Talking technology and the evolution of the industry
As the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference approaches, we want to introduce attendees and the industry at-large to our incredible speakers and panelists.
We recently caught up with TimingHQ founder and CEO Mike Coleman, talking about a host of topics, including how he first became involved in the industry, what technologies race directors need to be aware and how the industry is evolving - all of which serves attendees well, as Coleman is guiding a Race Camp session on Technology: Platforms and Integration at the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference.
Running USA (RUSA): What's your current role in the industry?
Mike Coleman (MC): I am actually very excited about my latest venture. After more than a decade of working in the online registration and marketing arena, I recently launched a nationwide timing and registration management company, TimingHQ, where I am the CEO and President. I am excited to take my years of expertise and help events make the best and most educated business decisions in key technology areas.
RUSA: What does your day-to-day work look like?
MC: What I love about my new venture is that every day is different. I spend a lot of time on the phone listening to events needs and evaluating how TimingHQ can help solve their problems. From evaluating their timing and expo registration flow to helping them select the right vendors for their needs, we feel like we offer a unique business proposition for our clients. We believe in being consultants and partners to our clients, which we feel differentiates us from the timers that just come in for race day/weekend.
We have built a great team with multiple backgrounds that compliment our client’s needs. From established and successful timers, to customer service and account managers, we are behind the scenes to ensure our clients and the participants have a successful race day experience.
RUSA: How did you first get into the running industry?
MC: There are so many ways to go with this question and if someone wants to know the long story, they can corner me and ask.
On the professional side, oddly enough, it was through the advertising industry where I put together campaigns for clients that had USATF sponsorships. I think it was at that point I knew I wanted to be in this industry for the rest of my career, if possible.
You could say, since the internet became commercial back in the 80’s, I have always had a passion for technology. When Active came calling in 2003 and approached me about building ActiveTrainer, I jumped at the chance to make the leap from marketing to technology and really never looked back.
RUSA: You'll be moderating the Technology: 'Platforms and Integration' Race Camp. What's one trend you're seeing in technology right now, good or bad?
MC: There is one thing that is certain, technology is changing our industry on all fronts. The way we register, the way we time, the way we market, the way communicate to spectators and people along the course, the way we train, etc. Good or bad, the technologies we use and how we use them now will all change in the next ten years. To me it is an exciting time.
RUSA: Where do you believe is the biggest opportunity in technology lies in 2017 for those in the running industry?
MC: Honestly I believe onsite tools are revolutionizing the industry. From onsite check-in and registration apps to dynamic bib assignment. Things are getting more automated for the race directors.
RUSA: At TimingHQ, you talk with race directors all the time. What's one area race directors should really start educating themselves on when it comes to technology?
MC: See my answer above! The other area, is ways to engage the spectators with your event and sponsors through apps and such.
RUSA: What's your favorite part about attending the Running USA Industry Conference?
MC: I started calculating this out and this is my 14th Running USA Industry Conference. I can’t believe how fast time goes. I would have to say, meeting new people, connecting with old friends and networking. There is no other event like this where you can learn so much from your peers and make lifetime friends and contacts.
To learn more about the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference and see Mike Coleman speak, please visit: http://www.runningusa.org/running-usa-annual-conference