My first time at SAS Global Forum in Orlando in 2007 I just came to see how it had changed from my last visit to the USA in 1999 for SUGI 24 in Miami Beach, and didn't present. In 2008 in San Antonio, I presented in Coders' Corner and had a great time on the Riverwalk. In 2009 in Washington DC, I presented again in the Reporting and Information Visualization section, as well as being a code doctor. Any of these actions could have gotten me noticed by Debbie Buck, the SAS Global Forum 2011 Chair, but whatever it was I got an email from her in March 2010 asking if she could put me forward as a member of her 2011 team, and after a very short period of consideration I said yes.
Time passed and I had to wait until the Tuesday lunchtime of the SAS Global Forum 2010 in Seattle to hear whether I'd been accepted. I was having lunch with my wife at Michael Raithel's lunchtime presentation, when Andy Kuligowski, Deputy Chair at SAS Global Forum 2011, came over to me with a white envelope and the words "Welcome and see you this evening." The envelope confirmed that I would be the Reporting and Information Visualization section co-chair.
Since then, I've been joining a number of web and email-based groups to help me keep up-to-date with information relating to the section chairs, paper acceptance, and presentation planning. These include the SGF11-L mailing list, Basecamp and section chairs' area of Confnav, and the "call for papers" web site. All have involved remembering specific links, passwords, and what I was supposed to use each for, which I've frequently struggled to use correctly. Fortunately everyone has been very patient. Anyone who submitted a paper to the conference would have experienced some of the little issues that occurred when the rejection and acceptance emails were sent out. I submitted a paper, just in case we didn't receive enough, so I also received multiple rejection emails and appreciate how disappointed others may have felt, but it was difficult making the decisions that lead to those rejections too!
One of my other tasks was to select Emerging Issues papers from those submitted to my section. This proved to be relatively easy, as there were a number of papers using SAS with new technologies, but I'm not going to say which they were, only that I'm looking forward to those papers with great interest.