HR Administration

HR Tech Conference Day 1: Flash Floods and Pseudo-Shuttles to the Hotel

By Rick Bell

Oct. 18, 2015

Few things are predictable in Las Vegas.

Take it from someone who has seen his share of Vegas oddities. There was the running gun battle through a casino parking lot. And the time the tower of the Stratosphere Hotel was ablaze late one Saturday night, leaving a bunch of curious onlookers wondering if it was a publicity stunt. It wasn’t.

Anyway, one of the few things normally predictable is the weather. As someone who visited Las Vegas about every six weeks (my parents lived here when I lived in San Diego), the weather was almost always sunny and dry – cold and windy in the winter and hot and windy in the summer.HR Tech 1 October 2015

Maybe it’s a omen of unpredictability for this year’s session of the HR Technology Conference & Exposition at Mandalay Bay, but the weather upon arrival is anything but sunny and dry. It was thunderstorms and flash flooding. My cabbie was pretty annoyed that, despite having moved here from South Africa in the early 1980s, the street flooding still hasn’t been solved.

It’s also a little strange to hear the blaring buzz of National Weather Service emergency storm warnings while watching the Bears-Lions football game in the casino with my colleagues Frank Kalman and Mike Prokopeak. I’ve been here during late summer monsoon season, but mid-October?

And there may be nothing more predictable at a busy airport terminal than the limo drivers holding their signs near the baggage claim. Except this time there were two guys in lavender jackets and caps holding signs reading, “Welcome HR Tech”. Hm OK, maybe I can avoid the dreadfully long cab line outside McCarran Airport, I thought.

I approached the two young chaps in their fancy blazers.

Me (all hopeful and eager hoping to avoid the cab line): “Are you running shuttles to the conference?”

Them (also eager but unconcerned with the cab line): “No, but we’re giving out buttons.”

Me: “A shuttle would be better, but OK, I’ll take a button.”

I’m a sucker for guerilla marketing, which is just what the two guys from San Francisco-based recruiting site Relode were up to. So I took one of their buttons, which reads, “Make Hiring Great Again.” Apparently Donald Trump hasn’t trademarked that phrasing, but then again, these guys are recruiting site marketers in limo drivers’ clothing. OK, not traditional dark limo driver suits, but lavender blazers are definitely catchy.

“What’s your booth number?” I asked as I swapped cards with Brennon Mobley.

“We don’t have a booth,” he admitted. “We’re just here to meet people at the conference.”

And at the airport. Check out their Twitter feed. I was not alone. Hey, whatever it takes to spread the word, I guess. They got my attention. We talked a little football, he mentioned that Relode’s owner played fullback for the San Diego Chargers, backing up Lorenzo Neal for a short time.

And with that it was out to the terminally long cab line and a surprise dousing of Las Vegas rain.

Ahh, Las Vegas. What surprises lay ahead these next three days – and nights?

Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email

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