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Posts Tagged ‘EDPA’

College Scholarship Deadline — EDPA Foundation

June 28th, 2016 COMMENTS

EDPA Foundation

Classic Exhibits Distributors and Vendors,

As many of you know, I am on the EDPA Scholarship Foundation Committee. The Exhibit and Designers Association Foundation offers college scholarships to member families who apply and qualify. It’s a great opportunity for the Association to give back to its members and a benefit to you.

For eight years, I’ve seen the impact on those families, and it has been nothing short of amazing.

The application deadline is coming fast — July 25th. If your kids are either in college or headed to college this fall, we invite you to apply. Again, it’s free money for books or classes or however they decide to apply it to their education. But they need to apply to be considered.

Basic details can be seen on the image below.

EDPA Scholarship poster 2016_final3

Go to www.edpa.com/foundation/whatwedo. Applications are confidential and are reviewed by the EDPA Scholarship Foundation Committee, a small group.

As we know, college is expensive so every little bit helps. Please don’t miss out on this great opportunity to offset some of the expense.

Have a great 4th of July holiday weekend ahead.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

Redefining the Custom Exhibit | Pat Friedlander

June 8th, 2016 COMMENTS

Custom Exhibits Redefined

Guest Post by Pat Friedlander

When I was new to this industry, I heard the word “Octanorm” bandied about as if it were the last ditch attempt for stingy exhibitors There was no design consideration — just how many panels and how many uprights.

However, on my first trip to EuroShop some 20 years ago, I was stunned when I walked into Hall 9 and saw the Octanorm corporate exhibit. EuroShop opened my eyes. U.S. was unique in advocating box-frame exhibits, exhibits that were crated and stored in warehouses around the country. It was apparent to me that US exhibits were different. They looked stodgy and boxy by comparison.

Systems and the Rest of the World

Between Dusseldorf and Chicago, I became a convert to systems. They looked cool, they allowed for fresh designs, and they were flexible — not hallmarks of box frame construction. Soon after, I invited my friend Kerstin Mulfinger from Burkhardt Leitner to speak at HCEA’s annual meeting about systems.

As various systems proliferated, bits and pieces started to appear on U.S. show floors. Yet the differentiation persisted that there were custom exhibits (i.e., box frame) and there were portable modular systems —  with “systems” viewed as a commodity.

What is a Custom Exhibit?

Custom Exhibits, as the industry generally uses it, is a relic. Today the distinction is anachronistic. Using the term “portable modular” ignores the fact that modularity is not limited to any one type of construction — portable, custom, hybrid, etc. Modularity is related to configuration, not to building materials.

VK-5148gAt an EDPA ACCESS 2015 session, I said, “It’s time to de-commodify systems and redefine what we mean when we say a custom exhibit.” It turned out I wasn’t alone. “Modular components and systems are no longer a commodity item,” said Jay Burkette, vice president, Expo Displays, “but represent building blocks, increasingly used by traditional exhibit houses as an effective way of helping design, manage, and maintain their client’s exhibit properties.”

According to Debbie Parrott, president, Highmark TechSystems, “Some designers are predisposed to think that modular systems should only enter their design tool kits when they are working with an especially cost-conscious client. For those designers, low-cost and creativity are mutually exclusive and systems limit their creativity. This short-sighted view shows a lack of understanding of the realities of our industry and the needs of program clients.”

“Large clients are program clients who benefit from exhibit designs that offer versatility, reconfigurability, fast installation and dismantle – exactly what modular systems address. This perspective also shows a naiveté about the design trends in the global exhibit marketplace where modular systems are used for exhibits that are stunningly creative, brand-distinctive, highly functional, and cost and time efficient. Designers in our industry need to be knowledgeable on this front, and the challenge for those who are modular system proponents is to educate and show designers both the inspiring possibilities and the compelling business case.”

How Do YOU Define “Custom Exhibit”?

Seems to me that we need to arrive at a new definition of “custom exhibit.” If the definition is not about construction methods and materials, perhaps it’s about marketing. What are the goals and objectives of the exhibit program? How does the exhibit fulfill and meet those goals? And about the exhibit:  Is it rental? Is it purchased? Should we differentiate? We plan to continue this discussion at EDPA ACCESS 2016, but in the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Pat Friedlander
pat@word-up.com
773-230-9989

Bio:

Pat Friedlander is a marketer, trainer, and writer in the exhibit industry. She has spent many days and nights on the trade show floor, and has lots of advice about shoes. She has received the HCEA Distinguished Service Award and the EDPA Hazel Hays Award. She lives in Chicago and often answers to Grandma Pat.


 

2015 Annual State of the Company Letter

January 5th, 2016 COMMENTS

AnnualLetterblogHeader

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I know I did! It included nap time on the couch — something I rarely get these days.

We started the year on an upswing with a record-breaking Q1 across all divisions at Classic, including ENW, ClassicMODUL, and Rentals. There were several promising trends — some new, others cultivated in 2012-2014 but coming to fruition in 2015.

EDPA

EDPA Booth

Lightboxes were HUGE — literally! All year, inlines and islands seemed naked without a SEGUE lightbox. Our designers found new and creative ways to add light, whether as a backlit feature or using LED perimeter lights in counters, workstations, and accessories. This extended into Corporate and Retail Environments as well.

To meet this expanding need, Classic developed two new profiles:  a single-sided option for walls and a remarkably thin double-sided option for freestanding lightboxes. If you attended EDPA Access, you saw them both in our booth.

Custom Wood Fabricated Exhibits. Easily the largest growth segment for Classic Manufacturing. We joked that Classic Exhibits has become the largest, most invisible custom builder in North America.  And that’s just fine. Never has our unbranded approach been so valuable. Each and every day we build Custom Exhibits showcasing YOUR brand on crates and setup instructions.

With a heavy focus on design and the use of our CNC shop, Classic builds custom exhibits for our Modular/Hybrid Distributors as well as our Custom Distributors who turn to us when they don’t have the time or capacity to build an exhibit. This has been a very welcome and creative challenge to the Classic staff.

Pokemon

Pokémon World Championships Retail Space

Retail Displays and Corporate Environments. Our work in the Retail and Corporate Environments continues to grow as our Distributors look beyond trade shows. The three largest examples were the Pokemon World Championships Retail Space, The Bonneville Power Administration Visitors Center, and our work inside the Nike Campus.

But it doesn’t stop there. We have open bids on several new corporate environments and are currently building an interactive space within a Midwest car dealership.

Patting Ourselves on the Back. At EXHIBITORLIVE, Classic Exhibits, Eco-Systems Sustainable, and several Classic Distributors were honored with five nominations for the Portable Modular Awards.

Pacifica

2015 PMA Winner Island less than 400 s.f.

Just being nominated is amazing… but we also WON two awards! Classic took home the prize for Best Island Design (400 sq. ft.) and Eco-Systems won best 10 x 10. Both a testament to the beautiful work of our talented Designers!

As if that was not enough, Event Marketer named us one of the Top 50 Manufactures in North America for the third straight year. The award speaks to the amazing work of our Production and Project Management teams!

We have three finalists in this year’s upcoming PMA’s. Be sure to vote for your favorite at the People’s Choice Voting.

Education. Whether in life or work, education is the key to success. Classic Exhibits’ Shared Knowledge University provides a platform for valuable education in our professional worlds. In 2015 we held two SKU sessions. The groups learned about Classic, our people, our products, and our great WEIRD Portlandia home. This year included a new twist… a trip to Cartlandia, one of Portland’s idiosyncratic food cart pods that make Portland… well Portland.

SKU benefited from the participation of great partners and speakers:  Optima Graphics, Cort Furnishings, Display SKUSupply and Lighting, 3 Dog Write, Tim Patterson (The TradeshowGuy) and Pinky Gonzales, the LinkedIn Specialist. They all helped to make Content King at SKU.

Over 65 students earned bachelor degrees, and a few earned graduate degrees. Our congratulations to our first Ph.D. — Dr. Cody. Contact Reid or Jen about attending in May.

Speaking of Reid and Jen. Reid Sherwood and Jen LaBruzza, our resident Road Warriors, hit the streets hard in 2015 visiting distributors, conducting onsite training, and generally spreading joy. If you missed them last year, they have very busy travel schedules in 2016.

Expect them to share news about New Product releases (more on that coming), Exhibit Design Search training, and your needs.

Distributor Visits. I have been doing this for 22 years and 2015 was a record year for distributor visits at Classic. Looking back at my calendar, we averaged a visit about every two weeks. Many were scheduled around client previews of large exhibit builds. Others arranged their own private one-on-one Distributor training — a mini-SKU if you will.

I appreciate these visits so much since I don’t travel much anymore due to my family’s schedule — 9 yr. old twins are BUSY. I appreciate the opportunity to introduce Distributors to our great staff/family at Classic. They’re the people who really make things happen, the folks you don’t see at EXHIBITORLIVE or other industry events.

Please know that our doors are always open. We welcome your visits with or without your clients. And our staff loves meeting you all as well. It helps seal the relationship they have developed with you all over the phone. Not to mention our food, wine, and craft beers are best experienced in person.

rental

Rental Project from 2015

Rental Growth. Classic Rental Solutions continued its double-digit growth. And it’s really no surprise. Jim Shelman and his crew do what others “can’t” or simply are “unwilling” to do in a rental solution. I love walking through their area to see what they are building. So much of it is as custom as what we are doing on the new build side.

Congrats to the entire CRS team on their growth. It speaks to your ongoing dedication to the service and solutions that customers expect… and often exceeding those expectations.

Strong Sales.
In 2015 we experienced increases across the board at the Classic Family of Companies, including a record Q1, Q2, and Q3. Q4 is yet to be determined.

I would humbly suggest two reasons for our growth.

1. Classic Distributors tapped into our designers earlier in the sales process. By using them as YOUR designer on the initial calls with the clients, we saw our close ratio increase three-fold.

2. More distributors visiting Classic or attending SKU. There is this “moment” when someone steps into our manufacturing plant. It’s tangible and it’s hard to explain fully, but somehow it seems to validate everything that person has heard or been told by Reid, Jen, Mel, Jim, or myself over the years. They see our process, our capabilities, and our people.

Exhibit Design Search (EDS). Last year brought multiple changes to EDS. All of which were geared to make your sales process easier. Some of the highlighted changes/additions include

  • Modified Navigation
  • Easier Sort Feature
  • Expanded My Gallery-Kits, Photos and tips now can be added to your galleries
  • Home Page Redesign – including larger images
  • Printable Product sheets on most product lines
  • A NEW Gallery coming in Early 2016…VERY VERY Exciting!
100DayGuarantee

100-Day Return Guarantee

BELIEVE IT – 100 Day Return Guarantee. In 2015 Classic introduced a 100-Day Return Guarantee on Sacagawea, Perfect 10, Quadro, and FGS.  It was an easy decision since we build it right the first time! We’re proud to be the first company in the exhibit industry to offer this guarantee.

Association Participation. EDPA and E2MA are a key part of the Classic Exhibits’ DNA. I sit on the Board of Directors for The Exhibit Designers and Producers Association while Mel sits on the Board of Directors for the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association and serves as the Treasury Chair. Both associations focus their efforts on the betterment of our industry through Education, Scholarships, Industry Round Tables, and bridging the gaps between the stakeholders in our industry.

I know I speak for Mel when I say we are both very proud of our work in these two associations, and that we are always available to speak to anyone interested in learning more about how they can become more involved.

JZ

John Zipay, Exhibits Northwest, GM

John Zipay (JZ). Classic was excited to add John to our management team in 2015. John is the General Manager of the Exhibits Northwest division of Classic Exhibits which focuses on the Pacific Northwest market.

More than that, John brings a wealth of knowledge to the company with his I&D experience. It’s a perspective we lean on frequently in manufacturing when analyzing a potential exhibit build. His knowledge of the trade show floor has also been beneficial to our distributors when finding the right labor in certain US cities.

Be on the lookout! We are about to launch a new product line. What is it? You will have to wait, but we are close to the formal unveiling. Expect a “soft launch” in late January. You’ll see the full product line at EXHIBITORLIVE. It will change the way you look at building exhibit systems!

Lastly, I offer my sincere thanks to you for being great partners and for supporting the Classic Family. I look forward to working with and seeing you in the coming year.

Be well!

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

EDPA ACCESS 2015 Recap: Word on the Street — Dec. 7th thru Dec. 11th

December 12th, 2015 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

EDPA ACCESS Review

Happy December! Santa is almost here, we are constructing arks in the Pacific NW (rain, rain, and more rain), and I am still on an an energetic HIGH from the Annual EDPA ACCESS Conference. For those unable to attend, I wanted to share a recap of this event, an annual favorite of mine.

2015 EDPA ACCESS was held at the Red Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. First, standing ovation to the ACCESS team for choosing one of the top three locations ever — self-contained, great rooms, great restaurants, and a casino just far enough away from the strip.

The layout was perfect. Every session, social event or program was within walking distance… and no more than five minutes from your room. This (and much more) made the event location darn near ideal.

The sessions were great. Admittedly I was not blown away when I first saw the program. Not disappointed — just not blown away. But Wednesday and Thursday were off the charts good from an educational and a collaborative standpoint. Like in past years, I mapped out the sessions on my calendar, not leaving any openings. And I was glad I did. Some highlights…

The Management Issues Forum on Wednesday

The forum gave CFO’s, CEO’s, VP’s, GM’s and Sales Managers the opportunity to discuss pressing issues affecting us all. Not be talked too but to talk together about the real issues we face. Topics included the recent/pending NLRB decision about temporary employees/labor, design costs and fees (do you charge, do you not?), and hiring strategies/difficulties related to Gen X vs. Gen Y vs. Millennials.

As a business manager, it was comforting knowing that the same challenges we face at Classic are present at companies of all sizes.

First-timers Meeting

Near and dear to my EDPA heart is the First-timers session. Like past years, I was asked to serve as a mentor during this session. Some first-timers are employees of existing EDPA-member companies, but many that are new to the association.

Laura Marzella Fee and her team created a welcoming environment for newbies to EDPA, and I was able to co-mentor with Stacy Barnes, a long time friend from Eagle Management.

More than 10 years ago, I drank the EDPA kool-aid and have never regretted its sweet taste. So this was another opportunity for me to share why I like EDPA so much, and brag about all the good I see our association doing in our industry. EDPA provides college scholarships to industry members, assists financially and emotionally those who have lost loved ones to sickness or tragedy via the Randy Smith Foundation, and helps mentor college students at Bemidji State University and FIT in NYC.

Thanks to my group for listening to Stacy and asking great questions.

An Owner’s Guide to The Future

This was one of the keynotes, given so eloquently by David Zach, a futurist. David’s used real world examples of how each decision we make during each moment of our lives affects everything in our lives from that very moment. If you were there you know what I mean. SQUIRREL!!

The business decisions we make, and many we don’t, are a reminder to make a hard decision. Trust yourself. Delaying the tough decisions often do more damage in the long run than making a wrong decision in the short-term.

Some books to explore:

  1. The Pirate Organization by Rodolphe Durand
  2. Curious by Ian Leslie
  3. Zero to One by Peter Theil

Good stuff… and a terrific keynote speaker!

2015 EDPA Portable/Modular Summit

Moderated by Jay Burkette from ExpoDisplay, this year’s summit was one of the most interactive conversations we’ve ever had. A big thanks to those in audience who spoke up and kept the conversation rolling.

The best takeaway was that as a builders, designers, and producers that we are ALL building Custom Exhibits.

What??? did Kevin just say that?!?!? Blasphemy!

Let me explain how two EDPA members put it. Which was spot on!

Inside the industry, we focus so much on wanting to compartmentalize and categorize each business. You manufacture banner stands and pop ups, so you are a Portable Manufacturer. Over there you build and sell metal so you are a Systems Manufacturer. Then you over there, you sell metal mixed with some laminated components, so your are a Hybrid Manufacturer. And then you, yes you in the front row, you build everything out of wood, so you are a Custom Exhibit Manufacturer.

Those classifications do not work anymore. Look on the floor at your next tradeshow hall and try to make sense of the 20 x 40 build with a metal skeleton, surrounded by beautifully custom laminated walls that include tension fabric lightbox inserts. This island is surrounded by modular pedestals and workstations, all of which have been customized to the client’s needs.

For too long we have tried fit in our little compartments in an effort not to offend anyone or step on anyone’s toes.

I thank the group for their candor. It was a great conversation, and one that will continue to evolve.

In Conclusion

You know I am an EDPA fan. I am a proud member of the Board of Directors for EDPA. But I am also very proud of the continued conversations the association fosters and the education it provides us all. Especially each December at ACCESS.

If you are not a member but are interested in hearing more, please call or email me anytime. I would love to share more about how EDPA can help your business and you.

OK, time to get back to this Ark Building Project. It won’t build itself. And as I write this we are almost at 8″ of rain in 3.5 days with more to come. Anyone know where I can find two jackalopes? The Sasquatch couple is already standing inline waiting to board.

Have a great weekend with your families.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

The New Evolution: EDPA Portable Modular Summit @ EXHIBITORLive 2015

February 14th, 2015 COMMENTS

exlive_2015

It’s only two weeks until EXHIBITORLive 2015, and there’s ONE EVENT you want to lock into your schedule. Here’s my personal invitation to the annual Portable Modular Summit.

The EDPA Portable Modular Summit — The New Evolution

The summit will be held on the show floor Tuesday, March 3 at 3:30 pm, immediately after normal show hours. It will be hosted by my friend Jay Burkette from ExpoDisplays and yours truly (Kevin Carty). There’s no cost to attend.

Each year, we gather for 45 minutes to discuss the latest trends, issues, and successes in the Portable, Modular, and Hybrid segment.

This year’s Summit began at the EDPA ACCESS Conference in December, where we discussed how our slice of the industry has changed over the past 10-15 years. We plan to continue that discussion at EXHIBTORLive with the focus on the Here and Now. As we all know, Portables, Modulars, and Hybrids are a much broader, deeper, and design-centric segment of the industry than ever before.

Clearly, the change has been dramatic, especially post recession. The scope of projects and services offered by distributors/dealers and the breadth of designs by manufacturers has expanded considerably.

We welcome everyone who has a vested interest in this category to the back corner of the show hall on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30. We will begin at 3:45 sharp and will go until 4:30.

PortModFinalist_2015LogoBut Wait! There’s More!!

When we finish, Exhibitor Magazine will take the stage to announce the 2015 Winners of the Portable Modular Awards, People’s Choice Award, Buyer’s Choice Awards, and Best of Show Awards.

I can’t think of two better paired sessions. After discussing the evolving trends in our segment, you will hear about all the great designs in our segment of the industry.

Both the EDPA Portable Modular Summit and the EXHIBITOR Awards presentations are FREE to all. I hope to see you there! Give me a call or send me an email if you have any questions.

Be well and I hope you have/had a great Valentine’s Day Weekend with your someone special and family

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a