Oh my! Where has the time gone?! With less than three weeks until Expo! Expo!, the excitement for the “show for shows” is rising. Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition prepares show organizers for a better year ahead. With 300 exhibitors across 60+ product categories, 128 education sessions and plenty of networking opportunities, attendees will leave with insights and connections that will prove to be beneficial for their shows in the upcoming year. IAEE interviewed Kyle McMillan, CEM, Trade Show Manager for the Produce Marketing Association who shared the importance of connections and staying abreast of trends in the exhibitions industry.
Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?
For the past 8 years, I’ve been working for the Produce Marketing Association. We host events for companies throughout the entire produce and floral supply chain, so our shows involve a ton of delicious food and flower creations. I’m the primary contact for 1,200+ exhibitors each year, managing the expo logistics as well as sales and onsite execution of our 250+ product showcases.
Why do you attend Expo! Expo!? And how many years have you attended Expo! Expo!?
This will be my 7th Expo! Expo!. I attend for the education and networking opportunities. It started with the 20 Under 30 program, which was such an awesome experience that I was hooked to keep coming back year after year!
How do you benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?
The connections I’ve made at these events have helped me so much over the years. I’m constantly reaching out to people to vet new ideas, see what they’ve already tried, or to share experiences/knowledge.
What education sessions caught your attention at Expo! Expo! in the past? Did you have any takeaways from those sessions?
I always love the cost savings or best practice sessions so I can provide tips to my exhibitors, as well as Corbin Ball’s sessions about innovative technologies.
How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?
I always have to pre-plan the sessions because there are so many great choices for each time slot that it takes me a while to narrow it down. Then, I use the app to help me remember which exhibitors I need to visit first before wandering around to see what’s new.
Name an unforgettable moment that has happened to you at Expo! Expo!.
I finally finished my CEM and managed to walk across the stage without tripping, only to take out the photographer on my walk back.
If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?
If you’re a part of the exhibitions world, this is the show to be at. It’s the only event where you get to network and share ideas with people who do exactly what you do, while also getting to check out all the suppliers 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?
Don’t hold back—say hi to everyone! Most people come on their own, so it can awkward to make the first move. Just break the ice and get to know as many people as you can—it’s so helpful throughout your career to have these connections.
What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?
The Opening Reception and Young Professionals Party always end up being the most fun, as well as anything with puppies. There were some near registration last year.
Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?
Yes! I’m going to try to attend the Women’s Leadership Experience for the first time this year, as I’ve heard great things about it in the past. I love seeing women help other women excel in their careers/lives. I’m also really looking forward to the session about the attendee list scams and hotel poaching—these are issues impacting and irritating our exhibitors every day so I’m hopeful that the association is working towards a solution. It’s impossible to shut them all down on our own; they just keep popping up!
#ExpoExpo is less than three weeks away! Connect with Kyle and experience the networking, education and solutions shared at Expo! Expo!.