Virtual Advisory Meeting

Bureau of Economic Analysis

When the world went virtual, we helped BEA join the (inter)action.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) produces economic account statistics that enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the nation’s economy.

BEA’s advisory committee advises the director on matters related to the development of BEA’s economic accounts, especially in areas of new economic activities arising from innovative technologies, and provides recommendations from the perspectives of the economics profession, business, and government.

Government clients need secure, reliable communication solutions—even during a pandemic. And that’s exactly what we delivered.

BEA sought to hold its first-ever virtual advisory committee meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Requirements included:

  • Create a secure, user-friendly online platform for committee members to share and discuss economic information and updates with internal and external audiences.
  • Use BEA’s approved hosting platform, Webex, despite the technical challenges faced because of Webex’s increased use, reduced bandwidth, and decreased customer support during COVID-19.
  • Collate and present content from multiple sources and speakers, including an interactive Q&A session.

Government clients need secure, reliable communication solutions—even during a pandemic. And that’s exactly what we delivered.

With our production partner, Maryland Productions, Novak Birch successfully planned and hosted a secure, three-hour virtual meeting. Our solution included:

  • Virtual Meeting Planning: We worked with BEA to confirm meeting requirements, including the number of speakers and attendees, audiovisual needs, and presentation content. We identified 30 speakers and others who required interactive access and ensured that each role had the appropriate level of access.
  • Production Management:
    • We presented platform options along with the benefits and limitations of each, so that BEA could select a system that offered all necessary capabilities while also being easy to use.
    • We held one-on-one meetings with meeting staff and speakers to review technical equipment and features and to test each element (e.g., screen sharing, audio) to ensure a smooth experience.
    • We conducted more than 50 test runs with BEA and speakers to ensure that everyone was well-versed in the meeting equipment and timeline. We also held rehearsals to finalize the meeting flow and help predict and avoid any technical issues.
  • Virtual Meeting Management:
    • We facilitated the meeting, coordinating with both BEA and Maryland Productions to offer a seamless experience for BEA.
    • Because the required hosting platform, Webex, presented challenges due to its high demand during the pandemic, we developed a backup system to prepare for any issues. Participants could join by audio using a separate number if Webex experienced issues. The landing page and BEA’s website included access instructions.
    • We provided event day support. While no issues arose, we were on standby.

Government clients need secure, reliable communication solutions—even during a pandemic. And that’s exactly what we delivered.

  • Participation: Over 250 people attended the meeting using the Webex event platform.
  • Client Satisfaction: BEA’s Gianna Marrone said, “Novak Birch was instrumental in getting our members and staff ready by holding test meetings prior to the meeting. The event went very smoothly, and we had no issues with admitting people or with attendees watching and listening in. It was more than a success! We received a ton of positive feedback on how nicely the meeting was conducted.”

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Novak Birch

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