by Kaleb Roedel
In late March, the 2020 NCET Tech Showcase and Awards Gala was scheduled to take place at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center — an annual event that brings roughly 400 businesspeople together. But, as March moved along, and the coronavirus cases in Washoe County climbed, “it became clearer and clearer that we were not going to be able to hold that event,” Dave Archer, president and CEO of NCET, said in a recent Zoom call with the NNBW.
Seven months later, on Oct. 21, during a brief window when the state increased the limit on gatherings to 250 people, NCET was finally able to hold its annual event.
It did not, however, look anything like your typical awards banquet. No handshakes. No business cards exchanged. No round tables filled with lively conversations over food and drink.
Instead, roughly 100 attendees, each wearing a mask and seated at their own socially distanced table, gathered for an early afternoon ceremony inside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. And it was streamed online for those who didn’t make it.
“We had about a hundred six-foot rectangular tables, with one person sitting at each one,” Archer said of the COVID protocols put in place. “The feedback from everybody was that it felt incredibly safe being there because of social-distancing and the mask-wearing.
“But,” he continued, “people love to network in this town. And I think that’s what’s really been a challenge for so many people: losing their in-person, face-to-face contact.”