#ReigniteGP 2017 in Gauteng, South Africa – Part 1

David Meego - Click for blog homepageWhere has David been? He has not posted anything on the blog for long time?

Well, the answer to the questions is that I have been really busy with a variety of events and activities.

The first of which was the ReigniteGP 2017 conference in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

Reignite GP 2017 was hosted by Braintree with Dynamics Africa as the headline sponsor.

The event took place on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd May 2017 and included pre and post event Academy training.

A little bit of background… My good friend and fellow MVP, Mariano Gomez, had planned to go to South Africa to present an Advanced Development Training Course organised by Pieter Cornelius from Braintree by Vox. While Mariano and Pieter were discussing plans for a small conference type event after the training course, Mariano suggested that he contact a number of ISV (Independent Software Vendors) and hosting partners that he knew and invite them to come as well.

The next thing we know, a larger two day conference was created with representatives from BinaryStream, Rockton Software, Mekorma, TitaniumGP, NjevityToGo, Solver, K2 and Winthrop Development Consultants in attendance.

This conference’s aim was to reignite the excitement and enthusiasm for the Microsoft Dynamics GP product and dispel the myths spread by competitors regarding the product’s demise. Microsoft Dynamics GP is not going away and is going from strength to strength with each new release. The thriving Dynamics GP ISV market, where amazing products and services are available, is just proof of the long term future of the product.

But I have gotten a little ahead of myself.

I flew direct from Perth to Johannesburg with South African Airways on the evening of Thursday 18th May 2017 and arrived early in the morning on Friday. Following instructions from Pieter I caught the Gautrain from OR Tambo Airport to Rosebank (via Sandton).

Once I got to Roseback, Pieter “eventually” picked me up and drove me to the Protea Hotel Wanderers by Marriott. I said eventually as he directed me to the exit at the opposite end of the station from where he was waiting and so he had to drive round the block to find me. That said, I did not have to wait long. 🙂

Pieter and I dropped of my bags and were joined by Mariano for breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.

As it was still early and my room was not ready, I joined Mariano for the last day of his training class at the Vox Telecom campus. Mariano even asked me to help cover some of the Service Based Architecture functionality, including demonstrating the SBA functionality in my products, Batch Posting Service Toolkit and GP Power Tools.

While on campus I had a chance to meet Heath Huxtable, which was a blast from the past. I had worked with Heath in my pre-Microsoft days as Winthrop Dexterity Consultants selling Omni Tools.

At the end of the day, we got a class photo which has Mariano behaving like Fonzie from Happy Days.

On the weekend, it was a chance for Mariano and I to be tourists and relax. The day started with breakfast with Tim Gordon from Alphasoft. It was great to meet in person after a number of years emailing and, more recently, skyping. You might know of Tim as the man behind DexSense – IntelliSense for Dexterity. During breakfast Tim laughed at me when I mentioned travelling on the Gautrain (so called because it joins Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Gauteng region). It turns out that my English upbringing did not explain that the letter “G” in Afrikaans is pronounced as an “H” with phlegm (reference to Achmed). So now I know how to correctly pronounce it.

Pieter had organised for us and Neil Palmer to visit The Lion & Safari Park to get to see some of Africa’s animals up close. I have been to South Africa twice before on holiday and had done the “Safari” thing, but seeing these magnificent animals never gets old. Also, the park offered a couple of experiences that I have not had before, namely being able to pet lion cubs and stroke a cheetah.

Pieter, Mariano (standing on kerb), Neil and David at the Lion & Safari Park

We arrived at the park and met with Adriaan Davel and his family, just in time to see the lions being fed. Most of the lions at the park have been rescued from zoos or private collections and would not survive if released into the wild. They definitely had learnt when feeding time was and which vehicle brought the food for them. The following photos were taken from inside the safety of Pieter’s car.

After the lions were fed, we moved to the next section of the park where the white lions were chilling and looking splendid around the watering hole.

I also managed to get some great video of the magnificent king of beasts.

Lion drinking at The Lion and Safari Park (direct link)

Lions chilling at The Lion and Safari Park (direct link)

While the star attractions are the lions, we also saw Zebra, Ostrich, Wildebeest, Blesbok, Wild Dogs, Guinea fowl, Crocodile and a very inquisitive Giraffe who was looking for food.

After the self-drive safari, we had the highlight of the day for me….. spending time with Lion Cubs and a Cheetah. The cubs were very cute, but like all kittens still have very sharp claws and they liked to play rough.

The Cheetah was so tall and lean, you can tell that they are built for speed. Sadly, I think she had had enough of visitors and was ready to be left alone.

I think the following photo sums up our experience in a number of ways.

After the fun of the Lion Park, which brought out the carnivore in all of us, Pieter, Mariano, Neil and I had a wonderful dinner at The Butcher Shop & Grill. I had a fantastic fillet steak with garlic sauce. A fitting end to a really enjoyable day. Thanks Pieter for organising it.

The next morning, Mariano and I caught up with Miguel Lozano from TitaniumGP and Chris Dobkins from Njevity for breakfast. It was great to finally meet Miguel properly in person. Oh yeah, it was good to see Chris too. 🙂

After the excitement of the previous day at the Lion Park, Mariano, Miguel and I had a relaxing Sunday doing some shopping, visiting both the Melrose Arch shopping district and Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. I had to get the obligatory photo with the great man himself.

We were so carried away with our shopping experience that time go away from us and we had to rush back to the hotel to get ready to go to the Vox campus for a traditional South African Braai (BBQ) with the conference organisers, sponsors and presenters. It was a delicious “spread” and it was really great to catch up with all the people that were responsible for making the ReigniteGP conference successful.

After dinner we headed back to hotel to get some rest before the conference proper started early the next morning.

Stay tuned….


This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.

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