RHINEHART_BRIANEvery journey at Expo! Expo! is uniquely different, but what brings it all together is the continued drive to learn from one another and our passion to keep our shows flourishing. Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition provides attendees with a diverse marketplace to view and assess the tools needed to plan and manage successful trade shows and events for years to come. Here, IAEE spoke to past 20 Under 30 honoree, Brian Rhinehart, CEM, Events & Exhibits Specialist at True Value Company, who shared the importance of connections and learning at Expo! Expo!.

Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?

I help manage our two trade shows per year for True Value Company. My responsibilities include everything from floor mapping, managing over 1,000 vendors in their booths and processing all payments for our show. I also help manage internal and external smaller events at our corporate office, such as our yearly Charity Classic for our True Value Boys & Girls Club.

I’m also the assistant lead for our companies Inclusion and Diversity Council so my responsibilities range from creating educational sessions on a broad selection of topics, such as LGBTQ rights and differing cultures and creating external volunteer opportunities for associates to connect and get involved within our local communities of Chicago.

Why do you attend Expo! Expo!? And how many years have you attended Expo! Expo!?

I have attended Expo! Expo! for over three years now and I attend each year because it’s truly a fantastic opportunity to see the latest and greatest in our industry! It’s also fantastic to connect with our many partners and learn about exciting ways to enhance our shows!

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How do show organizers like yourself benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?

Show organizers, such as myself, benefit from attending Expo! Expo! by the vast opportunities that are put before us during the entire duration of the show! Some of the most important things that I walk away with are from the educational sessions on best practices. This is where I get to hear from other organizers just like me and learn about what they’re doing that is working really well or maybe that is not working as well. We then get to all openly provide feedback to one another on our experiences. To be able to connect with other organizers and discuss things openly like this – it’s priceless.

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What education sessions caught your attention at Expo! Expo! in the past? Did you have any takeaways from those sessions?

One of the most impactful sessions I attended in the past at Expo! Expo! was a general event planning session, which allowed organizers to openly discuss their successes and opportunities with others. It was really great to be able to speak to others in a session format and allowed us all to receive and provide feedback to better our own shows.

Were there any insights from Expo! Expo! that you implemented in your organization? If so, what were they?

I think overall there are so many takeaways from each Expo! Expo! that it’s difficult to name just one. I would have to say that connecting with so many different groups during the show and exploring new opportunities for business is just an overall huge advantage for those who attend Expo! Expo!. By not attending, you’re really limiting yourself in the industry.

How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?

I usually jam-pack my time at Expo! Expo! with education sessions as well as taking the time to walk the show floor. The sessions for me are extremely beneficial and I’m always excited to return back to Chicago to share with my team some awesome takeaways!

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Name an unforgettable moment that has happened to you at Expo! Expo!.

Being a 20 Under 30 honoree was truly a fantastic experience at Expo! Expo!. Any opportunity to connect with other passionate individuals in my field of work and around my age is really fantastic!

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If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?

I’ve been asked quite a few times if Expo! Expo! is worth attending and without question, I always tell them that it’s a must. By not attending, you’re limiting your opportunities in the industry!

What tip would you give to a first-time attendee that you wish someone had told you when you attended Expo! Expo! for the first time?

If you are a first-time attendee, make sure to make a plan prior to attending to truly make the most of Expo! Expo!. There are so many great things to do so making a plan prior will maximize your opportunities!

What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?

The General Sessions are always a must – it’s very empowering and always makes you walk away feeling like you can conquer the world!

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Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in New Orleans? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?

Yes, I will be attending. I think I’m most excited to meet with some of our city and housing partners for future show locations!

Trade show floor, education and networking…all in one place. Register to attend the “show for shows” in vibrant New Orleans this year.

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Posted by Jannat Choudhury

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