The UNITE 2009 conference, themed "Invigorate Your Data Center," concludes today in Minneapolis. "People come to the conference because we just have incredibly good content; we have presenters both from Unisys and from the user community," Marian Ritland, vice chairman of the UNITE board, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "We had really good sessions and got lots of good comments about the sessions." Virtually all of the vendors signed up for the new show next year which will be in San Antonio, she adds. Like many other conferences this year, attendance at UNITE was down a bit due to the economy-by 20% this year over last, Ritland says.
"We were lucky enough to have Ed Coleman, chairman and CEO of Unisys, keynote the conference and we were very impressed with him. He is a real down-to-earth kind of guy. He spent probably the last half hour of his presentation taking questions from the audience," Ritland says, noting that Coleman talked about coming to Unisys and tackling the tough job of removing some of the extra corporate layers that didn't make sense for a company the size it is today. Despite the difficulty of that challenge, she adds, "I have not found a Unisys employee that is not incredibly impressed with him." Ritland also said that at UNITE, Coleman talked about the importance of Unisys maintaining profitability. "If they are profitable, then they are viable," she said. "He has already gotten results in a year, which is amazing especially in this economy."
UNITE also had a second keynote on Tuesday from Bob Supnik, who is vice president and general manager, Product Development and Technology/Supply Chain Operations and S&T's CTO. "He gave a more technical talk about some of the things Unisys is doing and the goals the company has. He did his best to give us the vision that they have for the future and I was certainly impressed with some of the things they are doing," Ritland says. At the end of the speech, Supnik talked about why he came to Unisys and explained that it was because of the people that work at Unisys, the technology, and the customers. According to Ritland, Supnik was impressed with the way that when a customer had a problem, "everybody just knew that the main issue was to solve the problem for the customer. And, I have felt that way many times over the years, too. They have always been incredibly responsive and it was nice to hear someone new to the corporation see that so clearly."
In other conference news, Ritland was re-elected to the UNITE board of directors; and F. Guy Bonney and Jim Shelton were elected to fill the additional two open board positions. For more information, go here.