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BICSI Winter Conference Closes with Charity Presentation, Awards Banquet and Inspirational Keynote

Tampa, Florida, January 26, 2017—BICSI, the association advancing the information and communications technology (ICT) community, brought its 2017 BICSI Winter Conference & Exhibition to a close this afternoon. Thousands of attendees from all over the world gathered at the five-day conference to gain industry knowledge, take in the latest ICT products and services, and network with colleagues.

During Wednesday night's annual Awards Banquet, BICSI celebrated the accomplishments of several individuals who have displayed great dedication to BICSI and the ICT industry. The awards given on the evening of Wednesday, January 25, include:

  • Awarded by the University of South Florida, College of Engineering, the Harry J. Pfister Award for Excellence in the Telecommunications Industry recognizes the lifetime achievement or major accomplishment of an individual in the telecommunications industry. Dennis W. Mazaris, RCDD, RTPM, was given the award in recognition of his work throughout his 30-plus year industry career.
  • Selected by BICSI’s President, the Presidential Eagle Award is given to individuals who have exhibited leadership, sacrifice and faith in BICSI and the industry as a whole, showing dedication to a greater cause over a period of time. This year’s award was presented to the entire BICSI Authorized Training Facilities community for their work in providing BICSI Cabling Installation training across the United States and in the UAE.
  • The David K. Blythe University of Kentucky Award for Outstanding Member of the Year recognizes the volunteer spirit of BICSI members, and spotlights one individual for outstanding efforts in promoting BICSI’s educational programs and commitment to professional development within the industry. For his dedication to and pride in BICSI, including taking on multiple volunteer tasks, the award went to Philip D. Klingensmith, RCDD, OSP, RTPM.
  • In honor of all the work done to grow BICSI globally, the Global Outstanding Member of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond to promote BICSI and encourage membership around the world. For his work in promoting BICSI throughout the BICSI Middle East and Africa (MEA) District, Kandasamy Ganesan, RCDD, DCDC, NTS, TECH, CT, took home the award this year.
  • The Larry G. Romig Committee Member of the Year award honors individuals for exemplary efforts and dedication within a BICSI committee. The Larry Romig award was presented to Kurt Templeman, RCDD, for his tireless work as Chair of the Exhibitor Liaison Committee.
  • BICSI introduced the Emerging ICT Professionals Award at this conference. The award is presented to an individual under the age of 35 who has begun their career in the ICT industry and is taking the initiative by participating in BICSI and acting as a leader and mentor toward other emerging professionals. For her contributions to BICSI and her work in encouraging young professionals, Ashley Haak Wills, RCDD OSP, was given the award.
  • During the conference, 18 Installers and Technicians competed for the chance to become the next Installer of the Year in the tenth annual BICSI Cabling Skills Challenge. Every year, the Cabling Skills Challenge competitors represent the best of the industry, and the overall winner receives a check for $5,000. Michael Ratliff, TECH, took home the title and the winnings.
  • The Ray Gendron BICSI Cares Scholarship went to Carlo A. Torres, RCDD. Torres is majoring in Construction Engineering Management at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, he is working toward becoming a BICSI RTPM and plans to use that credential, as well as his degree, to benefit all stakeholders on ICT projects.

"The Emerging ICT Professionals Award is an important addition to our awards lineup," said BICSI President Brian Ensign, RCDD, NTS, OSP, RTPM, CSI. "BICSI is committed to fostering the growth and education of the next generation of ICT professionals, and this new award is a testament to that. This is a very exciting time for our industry, and these young people will continue to shape the future of our craft."

In addition, President Ensign also recognized the winner of Best in Show at the Exhibit Hall's New Product Pavilion. Attendees voted throughout the week and selected Hubbell Premise Wiring's RE-BOX® Outdoor AC Enclosure as the overall Best in Show winner.
Following the awards, the evening concluded with a performance from magician Bill Herz, followed by comedian John Heffron. 

On Thursday morning, BICSI Cares, the charitable arm of BICSI that supports children’s charities, made a donation to the Melbourne, Fla.-based The M.O.R.G.A.N Project, a non-profit created to provide therapeutic fun to children with disabilities. BICSI Cares collected donations from attendees throughout the conference, and 100 percent of the funds were given to the charity. 

Following the BICSI Cares presentation, attendees were treated to an inspirational Closing Keynote address by Leland Melvin. Melvin is a retired NFL football player and a NASA astronaut, making him the only person drafted into the NFL to have flown in space. In addition to the Keynote, attendees were able to learn from more than 24 technical sessions over the course of the conference. Topics discussed included intelligent buildings, cabling for 4K systems, HDBASE-T, and digital video.

"I've been coming to BICSI conferences for more than 20 years, and I've been able to stay in touch with the industry and bring new ideas back to my clients after each one," said Joe Scarola, RCDD, of Long Island, NY.

BICSI President Ensign adjourned the conference early Thursday afternoon, thanking everyone for attending and encouraging them to come to the 2017 BICSI Canadian Conference & Exhibition, May 8-11 in Vancover, British Columbia, Canada, as well as the 2017 BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition, September 24-28 in Las Vegas, Nev.