Trade Show TalesBlog

Join Us for Shared Knowledge University | June 20-21

March 28th, 2019 COMMENTS

It’s time to register for Classic Exhibits’ semi-annual Distributor Partner Training. The next Shared Knowledge University is June 21-21. See the details below for more information. Click here to download the registration form. Or click here to see the SKU video on YouTube.

Join us for Shared Knowledge University, Classic Exhibits' semi-annual distributor training.  Two full-days of sales, product, and vendor sessions, including hands-on assembly at Classic's Production Facility.

Harold Mintz Joins the Classic Family

March 21st, 2019 COMMENTS
Harold Mintz Joins Classic Exhibits

Classic Exhibits Inc. announces the addition of Harold Mintz to the Classic Family. As a Regional Sales Manager, Harold will work alongside Jen LaBruzza, the National Sales Manager, to support the Classic Distributor Partner Network throughout North America.

Harold brings over 20 years of trade show and event experience to Classic with previous leadership positions at custom houses, a portable/modular manufacturer, and a graphic printer. More recently, he worked in the entertainment industry for seven years as the Communications Director for Shady Acres Entertainment.

According to Kevin Carty, VP, “On behalf of the entire Classic Family of companies, we are excited to have Harold join us. Harold brings not just a wealth of industry knowledge, but also a great creative and inquisitive approach to relationships. He will compliment Jen LaBruzza and her efforts in creating, building, and maintaining our partnerships in North America.

On a personal note, I have known Harold for 20 plus years — first as friendly competitors which then quickly developed into a friendship. When asked internally about Harold, I tell my colleagues, ‘He is one of us’ meaning he fits our culture and how we view the relationship between Classic and our Distributor Partners. I am excited to work with him professionally.”

Harold states, “The trade show industry is chock full of creative, talented people. Classic has all that, plus a supportive, dynamic culture. I believe my background in sales, politics, training, and public speaking combined with Classic’s capabilities are a perfect fit. I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Classic Family. I look forward to working with the Distribution Network.”

On a separate note, for those who know Harold, you are familiar with his passion for organ donation programs. He states, “I donated my left kidney back in 2000. It was one of the best and most impactful things I’ve ever done. I often speak to groups large and small about the life-saving benefits of organ donation.”

Please take a moment to welcome Harold to the Classic Family. You can reach him at harold@classicexhibits.com. For more information about Harold, see his LinkedIn profile.

Classic Exhibits Inc., based in Portland, OR, designs and manufactures trade show, retail, and corporate environments for over 200 independent distributor partners. For the past two years, Classic Exhibits has been named a Find It Top 40 Exhibit Builder by EXHIBITOR Magazine.

Women in Exhibition Breakfast @ EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 | Mentoring Opportunities

March 19th, 2019 COMMENTS
Featured Speaker
Sandy Jones-Kaminski

Our thanks to everyone who supported the Annual Women in Exhibitions Breakfast at EXHIBITORLIVE. It was a huge success! Attendance increased from 100 in 2018 to 150 in 2019.

Here’s what our members are saying:

“I attend the Women in Exhibition event each year at EXHIBITORLIVE and bring the women on my team for networking and education. At this event, we are able to connect with other women in our industry who have various roles and challenges within their organizations. The breakfast is professionally facilitated with a keynote speaker to allow for education at all levels.

“I started my business 26 years ago after the President of the company I worked for told me I would be great at what I did, if I were a man. This simple statement fueled years of passion in starting and growing my own business where women play a key role. Women supporting women is the right thing to do.” – Donna Shultz, President & CEO of Mirror Show Management

“Optima was proud to sponsor the WIE breakfast at ExhibitorLive 2019! Looking around the venue that morning, I was proud to be sitting amongst the best and brightest women in the industry. I think we all felt a sense of camaraderie.

“I walked away being reminded of the importance of mentoring and being mentored. Each of us can mentor and share our knowledge and experience with someone less tenured. Being mentored doesn’t stop, no matter what age or level we are in our career, we can always learn something from someone else, especially in this industry.”  – Gina Porcaro, Account Executive at Optima Graphics, Inc.

Connecting and learning from each other is the basis for Women in Exhibitions, founded in 2002. The incredible women in our group have proven to be a valuable resource to each other. It has become critical to optimize our meeting time and location at EXHIBITORLIVE to bring more of us together. And how better to keep the connections growing and vital throughout the year than through a mentorship program?

Want to be a mentor or have a mentor?  Start with this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WIEmentorship

This year’s speaker Sandy Jones-Kaminski pointed out: “Mentorship is what you make of it. Set expectations, set goals. Each of us can learn from each other.” Sandy shared so much with us, not only about mentorships, but about networking and building a personal brand. Here is a link to her presentation if you missed it or just want to review: http://www.belladomain.com/exhibitorlive/

Both our financial and in-kind sponsors deserve so much credit: Exhibitor Media Group, Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Exhibit Concepts, Access TCA, Live Marketing, Highmark Tech, Pinnacle Exhibits, ProExhibits, AFR Furniture Rental, Brumark, Skyline-Holt, Condit, Steelhead Productions, and Exhibit Expressions. An extra special thanks to Freeman who added their support to our cause as well!

Have questions? Want to get involved? Have a great idea to name of our mentorship program? E-mail us at WomenInExhibitions@gmail.com. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Katina Rigall Zipay, Creative Director @ Classic Exhibits (katina@classicexhibits.com)

Classic Exhibits | EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 Video Recap

March 11th, 2019 COMMENTS

For over 20 years, Classic Exhibits has participated in EXHIBITORLIVE, the trade show for the trade show industry. This year, it was held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from February 25-28. Our theme was “Knot Your Typical Exhibit Builder,” which highlighted our ability to solve the knottiest design and build challenges for our Distributor Partners.

Our thanks and gratitude to the Distributor Partners who visited us at the show, and to the Classic Exhibits Family for all their hard work before, during, and after the show. Enjoy the video… Who knows? You may see someone you recognize from the show.

Do You Believe in Magic? Attending EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 in Las Vegas

March 7th, 2019 COMMENTS
Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

How many of you out there have been in your industry for longer than 5 years? 10 years? 20? Look, I’m a Millennial (but really, truly an Xennial) and part of what defines us is the sort of “bounce” from industry to industry, job to job — essentially, career building with fast jumps from one thing to the next. I’ve officially been with Exhibits Northwest in Seattle for three years, and in the Trade Show industry for… you guessed it… three years! And last week, I went to my first EXHIBITORLIVE in Las Vegas. Are you ready to hear what this “newbie” thought?

It’s a bit trite, but honestly, MAGICAL is the best word to describe it. Literal magic and figurative magic! So, for all of you seasoned pros out there, do me a favor:  remember your first real dive into your industry’s deep roots (Trade Show or otherwise) and join me as I tell you about mine.

The Magic of Sneakers

2.5 years ago, my very first 20×20 island client exhibited in Vegas, and I was on the show floor supervising the install. I knew I needed comfortable shoes, so I did some research and decided Tieks would be cute AND comfy, based on tons of excellent reviews. Here’s what some of you may not know about me:  a large part of my identity is SHOES. I’ve worked in the high-end shoe world, and I’m a bit of an admitted shoe snob. And at the time, I did not really own a pair of sneakers that didn’t look like I had them for 10+ years (because they were literally that old and I wore them to do house projects involving paint). Nor did I want to buy or wear sneakers in a professional public place!

Well, after walking 20 miles in 2 days in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, wearing little flats and walking on concrete floors, my entire body felt like I was 85 years old with bad hips. Oh, man. Lesson learned! I still love my Teiks, but my eyes were opened — I needed supportive sneakers. So, while I still want to look cute (sneakers are not my favorite shoe genre), I have learned the MAGIC of sneakers on the trade show floor! This time, I walked and walked all over EXHIBITORLIVE between Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Luxor, and I wasn’t waddling through the airport upon my departure. WIN! When your feet are happy, you can focus on making connections, saying yes to that walk back across the show floor or to drinks with a vendor. But I’m still on the hunt for shoes that are fab and feel like pillows… hmmm.

The Magic of “Behind the Curtain”

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” ~ The Wizard

Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

Events are full of behind the curtain magic. Trade Shows are no different. Walk behind a booth or look in the closet, and you’ll find electrical outlets and cords, laptop bags, extra swag and maybe even a person sneaking in a phone call or work! But what’s really cool is seeing what makes the display work: What’s behind the graphic? What’s behind that pipe and drape? What’s under the flooring? Admittedly, Exhibits Northwest does not (yet!) specialize in large format video tech — think, Giant LED Media Wall.

We refer or outsource these needs for our clients, so I’ve always been a little hands-off about taking ownership of a Media Wall as part of an exhibit strategy. But, being able to see behind the curtain (literally), to get a better understanding of how it works and how to explain to and prepare my clients for the cost (dollah dollah bills, y’all!) really helped me put some puzzle-pieces together. I slipped behind a curtain to use a hidden restroom, and low-and-behold, there was the back of a media wall! Such a great example of the specialized install skill and technology that makes them work.

Seeing a Media Wall is impressive, but the cost, time and technical skill involved in making it happen is taken for granted by the audience. There were also other cool tech innovations (moving image and RGB lightboxes, digital shadow boxes, and cookies with your printed selfie on them), but what struck me the most was really being able to see a giant Media Wall’s backside secrets!

The Magic of Team Bonding

Erica Dougherty and EXHIBITORLIVE 2019

As I said, I’ve been with Exhibits Northwest for three years, but for reasons I can only attribute to time flying by, I never really spent quality time with our team in Portland, namely, our Senior Account Executive, Laura Magdalen. Laura, thank you for being as eager as I was to get to know each other better! We experienced some MAGIC as we found out we have lots in common and can learn from each other.

We also got to hang with our newest Portland addition, Bobby Brown. Having meals and walking the show floor together, with our Manager, Michael McCord was beneficial beyond magic. We took our fast 2 days together and made the best of it, bonding over stories about spiders and food we hate. Everyone making fun of me for thinking there were two pyramids in Vegas (yeah yeah, true story, I got confused, ok!?) and laughing together as we watched Laura “schlep” her suitcase around. Bonding as a team is so crucial, and I am thankful for the magic of laughter and comradery.

And… Actual, MAGIC!

Our friends at Classic Exhibits had a performing Magician in their booth! He blew my mind several times, making me question the existence of mind-reading! Classic Exhibits is certainly “Knot Your Typical Exhibit Builder,” and they had a magician to prove it. His act was clever and thoroughly connected to the theme and message, creating a fun experience that also helped break the ice to make connections with the Classic Exhibits team. Ask me how that magician knew what I wrote on a pad of paper that he wrapped closed in a rubber band? I have no idea. But ask me how Classic Exhibits builds custom booths that impress my clients… well, that is less of a magic act and slight-of-hand, but more like the magic of teamwork.

I was told during my interview three years ago that once you get into the “Trade Show Business” you can’t leave. And I’ve heard it multiple times since then too — “Erica, you’re stuck with us now!”

OK, sounds good to me. Thank you for the welcome.

Erica Dougherty, Exhibits Northwest, erica@exhibitsnw.com