Trade Show TalesBlog

EDPA ACCESS 2015 Recap: Word on the Street — Dec. 7th thru Dec. 11th

December 12th, 2015 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

EDPA ACCESS Review

Happy December! Santa is almost here, we are constructing arks in the Pacific NW (rain, rain, and more rain), and I am still on an an energetic HIGH from the Annual EDPA ACCESS Conference. For those unable to attend, I wanted to share a recap of this event, an annual favorite of mine.

2015 EDPA ACCESS was held at the Red Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. First, standing ovation to the ACCESS team for choosing one of the top three locations ever — self-contained, great rooms, great restaurants, and a casino just far enough away from the strip.

The layout was perfect. Every session, social event or program was within walking distance… and no more than five minutes from your room. This (and much more) made the event location darn near ideal.

The sessions were great. Admittedly I was not blown away when I first saw the program. Not disappointed — just not blown away. But Wednesday and Thursday were off the charts good from an educational and a collaborative standpoint. Like in past years, I mapped out the sessions on my calendar, not leaving any openings. And I was glad I did. Some highlights…

The Management Issues Forum on Wednesday

The forum gave CFO’s, CEO’s, VP’s, GM’s and Sales Managers the opportunity to discuss pressing issues affecting us all. Not be talked too but to talk together about the real issues we face. Topics included the recent/pending NLRB decision about temporary employees/labor, design costs and fees (do you charge, do you not?), and hiring strategies/difficulties related to Gen X vs. Gen Y vs. Millennials.

As a business manager, it was comforting knowing that the same challenges we face at Classic are present at companies of all sizes.

First-timers Meeting

Near and dear to my EDPA heart is the First-timers session. Like past years, I was asked to serve as a mentor during this session. Some first-timers are employees of existing EDPA-member companies, but many that are new to the association.

Laura Marzella Fee and her team created a welcoming environment for newbies to EDPA, and I was able to co-mentor with Stacy Barnes, a long time friend from Eagle Management.

More than 10 years ago, I drank the EDPA kool-aid and have never regretted its sweet taste. So this was another opportunity for me to share why I like EDPA so much, and brag about all the good I see our association doing in our industry. EDPA provides college scholarships to industry members, assists financially and emotionally those who have lost loved ones to sickness or tragedy via the Randy Smith Foundation, and helps mentor college students at Bemidji State University and FIT in NYC.

Thanks to my group for listening to Stacy and asking great questions.

An Owner’s Guide to The Future

This was one of the keynotes, given so eloquently by David Zach, a futurist. David’s used real world examples of how each decision we make during each moment of our lives affects everything in our lives from that very moment. If you were there you know what I mean. SQUIRREL!!

The business decisions we make, and many we don’t, are a reminder to make a hard decision. Trust yourself. Delaying the tough decisions often do more damage in the long run than making a wrong decision in the short-term.

Some books to explore:

  1. The Pirate Organization by Rodolphe Durand
  2. Curious by Ian Leslie
  3. Zero to One by Peter Theil

Good stuff… and a terrific keynote speaker!

2015 EDPA Portable/Modular Summit

Moderated by Jay Burkette from ExpoDisplay, this year’s summit was one of the most interactive conversations we’ve ever had. A big thanks to those in audience who spoke up and kept the conversation rolling.

The best takeaway was that as a builders, designers, and producers that we are ALL building Custom Exhibits.

What??? did Kevin just say that?!?!? Blasphemy!

Let me explain how two EDPA members put it. Which was spot on!

Inside the industry, we focus so much on wanting to compartmentalize and categorize each business. You manufacture banner stands and pop ups, so you are a Portable Manufacturer. Over there you build and sell metal so you are a Systems Manufacturer. Then you over there, you sell metal mixed with some laminated components, so your are a Hybrid Manufacturer. And then you, yes you in the front row, you build everything out of wood, so you are a Custom Exhibit Manufacturer.

Those classifications do not work anymore. Look on the floor at your next tradeshow hall and try to make sense of the 20 x 40 build with a metal skeleton, surrounded by beautifully custom laminated walls that include tension fabric lightbox inserts. This island is surrounded by modular pedestals and workstations, all of which have been customized to the client’s needs.

For too long we have tried fit in our little compartments in an effort not to offend anyone or step on anyone’s toes.

I thank the group for their candor. It was a great conversation, and one that will continue to evolve.

In Conclusion

You know I am an EDPA fan. I am a proud member of the Board of Directors for EDPA. But I am also very proud of the continued conversations the association fosters and the education it provides us all. Especially each December at ACCESS.

If you are not a member but are interested in hearing more, please call or email me anytime. I would love to share more about how EDPA can help your business and you.

OK, time to get back to this Ark Building Project. It won’t build itself. And as I write this we are almost at 8″ of rain in 3.5 days with more to come. Anyone know where I can find two jackalopes? The Sasquatch couple is already standing inline waiting to board.

Have a great weekend with your families.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

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