events" link (after clicking on the event you want, click on the "Registration" button).

You can receive up to six approved Contact Hours in a single day on a first-come, first-served basis for the block of morning sessions ($75), for the block of afternoon sessions ($50), or at a discounted rate ($100) for the entire day of educational sessions. Networking time with your instructor and fellow students will be available between classes. Lunch is not provided, but is readily available on your own from among your choice of numerous nearby eateries.

Participants in the all-day or afternoon-only Education Day sessions do not need to register separately for the webinar. Members Can Register NOW by logging into the SGMP website and clicking on the "Upcoming Events" link (after clicking on the event you want, click on the "Registration" button). Non-members should contact us to register at other rates.

January 29, 2014 Registration Now Open for 1st SGMP Webinar on Feb 20th

"The New Normal: Government Meetings And You In 2014," the first of SGMP's 2014 Webinar Series, will be presented on Thursday, February 20, 2014, from 2-3pm Eastern time. Register NOW.

This illuminating and interactive online panel discussion of industry experts will identify the current actions you are taking that will actually hurt you in the New Normal and provide the next steps you must take now to be much more effective in today's challenging environment. SGMP national president Rob Coffman, CGMP, will serve as moderator of a top-notch panel of experts. Confirmed panelists include Erik Hansen (Director of Domestic Policy, United States Travel Association), Vanessa Sinders (Senior Vice President and Department Head for Governmental Affairs, American Hotel & Lodging Association) and Chris Vest, CAE (Director of Public Policy, American Society of Association Executives).

Participation for this webinar event (a $49 value) is free to SGMP members. Register NOW.

January 29, 2014 SGMP Appoints New Gilmer Institute of Learning Operations Chair

SGMP's education & training director Garland Preddy, CGMP, has been appointed to serve as Operations Chair for its Gilmer Institute of Learning (GIL). The mission of GIL is to enhance the purpose and goals of SGMP by providing support to our members and chapters through educational opportunities and certifications, training, resources, scholarships and endowment funding. The Operations chair is a non-voting position that works with the GIL's elected trustees and in partnership with its Advisory Chair by overseeing the execution of its goals, operations, and finances while overseeing the volunteer efforts and tasks of its elected and appointed positions. Executive director & CEO Rob Bergeron's nomination of Preddy for this role was approved by the National Board of Directors at their January meeting.

January 14, 2014 SGMP Information Regarding Jan 14th Senate Committee Hearing

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a hearing today entitled "Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government." Chairman Tom Carper, (D-DE) chaired the hearing with Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK). SGMP was pleased to be in attendance at the hearing and your Society was proud to be a co-signer on an industry coalition letter crafted by the US Travel Association that was formally submitted to this Senate committee for this hearing.

Today's Committee Witnesses:
-The Honorable Beth Cobert, Deputy Director of Management, Office of Management and Budget The Honorable Daniel Tangherlini, Administator, U.S. General Services Administration
-The Honorable Michael Horowitz, Inspector General, Department of Justice
-The Honorable Brian Miller, Inspector General, U.S. General Services Administration
-The Honorable J. Russell George, Inspector General for Tax Administration, U.S. Department of the Treasury

This was a follow-on hearing to concerns previously reviewed by the Committee regarding waste, fraud and abuse in government conferences and travel. The Inspectors General were tasked by Congress to look into the abuses, to develop solutions to prevent further abuse and to report back. The tone of the hearing was positive and the Members of the Committee agreed that the new guidelines that have been put in place have been effective thus far, as government conference and travel expenditures have dropped significantly from FY12 to FY13 – for a total reduction nearing $3 billion.

A key theme of the hearing included praise for the effectiveness that "sunshine" has had to date on curbing abusive behavior and on the importance now of taking steps to ensure a permanent change in federal government practices that clearly recognizes the importance of accountability for efficiently managing tax dollars. There was widespread agreement by the Committee and panelists that accountability, auditing and transparency are key factors in creating this permanent change.

The attending Senators discussed the importance of continuing to host face-to-face government conferences because, if done correctly, they do provide valuable interaction among attendees. The utilization of virtual meetings also had much support by Committee members. Implementing a cost-benefit analysis prior to arranging conferences and/or travel also was a recurrent theme. The stated goal was to provide accountability for taxpayer dollars and not to eliminate conferences or training.

As you know, Senator Coburn introduced a bill last year to limit government meetings to 50 employees or less and to $500,000.00 in total expenses. Senator Ayotte (R-NH) is a co-sponsor, but the bill did not seem to have traction with the other members of the Committee who were in attendance.

Chairman Carper praised the IGs for their diligence in overseeing these critical issues and stated that he will continue to conduct oversight in this area. He voiced concern for the importance of good morale of federal employees, so that the government may attract and keep the best employees. His advice to all participants was that the components of success are to "communicate, compromise and collaborate across all of the interested parties."

Testimony of the witnesses and the Chairman are available at:

Here is other follow-up information on this hearing of interest to our members:

Hearing Spotlights Federal Conference and Travel Spending Reductions

Agency Conference Spending Down But Senators Still Want Tighter Controls

OMB Official Touts Cuts in Federal Employee Travel, While Defending its Importance

Federal Travel and Conferences: Spending Down, As Lawmakers Consider More Restrictions
December 27, 2013 SGMP Announces New Virtual Education Partnership

Press Release.
December 2, 2013 SGMP Announces Changes on National Board of Directors

Press Release.
November 6, 2013 SGMP participates in "Future of Government Meetings Forum"

SGMP's director of education & training presented and participated on a panel at a forum in Virginia Beach.
October 25, 2013 SGMP CEO Discusses Government Shutdown in IAEE-TV Video

Coverage of SGMP is included in the video's first two minutes.
October 17, 2013 SGMP Statement on the Reopening of the Federal Government

The Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) has stood united with our planner and supplier members who plan and support meetings on behalf of the federal government during the 16-day government shutdown. While SGMP's furloughed members are glad to get back to work today, we certainly recognize that this was a short-term deal and not a long-term fix.

"Our government and contract meeting planners who serve the federal government are eager to continue their important training mission for federal employees and to be appropriately compensated for those efforts," said Rob Bergeron, SGMP executive director & CEO. "Unfortunately, continued uncertainty remains for our members and this industry."

Improving the quality of government meetings and the cost-effectiveness of professional training is what SGMP has been supporting for more than 30 years. A study released this summer demonstrated that government meetings are more efficient than private sector meetings and that canceling government attendance at conferences increases costs to taxpayers in the long run.

The impact of canceled meetings will still be felt for weeks at least, since many meetings require lead time for implementation and travel. "Missed conferences translate to missed knowledge," said Bergeron.

"The shutdown also negatively impacts our supplier members who provide facilities and services to these meetings," added Bergeron. "Canceled conferences result in a painful hit to local economies and businesses everywhere."

For other SGMP insights on the ramifications of the government shutdown, check out the Our Look at the Impact of the 16-Day Government Shutdown feature in the "Latest News" section below.

Rob Bergeron, CAE, CGMP
Executive Director & CEO
October 17, 2013 Federal Government Operating Status: OPEN []
Applies to: October 17, 2013

Due to the enactment of a continuing resolution, Federal government operations are open. Employees are expected to return for work on their next regularly scheduled work day (Thursday, October 17th for most employees), absent other instructions from their employing agencies. Agencies are strongly encouraged to use all available workplace flexibilities to ensure a smooth transition back to work for employees (e.g. telework, work schedule flexibilities, and excused absence for hardship situations).

October 16, 2013 SGMP Chapter Postpones NATCAP Expo Until Feb 2014

The board of directors for SGMP's National Capital (NATCAP) chapter met this week to discuss the current government shutdown and how to best proceed regarding this month's NATCAP Expo. In an effort to ensure that NATCAP provides the best experience for all its attendees, the board decided it was best to postpone the event until February 24-26, 2014. It will open begin with the Government Town Hall on February 24th. Education program tracks will be updated to reflect current issues that impact government meetings regarding ethics, government and military regulations, legal, logistics and technology. The opportunity to participate in the Reverse Tradeshow will remain open to all planners and suppliers.


The CGMP Course scheduled for October 25-28 will still be taking place at the Hyatt Baltimore as scheduled. For questions or concerns regarding THIS CGMP COURSE ONLY, please contact at SGMP headquarters. SGMP (NATIONAL) CANNOT PROVIDE ANY OTHER INFORMATION REGARDING ANY OTHER ASPECT OF THE NATCAP EXPO.

Current planner and sponsorship registrations will automatically transfer to the new date. All hotel reservations will be cancelled and confirmation e-mails will forwarded by Hilton Baltimore. FOR ANY OTHER QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS REGARDING ANY OTHER ASPECT OF THE NATCAP EXPO IS EVENT, PLEASE CONTACT THE CHAPTER DIRECTLY at OR GET MORE INFORMATION AT

The NATCAP chapter board sincerely regrets this inconvenience.
Last updated on October 17, 2013 Our Look at the Impact of the 16-Day Government Shutdown
The ramifications of the government shutdown continue to impact SGMP members in countless local economies across the country. During the shutdown, SGMP provided valuable insights here.

Federal Government Operating Status: OPEN []
Due to the enactment of a continuing resolution, Federal government operations are open. Employees are expected to return for work on their next regularly scheduled work day (Thursday, October 17th for most employees), absent other instructions from their employing agencies. Agencies are strongly encouraged to use all available workplace flexibilities to ensure a smooth transition back to work for employees (e.g. telework, work schedule flexibilities, and excused absence for hardship situations).

Visualizing the Shutdown's Real-Time Impact on Federal Employees []
All lapse planning data submitted to OMB has been processed into a real time infographic to show the shutdown's current cost, the number of employees furloughed and the percentage breakdown of furloughs by department.

Another Picture Paints a Thousand Words [The Washington Post]

Hotel industry in U.S. suffers the outcome of government shutdown []
Flat performances across the board can be attributed to the shutdown.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words []

Tales From the Frontline []
Read or contribute to the "shutdown stories" from America's travel community.

Leadership in an Age of Righteousness []
Some advice we all could use.

Banks Reach Out to Furloughed Feds []
Many banks across the country are offering help to workers affected by the shutdown.

Shutdown Takes Toll in Cancelled Meetings []
This story includes a sampling of one day's cancelations.

AUSA Annual Meeting A Go []
A recent edition of Politico's "Morning Defense" column confirmed that the Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition (scheduled for October 21-23 in Washington, DC) will go on despite the government shutdown. More than 30,000 attendees are expected.

What Are You Doing With Furlough Time? [The Washington Post]
New survey allows federal workers to share tips and suggestions.

City of Alexandria Extends Its "Key to the City" for FREE to Federal Workers []
The ACVA for the home of SGMP headquarters extends over 100 special offers at no cost.

What's Not Shut Down During the Shutdown [Nextgov]
Some government websites and social media profiles are still up and running.

What It Means for Meetings [ASAE's associations now]
An association meeting planner gives advice.

Lawmakers Refusing Pay [The Washington Post]
Here is a running list of lawmakers refusing pay during the shutdown.

Government Shutdown Has Immediate Impact [Meetings.Net]
SGMP executive director & CEO provides comments.

Impact of a Government Shutdown [The Washington Post]
An agency-by-agency look, a timeline of Congressional actions, and an early glance at its costs.
August 30, 2013 FY2014 Per Diem Rates Now Available

GSA has released the per diem rates for FY2014. SGMP is pleased to note that GSA returned to the standard methodology and lifted last year's rate freeze. Our members are encouraged to review the highlights of the FY2014 Per Diems and the searchable map of the actual rates. GSA establishes the per diem rates for the lower 48 Continental United States (CONUS), which are the maximum allowances that federal employees are reimbursed for expenses incurred while on official travel. The rates are set by fiscal year, effective October 1, 2013.

August 8, 2013 CIC Seeks Beta Testers For New CMP Health Care Subspecialty Exam

On July 29th, CIC officially launched the new CMP-HC and applications to sit for the beta exam are starting to come in. The beta test will be administered via CBT during the period of Oct. 7-21, 2013 at Prometric test sites throughout the country. To get an accurate analysis of the exam, CIC is hoping to get at least 100 beta testers. SGMP members who hold the CMP designation may get more information here.

July 30, 2013 New Study Documents Productivity and Cost-Effectiveness of Government Meetings

A new study conducted by Rockport Analytics for the U.S. Travel Association documents not only how traveling for meetings and conferences is vital to making government more efficient and effective, but how cancelling government participation in key events carries significant costs and undermines important functions of government.

In addition to this new study, our members should review U.S. Travel's press release plus the economic impact fact sheet and value of meetings fact sheet. SGMP was pleased to have provided consultation during the development of this study and sincerely thanks our industry partners at U.S. Travel for making this very important project a reality.


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