Meet the Host Committee

Mark Pallans

Nonie McCandless

Each year the Annual Conference Committee volunteers their time to ensuring the APCO Annual Conference & Expo runs smoothly. The chairs, selected almost 18 months prior to the conference, have the big task of ensuring that close to 200 volunteers are well trained and equipped to assist the 5,500 conference attendees over the course of 6 days. If you think that sounds like a tall order, it is!

We recently spoke with APCO 2018’s co-chairs, Nonie McCandless and Mark Pallans, to get their perspective on the upcoming conference.

What is the most gratifying part of being on the conference committee?

Mark Pallans: I enjoy using my skills to help out wherever I am capable.  Here with the APCO conference, I can work with a team of other volunteers to help present a product that attendees will both enjoy and learn from.

Nonie McCandless: For me the most gratifying part of being on the committee has been how everyone (APCO staff, previous conference committees and the CEC (Conference and Exposition Committee members) contributed knowledge and information to our Nevada Chapter members so that we had the ability to be a successful conference committee and to work with APCO to ensure the conference is a success for everyone attending.

If you could only do one thing in Vegas, what would that be?

MP: Probably visiting the Valley of Fire State Park.  When you see a place like the Grand Canyon it is primarily a visual experience because of its size.  When you travel through Valley of Fire it is not only visual but it is hands on because you are inside it and not looking over a rim.  The rocks, the painter’s palette of colors everywhere, the sight of ancient rock carvings, hiking through slot canyons all only an hour from the City and all being seen and sensed in just a few hours of leisure time really has an impact.

NM: I really hope I can visit the Mob Museum it would be great opportunity to learn about another part of American History.

What are you most excited about at APCO 2018?

MP: Public safety communications technology is changing dynamically.  This year’s conference will feature many advances with FirstNet leading the way.

NM: I always love the exhibit hall and I am hoping this year in Nevada that we have the biggest vendor show with lots of new vendors!

What tips would you give to a new attendee?

MP: The annual conference and trade show features more educational sessions and exhibits than the average attendee can absorb in two days.  Look through the program, highlight your interests, plan your class and floor time and try not to be distracted by Las Vegas Boulevard.  Also, “hydrate”!!  100 degrees is not uncommon nor is the 5% to 12% humidity common here in August.

NM: Make sure that you attend the new attendee webinar, it is a great chance to help orient you to the conference schedule so you get the most out of your conference experience. Don’t forget to take those opportunities to network with attendees some of those you meet may become lifelong friends. Grab some swag in the vendor hall to take home to your coworkers they will love it!

Why should someone in public safety communications attend APCO 2018?

MP: Simply put, the APCO Conference is the only location that is dedicated solely to public safety and telecommunicator community.

NM: There are so many opportunities to develop your leadership skills through leadership tracks, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming technology changes.  APCO staff and committee volunteers really work to provide the best training and an incredible exhibit hall experience with the most current technology for Public Safety professionals being showcased.

What is it like working as a team with hundreds of volunteers?

MP: It is both thrilling and exciting to work with APCO members from all over the country who enjoy supporting their organization.

NM: It has been great meeting all the volunteers and working with them on different projects and tasks. APCO and previous conference committees provided our Nevada committee members with the opportunities to shadow them and be a part of the last year’s conference from the beginning to end and they shared their experiences.  Working with volunteers is a very positive experience because we all want to be there to help and make the conference run smoothly.


We cannot say thank you enough to the thousands of volunteers who have given their time over the last 84 years.  To be a part of this impressive volunteer effort, visit