25 Scenes From Symantec PartnerEngage 2009

This year, Symantec brought in almost 400 of its top VARs, LARs and distributors to attend its annual partner conference, PartnerEnage 2009, at the beautiful JW Marriott in Orlando, Fla. During the three-day conference, from Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, Symantec channel partners came away with new channel tools, a new services strategy and a brand new set of culinary skills. Here are a few scenes from the show.

Steve Barone, CEO of Creative Breakthroughs (left) and Symantec CEO Enrique Salem (right) put business aside and just hang out during the Symantec PartnerEngage welcome reception.

Symantec partners Frank Fleming, (left), of Express Ability, Francis Sherk, (middle), and Bill Johnson, (right) of XCEND Group, eat, drink and enjoy the balmy Florida evening at the patio welcome reception.

Channel partners kept the bartenders busy. Free beer, wine and cocktails from the open bar at the Symantec PartnerEngage welcome reception added to the festive atmosphere.

(From left to right) Dan Gregory of Creative Breakthroughs; Tim Wiley, Symantec senior director of systems engineering; Jason Nichols, president of Sub2; Rick Moore, director of Widestreets; and Greg Guracech, chief operating officer for Creative Breakthroughs, live it up at the Cuban-themed welcome party.

Dan Gregory, (left), David Glenn, (center), and Greg Guracech, (right), of Creative Breakthroughs have a few drinks at the PartnerEngage outdoor welcome reception.

Enrique Salem addresses almost 400 of Symantec's top channel partners invited to PartnerEngage 2009. During his keynote, Salem discusses the Sell With program, Symantec's new strategy for services, which enables channel partners to sell services around products with Symantec tools and support once they register a deal.

During a PartnerEngage keynote, Rich Spring, Symantec senior vice president, fills partners in on upcoming releases, such as new online demonstration tool, SymDemo, the new enterprise security specialization program, and new protections around some enterprise product renewals.

Symantec partners and journalists enjoyed a session of "speed dating" -- whipping through a series five-minute mini-interviews. As in actual speed dating, (we've heard), we got all we needed to know in five minutes and were ready to move on.

Fred Patterson, Symantec director of enterprise channels for Canada, honors the most outstanding Canadian partners for their efforts during the Symantec Awards Presentation.

Steve Trilling, Symantec senior vice president of security and response, describes to his audience in detail, and with much animation, some of the security technologies developed in Symantec's labs ranging from heuristics, to browser protection, to intrusion prevention.

Symantec promoted its new online partner community on Symantec Connect, a new forum for partners to rant, network and problem-solve by reaching out to their peers.

Randy Cochran, Symantec vice president of North American channel sales, played the master of ceremonies throughout the PartnerEngage event. During his presentation, Cochran told channel partners attending the conference about upcoming enablement tools, including the company's new online partner community on Symantec Partner Connect.

For the culminating event on the last night, Symantec executives handed out aprons and divided teams of about 12 by colors for a conference-wide IronChef cooking contest. Teams were then given designated cooking tables, complete with grills, headed by their own personal chef. Once apron and toque were donned, team members had to choose from a variety of fresh ingredients which they had to turn into a seven course meal in just one hour.

Neon lights, giant video screens, the boom of the announcer's voice over the microphone, and smoke from the stoves added to the excitement as partners in toques and aprons slave over hot stoves to turn raw chicken, seafood and fresh vegetables into a seven course masterpiece -- or at least something remotely edible. Art Gilliland, Symantec vice president of product management, at left, gets into the swing.

Chef team leaders waved flags as they tried to assemble their team of Symantec channel partners for the mega conference-wide cook-off.

Standing on a platform in the middle of the enormous ballroom, Rich Spring, Symantec senior vice president, helped galvanize the teams into action by announcing instructions and giving a play-by- play description of the teams' progress as they stirred, whisked, sliced and diced.

Symantec partners stand by in toques and aprons -- wine glasses in hand -- waiting for the next instruction.

In his red chef attire, Symantec CEO Enrique Salem helps SVP Rich Spring oversee the IronChef competition.

Partners use a lull in the action to socialize and look over their food as it cooks -- and drink.

One partner is clearly in charge of a steaming pan of southwest chicken stir fry as it sizzles on the grill.

IronChef team members put their gourmet creations out on display for the judges to sample.

Teams stand proudly by plates of gourmet (or almost gourmet) food. Now it's just up to the judges. (The lobster macaroni and cheese actually carried the day)

Symantec's own coverband goes to town on a bunch of -- well -- cover songs during the final PartnerEngage gala party.

PartnerEngage conference attendees let loose on the dance floor after a full day of keynotes, meetings, and a cutthroat IronChef competition, while enjoying the balmy Florida night.