by Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | May 15, 2012
From the May 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
In January 2006, Nelson Hendry and David Mason founded Health Connect Partners, Inc., a company that produces industry-leading health care conferences in multiple verticals. Six years and 17 conferences later, with five more conferences scheduled for this year, Hendry and Mason are even more excited about the business than they were when they founded it. Hendry recently sat down with DOTmed News to talk about this year’s conferences and what he sees for the future of HCP.
What was the inspiration behind founding HCP?
David had sold his company, BCX Technology, to Omnicell a couple years before and was also a vice president in Corporate Accounts. Over dinner one evening, he said he was ready to be an entrepreneur again and wanted to pursue a different business than software. I had spent years developing strong relationships with hospital pharmacy directors and materials managers across the U.S. I knew how difficult it was for them to make time to evaluate new products and services, even though they are responsible for remaining innovative and continually finding the most cost-effective solutions for their facilities. I saw a solution in the reverse EXPO model where the health care providers manned and hosted the exhibit booth. With my background in sales, I also understood the value this would offer the suppliers and felt certain that there would be a strong market for this conference model in the health care industry. I also felt it was critical for each event to be built on a strong foundation of education, and to encourage providers and suppliers to participate in the full event, not just the expo hall portion. I sketched out the business model on a napkin that night at dinner and the rest is history.
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What is unique about HCP?
The most distinct feature of our events is the reverse EXPO format. In our reverse EXPO sessions, provider executives from some of the largest hospitals and health systems in the country have the opportunity to discuss more innovative solutions than they may otherwise see in six months. And for the suppliers, it’s an opportunity to have dedicated conversations with decision-making provider executives who are extremely busy working with doctors, nurses, administrators and patients in their normal course of business. Every sales person understands that this leaves virtually no time for reviewing supplier products, services and solutions. Secondly, we feel that what sets us apart from other reverse expos is the importance we place on providing outstanding continuing education opportunities at each of our events. We have four exceptional educational advisory boards comprised of hospital executives from each conference specialty who work diligently to determine the most relevant educational sessions and bring in the strongest speakers for each conference. The quality of the education at our conferences is outstanding, and it’s to the credit of these dedicated individuals who serve on our educational advisory boards. Finally, I feel that the emphasis we place on relationship development between providers and suppliers is very unique. I am convinced that where you build your best relationships, you’ll build your best business. Once providers and suppliers decide to do business with one another, they become partners. We are dedicated to providing a venue that fosters existing relationships and helps develop new ones.
You are holding five conferences this year. Which one are you particularly excited about and why?
This is a little like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. Our Hospital Pharmacy conferences are our flagship events; this is our longest-running conference and the only one we hold twice a year, in the spring and the fall, and it’s always wonderful to catch up with some of our oldest friends. Our Hospital OR & Surgery Center Conference and our Hospital & Healthcare IT Conference are our youngest events and growing rapidly. Both of those events have tremendous potential, which is extremely exciting to participate in. But personally, I am very excited this year about our Radiology & Imaging Conference. It will be the largest one that we’ve ever held with a huge influx of new faces, which means potential for new relationships and new connections.
What are your goals for HCP’s future?
Growth. Our focus is on providing stronger and stronger education, growing our attendee registration for each established conference, and continuing to expand into new verticals to bring our events into more and more areas of the hospital and health care industry. There is so much potential for this model, and I look forward ours become the conference of choice in our industry.