Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for June 24th, 2010

Word on the Street — June 21st thru June 25th

June 24th, 2010 2 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Your First Day in High School

Do you remember your first day in high school? This week, I’m doing something I haven’t done in almost 12 years. I’m going to a trade show for the first time.

Now as you might imagine, I have been to many, many trade shows over the years — just like you. But this week I am attending as a first time exhibitor. I can’t remember the last time that happened. And it is an interesting process.

What to bring? How to best approach the attendees? What classes to attend? Etc.

I am used to EXHIBITOR, TS2, and EDPA. I know all the usual suspects, friends, competitors, and even many of the end users that come every year. Those shows have become somewhat of a reunion week for many of us. Don’t get me wrong. The shows are work, and we are constantly creating ways to make our presence at these industry shows fresh . . . but again, it’s still familiar. I know what to expect, what to bring, and what classes to attend.

HCEA Conference in New Orleans

This week I am attending and exhibiting in the HCEA Conference for the first time. And when I originally signed up, I had a clear idea of what our goals were and how the show was going to be. I still have a clear idea of our goals, but I have to admit I have no idea what the show is going to be like. I know some of the players as it relates to fellow exhibitors, but just some . . . and I have no clue what the attendees are like.

I have admit — It’s freaking weird! I have been doing this for 16 years next month, and, yet, I feel like I am walking into freshman year of high school all over again. Knowing some of the kids that attended the same elementary school, but in large part not really knowing anybody and not knowing what the process is like. It is exciting and a bit nerve racking at the same time. In addition, this will be my first visit to New Orleans. I’m still not quite sure how that happen considering my extensive travel schedule.

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display by Classic Exhibits

Sacagawea Display for the HCEA Show in New Orleans

Thanks to some very good industry friends, colleagues, and mentors, I was able to ease my nerves a bit after calling them this week. But I must admit, as of Wednesday, I was still calling people asking them what I should wear to the different events associated with the show.

This show is going to be a unique experience for Classic Exhibits. We are partnering with Optima Graphics on a booth space geared solely around Exhibit Design Search. Since neither Optima nor Classic sells anything direct, we are actually going to HCEA in more of a partnership role than anything else. Meaning, our booth space will be another location for Custom Houses to bring their healthcare clients to show them smaller islands, inlines, modulars, hybrids, portables,  and graphics.

I am excited to see how the show turns out and to work closely with many of our existing customers and their clients. I am also attending a full slate of classes offered in the curriculum.

Wish me luck! And if you are attending or exhibiting, I will be the shy guy in the corner twiddling my thumbs afraid to ask the hot Sophomore girl to dance. 🙂 NOT!

Seriously though, if you are in New Orleans for the show, please stop by and say hello to Dave Brown and me. We are in booth #100.

Be well and have a great weekend.

–Kevin Carty