PACK EXPO and ICUEE Draw Robust Attendance, Showfloors

October 13, 2017

Shows in the packaging and construction/utility equipment industries drew strong attendance and growing showfloors recently in Las Vegas and Louisville, respectively.

PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2017 pulled off its largest Las Vegas trade show to date, welcoming nearly 1,000 more attendees and increasing in size by almost four percent, compared with its 2015 event.

Held Sept. 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the show attracted 29,500 attendees and 2,000 exhibiting companies spanning almost 900,000 net square feet.

According to officials from the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI), which owns and produces the show, this year has been an ambitious one for the association, with the successful execution of four North American packaging and processing trade exhibitions.

“The overwhelming success of PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO, coming on the heels of our success at PACK EXPO East, ProFood Tech and EXPO PACK Guadalajara confirmed our belief that our industry views the PACK EXPO brand as must-attend events,” said Jim Pittas, COO of PMMI.

He added, “Our exhibitors and attendees expect PACK EXPO to carry out first-class events and this show was no exception.”

To keep up with the show’s growing size, PMMI offers up-to-date online technologies such as My Show Planner online and via a mobile app that include enhanced Virtual Exhibitor Booths to ensure attendees and exhibitors came to the show prepared to make the most of their time.

“It was great to see the number of people coming to the show with (real-world) applications, ready to do business,” said Exhibitor Stacy Johnson, director of marketing and strategic planning for Dorner Mfg. Corp.

She continued, “We get both quality and quantity attendees (from) PACK EXPO Las Vegas, which is ideal. The pre-show planning PMMI provides (us) is (beneficial). We take advantage of the online booth upgrade and receive nothing but positive feedback from it.”

The show’s CSR component, PACK gives BACK, produced the largest crowd in the event’s seven-year history, with a standing-room-only crowd entertained by legendary rock and roll band, The Doobie Brothers. Proceeds from the performance, combined with industry donations and PMMI’s $100,000 match, helped the show raise more than $325,000 in hurricane aid.

“The generosity of PACK EXPO attendees and exhibitors was truly inspirational,” said Chuck Yuska, at the conclusion of his last PACK EXPO after more than a quarter-century as president and CEO of PMMI.

He added, “Ours is an industry that has consistently risen to the occasion to help others in times of need.”

In addition to supporting hurricane relief, PMMI recognized the importance of industry education by giving out $30,000 in PACK EXPO Scholarships to six students from PMMI Partner Schools at the show.

For the first time, the event welcomed the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) to the NextGEN Networking Fair, which offered a unique matchmaking opportunity for exhibitors and attendees to connect with the emerging workforce by helping to guide qualified veterans into careers in the packaging field.

The inaugural PACK EXPO DRONE DEMO – Packaging for the Last Mile provided insight on the latest frontier in supply chain logistics: drone package delivery by Workhorse. Every hour, attendees had the chance to witness drones taking off from the top of electric trucks and making deliveries to mock houses populating the 15,000 sq. ft. exhibit in the LVCC’s North Hall.

The show also hosted its first Packaging and Processing Woman’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) breakfast, with more than 500 attendees taking advantage of the opportunity to network and hear Caterpillar Vice President Tana Utley’s keynote address, “Dancing on the Glass Ceiling.”

Next up in the PACK EXPO portfolio will be PACK EXPO East, set for April 16-18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

One week later in Louisville, Ky., ICUEE 2017 – the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition, aka “The Demo Expo,” did its part to deliver industry trends, specialized exhibits, interactive product demonstrations and hands-on experiences to attendees and exhibitors.

Held Oct. 3-5 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the biennial show for utility professionals and construction contractors boasted 2017 as its largest event ever, with more than 28 acres of exhibits totally nearly 1.24 million net sq. ft. featuring the latest utility and construction equipment, products and technologies and more than 1,000 exhibitors, of which 25 percent were new to the show.

The event also drew nearly 18,000 registered attendees from across the U.S. and more than 50 countries, tracking close to the show’s record-breaking attendance at its 2015 show, with attendee demographics in the utilities category up 6 percent and the utility construction category up 3 percent compared to 2015.

“We had a great turnout and participation at ICUEE 2017,” said Rick Rodier, vice president of Sitework Systems Division of The Toro Company and 2017 chair of ICUEE.

He continued, “It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm of so many utility and construction professionals networking and sharing ideas, and finding the product innovations and solutions that will help them grow their businesses.”

The show also featured specialized exhibit pavilions for fleet management, safety and green utilities, China and Korean exhibit pavilions, and the Lift Safety Zone from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).

Hands-on equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations included a 2-mile Test Drive Zone for on-road equipment and technologies.

“We are looking to make our mark in the industry and shows like ICUEE help us do that,” said first-time Exhibitor Liz Kendrick, project sales manager for Man Lift.

She continued, “We couldn’t be happier with the experience. Our president came down in 2015 to walk the show and at that point we knew this was the way to go to get out to market. We’re busy and we’re very happy with the results.”

This year’s education programming focused on top-of-mind utility and construction topics presented by industry experts designed to help attendees enhance their safety knowledge, increase efficiencies and reduce downtime on the job.

Meanwhile, new Field Classroom sessions highlighted industry best practices first-hand with equipment on the show floor and the indoor ICUEE Demo Stage expanded the show’s outdoor equipment demo component with more in-action product innovations.

Another new feature, “Tomorrow’s Topics Today” sessions presented by show owner and producer Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), explored industry trends and emerging technologies, while popular returning programs including the iP Utility Safety Conference and Utility Fleet Conference as well as with industry certifications rounded out the show’s education component.

At the new “Diversity in the Grid” luncheon presented in partnership with Terex Utilities and AEM, Gretchen Bakke, author of “The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future” was the featured speaker.

In response to the nation’s recent number of natural disasters, a new “Disasters Taskforce: Preparing for What’s Next” program tackled disaster preparedness in the aftermath of the current hurricane season with a former FEMA advisor.

Besides perusing the exhibits, attendees also did their part to help raise money for the Red Cross Disaster Relief as well as the Call of Duty Endowment, a nonprofit organization that helps military veterans secure high-quality employment, with the return of the ICUEE Industry ‘Give-Back’ Auction that raised more than $37,000 for the organization.

ICUEE will return to the Kentucky Exposition Center Oct. 1-3, 2019.


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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: