Recap of the Together Again Expo

From: Rich Ryczek

ELITeXPO Account Executive

So…I attended the Together Again Expo in Orlando, FL on Fri 7/24 at the Orange County Convention Center.

What a RUSH !!!  Felt So good being back on Show Floor even if not doing what I usually do.  I was there as an Attendee.

4700 guests were registered with 3600 organizations represented.  Show floor was buzzing.

Event was a vision by Mark Yuska from Alliance Nationwide Expo with the help of many partners.  Spoke to him on show floor, said there will be more events like this very soon. Discussing one at the end of Summer and another early Fall in different Cities but most likely at smaller venues, i.e. hotel ballrooms.

Hope the Associations and Event Managers out there took note of this event to see that an event CAN run safely and successfully !!!

Event was well thought out and very organized. Had my temperature taken before I entered OCCC by a Florida Medic.  Temperature spot checks were done on show floor. Registration was fast and seamless. Floor aisles were a bit wider than usually.  Exhibitor booth spaces were the same 10×10 right next to each other with quite a few larger spaces occupied. Aisles were labeled “one way”.  They had separate Entry and Exit points from show floor.  Seating for Speakers on Show Floor were spaced 6’ apart.  Depth of seating was increased.  Had several large screens around seating area.  Hand sanitizers were everywhere.  Cleaning Service personal were staged on show floor wiping down regularly touched areas.  Even had a bathroom attendant in each to wipe down.  Everyone had masks on and was very conscious for each other’s safety.  A lot of elbow bumping.  Some hugs visible but most hello’s were non-contact.

Various Food Vendors were set up along the back wall of the OCCC with a couple Bar stations placed on show floor.

(I certainly missed paying $12 for 4 small pieces of chicken, 2 broccoli pieces, and 3 spoons of rice and $8 for a beer..…LOL).

A LOT of information was provided at this event.  The Panel discussions were quite interesting.  After all, it does take quite a bit of effort for all involved to put on an event.  Main thing being a venue must be accredited to allow a show to run.  Currently, only 5 venues at the moment have that ability (Orange County Convention Center,  Jacob Javits, San Diego CC are 3).

Walked the floor and did find a couple of interesting products being developed due the COVID19.   The Innovation of our Industry is amazing !!!

Mark at Alliance noted that future 10×10 spaces again will most likely be complimentary.  I’d be happy to man our booth at the next show.

Again, it was information overload.  If you have any questions/concerns, please ask.

Best part of this event based on my experience and opinion…

*** Honestly, I felt more SAFE on this show floor than going to a local Store, Restaurant, Bank, Gas Station, Bar, etc etc….. in my area !!!

I have the feeling it’s because our Industry is very professional, and we look out for each other.  The Tradeshow Industry is a large Family…and Family usually takes care of one another. This is certainly what I experienced from ALL involved in this show.   (The Association, General Contractor, Crews, Partners, Exhibitors, Attendees, Cleaning Crew, Security, Food Vendors, etc etc).

Take care and stay safe…


Returning to Work in a Socially Distant Environment

From: Heidi Maschmann

ELITeXPO VP of Information Systems

Working from home has had its ups and downs but workers have felt safe not having to enter an office environment for some time. Returning to work can be a challenge for both employers and staff members as safety is now the number one priority. Employees are anxious and worried that their office environments will not offer enough protection from the Corona Virus. Employers are certainly concerned for the health of their team and have a lot to plan for to maintain a safe workplace that allows for social distancing, education and training, and health checks. There are  potential liability issues, as well, should someone get sick.

As more people are returning to their offices, employers need to pay attention to the CDC Guidance for Businesses & Employers and specifically, their Employer Information for Office Buildings.

Here are some of the Back-to-Work Guidelines:

  • Verify Building is Ready for Occupancy – Ventilation, Cleaning, Water System
  • Identify Hazards – Possible Exposure Assessment
  • Establish a Communications Plan
  • Modify/Adjust Seating, Furniture, Workstations to Allow 6’ Distancing
    • Turn Seating to Face Away From Each Other
    • Remove Seating to Maintain Social Distancing
    • Use Signs, Tape Marks, Decals to Mark Where to Stand When Waiting
    • Remove Coffee Pots, Water Coolers, Vending Machines
    • Increase Ventilation & Air Flow, Open Windows, Add HEPA Filtration & Ultra-Violet Irradiation
  • Increase Cleaning, Sanitation, and Disinfecting
  • Stagger Shifts
  • Post Signs for Visitors/Drivers to Call from Parking Lot
  • Post Signs To Mandate the Use of Masks & Encouraging Hand Washing
  • Provide Masks, Wipes, Sanitizer to Staff & Masks to Visitors

Another aspect of the pandemic that employers need to be aware of is Handling Exposure & Infected Staff:

  • Perform Health Assessments & Temperature Checks
  • Advise Staff to Stay Home When Sick
  • Separate any symptomatic person from other staff
  • Send Employee Home / Arrange Transport to a Medical Facility
  • Track Movement in the Facility
    • Areas Visited
    • Persons They Had Contact With
  • Ventilate the Areas They Were Known to Have Visited
  • Disinfect & Clean the Areas After 24 Hours
  • Notify Staff That Were In Contact With the Employee
    • Do Not Disclose the Name of Any Infected Staff Member
  • Document the Situation
  • Allow Work-From-Home, When Possible

For Symptomatic Staff – After COVID-19 Test

  • Negative – Return to Work Once Feeling Well (14 Days Still Recommended)
  • Positive – Return to Work After 14 Days With No Symptoms & Doctor’s Release Obtained

ELITeXPO has altered the focus of our business and so we are now offering a wide array of new products and services. We have several Safety Products Available for both Office and Retail Environments. Our heavy-duty Hand Sanitizer Stands are quite popular as they offer a durable solution for dispensing sanitizer for staff and guests. We also have a large assortment of Office Dividers available with many being customizable for various fillers from clear acrylics to branded graphics being used. They come in all sizes and varied shapes to allow for use in any environment. We even offer safety product lines with Face Shields, Masks, Tents & Signage, and Floor Decals.

Doing business will certainly look different for the foreseeable future. The key to staying successful is to protect your employees and clients as best as you can, both physically and emotionally. If you’d like more information or pricing for any of the products we have mentioned, please give us a call at 800-543-5484 or send us an email.

ELITeXPO Asset Management

Treatment, Vaccine, Trade Shows Restarting – Are We Ready?

From: David Mihalik

President – ELITeXPO

Everyone has heard enough of all the bad news and conflicting information from station to station. Me, I’m looking for the good news. You already know the background news and noise. You don’t need more of it from me. What’s accurate anyway? You stand a better chance of figuring out the National algorithm for Drayage. The stuff hit the proverbial trade show fan in early March. It’s only been 4 months, 16 weeks, but it feels like that feeling when you’ve been waiting on empties from the bone yard well past happy hour and dinner plans. That long!

You’ll be hard pressed to find an industry that’s been as negatively affected as those who work to provide products and services for events with large gatherings of people. Some have alternatives and options, but our business relies on the operation of live face to face events. You remember that, right? We’re the anti-Zoom crowd. To borrow the buzz words of the day, we will change the narrative and pivot to alternative means of opportunity and revenue. We here at ELITeXPO are familiar with the concept. After the Great Recession in 08/09 we made the decision that our best opportunities would come from our existing customers.  We decided to offer full scale trade show property asset management as a means to offer customers and prospective customers a turnkey one stop source for all of their live event planning annually. We invested in software to allow remote ordering and management of inventory. We purchased a 2nd warehouse to manage our growing inventory. We hired a skilled manager and added experienced warehouse personnel. As a result of that expansion our customers asked us to become involved with set up and tear down labor, graphics, flooring, exhibit rentals and sales and design. Full service now meant so much more.

Recall that back during 9/11, everyone’s trade show properties came back for storage while shows shut down for that short period of time. Today, we have much the same except that everything is back into storage and it will be for a longer period of time. Normally a percentage of inventory is always in motion, but with most shows cancelled or postponed, the warehouse is bursting at the seams. Fortunately, our Asset Management program continues to provide some work and revenue, but it also largely relies on subsequent services such as freight, pick and pulls, refurbishments, updates, etc. We greatly miss that residual work which makes the asset management successful. While we are getting closer to seeing shows operating soon, we simply don’t have an exact time frame.

As we approach the 4th quarter, there is a growing concern that there will be a big rush to pull exhibit properties to prepare for the next event, or to create new experiential events for that first big trade show when face to face marketing returns. Being proactive in preparing for your next event when it does operate will allow you ample time to assure that you will be able to be ready once the timelines for that show are finalized. It assures time to get necessary parts, or needed graphics ordered for new products or markets you wish to serve. Imagine that most all exhibitors’ properties are sitting in storage somewhere now and many of them will be coming out when shows resume. Suppliers will be stressed with handling the rush of needed parts and orders for everyone who will be looking to get back into the game. Also, this much needed and appreciated work is something that we are asking our valued customers to consider doing now, while we are slower and have ample time to prepare your requests. As a primary trade show company, we are looking forward to the time when we can get back to work, full time. We would very much appreciate the opportunity to get to work for you now, during this down time while we all await the return of shows. If you have work that has been budgeted for in 2020 and is currently in your plans for upcoming events, we are asking that you consider, working with us now in these summer months to assist you. This is work that our company would greatly appreciate and would assist us in so many ways and your company will be ready and prepared to exhibit for those first shows that you will exhibit at. So, take a moment and ask yourself… Are You Ready? If not, don’t wait. Let’s keep working now and together we will be ready to exhibit soon!

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