By John Toner, Vice President, Convention and Industry Relations, United Fresh Produce Association

As the chair of the 2015 Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee, I have often asked myself, “what does Expo!Expo! mean to me?” It’s the hardest question that I’ve had to grapple with all summer long, and it’s a hard question to answer as we all know conventions and trade shows have many different layers. I receive value in my attendance both personally and professionally and both intertwine quite a bit. I am going to try to be as candid as I can about the value I have received over the years, and if I am fortunate enough – to share both personally and professionally.

  1. Personally

personal-experienceIAEE’s Expo! Expo! has allowed me to develop contacts and friendships with the association’s leading organizations and the faces behind the organizations. These interactions have allowed me to better understand where and how I want to position myself in the trade show industry. Some of the best parts of the show come after hours, as the parties have allowed me to see, taste, and experience some things I have never thought possible. After all we are in the engagement industry and trying to keep things memorable for those who plan memorable experiences is no easy task! Thank you to all the sponsors and exhibitors at ExpoExpo! who keep things memorable!

  1. Professionally

next big thingThe contacts gained through Expo! Expo! have allowed me to call upon fellow exhibition industry leaders to provide insight and solutions for challenges within my organization. Also seeing the latest in the trends and technologies and where things stand allows me to know when is the right time to push items forward on our own convention agenda to ensure future success. It’s also a good way to benchmark what new tools and technologies are working, and quite frankly which aren’t.

  1. My Organization – United Fresh

Over the years we have embraced new opportunities because of connections made at Expo! Expo! that have improved the ecosystem of our exhibitors and attendees. We have seen and experimented with new lead retrieval systems, charging systems and new structural opportunities in order to make our trade show more dynamic. Some of the best ideas, strategies and tactics come from discussions with your peers the night after the show is over to hear what they saw and how they are making changes within their organization to take advantage of new technologies. The other opportunity from Expo! Expo! is that this is an opportunity to put our “customers” shoes on and experience what it’s like to be an attendee/member – this allows us then to take those “feelings” and try to implement them in our own organization.

As the Chair of the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee, it has been an interesting year making sure that our committee is truly focused on initiatives that will make a difference. I certainly hope you make plans to come to the Charm City this year December 1-3 to learn how you can make a difference in your career, your organization and your life.


Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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