Have 20/20 vision for your show in 2020. 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. As the Director of Exhibitor Services for the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), Merideth explains why Expo! Expo! is THE place for show organizers.
Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?
I am 32 years old, born and raised in Northern Virginia, with 4 years in Tempe, Arizona for college (go Sundevils!). I have been working in the exhibitions industry since shortly after graduating – almost 10 years now!
As Director of Exhibitor Services for PMMI, my responsibilities are to manage the exhibit experience for our domestic shows from start to finish. This includes floor plan management and booth assignments, approval of exhibitor displays and enforcement of rules, communication and customer service, exhibitor marketing, managing relationships with multiple vendors, and the overall assurance that our exhibitors have the best experience and show possible.
Why do you attend Expo! Expo!? And how many years have you attended Expo! Expo!?
I have been attending Expo! Expo! since 2012. It Is the place to go to see all of the options out there for trade show planning. From host cities to event software to general contracting services, Expo! Expo! has it all and allows me to make the most of my time in seeking out future solutions. In addition to the show floor, the range of world-class education opportunities allow me to hear from experts on a variety of topics. Lastly, networking! Expo! Expo! is a great place to network with industry peers. Through the MATSO program, I have been able to connect with many others in similar roles to mine for idea exchanges.
Were there any insights from Expo! Expo! that you implemented in your organization? If so, what were they?
New partners! When looking for a new solution, we have turned to Expo! Expo! to find the latest technology, speakers, and products to hit the market.
How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?
Each year is a little bit different depending on what my main goals are for that year, but I sit down and think about my biggest priority for the show and plan around that. When I first started attending, I was working on obtaining my CEM, so I would plan to attend the CEM courses, and then see what time I could spend on the show floor or attending educational sessions. Luckily, the show is organized in a way that you are able to do it all! This year there are several educational sessions that I really want to attend, specific vendors that I want to meet with, and I also want to attend as many of the Young Professional events as possible as a member of the YP Committee, so I will review the schedule and make sure that I have time to accomplish all of these goals while I’m there.
If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?
Expo! Expo! is THE place for show organizers. Whether you are new to the industry or a veteran, the show has a ton to offer. Technology is constantly evolving and Expo! Expo! is the one place where you can learn about all of the advancements, meet face-to-face with vendors, and network with others. I have been attending the show for 7 years, and no matter how my role has changed over the years, Expo! Expo! continues to offer incredible value.
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?
Review the full meeting schedule, educational sessions, and exhibitors in advance and make a plan! There is SO much that you can get out of attending Expo! Expo! but as with all trade shows/conferences, it is important to do the work in advance so you plan your trip accordingly and get the most out of it! Also, don’t miss the Opening Reception and the Humanity Rocks events! Both are great ways to network, and Humanity Rocks doubles to support a great cause!
What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?
I will sound like a broken record and repeat what I said above – Humanity Rocks! It is truly a value add to the event, contributes to a great cause, and is fun to unwind with colleagues.
Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?
Yes! This year, I am particularly interested in attending various sessions on Exhibit Sales, Show Design, Attendee Experience and Event Technology. In addition, I am looking forward to the Women’s Leadership Experience session (featuring PMMI’s very own Krista Debrosse!), and the Young Professionals events. I have been fortunate enough to serve on the Young Professionals Committee this year and see first hand the emphasis on creating a welcoming environment for Young Professionals in our industry – including the BUZZ session on Wednesday specifically for Young Professionals.
It’s not too late to register for Expo Expo! Walk the trade show floor, learn the latest trends and network with your peers like Merideth.