The International Field Directors and Technologies Conference (IFD&TC)

Rita KoontzThis week the IFD&TC community learned the heartbreaking news of the death of our dear friend and longtime registrar, Rita Koontz. Rita passed away on Saturday September 15th after a 5 month bout with bone cancer.

Rita was a mentor to so many of us in our survey research careers. She was a mainstay to the conference for over 20 years, keeping it organized, helping to ensure its continuation, and making it a welcoming and nurturing environment for brand new attendees and people who had been attending for decades alike.

Rita began assisting with the organization of the conference in 1994, and went on to become Conference Registrar in 1996. After a number of years training me and others to take over from her, she stepped down from the Registrar role upon her retirement in 2015. Even after retirement, she was always willing to share her sage advice and historical knowledge of the conference. Her kindness and thoughtfulness were legendary. For the past 10 years that I’ve been privileged to be her friend, I’ve often asked myself “what would Rita do” when trying to work through a difficult organizational question. That strategy has often helped me find the patience and supportiveness that she showed to everyone she worked with. I know Rita was an inspiration to all of us.

Rita KoontzRita meant so much to so many people. She helped to create a very special culture within IFD&TC that is not often found in professional organizations. We are sure many of you have stories you would like to share about Rita. We would like to assemble a memory book of those stories related to IFD&TC, so please don’t hesitate to email your story to me or my co-registrar, Kevin Tharp, at the addresses below.

On behalf of the whole organizing team at IFD&TC, we offer our sincere condolences to Rita’s family, and everyone who worked with her at the SESRC and through IFD&TC. She will be so very greatly missed.

Kelly Elver and Kevin Tharp
IFD&TC Co-Registrars

You can read the message Rita’s family shared on Facebook here.


Many thanks to all who attended the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, USA! It is the continued participation from so many talented individuals and organizations that make the conference a success, year after year.

2018 Conference Follow-up for Attendees
  • Did you miss filling out a conference evaluation? Check your e-mail for an invitation to complete the online version.
  • Looking for slides to that great presentation you saw? IFD&TC encourages you to contact presenters directly to obtain slides for presentations or panel discussions from the 2018 conference program.
  • Looking for the contact information for a presenter or someone you met at the conference? The list of 2018 attendees is available alphabetically or by organization.

The 2019 International Field Directors & Technologies Conference
The Hilton Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from May 19 through May 22, 2019



The IFD&TC provides a unique forum for government, academic institutions and not-for-profit agencies to informally communicate with each other. Attendees include field directors, field technicians and survey managers. There are no membership dues and the only activity is our annual conference each May.  To learn more about the purpose of the conference, and see if your organization is eligible, see the conference charter and bylaws pages.

If you have questions, please contact Kelly Elver, Co-Registrar at kelver@ssc.wisc.edu to learn more.