I know a lot of you still have your MEC attendee badges hanging on your bulletin boards (full disclosure – so do I) and miss the opportunity MEC provided to get to know the Exchange team, face-to-face. We love having the opportunity to see you all in person as well and a bunch of us are going to The Experts Conference (TEC) in Las Vegas this year with the hopes of seeing many of you there.

For those of you that do not know about the event, TEC is not quite the return of MEC, but it is possibly the next best thing. Quest has put on TEC for Exchange for the last two years and its third iteration is taking place April 17-20 at the Red Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. I attended, for the first time, last year and the event provided an incredibly deep amount of technical training focused on advancing the skills of the most experienced Exchange admins. So this year, a few more of us Exchange team folks are heading down to support the event, the content and to participate in the great community discussions that take place at TEC. Kevin Allison, the fearless leader of our Customer Experience Team, will be keynoting day 2 of the event after the legendary Tony Redmond keynotes day 1. I will be there for a panel discussion with a group of three people who have a combined 50 years at Microsoft and 30 years working on Exchange at the company. In addition to Kevin, speakers include Ross Smith, Scott Schnoll, Greg Taylor, Dmitry Gavrilov, Jim Lucey and Paul Bowden along with a slew of Exchange MVPs including Nicolas Blank, Lee Mackey, Paul Robichaux, David Sengupta and Michael B. Smith.

You can get more details about TEC for Exchange here. If you want to get a discounted registration rate of $1,300 vs. the list price, send email to TEC2011@quest.com and mention this EHLO blog post.

We hope to see you down there. It should be a great event and, given I am looking out my office window at clouds and rain here in Seattle, I am looking forward to the Las Vegas sun.

Michael Atalla
Director, Exchange Product Management

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I only got a chance to attend MEC once - in Atlanta, GA. That was in 1999 i think. It was a great experience. It will be nice if MS put together an even like this for Exchange professionals like myself.

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I attended MEC in Anaheim (October 2002).

@Michael Atalla: Why did MS pull the plug on MEC?

+1 to bring it back - a MS-organized Exchange/UC conference with Exchange team folks participating!

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@Jim: MEC was tough to walk away from for sure.  A great event indeed.  In the 90's, the email administrator community was still pretty tight and MEC was the right way for our team to gather this community in a single place for deep learning and dialouge.  The Exchange team was still small and the product footprint small but rapidly growing.  15 years later, after the first MEC in Austin in 1996 (my first MEC was Boston in 1998), the number of IT Professionals that touch Exchange everyday has exploded and most of them...you...need to stay up-to-speed on a much broader set of products and technologies than only Exchange.  Today, Exchange admins that also need to educate themselves on Lync and SharePoint is pretty common, along with certainly Office or at least Outlook.  As a result of this expansion of the overall Microsoft porfolio in the productivity space and the broadening needs of the IT generalist, we made the decision to focus our education and readiness efforts on the worldwide TechEd events as opposed to continuing to run our own, stand-alone conference.  This allows attendees to get up-to-speed on a variety of topics, including Exchange, and provides local access for folks that were not able to fly to North America for MEC in the past.  I totally get that for many of you reading this blog, in particular, a dedicated Exchange conference would do rather nicely -- hey, we'd like it too -- but in a world of limited time and resources...

I love the feedback.  You never know what might happen in the future...but, in the meantime, I am looking forward to Vegas later this month.

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You are not going MEC until you fix the Rollup 3 for Exchange 2010 boys.

Last word.


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Michael, thanks for sharing your thoughts on a subject that's close to many an Exchange admin's heart. We will keep our fingers crossed and hope Microsoft finds it worthwhile to continue with a MEC-type event with more UC content, even if every other year. There's simply too much to focus on in this space, including Lync, and now the cloud-based services (Office 365).

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I wish we had more of a notice about this conference as it sounds more focused than TechED, and I personally would have preferred to go to something like this rather than TechED. If nothing else there is always next year if you guys are going to support the conference in this fashion.