The show is the show. Not many places where so many fastener people congregate in one place at the same time. Sometimes, it is hard to navigate the whole thing. Once I returned home and spoke with a couple local fastener people who attended, only then did I realize how many people I did NOT see out there who I wish I had bumped into. There were several. I didn’t even know they were there.
For me, networking is probably what I look forward to the most. Catching up, hearing what’s new and maybe meeting a few people I know of, speak to, but haven’t met face to face. And I stay at the show the entire time it is open except for maybe a lunch run. I try to stay up late, even with the time difference, and I try to see as many people as possible. I might be one of the only people who attends the show that could use an additional day there. I know most exhibitors have had it by about 1:00 the second day, but not me. Some people manage the show very well and set up meetings and lunches on Day 2 and make their time there more valuable. It might be good if Day 2 had a slightly different format that encouraged more distributors to attend and interact. I don’t have that idea, but maybe there is one.
I am always a fan of the show but I will share a few thoughts. First, I liked being down at the other end of the strip where I could walk out to several other hotel/casinos. I get it. It’s hard to compete with SEMA and some of the other really large shows. But honestly, I like being near the Paris or the Venetian. But again, I get it.
I was scheduled for a dinner the night of the opening bash by the pool. I told my dinner party I would be a little bit late to dinner, may an half hour, because I wanted to at least stop by the opening party for a short visit. When I got to the pool area the line was a mile long and I just walked up and down the line like it was a receiving line after a wedding, said a quick hello to a few people and realized I would NEVER get in to the event without being an hour late for my dinner. So, I never made it in which was a big networking disappointment. I’m not blaming the show for the fact that I was invited to a perfectly wonderful dinner, but the line did seem to be a bit longer than normal. And, it was kind of a haul to make my way over there from mid-Mandalay.
Emerald was very generous with supplying drinks in the evening at Eye Candy. That was much appreciated. Eye Candy is a little disjointed and you cannot see one section of it from another. I had several people tell me they were hanging out there until like 11:00 and I was there well beyond that one particular night and never even saw them.
Another small mishap – I wanted to attend the session on mergers and acquisitions but had a hard time finding the room based on the information I had. I never did make it to the session.
It’s been a few years since the show was at Mandalay Bay and it might just be that it is taking some time to readjust and get acclimated to the venue. I do not recall where the opening bash used to be back when the show was there years ago. Next year the show will be in September and not on Halloween, and I’m certain that will bring back some individuals who passed on this year’s show. Still, this year’s show was busy, and as it is with any trade show you’ve got to work it to make it work for you.
…and then, when the show was over, me, Dean Moriarty and Charlie Accetta set off with fifty bucks in our pocket in Charlie’s ’37 Ford Sedan and made out way back east picking up a couple hitchhikers along the way. See Charlie, I didn’t forget!