Event Offers Members Opportunity to Learn, Network, and be Inspired
The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems' 2021 Annual Conference will be held May 23-26 in Austin, marking the organization's official return to operation after the worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic halted large gatherings nearly a year.
As the pandemic's spread slows due to nationwide vaccine rollouts and adherence to health protocols, TEXPERS' staff and Board of Directors decided to move this year's conference from its customarily scheduled dates in April to late May. This year's theme: Back to Business.
"We are excited to gather as many of our members together as possible for our Annual Conference this May," says Art Alfaro, TEXPERS' executive director. "Just because we are getting back to business; however, doesn't mean we will be lax in following safety protocols as the novel coronavirus is still among us. Although many of our first-responder members may have received their vaccine shots, not everyone will have. That means we must enforce masking and social distancing rules outlined by the event's hotel and conference center. We might be operating under safety precautions, but we still plan on offering our members access to the quality programming they have come to associate with TEXPERS."
The Annual Conference offers state-mandated training programs and sessions regarding topics important to public employee retirement management. During the four-day event, attendees have the opportunity to learn about industry trends, gain new skills, and establish new connections.
"We want to help you reach your goals," Alfaro says. "Our focus is helping members become more valuable to their funds and stakeholders."
Click here to register for the conference. The registrations of those who paid for the canceled 2020 Annual Conference and kept their registration active will not need to register again. Their registrations automatically roll over to the 2021 event.
Those who registered for last year's canceled event and requested a refund or have not paid an invoice for the 2020 Annual Conference will need to register and pay to attend this year's event. For more assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule at a Glance
This year's conference features a networking golf tournament, a workshop, membership receptions, keynote speakers, a motivational speaker, breakout panel discussions, and a members event.
An early-morning golf tournament kicks the conference off on Sunday, May 23. Those who chose to skip golfing may take part in a workshop at 10:30 a.m. TEXPERS' pension funds may attend the association's Annual Business Meeting at 3 p.m. However, the rest of the day is free for everyone else until a 5:30 p.m. welcome reception.
The conference continues Monday, May 24, with general sessions from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. A members event at Zanzibar, the hotel's rooftop pool deck, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.
General sessions continue from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25, day three of the conference. There will be a reception at 5 p.m.
The last day of the conference, Wednesday, May 26, features general sessions from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Basic and Advanced Trustee Training
TEXPERS members looking to fulfill state-mandated Basic and Advanced training requirements may do so on Saturday, May 22, the day before the Annual Conference starts.
Basic Trustee Training is for new trustees and provides seven hours of training over seven content areas. The registration fee is $225 for TEXPERS member retirement systems and employee group members and is $325 for non-member retirement systems.
Advanced Trustee Training is for more seasoned trustees who have taken Basic Trustee Training or another training program covering the same content. Advanced Trustee Training is different every time it is held and offers a deep dive into various topics.
Click here to register for Basic Trustee Training. Click here to register for Advanced Trustee Training.
This is just a peek at what's on the program for TEXPERS' 2021 Annual Conference. A more detailed schedule is coming soon to the TEXPERS website.
"There's no more affordable or convenient way to access education, training, subject matter experts, and retirement system colleagues than the TEXPERS Annual Conference," Alfaro says.
Venue, Pandemic Protocols and Room Booking
This year, TEXPERS members will gather at the Austin Marriott Downtown, 304 E. Cesar Chaves St. in Austin, Texas. The 30-floor hotel features 588 rooms, 25 suites, several dining options, a rooftop pool, and a conference center offering plenty of room for TEXPERS members to gather safely.
The venue follows health guidelines from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local health departments. The hotel has committed to frequently treating surfaces in public spaces with hospital-grade disinfectants and has trained food handlers on safe food preparation and service. Click here to access Marriott's health protocols.
TEXPERS has worked to ensure its conference attendees have a simple, quick, and efficient way to book their hotel rooms at the conference. After registering for the conference, a confirmation email will include a link allowing registrants to make reservations at the Austin Marriott Downtown.
"You won't find anything more convenient to access the conference than staying on-site," Alfaro says. "The hotel is the hub of conference activities. It's a quick trip to get to sessions, provides opportunities for networking with conference attendees, makes it easy to return to your room, and is near pre- and post-conference hour activities."
Those who reserve a room at the Austin Marriott Downtown by April 30 receive a reduced room rate. TEXPERS has invested time and effort to negotiate the best rate available throughout the conference.
"Booking in TEXPERS' hotel room block not only benefits you but it also has a significant impact on the association," Alfaro says. "In return for the use of the hotel's meeting facilities, the conference guarantees the hotel that a certain percentage of attendees will stay in the hotel. TEXPERS has negotiated numerous concessions and benefits with the hotel, and many are based on ensuring attendees stay at the Austin Marriott Downtown. If we don't meet our commitment to the hotels, TEXPERS could be financially responsible for lost revenue owed to the hotel."
Follow TEXPERS on Facebook and Twitter and visit our website for the latest news about the 2021 Annual Conference, virtual online learning opportunities, as well as the public pension industry in Texas.
The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems is a nonprofit professional membership organization whose members consist of trustees, administrators, professional service providers, employee groups, and associations engaged or interested in managing public employee retirement systems. To learn more, visit www.texpers.org.