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Submit Your EXHIBITOR “Plan B” Story for Publication

November 8th, 2017 COMMENTS

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Would you like to see your name in print? EXHIBITOR Magazine is currently looking for Plan B stories.

Plan B is a humorous column about trade show disasters (e.g. missing graphics, last-minute booth alterations, exhibit fires, missing staffers, AWOL tractor-trailers, flooding, and more). More importantly, it’s about how you or your client solved or at least coped with them.

If you’ve suffered a snafu (or a straight-up disaster) and lived to tell the tale, email EXHIBITOR’s senior writer, Linda Armstrong (larmstrong@exhibitormagazine.com) to share your story.

If the tale fits the column parameters, she’ll take your short but detailed synopsis, massage it into column format, and send it your way for a final fact check. When it publishes, you’ll receive the free byline — and industry kudos for your disaster-aversion techniques.

John Zipay Takes an Alaskan Cruise

August 24th, 2016 COMMENTS

alaska!

Recently, I took a much needed vacation from the trade show world and visited southeastern Alaska via a cruise ship.

Spending a day at sea heading out of Seattle was perfect for clearing my head of the constant stresses that we all live with each and every day. The soothing calmness of the water and the subtle waves rocking this ship ever so slightly was ideal to catch up on reading and much needed rest. This was the perfect setting for me to reflect on the first half of this year and my life overall (which is pretty fantastic).

Ketchikan

Upon arriving in Ketchikan, Alaska, I noticed the sea planes taking off and landing. I thought to myself, “I bet they don’t miss waiting in line at red lights during their commute to and from work” or worse yet “waiting through green lights when your vehicle doesn’t quite have the space to inch across the intersection without blocking the cars perpendicular to you.” Nope, Alaskans don’t stress such a thing. In fact, red lights themselves are probably few and far between.

What do they stress about up here? In all of the rugged, raw beauty, everywhere I looked, there must be a catch. The COLD! Yes, the cold harsh Alaskan winters must be horrible and miserable with most of the non-winter months spent planning winter survival and keeping warm. Whew, for a brief second I thought I found paradise and the simple life, a stress free happily-ever-after place, free of all of the industry-related trade show variables and issues that arise every day in our world. Moving to Alaska would bring on a life stressing the COLD.

Would that be so bad? How cold does it really get? I set about investigating this thought over an Alaska Stout beer near the pier. Beer would surely help ease the pains of winter in this part of the world! Problem solved – a stress free life surely awaits me in Alaska! Time to hop back on my floating hotel for the week and find a place to fantasize about living in.

Next Stop Juneau

I was excited to visit Juneau by the time we arrived. I had heard of a glacier, Mendenhall, that was only a short bus ride away. As we made the trek through the quaint little town of Juneau, our bus driver spoke of all the wonderful bears, eagles, and salmon that called the area home. He advised us to take the Nugget Trail up the falls for a better view of the glacier.

Upon exiting the bus, I grabbed my day backpack and approached the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in search of the trail. Never mind the visitor center. I wanted to see the chunk of ice!!

In my typical turbo style, I hiked the 1.1 mile trail in a handful of minutes with my heart racing and adrenaline pumping the whole way. Wow! An amazing and jaw dropping view as I came to the end of the hike. So much beauty with the whole spectrum of the color blue on display along with an impressive waterfall right next to me. Like a child, I had to bend over and touch the water to see how cold it really was. As I bent down, a small mini iceberg lapped up on shore and I shouted with excitement! I picked up that football sized piece and took a few pics with my very own baby iceberg. After spending a half hour or so enjoying the gaze, I headed back down the trail to the visitor center.

This time I actually went inside the visitor center and was astonished to learn that the Visitor Center was built right in front of Mendenhall Glacier in the 1930s. The photos on the wall looked like a different piece of ice. Today, the glacier is over a mile away and has been shrinking at a furious pace over the last 60+ years. The lake in front of the glacier didn’t exist when the Visitor Center was built. GULP!

Climate Change

At that moment, all the talk of climate change became a reality. A huge lump formed in the back of my throat as I witnessed first-hand what climate change means. It means a lot for Alaskans. Their environment is experiencing more drastic effects than what we are experiencing in the lower 48 states. I thought that I had found a paradise with a life involving only a little bit of stress (staying warm during the winter Alaskan months), but in reality, Alaskans are stressed about the rapid change occurring in their environment. As I became more aware of the impacts that they are feeling, I began to sympathize with them and wondered how can I really help the situation. I’m not going to turn into a tree hugging, save the planet hippie, but I will surely think twice about my footprint on this planet.

In our industry, we can certainly help steer clients towards eco-friendlier exhibit options. At Exhibits Northwest, we offer recyclable fabrics for our displays and use recycled aluminum. I’ll end my sales pitch and invite you to peruse the photos in this post. Yes, a Caribbean cruise is nice, but I encourage you to take the Alaskan trip soon. The clock is ticking….

John Zipay
GM, Exhibits Northwest Portland and Seattle

Farewell to Our Dear Friend Mike

April 25th, 2016 36 COMMENTS
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Mike and Janet Swartout

Dear Classic Family,

Saturday was a tremendously sad day in our internal and external family. Sadly we lost our beloved Design Director Mike Swartout this weekend.

As many of you know, Mike has been battling cancer now for years, a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. And “battling” does not really seem to capture all that Mike has been doing for five plus years to be honest. He fought it. And fought it hard.

Sadly, Mike succumb this weekend while surrounded by his family. As sad as we are, there is a sense of peace surrounding this news. Peace that comes from knowing his pain is gone at long last.

But it does not take away the feeling of loss. And the tremendous sadness we all feel on behalf of his beautiful family — Janet, his wife, along with Rachel and Morgan his kids.

mikeMike came to Classic some 16 years ago this past March. I will never forget when we hired him. I and others in the company were very excited to add his talent to what we were doing. And from the time we hired Mike, he drove us into so many positive directions design-wise as a company. Admittedly… sometimes in uncomfortable directions. 🙂

But rather than talk about his work contributions that were beyond measure, Mike was also a great friend and brother to many of us. Myself included.

When you strive to create a team, what you really want is a family at work. And Mike was a part of that evolution at Classic. He lived and breathed Classic:  Classic Products, Classic Design, and more importantly the Classic Family.

He invested time, energy, and emotion into his co-workers as if they were his own family. And ultimately we all become his family. In and out of the office. For better and for worse as they say.

classic-exhibits_september_17His battle with cancer, which he referred to as the EEE (Evil Effing Empire), was beyond admirable. It was a battle he knew would not have a positive outcome for HIM, but instead of dwelling on the negative, he focused on creating positive outcomes for others. Mike willingly participated in several experimental studies. One of those was Provenge. Mike’s willingness to be a “Guinea Pig” meant that an immunotherapy treatment became available to others. All tangible stamps he was able to leave behind very proudly.

Personally, I loved Mike. He was my friend and a great one at that. Great friends are those who support you in everything — and call you out on everything And Mike was that for me and for many others in his personal and work life. He was never one to pull any punches. Instead he would tell you how it is. “Put on your big boy or big girl pants” he would say at times. And other times he would just listen and advise compassionately.

20151023_151647Over the past six months in particular, I have come to eagerly await our visits, back and forth emails, text messages, and conversations. They were rich! Rich in life lessons, rich in substance, and often sprinkled with some great humor. Usually poking fun at each other as “broken men blessed with outstanding wives and families” that both of us were sure we did not quite deserve.

I am going to miss that the most. Growing together as men, husbands, and parents. I am going to miss my friend.

Mike had so many close friends in this business. And he was impacted by you all.

Please do keep Mike’s wife Janet, daughter Rachel, and son Morgan in your thoughts and prayers as they traverse this time of loss.

Mike’s Family is going to be holding private services later in the year at their family cabin in lieu of a funeral.

Bless you Mike. You will be missed here on earth. I look forward to our next visit.

RSMGC Donation Fund

Many have asked how they can help. Janet, Mike’s wife, has requested that donations be make to the Randy Smith Memorial Fund. Several years ago, the Randy assisted the Swartout’s with medical expenses at a time when it was most needed. Please click this link — http://www.e2ma.org/donations — and select the Mike Swartout RSMGC Donation Fund. Thanks.

–Kevin

Your Exhibit Success Challenge Series

August 5th, 2013 COMMENTS

Let the Challenge Begin!

Today begins three weeks of education and inspiration to spur your exhibit marketing plans forward for this fall’s shows and beyond.

Agenda
8/6    Katina Rigall from Classic Exhibits Inc.:  “Design Trends for Memorable Exhibits”
8/8    Simon Harrop from BRAND Sense:  “Incorporating Multisensory Marketing”
8/13  Heidi Thorne from PromowithPurposeToday.com:  “Creative Ideas for Promotions”
8/15  Steve Lager from AudioVision Productions:  “How to Use Video to Promote & Engage”
8/20  Marlys Arnold from Exhibit Marketers Café:  “Who’s the Face of Your Exhibit?”
8/22  Siobhan Connellan from Experient:  “Lead Management Secrets”

How to Participate

Each week during the Challenge, you’ll receive an e-mail with links to the expert interviews as they’re available (scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays). You’ll have until Sunday night that week to listen before the replays go away.

Also each week, we’ll be issuing a Challenge related to that week’s topic. While it will require some thoughtful consideration, it won’t take a ton of time for you to complete. And keep in mind that these Challenges are ultimately designed to move you forward in your exhibit marketing strategies!

Your Reward

Complete all three weekly Challenges and you’ll have the opportunity to pick my brain … for free! Simply submit a short form each week to share your ah-ha’s from each speaker and respond to the Challenge. I’ll send you an invitation to a VIP call in September where you can ask me anything. (And yes, that will be recorded as well.)

Bonus Goodies

Just because this is a virtual event doesn’t mean you can’t have some goodies for your tote bag! So here’s my first bonus gift for you: An excerpt from Build a Better Trade Show Image on setting goals (PDF)

For more great exhibiting strategies, join us in the Exhibit Marketers Café — It’s the place to get what you need to nourish and refresh your exhibit marketing program.

See you in the Challenge!
Marlys Arnold

P.S. Want to recommend the YES Challenge to someone? Please don’t forward this e-mail, but instead send them to www.exhibitmarketerscafe.com/yeschallenge. (And of course sharing that link on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is also appreciated – Thanks!)

Reserve Time with Classic Exhibits at EXHIBITOR

February 12th, 2013 COMMENTS

We expect the Classic Exhibits booth to be very, very busy this year. And, we don’t want to disappoint anyone. By blocking out a time, you can request a meeting with a Classic employee during the show hours, for breakfast, or at the Hospitality Suite.

We’ll do our best to accommodate you and will confirm the appointment within a day or two. Simply click on the link below to request an appointment.

We’re available Sunday through Wednesday for breakfast meetings, on the show floor, and at the Classic Hospitality Suite (Tuesday afternoon).

Don’t feel you have to schedule an appointment. Some of us operate on Jamaican time.

http://www.classicexhibits.com/esf

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Free Registration for EXHIBITOR2013

Registration for EXHIBITOR2013 is now OPEN! Click HERE for FREE Access to the show hall courtesy of Classic Exhibits. Enter Promo Code 4044 for the FREE Pass (waiving the credit card fee).