I attend a few conferences a year, but specifically in the medical field. I need to be on top of the new posters and papers, they are a great starting point for a problem statement.
I like the idea of of finding new talent, locally, even here in the Chicagoland area, good talent is hard to find.
There will be one talk I will miss at the conference - Medical Design, What's Best, Generalist or Specialist
While I am certainly qualified as a specialist, I don't think it should be closed. Any generalist can easily adapt to a quality system a company creates for the FDA. It isn't up to the designer to create or maintain the quality system. And while it is good knowledge to have, it only slows the design process, it does not change it.