Houston, we don’t have a problem.

I was recently asked along to the ZEMA 4 Launch and Learn event in Houston, Texas on April 22. The mission I chose to accept was to spend a full day at the Minute Maid Park shooting the events as they unfolded for a new video. It was an added bonus that the event happened to be followed by a face off between the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners later that evening.

Game day began very early; we arrived at the stadium just as daylight was breaking over the outfield.  As ZE’s Senior New Media Designer, whenever I’m granted access to “behind the scenes” it has always been very interesting. As we were guided through the gates I couldn’t help but marvel at the immense structure and pristine condition of the field.

After a little bit of set up time and the arrival of attendees and presenters in the upstairs conference room, Fran Rolan, ZE’s Sales Director for North American Markets, kicked off the proceedings with a presentation on the evolution of data management. Fran’s presentation featured a great moment where he touched on the story behind Moneyball, and how data collection and analysis turned a fledging organization into a winning one.

Next up to bat was Waleed El-Ramly, ZE’s Chief Operating Officer. Waleed hit a homerun with his informative and fun ‘ZE Game Show’ presentation, which featured some very entertaining questions about our flagship product solution the ZEMA Suite.

After a quick break, several tweets and numerous comments from the locals about how poorly the Astros have been playing, Ronnie Reid, Manager of Business Applications for Air Liquide went for the triple with his presentation on Integration and Distribution. Ronnie touched on several topics including integration with multiple trade and risk systems, curve generation and the development of adaptors.

This was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Trends in Energy and Commodity Market Data’, where representatives from Argus Media, Platts and MDA Information Systems LLC came together to discuss in terms of the ‘what’s what’ in market data and forward curves.

Rounding up the morning’s proceedings was a group presentation by ZE’s Strategic Alliance Partner Solution, which involved representatives from Interactive Data, Cargill ETM, IIR Energy and ZE.

While the attendees enjoyed lunch, movement started to happen on the field. Members of the ground crew began tending to the already impeccable field.

However, as the day went on and I continued to monitor the grounds crew, somehow the grass and the dirt appeared to shimmer brighter in the afternoon sun. Just as the ground appeared to be finishing up, a dozen or so players took to the outfield. I have a theory that all comedians and actors want to be rock stars. Well it appears that all baseball players want to be football players. These particular players loosened up by running endless amounts of square-out and slant patterns, intertwined with wind sprints and some basic stretching.

Back to the conference and after lunch we listened to an excellent case study on Critical Risk Management by Aaron Walters, Senior Director of Settlements at CME Group.

This was followed by presentations by Art Gelber, President of Gelber and Associates, on Data Analysis in the Natural Gas Market and by Mike Prokop, Managing Direct of Alliance Risk Group on the Effect of Industry Regulations and Legal Developments on Energy Trading Industry.

It was by now that proceedings were coming to a close. Waleed El-Ramly gave a final presentation on ZEMA’s Curve Manager, which was followed by a brief Q & A before the big game.

While the reception kicked into high gear, fans started arriving, the grounds crew continued grooming and I kept on shooting.

As the sun went down both literally and figuratively on the home team, it became very apparent that the folks I had spoken to early that day were correct about the team’s level of play, but it didn’t really matter. I had gotten some great footage and had spent a near perfect day at the ballpark for the ZEMA 4 Launch and Learn.

We would like to thank all the speakers and attendees for their contributions at the conference, with special thanks to the sponsors: Platts, Interactive Data, Argus Media, IIR Energy, Allegro and MDA Information Systems. Standby for touchdown with our new video of the event.