Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

There’s a New Regime in Town: Word on the Street — March 12 thru March 16

March 18th, 2012 4 COMMENTS
There's a New Regime in Town

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

A Fly in the Ointment

As you all know, I think EXHIBITOR Show 2012 was AMAZING. But it did not go off without a hitch. It had nothing to do with the organizers. They did a fantastic job! It had to do with the local union steward unfortunately.

Here is the deal. There is a new regime in the local Las Vegas union, which at first glance and given the economic hardships of the past three years would lead you to believe that positive change is coming.  Unfortunately NO. And to make matters worse, the union leadership decided to flex their muscle at an industry event. To me that is counterintuitive, but to them it made perfect sense. Let me explain.

As we always do, we hired an independent labor contractor. On Day One, our setup crew was approached by the local union rep and told that the two Classic employees could not touch anything and had to stop working. In VEGAS? Really! That has never been the case. You could always have at least one employee assisting, and there were three union laborers working on our exhibit at the time. When questioned, the response was — “Read your Show Book for starters, and secondly, there is a new regime in town and we know that the Exhibit Builders are the worst offenders so we are making a stand. The idea is that you will go back and let your clients know that Vegas is tightening the reigns.”

Again, this confuses me. Isn’t it the exhibit builders, exhibit industry vendors, and show organizers that help to make sure that trade shows are in VEGAS and other cities? Are we not sending bigger and better business your way every year? It seems odd that the union leadership would want to send the “wrong message” to your industry colleagues, especially when, after reading the show book, we were following the rules.

Like I said, EXHIBITOR was an amazing show. One that we should be very proud of, but there was one black eye. What have we learned from the Great Recession? Clearly not everyone in our industry is on the same page, the page that says let’s keep moving this train forward in a positive fashion. We want everyone to continue working, the industry to grow, but we can’t do that unless (at the end of the pipe) it’s the best possible experience for our customers, the exhibitor. If you treat your family like this, I am pretty sure you treat those outside the family even worse.

To be fair, after a very strong push-back by our I&D lead, the union steward did relent a little. But he was clearly not happily.

Sorry to vent after such a great week in Vegas. But it just baffled me.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty

What Really Goes On at Conventions in Vegas

March 12th, 2012 1 COMMENT

Vegas, Conventions, and . . . .

I’m back from EXHIBITOR, jazzed about the trade show industry and excited about what 2012 brings . . . then I stumble into this story on Joe Stein, the author, agreed to go to seven conventions in three days in Las Vegas. That’s just plain crazy. Heck, I can’t even go to seven fast food joints in three days without suffering from intestinal rumba.

Nevertheless, it’s a good read . . . even if he takes the easy path with some very, very broad generalizations.

What Really Goes On at Conventions in Vegas

“I am stuck on this convention floor because I agreed to go to seven conventions in three days to better understand a business that is as important to Las Vegas as the card tables, and presumably important to the 4.5 million conventioneers who come here each year and spend double what tourists do, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. When the convention hours end, some will indeed go mad, like escaped monkeys.” [click to read the full article]

Got a bone to pick with his analysis. Be sure to leave a comment at BusinessWeek.

–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


February 8th, 2012 COMMENTS


It’s That Time Again . . . Register for EXHIBITOR FREE Courtesy of Classic Exhibits Inc.

To claim your VIP Guest Pass, go to and register using the Special Promotion Code 4044.

Your VIP Guest Pass entitles you to FREE admission to the Exhibit Hall and the industry’s best networking function, the Monday Evening Reception!

While there, visit Classic Exhibits Inc. in booth #1645 at EXHIBITOR2012. March 5, 6, and 7, from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm.

Be Better . . .

The Classic Exhibits Family of Companies:  Classic Exhibits, Exhibits Northwest, and ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusions.


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

EDPA Access 2011 Review: Word on the Street — Dec. 5th thru Dec. 9th

December 11th, 2011 1 COMMENT
EDPA Access 2011

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

EDPA Access Review

Success! The one word that describes EDPA Access this year!

This year’s event was set at the beautiful J.W. Las Vegas Marriott Resort and Spa. It not only provided a beautiful setting, but also a nice venue for the Supplier Showcase, the networking events, and the conference sessions.

Kudos to everyone responsible for pulling the event together.

Day One started with the golf outing and the fishing event. While I did not participate in the fishing event, I heard it was very successful and that Lake Mead was beautiful. I did, however, participate in the golf outing and the TPC Las Vegas was quite the golf course. And congrats to Chris Clark playing in the group behind me. He hit a hole in one! Stealing away any chance for my “Closest to the Pin” prize. 🙂

Later that evening I had to leave the event, heading home early for the 5th birthday of my beautiful twins, but Mel, Reid, and Jim stayed to take in the rest of the event. And from their accounts and the accounts of countless others, it was the best EDPA Access ever.

Highlights included the Speed Networking Event. A cool idea in which, like speed dating, you get two minutes with another attendee to get to know one another and learn about their business. Several sessions focused on doing business with Chinese companies both in America and in Asia . Many attendees found these sessions very insightful with the growing trend of Chinese companies participating in shows in the States. At the Silent Auction benefiting the EDPA Foundation, I heard from organizers that they raised much more than they had expected. Thanks to all of you who helped out and donated. Overall education still remains the primary focus of the Access event and this year the curriculum as a whole was by far the best in recent history.

EDPA Access 2011Just to mention a few of the sessions:

  • Management Issues Forum
  • Building and Maintaining Your Sales Pipeline
  • Social Media 201
  • A Dozen Technologies to Bet On
  • Designing and Installing Retail Experiences
  • Global Design Trends to Bet On

There was a terrific session moderated by Jay Burkette about “New Systems and the Hybrid Trend” which generated a lot of conversations about hybrid trends, the definition of “hybrid,” and whether aluminum extrusion is a fad or a long-term fixture in our industry.

Networking is always a big focus at EDPA Access. In addition to the golf and fishing outings, networking events included:

  • First-timer’s Reception
  • Welcome Reception
  • President’s Gala
  • Poolside Reception
  • Breakfast Roundtables

The only criticism I heard was that  the venue was too far from the Vegas Strip. And to that all I can say is . . . That’s the point!

On Tuesday afternoon, I attended the EDPA Board meeting. As a proud member of the board, I really appreciated the time we spent together reviewing what I can only say is a very healthy industry on a really positive growth pattern. Building quality partnerships with other associations both here in the States and in Europe and Asia to broaden the reach and depth of the EDPA and its members.

Thanks to all the Classic and ClassicMODUL distributors who came to this year’s event. I hope and trust that you found the event educational and beneficial for you and your organizations. You represent a very important and growing segment of the EDPA membership. Please share your experience with others who have been on the fence as it relates to attending this annual event.

Mark your calendars for next year. The meeting will be held in Palm Springs, CA at the Renaissance Resort and Spa the week after Thanksgiving. And it is sure to  even better than this year’s event.

Thanks again to Jeff Provost, Kelly Cingari, and Anna Lawler to name a few for all the hard work they put in to making the event a huge success!

If you attended, please share your thoughts of the event.

Be Well.

–Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — March 22nd thru March 26th

March 28th, 2010 1 COMMENT
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Following Up on Trade Show Leads

To be honest, I could almost just say “I was following up on leads” and you would get the gist of my week. But I will expand, while keeping it short, because I am still in full follow-up mode even this weekend.

First, I am going to gripe a bit. Like many of you, I attend a fair number of shows. Sorta comes with the job description. Although many are industry related, there are others I attend if I’m in the area or if I know we have built a display at that show. But I am going to pick on one show in particular . . . without naming it.

This show starts every year around the same time as EXHIBITOR. Sometimes even the same week. That was your only hint! And I love this show. Lots of cool new products, ideas, etc. For the past several years, I have walked the show for one or two days. And let me clarify, I’m not picking on the show, but the exhibitors at the show.

Now, whenever you exhibit, there are a lot of related expenses. Even with a 10 x 10 display, you have the cost of the booth space, the flooring, the exhibit, the staff expense, and transportation to name a few. The bottom line is this — it is a significant investment, and one that goes up exponentially as you increase the size of your booth space.

So here is my gripe . . . How is it that I received a brochure and letter from a company that scanned my badge at the 2009 show in October (nearly 7 months AFTER the SHOW)? Now that is an extreme, but I just can not fathom why anyone would not address all leads within at least two weeks of returning from a trade show. With each passing day, your ROI just shrinks and shrinks. BTW– I’ve yet to hear from anyone at this year’s show.

newce_logoSo, the front end of last week was two-fold:  getting to all the emails and voice mails while I was in Las Vegas and  addressing all the end-user leads. Meaning . . . getting them into the hot hands of our distributors. And I am proud to say that with the exception of one lead, every one of those end-users has been contacted by a Classic Distributor in their respective areas. To that, I say a BIG THANK YOU!

The latter part of the week was the beginning of a much longer lead follow-up process — new distributor leads. Those take longer because we do a little research before contacting them. If there’s a fit, we set-up web training and start the basic paperwork. We are well on our way and are excited about filling some gaps in the distributor network with several very professional companies that share our customer service and business philosophies.

That was my week. On Thursday I was questioned by a fellow Classic employee who asked, “Are you slammed this week because we haven’t even seen you”? Happily I said, “YEP…Slammed” 🙂

Hope the weekend is restful and good for you. Please feel free to share any comments.

Be well

–Kevin Carty