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
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.