If this is September, it's conference a go-go Hmmm, let's see, judging by the calendar on the wall this is September. And in this business of commercial real estate, that means at least two things should be uppermost in our minds right about now (besides death and taxes) -- summer's over and a bevy of conferences are about to dominate our travel schedules for the next few months.

In fact, between now and Thanksgiving, most people in our business will manage to deposit heaping amounts of hard-earned capital into the bank accounts of the nation's major airlines and hoteliers. It occurs to me that somebody ought to tally the economic impact of fall conference travel on the general health of the travel and tourism industry. Now that's a big joint venture if ever I saw one ...

Is everybody ready for NACORE, ASHA, NIC, ALFA, NMHC, NAREIT, ULI, etc.? If you're like me, you either didn't take a vacation this year because you're "just too busy," or the time you did take off was far too brief and hectic. No matter, bunkies, it's time to put on your networking hats and soak up some of the educational opportunities that are about to avail themselves to us.

On the following pages of this issue, you'll find that we've been quite busy around here (not taking time off, remember?) putting together a few conference previews and schedules to get you started on the right foot for your numerous fall sojourns. Of particular note are the NACORE, ASHA, NIC and Lodging Conference meetings coming up in September and early-October.

For the first time, we're providing substantial conference previews because: 1. nobody else is, and 2. because we clearly take our role as the No. 1 real estate information provider seriously.

And rather than mere observers, we're active participants in these conferences. For example, I'll be speaking on a number of panels and coordinating roundtable discussions with industry leaders. Is it pure ego-gratification or publicity mongering? Hardly, though many of you have noticed that my picture down there has gotten larger over the years ... In order to do our jobs and identify the important trends for tomorrow, we have to discuss them today, face to face with the people who are making them happen. Our goal is to be on the forefront of the news you can use to position yourself and your firm for the future.

So the bottomline is you better book your plans now. Gone are the days of waiting until a week ahead to make airline and hotel reservations. These days you're counted among the frequent flyer gods (not to mention the fortunate few) if you actually have an empty seat next to you or get upgraded. And just try to find a decent hotel room in New York City or San Francisco come this fall. (Forget the price, that went throught the roof a year ago.)

But most of all, listen to what the experts say about what's happening right now in these dynamic times. If you can't make it to many events, stay tuned right here with NREI.

Here are our important Web addresses: Intertec real estate group home page: www.internetreview.com Ben Johnson: ben_johnson@intertec.com Melanie Gibbs: melanie_gibbs@intertec.com Carrie King: carrie_king@intertec.com Tracy Heath: tracy_heath@intertec.com Randy Henry: randy_henry@intertec.com Kelly Angell: kelly_angell@intertec.com