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Nicholas Esty's Student Scholar Reflection

Posted by Nicholas Esty on July 19, 2017 at 9:24 AM

PRIMA’s 2017 Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ was a lot of fun due to the people I met, the things I learned, and the new experiences I had. My trip began on Sunday, June 4th. Later that day, I attended a Welcome Reception in the Valley of the Sun Ballroom where I had a great time networking and listening to a live band.

Monday started with a motivational speech by Randy Anderson, where he spoke on his “Twelve Rules for Pursuing Personal Excellence”. I highly recommend that you check them out for yourself. Afterwards, I attended the tradeshow where I talked with company representatives, filled my bags with swag and even checked out an autonomous vehicle and a VR tornado simulator. My first educational session was called “Higher Controversy: Marijuana in the Workplace” and it was presented by Matthew Fisher. It intrigued me because it’s such a prevalent and controversial topic at the moment (as the name suggests). I then attended the PRIMA Awards Luncheon where we got a chance to recognize the great work that people have been doing in the industry. Another one of my favorite sessions was titled “Deceit and Fraud Detection Strategies,” presented by Ted Richards and Dalene Bartholomew. They provided unbelievable stories regarding the extreme lengths people go to in an effort to commit fraud. They also explained how the fraudsters were caught and brought to trial. One of the best experiences of the entire trip was the Travelers-sponsored outing to the Hall of Flame Fire Museum. After that, we had a BBQ dinner at Rustler’s Rooste overlooking the Phoenix skyline.
Tuesday began with a thought-provoking session titled “Perception is Reality or is Reality Truly Perceived? Media Coverage and Police Brutality Cases,” presented by Michele Molinario and Amelia Esber. During this session, we watched news reports on real life incidents and voted in real time whether we believed they were justified. After the vote, we were introduced to more of the facts and reasoning behind the case in preparation for a revote. It was amazing to see how vastly people’s opinions changed once given the opportunity to see the case from all angles. PRIMA’s Signature Social Event at the Arizona Science Center took place Tuesday night. I had a great night of enjoying food, music, cool science exhibits and roller coaster rides in the planetarium.

Wednesday included another one of my favorite sessions, “People of ACTION Don’t Have Time to THINK,” presented by James Billingsley and Terri Evans. The presentation delved into the psychology of why we think the way we do and was very interactive and informative. After the PRIMA events were over, I got a chance to check out the Wells Fargo History Museum and the Desert Botanical Garden, both of which I highly recommend for anyone visiting Phoenix.
I would like to thank everyone involved for giving me the opportunity to go on this amazing trip across the country to learn about public risk management. Not only did I have a ton of fun, I also extracted a great deal of knowledge and made some lasting connections. I hope everyone that attended feels the same way as I do and if you did not get a chance to attend this year, I highly recommend you attend next year’s annual conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.