ERC 2018, in review

The 15th annual Electronics Reuse Conference was held in Nashville, TN October 28th through the 31st. 2018’s event was the largest yet, with nearly 40 sessions, workshops and panel discussions offered by 68 speakers to nearly 400 attendees in the electronics reuse industry.

Device repair businesses, computer refurbishers, ITADs and E-Reuse professionals of all types have come to recognize the Electronics Reuse Conference (ERC) as a specialized event for individuals and organizations focused on electronics repair, reuse and refurbishment.  Run by industry consulting firm E-Reuse Services (ERS), it has grown sharply during the past two years under its new ownership.

Our philosophy is that ERC needs to bring concrete, measurable value to each attendee and partner every single year, and we wake up every day with that exact objective.” said Mike Cheslock, ERC Co-Founder.  “Of course we want to continue to grow the conference, but never by watering it down or though vague messaging of what the event is all about.  We are and will remain THE Electronics Reuse Conference.” Mike added.  The growth he was referring to?  20% from 2017 to 2018, most of which ERS says was through word-of-mouth and social media.

ERS sets the Conference Agenda using a unique process: “We actually allow the public to both recommend topics, and to vote on those topics; this is how we determine the content for ERC.” said Sarah Cade, ERS Co-Founder. “This process ensures that the educational side of ERC is in line with the most current industry interest, and we’re convinced that it’s worth the extra effort.”  The attendees seemed to agree, and had this to say about ERC 2018:

Repair is a community built on collaboration and know-how. Many in our community rely on insights from peers and mentors to learn, grow, and survive. The Electronics Reuse Conference has proven an invaluable opportunity to network with the brightest minds of today from thought-provoking panels to keynotes from the experts who’ve been there and done that already.
— Matt Zeiminski, Puls
The insight gained at ERC this year once again proved invaluable for HOBI. The network of industry leaders who come together each year to share their ideas and visions is what makes ERC unique. The show is a highlight event for the ITAD industry and should be considered as a must-attend event for all ITAD companies expanding their service offerings in the repair and refurbishment market.
— Craig Boswell, HOBI International

ERC included a few entirely new elements in 2018, the most popular of which was the official ERC App.  The App included a digital program guide, the ability to connect with other attendees and set up one-on-one meetings, and useful live announcements.  ERC also partnered with NSF to make the event “Waste Free”, using composting and recycling receptacles throughout the event space, and replacing single-use items with reusable alternatives where possible.  A report on the total waste-reduction results is expected in the coming weeks.

Four individuals were recognized at Tuesday night’s ERC awards ceremony.  The ERC Hall of Fame Jim Lynch award went to Shauna McCaffery of Computers for Schools, and posthumously to Lane Epperson of HiTECH Assets.  Michael Oberdick of iOutlet and Device Renew received the inaugural Innovation Award, and Robert Miranda of SmarTek received the inaugural Newcomer Award.

In 2019, the Electronics Reuse Conference will be held in Austin, TX from November 11th – 13th.