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LenPilhofer

IPMS/USA Member
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LenPilhofer last won the day on June 5

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About LenPilhofer

  • Rank
    Assembler

Profile Information

  • FirstName
    Len
  • LastName
    Pilhofer
  • IPMS Number
    49932
  • Local Chapter
    Alamo Squadron
  • City
    San Antonio
  • State
    Texas
  • Gender
    Male

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  1. The following is a joint announcement from the San Marcos 2020 Convention Leadership team and the IPMS USA Executive Board. We jointly appreciate all the feedback we received regarding this year‘s convention. We’ve taken your comments and concerns into careful consideration, while maintaining an ongoing dialogue and negotiation with the Embassy Suites convention center in San Marcos. These negotiations have been proceeding carefully due to the significant financial exposure that IPMS would be subject to if we simply decided to cancel the convention unilaterally. We are now prepared to announce that the 2020 National Convention is officially canceled. While this may disappoint many, including your authors, we believe it is the prudent, safe and sensible thing to do. On a more positive note, we have been successful in negotiating the use of the Embassy Suites San Marcos location for the 2023 convention. Therefore, the rotation for the next three years, circumstances permitting, will be Las Vegas in 2021, Omaha in 2022, and San Marcos in 2023. Tentative dates for the 2023 convention will be August 2nd through the 5th. We are currently finalizing details of the contract with Embassy Suites and expect a finalized version within a week. For those who have registered already for the convention, we will be processing your refunds. For those who have booked hotel reservations at one of the convention center hotels, it will be up to you to cancel those on your own. Vendors will be refunded their money for tables as well through our vendor coordinator, Craig Gregory. Chapters and individuals who have sponsored contest categories may also receive refunds for their sponsorships. Again, we want to thank you all for your patience and support during these trying times, and hope that you recognize we have made the best possible decision for all under the circumstances. For any questions please contact John Noack at: IPMSPresident@ipmsusa.org Or Len Pilhofer at: director.nats2020@gmail.com Respectfully submitted, Len Pilhofer, 2020 Convention Chairman John Noack IPMS USA President
  2. Greetings Mike, So far, with regards to the banquet, my discussions with the Embassy Suites General Manager have focused appropriate seat spacing within the banquet room. This means perhaps less people per round table. However, let me stress that as of right now these are all just discussions as we are waiting to see what the exact restrictions are come the time of the convention. We'll make a final decision about 30 days out...which is less than a month from now. A "Food and Drink Minimum" is part of the contract with the hotel that we are going to attempt to meet but given the COVID-19 situation both myself and GM have agreed to make something work. No exact details on this yet...just discussions. Restrictions in-place by the state of Texas are driving our final decisions...and these restrictions are changing (i.e., opening up) almost weekly. -Len
  3. As of today, Monday, May 25th, the IPMS/USA 2020 National Convention is still very much a go. I am in contact with the Embassy Suites and they are gearing up to get their staff back in place not just for our convention but others in June…well over a month before ours. The guidance that we are following is from the state of Texas: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas. Right now, the state is in the process of slowly “opening up” and we fully expect, while things will not be back to the “old normal”, they will be of a condition that we will be able to hold a convention. Tours: The two tours we were offering: one to San Antonio and The Alamo and the other the Fredericksburg, TX, are now cancelled. There is too much uncertainty with the destinations of the tours and along with poor ticket sales, have forced us to make this decision. While we have a fairly certain control over the convention venue the same cannot be said for the tour destinations…especially The Alamo as it remains closed with no opening date announced. For those that have purchased tickets we have started the refund process with the IPMS/USA Home Office and you will see refunds soon. I have taken the links to purchase tour tickets down from the Nats 2020 website and the same has been done in the IPMS/USA web-store. Vendors: while we have received a few vendor cancellations we still have a healthy vendor attendance with 77 unique vendors and 291 tables paid for or reserved. I fully recognize many of the overseas vendors are in more of a pickle to decide whether to come or not…we will honor refunds for their tables if they decide that the trip is too challenging in the next couple of months. My authority (knowledge-wise) on who is coming and who isn’t is with our team’s vendor coordinator, Craig Gregory. Our website was updated today by me with all the current attending vendors as well as an updated vendor floor-plan. Registration: We are extending pre-registration (a discount of $10) to the right with a new deadline of June 30th. This will give the convention registration team, led by Dick Montgomery, time to sort out all the pre-registrants and ensure their packets are good to go by the start of the convention. Awards: We now have several special awards listed on the Nats 2020 website. These can be viewed here: www.nats2020.com/contest_pages/theme.html. As with past conventions these are judged outside of the normal IPMS NCC judging that occurs Friday night. If you have a special award that you or your chapter would like to present please get with our awards coordinator, Rob Booth: rbooth@hctc.net. We are still seeking award sponsors. Each category is $88 to sponsor and can be purchased via the IPMS web-store: https://www.shopipmsusa.org/product-p/natsreg-2020-award-category.htm. Choose you or your club’s top 3 choices and state this in the comment box in the web-store item. A list of the contest categories with purchased sponsorships (i.e., those already claimed) can be viewed here: http://www.nats2020.com/contest_pages/categories.html. If you see a mistake on this page please reach out to me at director.nats2020@gmail.com and I will get with our awards coordinator, Rob Booth, and fix the issue. I urge any of you that have not purchased pre-registrations or banquet tickets (if you intend to attend the banquet) to please do so at your nearest convenience. This will help the convention planning team determine numbers regarding large, important purchases (pins, decals, etc.) that we have to make in June in order to make sure everything is in-place by late July. As I have mentioned in my last update, everything related to the convention is refundable from IPMS/USA in the event we are forced to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances (re-imposed government restrictions, for example) in the next couple of months. As usual, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have: director.nats2020@gmail.com Len Pilhofer IPMS# 49932 Director, IPMS/USA National Convention 2020
  4. The IPMS/USA Executive Board and the 2020 National Convention Planning Committee are still moving forward with planning and on-time execution of the 2020 convention. We are well aware of the plethora of challenges ahead of us in the next 90 days. There are many more unknowns than "knowns" at the moment. However, with the facts on-hand we feel the convention can still be held. The #1 consideration in planning is the health and well-being of all of our members. Some of you have reached out to me stating that since you are in a high-risk age or health group you are not willing to risk being exposed to COVID-19. We fully understand this and agree that if you are in a high-risk category, we feel that you are probably better off not coming even if all restrictions are lifted by late July. I have read many opinions on public forums over the past several weeks regarding the status of this summer’s convention. As a convention planner, the biggest item I pay attention to is the contract that IPMS/USA committed to with the hosting hotel, Embassy Suites, and their parent company, Atrium Hospitality. These contracts are generally written in favor of the hotel, i.e., the financial burden is on the guest (IPMS/USA) to produce the numbers expected for the hotel to make a profit. We could have balked at the contract when it was presented in 2018 but then the week we picked would have went to the next organization looking to host a convention. In other words, we have to play by the hospitality industry’s rules. If IPMS/USA were to back out of the contract without cause the financial burden on our society would be very substantial. Luckily, Embassy Suites in San Marcos is fully aware of the current COVID-19 situation - and in fact they are taking it in the shorts like all other hotels around the country - and have verbally agreed to work with us to execute a successful convention regardless of the contract language. This is good news for IPMS/USA. I am committed to working with Embassy Suites since they have been so good in working with us during the past couple of years to make our show a success. The biggest wild card that both the General Manager (of Embassy Suites) and I see at the moment are government-imposed restrictions on crowd sizes and public gatherings. This is the biggest factor we are keeping an eye on and is what will eventually dictate if we are FORCED to cancel. If there are public gathering restrictions or reductions in maximum occupancy rules in the local city and county, we will assess if we can still execute a convention based on the details of potential restrictions. AS OF RIGHT NOW THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS EXTENDING TO THE DATES OF THE CONVENTION. There may be many opinions and conjecture regarding restrictions in-place during the convention but as of today, they remain conjecture. I am not planning a convention based on conjecture and opinion…only facts. A lot of what the committee will plan in the coming months will be based on the numbers we see for pre-registrations and other convention related purchases. If we see low numbers - like we are seeing so far - we will scale back what we are spending money on. I have no more details on this other than we are looking at options that may produce a smaller-size convention than others in the past. It pains me to plan this way because I think I am the most excited IPMS member regarding this convention but I have to face the reality of what is happening in the world today. It’s not fair but it is happening. We will deal with it. Refunds: If you have spent money so far or if you want to spend money registering in the short-term be assured that IPMS/USA will refund any money if we are FORCED to cancel due to the public gathering restrictions I mention above. Unfortunately, there remain many more questions than we have answers for at the moment. I wish I had a crystal ball that could tell me/us exactly what the conditions on the ground will be this summer...but I don’t…the team has to plan with the best information it has at the moment. This is what we will do. I stand by to answer any questions any one of our members have regarding the 2020 convention. Please e-mail me at: director.nats2020@gmail.com Best Regards Len Pilhofer – IPMS# 49932 Director, IPMS/USA National Convention 2020 www.nats2020.com
  5. As I have stated above: "If the planning committee has news regarding COVID-19 and its potential negative effects on the 2020 Convention I will post the info the main page of the convention website: www.nats2020.com." As of right now the main page of the Nats2020 web site states this: "COVID-19 Update! The convention team is still moving forward with planning for the 2020 convention. While we are well aware of all the social distancing and quarantine policies in place around the country these are temporary in nature and we are continuing with the assumption that by late July these will be restrictions will be lifted. The planning team will continue to track this issue closely. Click here for more information from the City of San Marcos." A good place to get up-to-date information from the City of San Marcos regarding government restrictions on public gatherings is: https://www.sanmarcostx.gov/279/Coronavirus-Information-and-Prevention. I have no more information (and more importantly, facts) to share except that planning continues. -Len
  6. Mike...on the Nats 2020 website is a list of all the categories for this year's contest: http://www.nats2020.com/contest_pages/categories.html. This coming week I will be adding a column where we will list who is sponsoring what category (those that have come in so far) so folks can see as the sponsorships fill up. For now, pick your top three and in the web store item for the category sponsorships is a text box where you can list these top three choices. The first one that isn't already taken will be the one you get. If there is a conflict, our awards coordinator, Rob Booth, will be in touch with you. I realize the sooner I get the list up on the web page, the easier it will be to avoid conflicts. I assure you it is on my short list of things to get done in the coming days. -Len
  7. The 2020 convention items are now up and for sale on the IPMS web store. They can be accessed via the various pages of the convention website - www.nats2020.com - or directly via https://www.shopipmsusa.org/category-s/106.htm. Convention pre-registration will stay active and accessible via these web links until the 16th of June at a price of $55 for adults. After that registrations may be purchased on-site at the convention at a cost of $65 (for adults). While the planning committee is keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 situation across the country and especially here in Texas we are continuing planning for the convention. As usual, please send any questions to me at director.nats2020@gmail.com.
  8. Greetings all, I realize that the Corona Virus (COVID-19) has taken the world by storm in a rather quick fashion the past few weeks and as a result we are seeing many, many cancellations of a wide variety of events…especially well known events, meets, conventions around the world as well as here in the US. Let me break my response down into fact and opinion. FACT: I have reached out to both the City of San Marcos and the IPMS/USA E-Board to let them know that the convention planning committee is keeping an eye on the COVID-19 outbreak and how it could potentially affect our convention slated for late July. The response I received from the city was that, as of the past week, they consider the threat to be low. Like us, they are keeping an eye on the situation and have, as of March 5th, assessed the threat to be low. Please check out the following link for more info from the City of San Marcos: https://www.sanmarcostx.gov/279/Coronavirus-and-Flu-Information-and-Prev As a result of all the information we have at the current time (March 12th) we are continuing planning for the 2020 convention. All team members are (generally) healthy and continue to nail down details for the upcoming show. In fact, we have been preparing the IPMS web store items (Pre-Registration, tours, T-shirts, trophy sponsorships, etc) to go live early next week. I, as convention chair, will continue to keep a line of communication open with the City of San Marcos on this very topic. OPINION: It is my personal opinion that a lot can happen in the coming weeks and months and at this point it is too early to make any changes. Yes, I fully recognize that airlines are not as forgiving when it comes to cancelling or changing flights but as of this time, I think it would be unwise to make any changes when the show is still 138 days away. From what I have seen in the media a lot of what is being cancelled are shows/events that are happening in the next several weeks. If these drastic measures are successful in the short term then COVID-19 will hopefully be in the rear-view-mirror come show-time. I, like many of you, are very, very excited about the 2020 convention this summer. I will continue, along with Team 2020, give it our very best effort to make it a success. If the planning committee has news regarding COVID-19 and its potential negative effects on the 2020 Convention I will post the info the main page of the convention website: www.nats2020.com. If you have specific questions regarding planning around COVID-19 please e-mail me at director.nats2020@gmail.com but be forewarned I do not have much more info than what is being reported via the various media outlets…and will most probably answer with the words I typed above. Best Regards, Len Pilhofer
  9. Thanks to Mark Persichetti and Team NCC for getting the 2020 National Contest Rules and Categories updated and ready for release. A few updates this year primarily in the Space/Sci Fi class. Check out the updates here: http://www.nats2020.com/contest_pages/categories.html http://www.nats2020.com/contest_pages/rules.html -Len Pilhofer
  10. Nats 2020 – January Update Greetings all…here with an update to what is now a quickly approaching National Convention. In 2019 we could all say “it’s not ‘til next year” but now that it is 2020 the convention will be here before we know it (well, at least for me, anyway). Here is a quick run-down of where we are in the planning: Hotels: The Embassy Suites continues to be fully booked for the duration of the convention – all of the IPMS room block is full. There are still rooms available at the overflow hotels: Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Country Inn and Suites, and Candlewood Suites. I have started a wait-list for the Embassy Suites and as room reservations are cancelled by IPMS members this spring and summer I will work with the Embassy Suites to add wait-list members. I will follow-up with an e-mail to the member with instructions on how to verify your reservation with the Embassy Suites. If you desire to get on this wait-list please send me an e-mail: director.nats2020@gmail.com. Important: If you wish to cancel your reservation with Embassy Suites please e-mail me first! I will get you a cancellation confirmation number from our group room coordinator at the San Marcos Embassy Suites and it will keep the room from going “live” and able to go to the next person on the wait-list. Vendors: We are about 90% full with vendor table reservations. There are still some tables left. Contact our vendor coordinator – Craig Gregory – at vendor.nats2020@gmail.com if you still desire a table(s). A current floor plan of all vendor locations is available on our website along with a list of all attending vendors (so far). In all, we are going to have 324 vendor tables at the convention. Registration: We are in initial coordination with all the IPMS web store items for the 2020 convention, the most important of these is convention online registration. The team is shooting for March to have the convention registration open for purchase…along with all the related convention items (T-Shirts, tours, etc). We will still have walk-up registration available for those who are not registered by our deadline for online registration…most likely in June. We will post the actual deadline with the web store item when it goes live. Convention Schedule: We have posted our initial convention schedule to the website. It will run similar to past conventions but on the first day, Wednesday, 29 July, we plan on opening registration at 10 AM and the vendor hall at 1 PM. The contest hall – with associated contest registration – will also open at 10 AM. The 3-hour buffer, we feel, will help with the rush to get registered before the vendor halls open to the membership in general. Volunteers: While our target audience for volunteer positions is our local Texas clubs the positions will be open to anyone in IPMS across the country. There are links to our SignUpGenius pages off the main Nats 2020 home page (www.nats2020.com). While the team is still putting together a “thank you” for the volunteers we are leaning toward convention t-shirts for each of the volunteers. Details will be up on the website in the coming month or two. Flying into the convention? We recommend that you fly into Austin, Texas. We will have a shuttle service arranged to get members from Austin-Bergstrom Intl Airport to the embassy Suites and all four overflow hotels on the first two days of the convention: Wednesday and Thursday. Once I finalize the schedule with the shuttle company in the next month or two, I will post it on the Nats 2020 website. I will be communicating with the shuttle company that I envision the shuttle(s) running from noon to about 9 PM each day. Award sponsorships: Around the same time we have the web store items up on the IPMS web site we will have award sponsorship links live as well on the IPMS web store. We encourage all chapters across the country to sponsor a category. Links to these sponsorship items will be up on the Nats 2020 website soon. Contest Categories, Rules, and Forms: We are expecting the updated 2020 contest categories and rules in a few weeks from Mark and Eileen Persichetti. Once I have these, I will post to the 2020 website. Contest forms are already available for download in PDF and Word format from the 2020 website. We will have hard-copy forms on-hand at the contest registration desk at the convention. Theme Awards: The theme award for the 2020 National Convention will be The Six Flags Over Texas. Detail of the awards can be viewed here: http://www.nats2020.com/contest_pages/theme.html. Seminars: We have an initial, draft seminar schedule set-up and ready to go. Once we finalize the seminar schedule I will post to the website. Expect this sometime in the early spring. Tours: We are close to locking-in two tours: One for Thursday (July 30th) to The Alamo and San Antonio Riverwalk and one for Friday (July 31st) to Fredericksburg, Texas and the National Museum of the Pacific War (aka, the Nimitz Museum). We anticipate these tickets to go on sale with the rest of the convention items. If they sell out, we will look to add additional buses to each trip and then open up more tickets for sale. As usual, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me at director.nats2020@gmail.com. In addition, on the staff page of the Nats 2020 website: http://www.nats2020.com/staff.html we have the e-mail of each of the department heads listed. If you have a specific question for one of those departments, I encourage you to reach out to them directly. The Nats Planning Machine will continue to chug along and gain steam as we approach the summer. ~Model On Len Pilhofer, IPMS #49932 Convention Chair, IPMS/USA National Convention 2020
  11. Greetings All, In putting together a convention decal sheet for next year’s event, we’re looking for your ideas for Texas-themed subjects. We’ve come up with several ideas for aircraft, but are still researching Texas subjects that might appeal to military vehicle, automotive, ships, space (other than the obvious NASA ties), Sci-Fi, etc. We don’t want to limit the decals to just aircraft subjects, so … put on your thinking caps and let us know what you want to see. Possible subjects might include law enforcement vehicles, naval vessels, race cars, something with a Texas–themed movie connection … use your imagination. Please send an email with your ideas to Rob Booth: rbooth@hctc.net. Please be sure to note how it fits the Texas theme, what specific kit(s) and scale would be applicable, and include some pictures for reference. Deadline for ideas is December 31, 2019 to allow sufficient time for design and production. Thanks, Len Pilhofer
  12. Greetings All, As expected, the Embassy Suites room block sold out very quickly…in about 4 hours to be exact. There are still rooms available at the overflow properties: Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Candlewood Suites. I am having problems with the link Haven Management (owner of all 4 overflow properties) gave me for the Country Inns and Suites. I have a note into their room block manager to get back with me on these issues. So, for the time-being, I am not activating this link on the Nats 2020 webpage. I will activate it as soon as the issues are resolved. As a reminder, we will be running a shuttle service between the four overflow hotels and the Embassy Suites during the entire time of the convention. We envision it running between 8 AM and 8PM daily during all 4 days of the show. Other stops will include downtown San Marcos as well as the Premium and Tanger Outlet Malls just to the south of the Embassy Suites and San Marcos Conf Center. As we get closer to convention time next summer, I will put details on the website pertaining to the shuttle schedule and specific stop locations. Our group rooms coordinator that is managing the Embassy Suites room block for our convention will be sending me weekly reports between now and next July on the number of rooms available at the end of each week. More specifically, as those of you that have reservations and then need to cancel because of various reasons, I will see those rooms at the end of each week. For this reason, I am starting a stand-by list for those of you who could not get an Embassy Suites room but still wish to have one come convention time. If you wish to be on this list, please send me an e-mail (director.nats2020@gmail.com) with the subject: “Embassy Suites Stand-by List” and I will add you to my spreadsheet (name and e-mail). I will then send this spreadsheet to our group rooms coordinator at the Embassy Suites at the end of every week. If you are in need of cancelling your reservation at the Embassy Suites please send me an e-mail first (director.nats2020@gmail.com) before you cancel online and I will immediately pass your cancellation request to our group rooms coordinator at the Embassy Suites. She will in-turn send you an e-mail with your cancellation confirmation number and then take the next name off of the IPMS supplied spreadsheet and send that next person an e-mail with a reservation number as well as a phone number to call to link your credit card with the reservation number in order to hold the room. For those of you reading this e-mail/post I ask that you spread the word with other members in your chapters so that if they do have a room and are not on my distro or read the IPMS forum, they know to e-mail me if they wish to cancel. As usual, please send me any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to find you and answer. Best Regards, Len Pilhofer
  13. The Embassy Suites room block sold out in about 4 hours...and as of right now they are at 100% capacity for the convention dates (29 July - 1 Aug). This weekend I will be sending out more updates as to how we are going to manage filling rooms for those that wish to stay at the Embassy Suites as various members cancel their reservations during the upcoming year. I will post an update here on the forum - under a new topic/thread - as well as send an e-mail to all those that have signed-up for my e-mail announcements. Also keep in mind that there are still rooms at the overflow hotels...linked from the convention web page...and we will be running a shuttle between these hotels and the Embassy Suites during the entire time of the convention (Wed-Sat).
  14. I just checked to make sure it works...and, I was able to reserve a room no problem (did not follow through with it so I did not actually take one out of inventory). It is 3:14 PM here on my clock. I'm not sure how much more I can help from where I sit.
  15. Greetings All, First off, my apologies for the hiccup this past weekend on the room block opening. I was on the phone with our group room coordinator at the San Marcos Embassy Suites this morning and they are ready to release the room block to us tomorrow, Tues, 10 Sept, at 3PM central time (4PM Eastern, 2PM Mountain, 1PM Pacific). Before the end of today (Monday, 9 Sept) I will update the website (http://www.nats2020.com/registration_pages/hotels.html) to reflect the link with instructions to the Embassy Suites room block. If you click on the link before 3PM central tomorrow and try to make a reservation it will say the hotel is “sold out”. This just means the room block is not open, not sold out. There are plenty of rooms available - very close to the original 260 in our block, minus some I have carved out for IPMS E-Board and other staff. I have heard a few were able to make reservations but I‘m not going to dwell on how…the point is a vast majority of the rooms are open. Also, I requested more rooms to be available at the convention rate on Tues, 28 July. Embassy Suites stated they can support this. I will be on the phone with our group room coordinator tomorrow right before 3PM (Central) to make sure this goes off without a hitch. The mistake I made this time around was arranging for the rooms to open on a weekend, and if there is a glitch no one is around to address it until Monday. My bad…I’ll remember this the next time I head-up a convention (sarcasm inserted here). You will see another e-mail/forum/FB post from me in a day or two on how we are going to handle the sold-out hotel (once our block is depleted) to ensure those that want a room can get one if someone cancels before June 27th. Too much detail for a single e-mail and I wish not to confuse the subjects. As always, send me any questions you may have (director.nats2020@gmail.com) and I’ll do my best to find an answer. -Len
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