The Family Business

When you’re sitting at the back of a panel in a reaaalllly big ballroom, watching your favorite celebrity on the big screen and listening to their witty comments on the sound system, take a moment and silently thank the volunteers on the Tech Ops crew.

This reporter spent about an hour in one of several designated lairs for the 200+ staff of Tech Ops on Thursday, asking many of them why they volunteer for this particular branch of the convention, especially when they will happily work many more hours than their official schedule requires. Their answers all amounted to, “Because you can see more, meet more people, and get so much more out of the con.”

You don’t have to know someone on the inside to volunteer, but almost everyone I spoke with had been brought into the fray by a friend. “It feels like family,” was the sentiment repeated to me again and again.

One of the most recognizable faces of Tech Ops is Dr. Stephen Granade, who is not only a guest panelist for the science and space tracks, but he’s also a regular on the Late Show and in many of the skits on DCTV.

When I asked him how he got involved with DCTV, he said with a smile, “I have a theater degree and very little shame.”

To this reporter, Dr. Granade epitomizes the coolness of volunteering for Dragon*Con. He is enthusiastic and hilarious. Watching him on DCTV makes me proud to be a part of this amazing convention.

If you’ve ever considered throwing your hat in the volunteer ring, give sizeable consideration to the Tech Ops family because it truly is a family business. They provide a chance to be a part of one of the largest staffs of the convention—a chance to be a vital cog in the con wheel, to facilitate the fun, to raise the enthusiasm, and most of all, to help every attendee have a memorable weekend. You’ll end up making so many friends you’ll be eager to sign up for next year.

Author of the article

When Suzanne Church isn't chasing characters through other realms, she's hanging with her two children. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, On Spec, and Cicada and in several anthologies including Urban Green Man and When the Hero Comes Home 2. Her collection Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction is due out in spring 2014 from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. She is a three time finalist and 2012 winner of the Prix Aurora Award in the Short Fiction category.