Austin was fun with y’all!

Austin was a blast! We really enjoyed our time with y’all at the 17th Annual Travois Affordable Housing & Economic Development Conference. For those who missed it, here’s a summary of our week.

We opened the conference with a welcome reception at The White Horse with live music, great food and good company — and a little Texas two-step!

On Day One of sessions, we started with a warm breakfast and a wonderful welcome from Martha Beltran and Ashley Portillo from Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

Our 2017 summer intern joined us in Austin and was introduced at the conference! In partnership with Tepa, we offer the internship opportunity to Haskell Indian Nations University students. This summer, time will be divided between the Travois and Tepa offices, both located in Kansas City.

Our conference attendees raved about our technology upgrade – a conference app – and competed in a game through the app for an awesome prize, an Apple Watch. With 12 people tied at the end of the conference, Lorrie Chavez was drawn as the winner.

The app provided attendees with a conference agenda, session descriptions, session materials, speaker bios and photos, a hotel map, opportunities to share photos and comments and submit session and conference feedback.

Over lunch we celebrated the retirement of David Bland and Marianne Roos. They started Travois in 1995. (If you need a refresher, watch this video of David and Elizabeth from 2015 when we celebrated Travois’ 20th anniversary.)

We also had a puppy party – yes, a puppy party! Austin Pets Alive shared five puppies with us for play and cuddles in between sessions.

Day Two began again with a hearty breakfast, and we jumped right into sessions! At lunch time, we honored industry superheroes for the third year in a row.

Congratulations to our 2017 Superhero Award winners, who are doing amazing work in their communities! (Be on the lookout for future blogs featuring each winner.)

  • Housing professional: Floyd Tortalita, Executive Director for Pueblo of Acoma Housing Authority; Pueblo of Acoma, NM
  • Economic Development Professional: Ho-Chunk Inc. and Lance Morgan; Winnebago, NE
  • Pillar: Danny Chatter, maintenance superintendent for Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Housing; Camp Verde, AZ
  • Haven: Jean Defoe, Finance Manager for Red Cliff Chippewa Housing Authority; Bayfield, WI
  • Project team: Red Lake Reservation Housing Authority; Red Lake, MN

Throughout our time together in the conference ballroom, we raffled off fun gifts, but we really had fun at the closing!

It was an amazing few days of networking and learning and lots of quality time with you all!

And your reviews couldn’t have said it better — we all had a great week in Austin!

Here are comments we received from you and your colleagues:

  • Everything was well organized and informative.
  • I enjoyed how interactive the sessions were. Also, the hotel chosen for the conference was perfect. Great location.
  • Travois conference 2017 has been another great event.
  • I liked the mobile app; fun to participate and follow conference attendees.
  • Economic development panel at #TravoisConf was amazing. Dakota Cole representing #ChickasawNation and helping other tribes. #ChickasawProud.
  • Loved all the wonderful people and information!
  • The food was excellent.
  • The app brought this conference to another level of awesomeness. I know it sounds nerdy but everything was right in front of us: schedule, updates, notifications and surveys.
  • I like the personal client relationships that Travois staff fosters.
  • Great conference!

We know how difficult it is to put your important work aside for a few days for the conference, but we’re so happy you did! Look at these smiling faces!

You can also find these photos (and more) on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages — feel free to tag yourself so they show up on your profile.

We’re almost ready to announce the date and location for the 18th Annual Travois Conference, so we can do it all again — be sure to check back and follow our social media pages for updates!