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Archive for the ‘Trade Show Association’ Category

EDPA Exhibition and Events Industry Labor Rates Survey

August 24th, 2017 COMMENTS


The 2017 EDPA Labor Rate Survey tracks the advance order rates charged to corporate exhibitions in major U.S. and Canadian cities at exhibitions, conventions, and corporate events. The rate sources are general service contractors, show producers, and venue order forms. This is the Advanced Order Rates, not the rates charged after the early bird prices or day of show.

This includes rates for General Labor, Riggers, Electricians, Plumbers, Forklift Operators, and Material Handling. The highest general labor rates are in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles. The lowest are in Cleveland, Louisville, Orlando, and Salt Lake City. A huge thanks to the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association for completing and publishing their results.

Executive Summary Bullet Points:

  • The 2017 Labor Rates Survey of rates charged to exhibitors at exhibitions and events has found the average hourly rate in the U.S. for General Display Labor increased by just under 1% annually over the past two years.
  • The average hourly rate has increased from $101.75 in 2015 to $103.50 this year.
  • The advance order, regular time hourly rate for Riggers decreased by 2% annually over the same two-year period, from $113.70 per hour on average in 2015 to $109.23 per hour in the new survey.
  • Material handling costs for advance shipments to the official service contractor warehouse have increased by 1.6% annually over the past two years on average in the U.S. The cost of crated shipments sent directly to exhibit halls has increased by an average of 1.1% annually from 2015 to 2017.

Click the image below for the full survey.

2017 EDPA Labor Rates Study

–Mel White


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

10 BIG Trade Shows in North America | October 2016

August 3rd, 2016 COMMENTS


October 2016 is a busy month for trade shows in North America. Maybe they are on your radar. Maybe not. But it’s always nice when you don’t have to go hunting for information. So sit back and enjoy 10 BIG Trade Shows happening in October.

EMS World Expo – Oct. 3 – 7, New Orleans, LA

North America’s largest EMS conference and trade show, EMS World Expo, hosted in partnership with NAEMT, will bring over 5,100 EMS professionals together in New Orleans for an industry-leading event. Delivering state-of-the-art technology, products and services from 350+ exhibitors who are transforming EMS operations. Exclusively co-located with the World Trauma Symposium.

HR Technology Conference & Exposition – Oct. 4 – 7, McCormick Place, Chicago

World-famous “buyers’ show” for HR Technology. HR Tech has been proclaimed the HR Show to attend by HR practitioners, independent analysts, journalists, bloggers, and even the former COO of SHRM. Many vendors even choose to announce their latest products for the first time at HR Tech. There is no better place to touch, compare and contrast the latest solutions from leading vendors in every category, as well as start-ups.

dairyWorld Dairy Expo – Oct. 4 – 8, Madison, WI

Celebrating their 50th Expo this year, the World Dairy Expo serves as a forum for dairy producers, companies, organizations, and other dairy enthusiasts to come together to compete, and to exchange ideas, knowledge, technology, and commerce.

IBEX The International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition & Conference – Oct. 4 – 6, Tampa, FL

Where Better Boats Begin. IBEX 2016 returns to Tampa in October with more exhibiting companies, more new products, more boats on the docks, robust technical training, and essential conversations among industry professionals.

NRPA 2016 Annual Conference – Oct. 5 – 8, St. Louis, MO

The NRPA Annual Conference is the premier annual meeting of the park and recreation community. The three-day event brings together more than 7,000 park and recreation professionals, citizen advocates and industry suppliers or amazing networking opportunities, hundreds of education sessions, and the industry’s largest trade show showcasing the products and services of nearly 400 exhibitors.

InfographicGreenbuild International Conference & Expo – Oct. 5 – 6, Los Angeles, CA

Greenbuild offers a place where more than 20,000 green building and design professionals come together with sustainability leaders from around the world for three exhilarating days featuring over 500 exhibiting companies offering innovative products and tomorrow’s technologies.

NAPE Expo – Oct. 12 – 13, Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO

The annual Denver expo is a networking event that brings together all the players necessary to forge, facilitate, and close deals. This event offers prospects, producers, and purchasers a unique chance to connect, reconnect, and make deals. More intimate than the annual NAPE Summit, this show is a “must attend” event for those who want to network with the people and players that have firsthand knowledge of the opportunities and prospects throughout area.

NACS Show – Oct. 18 – 21, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA

As convenience and fuel retailing’s premier industry event, the NACS Show attracts more than 23,500 industry stakeholders from around the world. Buyers and sellers come together to conduct business and learn from one another – all in an environment rich with new ideas and partnerships. With 400,000 sq. ft. the NACS Show is the place to network and connect with convenience and fuel retailing industry peers and experts. You will discover thousands of the latest products and services that c-stores sell and use every day.

ImageIMEX America – Oct. 18 – 20, Las Vegas, NV

America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings & events, IMEX America attracts key industry players from North America and around the globe. Buyers at the trade show represent all industry segments; Agency, association, corporate and independent planners.

The exhibitors you meet at IMEX America include U.S. domestic suppliers, global tourist offices and convention bureaus, major hotel companies, conference and exhibition centers, cruise lines, airlines, spa resorts, technology providers, event management specialists, and more.

2016 NFDA International Convention & Expo – Oct. 23 – 26, Philadelphia PA

The world’s largest funeral service expo, where more than 300 exhibitors bring the best funeral service products right to you! Discover the latest product and service trends. Take advantage of exclusive exhibitor offers. Network with exhibitors and fellow funeral directors from more than 40 countries.


Shopping for a new or rental exhibit? See over 1400 contemporary islands, inlines, banner stands, and trade show accessories at Click on Exhibit Design Search for the largest display selection in North America.

Redefining the Custom Exhibit | Pat Friedlander

June 8th, 2016 COMMENTS

Custom Exhibits Redefined

Guest Post by Pat Friedlander

When I was new to this industry, I heard the word “Octanorm” bandied about as if it were the last ditch attempt for stingy exhibitors There was no design consideration — just how many panels and how many uprights.

However, on my first trip to EuroShop some 20 years ago, I was stunned when I walked into Hall 9 and saw the Octanorm corporate exhibit. EuroShop opened my eyes. U.S. was unique in advocating box-frame exhibits, exhibits that were crated and stored in warehouses around the country. It was apparent to me that US exhibits were different. They looked stodgy and boxy by comparison.

Systems and the Rest of the World

Between Dusseldorf and Chicago, I became a convert to systems. They looked cool, they allowed for fresh designs, and they were flexible — not hallmarks of box frame construction. Soon after, I invited my friend Kerstin Mulfinger from Burkhardt Leitner to speak at HCEA’s annual meeting about systems.

As various systems proliferated, bits and pieces started to appear on U.S. show floors. Yet the differentiation persisted that there were custom exhibits (i.e., box frame) and there were portable modular systems —  with “systems” viewed as a commodity.

What is a Custom Exhibit?

Custom Exhibits, as the industry generally uses it, is a relic. Today the distinction is anachronistic. Using the term “portable modular” ignores the fact that modularity is not limited to any one type of construction — portable, custom, hybrid, etc. Modularity is related to configuration, not to building materials.

VK-5148gAt an EDPA ACCESS 2015 session, I said, “It’s time to de-commodify systems and redefine what we mean when we say a custom exhibit.” It turned out I wasn’t alone. “Modular components and systems are no longer a commodity item,” said Jay Burkette, vice president, Expo Displays, “but represent building blocks, increasingly used by traditional exhibit houses as an effective way of helping design, manage, and maintain their client’s exhibit properties.”

According to Debbie Parrott, president, Highmark TechSystems, “Some designers are predisposed to think that modular systems should only enter their design tool kits when they are working with an especially cost-conscious client. For those designers, low-cost and creativity are mutually exclusive and systems limit their creativity. This short-sighted view shows a lack of understanding of the realities of our industry and the needs of program clients.”

“Large clients are program clients who benefit from exhibit designs that offer versatility, reconfigurability, fast installation and dismantle – exactly what modular systems address. This perspective also shows a naiveté about the design trends in the global exhibit marketplace where modular systems are used for exhibits that are stunningly creative, brand-distinctive, highly functional, and cost and time efficient. Designers in our industry need to be knowledgeable on this front, and the challenge for those who are modular system proponents is to educate and show designers both the inspiring possibilities and the compelling business case.”

How Do YOU Define “Custom Exhibit”?

Seems to me that we need to arrive at a new definition of “custom exhibit.” If the definition is not about construction methods and materials, perhaps it’s about marketing. What are the goals and objectives of the exhibit program? How does the exhibit fulfill and meet those goals? And about the exhibit:  Is it rental? Is it purchased? Should we differentiate? We plan to continue this discussion at EDPA ACCESS 2016, but in the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Pat Friedlander


Pat Friedlander is a marketer, trainer, and writer in the exhibit industry. She has spent many days and nights on the trade show floor, and has lots of advice about shoes. She has received the HCEA Distinguished Service Award and the EDPA Hazel Hays Award. She lives in Chicago and often answers to Grandma Pat.


What You Missed at The Red Diamond Congress

August 3rd, 2013 1 COMMENT

Red Diamond CongressLast week, I attended the E2MA Red Diamond Congress in Chicago. Now, in my head I can hear you saying, “What the heck is the Red Diamond Congress (RDC) and how does it compare to the more famous White Diamond Festival? Or the regional Purple Diamond Jamboree.” I’ll explore those comparisons in a future white paper.

First, a little explanation — The E2MA, or the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association, was formed about two years ago when the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA) merged with the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA). Merged, the E2MA represents all stakeholders in the event and trade show community:  exhibitors, labor contractors, show managers, and suppliers. As you can imagine, it’s a brilliant concept where all parties depend on and interact with one another . . .  yet all have an ax to grind and incriminating information on the others. Basically, your typical dysfunctional family (i.e., every family). While other industry organizations represent a subset of these groups, and do so for a valid reason, E2MA is the only one that does a collective bear hug. Scary, wonderful fun.

McCormick Place Chicago

The Red Diamond Congress is the association’s annual three-day meeting. It was my first. Kevin Carty attended last year on behalf of Classic Exhibits. So what’s the RDC. It’s not a trade show like EXHIBITOR. Nor is it a meeting with colleagues held at a resort like EDPA Access. Instead, it’s in Chicago at McCormick Place. About 200+ attended, which meant it was nearly impossible not to meet everyone. That was two-thirds of the fun.

During those three days, I attended educational sessions (65%), listened to keynote speakers (10%), and ate, partied, and socialized (25%). The percentages may have been skewed higher or lower for others (and yes, I’m talking about you Chuck). One night I went to a “Dinner with Strangers.” Something I’ve never done at EXHIBITOR, but did at RDC. All together, including the keynote speakers and breakout sessions, there were 49 opportunities to learn about our industry. For example:

  • Integrating Social Media into Live Events
  • Branding for Exhibits and Events
  • Why Your RFP Isn’t Getting the Results You Want
  • International Must See Trends
  • Selecting the Right Trade Show
  • Basics of Lead Management
  • Does this Yarn Make My Carpet Look Fat (great session)

What made the session and speakers relevant and beneficial, at least to me, was the mixed audience. I don’t often get the chance to interact with show managers, association directors, union labor, and event managers. Their perspective on industry issues and trends was refreshing and often surprising. We often forget that they have frustrations too, ones that impact how we do business with them. What surprised me was that their frustrations mirrored mine:  drayage, excessive regulation, a poor understanding of exhibit marketing by CMO’s, and a lack of transparency and predictability on all levels. These were people who have devoted their lives to the exhibit and event industry. They have a passion for it and are sincere in their efforts to improve and reform it.

So, why weren’t you there? Seriously . . . Why Weren’t You There? Chicago is close and convenient. The price of the event and the rooms at the Hyatt were reasonable. The food was mostly included. Ditto the booze. And the education and the social events were very, very worthwhile. I’ll give you a pass this year — but not next. I strongly encourage you to attend the Red Diamond Congress. The educational sessions will benefit you. And when did you ever turn down an open bar with tasty appetizers?

2013 Red Diamond Congress

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Next year . . . Chicago . . . McCormick Place . . . July . . . 3 Days . . . Red Diamond Congress. See you there.

My compliments to Jim Wurm, Executive Director of E2MA, and his team for all their hard work on this successful event.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or