Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Day Two at NPE2012 Filled with Visitors, and the Circus Was in Town

The bustling second day of the NPE2012 expo in Orlando, Florida, took SPI’s Senior VP of Trade Shows Gene Sanders (ExpoGene) from the circus (really) to a restaurant that could not feed him, both of which made him happy (really).

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The second day of the NPE2012 Exposition was even better than the first! Monday’s performance was certainly hard to top, but lo and behold, Tuesday was better (and it isn’t just because we are closer to the end!). Like most days, the crowds arrive not in mass, but more like a pending tsunami. By 10am the halls were full, the exhibitors were conducting business, and all was right with the plastics world (and God Bless Tiny Tim).

At noon, SPI President Bill Carteaux’s luncheon and announcements became one of the highlights of the show. Bill, a stage, and a microphone is always a lethal combination (it’s like tossing a grenade of knowledge and information on the unknowing.)

The day itself was terrific, but what was truly unique about Tuesday was what happened after the show closed. It started with a wonderful proclamation at the K Show reception regarding our show, and the relationship our organizations have with one another.

On the way over to this event, I noticed a bunch of artistically dressed people twisted up like pretzels. At first I thought maybe it was an affliction suffered by an attendee due to too much walking. But lo and behold, it was an exhibitor (Sabic) reception which featured Cirque du Soleil performers. Man, what a sight! Between Sabic, Dow’s spectacular customer center, and many of the other displays (like the Plastics News booth), I feel as if I dropped down the rabbit hole and landed in Poly-Alice’s Wonderland!

The evening was topped off with a proud revelation. We went to a restaurant that I was assured would be apart from the hustle and bustle. After waiting for an hour to be served (that’s what I needed after a 14-hour day) I asked what the hold-up was, whereupon I was informed that “some plastics company” rented out half the place, and with the other plastics people at the restaurant they just weren’t prepared for the load (I was still hungry at this point). Even after waiting two hours to be served our entrees, I wasn’t angry, but oddly proud that we were responsible for the onslaught of business into this nice community. GO NPE!

Wednesday’s another day, so until later, I am Expogene, “On The Scene”!

Images from Day Two at NPE2012, including the circus—April 3, 2012

IMages from NPE2012--April 3, 2012


Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

NPE2012: Opening Day Crowds Rock the Expo Into the Evening

Monday, opening day of the expo at NPE2012 in Orlando, Florida, was expected to be busy time for SPI’s Senior VP of Trade Shows Gene Sanders (ExpoGene). Happy to say, it turned out to be at least as busy for the exhibitors and the many attendees.

From the warm reception we got at the press breakfast to the final whistle at the NCAA Finals Party, NPE2012’s opening day of exhibits rocked! For those not present, we “Broke the Mold” at the opening ceremony, literally. And from the gracious comments by NPE2012 Show Chairman John Effmann, SPI’s Chairman of the Board Jay Cude, and Louisiana Senator David Vitter, to the Proclamation by the Mayor that this is NPE2012 Week here in Orlando, the words were warm, the event was upbeat, and the response was fantastic. Don’t worry, I left out Carteaux on purpose.

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SPI’s CEO Bill Carteaux started the proceedings with a rousing welcome to all attendees and exhibitors, and a thank you to the industry for its obvious willingness to take this leap of faith into Orlando. After breaking the mold built by Roger Klouda’s MSI Mold Builders, everyone started throwing oranges at one another—foam oranges, that is. It was clear the Mayor had done this before. She was firing them into the crowd like Roger Clemens at his peak!

We then proceeded into the expo hall, accompanied by a marching band (more jazz than march) to the woo-hoos of exhibitors and attendees alike. I have to tell you, Bill was beaming…all day, and he had good reason to. After the procession completed its West Hall run (yes the band was still with us), we walked the bridge to the South Hall (the band was starting to sweat), and on into the expo floor (someone had to perform mouth to mouth on the tuba player). After ascending the hall back to the lobby we were ad amazed by what we saw…long lines at the registration desks. Bill said, “Man this is great.” (I called to see if maybe the computers were broken.)

Registration lines, reports of crowds at the airport, and huge check-in numbers from the hotels were nothing compared to the crowds we had on the show floor. We

even ran out of maps.

The day ended with parties and receptions, followed by the Gardner Publications/NPE2012 Basketball extravaganza, where attendees and exhibitor gathered to relax, enjoy the Championship game, and do a little bit of networking. What a day!

In the end, Bill, who is a barometer for our industry, was so excited that he sported a perma-smile, much like the character Woody in Toy Story. As a matter of fact, he and Woody had a lot in common. Despite a long journey and hard work, both their days had happy endings

Looking forward to Tuesday, I am, as always, Expogene “On The Scene.”

Images from opening day at NPE 2012 in Orlando, Florida—April 2, 2012

Opening day of the NPE2012 exhibits

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

NPE2012 Setup Is Almost Done, and the Big Show Is About to Start

Saturday evening, following the last full setup day at NPE2012 in Orlando, Florida, and SPI’s Senior VP of Trade Shows Gene Sanders (ExpoGene) is still weathering all storms, including a thriller from Mother Nature.

On the eve of the NPE2012 Super Sunday opening events and activities, I can’t believe it is finally here! We are writing presentations, cleaning up the lobbies, scrubbing the floors, filling the literature bins, getting out the directories, and preparing for tomorrow’s Super Sunday.

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Is this the calm before the storm? No

way, we had one of those too. After 12 straight days of perfect weather, the clouds showed up (no not the new servers used to capture data), and they brought their friends wind, rain, thunder and lightning.

Even with 14 freight doors designed specifically to serve as wind tunnels, signs still were swaying, and rain was flowing. It rains sideways in Florida.) Some, chaos ensued. But as usual, our team stepped up and defused the situation.

And speaking of the team, today started with a tour of the show floor for the SPI staffers who recently arrived in Orlando. That was a lot of fun. It was great to point out all of the areas and attractions we’ve been working on so hard for years. Highlights of the tour included team pictures, including one in front of the Brown Machine booth, whose equipment was used as the torso for M.A.T.T., the show symbol. In addition, we watched a basketball game, and a couple of staffers tried their hand at a virtual game of grab the ball and put it in the basket!

Tonight we are going to an ultra-secret location for our NPE2012 Committee Dinner. Ok, I will tell you where it is. We are going to cook some burgers and dogs over at the Wal-Mart parking lot. What’s the entertainment? The Wal-Mart parking lot! I sure hope everyone appreciates the time and effort that went into selecting this location.

Tomorrow, we kick off Super Sunday at 6:00 a.m. when the team heads to the Grand Cypress Course for the SPI 75th Anniversary Charity Golf Tournament. The tournament will be a blast for those lucky enough to play. In addition to slicing up the course in the morning, in the afternoon NPE visitors will be treated to special presentations from Nike, Becton Dickinson and Kraft Foods on what brand owners see coming for plastics.

And speaking of food, everyone will enjoy the first Triennial NPE BBQ in the late afternoon, where they can meet their colleagues and industry friends for a little relaxation. We won’t worry about running out of food because we can reheat tonight’s burgers and dogs (no, not woof, woof).

Tomorrow culminates at the Opening Gala, featuring the Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony. (Can someone kick me when it’s time to call it a day?) And so, until tomorrow, I am Expogene “On the Scene”!

Images from the continuing move-in process at NPE2012—March 31, 2012

Images from NPE2012 setup, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30th, 2012

NPE2012 Move-In and Setup Proceed as Orlando Turns Orange

Friday evening and the end of another day setting up NPE2012 in Orlando, Florida finds SPI’s Senior VP of Trade Shows Gene Sanders (ExpoGene) still on his (hurting) feet and talking to pictures on the wall. Things are quite normal.

Today … my feet officially hurt! My pedometer shows 59.5 miles since I’ve arrived in Orlando (just walking around taking pictures for y’all), which is a lot of walking. Friday was a fairly seamless day of NPE2012 setup. The halls are looking good, the lobbies are sparkling, and the rest of our staff has crashed onto the shores of the OCCC. Many of our committee members have arrived as well. It’s good to see so many familiar friendly faces.

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Upon entering the city of Orlando, on billboards, along your drive in and all around and inside the OCCC, on t-shirts and cell phone covers, and even on the toilet paper, what you see everywhere is M.A.T.T., the NPE2012 symbol for show’s Return of the Machines theme. OK, I was kidding about the toilet paper. There is no paper in the restrooms. Seriously, the city is one big “Welcome M.A.T.T.” The big fella is everywhere.

Speaking of the big fella being everywhere, SPI’s President and CEO Bill Carteaux got his Segway driver’s license today, so watch out. I saw him taking the test and it reminded me of when Jim Ignatowski from Taxi was renewing his license (whaaaat doooes thhhe yellowww

lliigghht mmeeann!). All kidding aside (yeah right), I am sure Bill will be a very conscientious Segway driver, and will certainly say he’s sorry to those he mows down. (Bill, why is there a cattle catcher on your Segway?)

I went over to the West Hall C lobby today, thinking I’d talk to Gunther Hoyt and some of the other Hall of Fame inductees for a while. It was 10 minutes or so before I realized what I was seeing was just a display honoring this year’s distinguished Hall of Fame inductees. (I was wondering why Gunther was speechless for once).

So, just another day of move-in at NPE2012, and tomorrow I will still be Expogene “On the Scene”!

Images of the NPE2012 Move-In Taking Place in Orlando, Florida—March 30, 2012

Images from NPE2012 move-in on March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

NPE2012: It May Seem Like Groundhog Day, But Not For Long

Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, says SPI’s Senior VP of Trade Shows Gene Sanders (ExpoGene), is much like other setup days for NPE2012except for M.A.T.T., the gigantic inflatable machine man.

In the movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s character wakes up every morning to the same song by Sonny and Cher (not Bill and Sherri. Man, I’ve heard that cat sing, and witnessed mice scattering, locusts flying, birds migrating, and people rolling on the ground covering their ears in pain), and his routine is exactly the same each day.

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Move-in here in Orlando can take on a few of those characteristics as well. Although I haven’t seen Punxsutawney Phil crawl back into his hole, I did see an exhibitor sleeping under his draped table. Today was another day with tons (literally) of equipment and displays rolling in, meeting a lot of happy people, and converting (there’s that church reference again) a few who appear to have a stone in their shoe. We call it customer service. Just another day!

What’s new and different, however, are the twin M.A.T.T. inflatable behemoths looming over the West and South/North buildings like something from a Transformers film. (See the photo in the center below.) For those of you who don’t know (or have been on the moon for the last six months) M.A.T.T. is the acronym for Machines And Tomorrow’s Technology, which goes well with our Return of the Machines slogan for NPE2012.

Passersby on the street are

stopping to take pictures of their kids standing next to M.A.T.T. I only hope that some little kid doesn’t whip out his Swiss Army knife, whereupon M.A.T.T. will go from being a much larger than life sentinel to a heap of vinyl viscera!

Showtime is rapidly approaching and we here are excited to see everything up and running, to be opening our doors and to be welcoming visitors to the show. We still have a lot to do before we reach that point, so tomorrow we will wake up and do it all over again — not that we get a lot of sleep or even see our shadows like old Phil does. It’s dark when we come to work and dark when we leave. So tomorrow, like today, we will please everybody and move that much closer to the opening of NPE2012. Until then, I am Expogene, “On the Scene!”

Images From the Ongoing Setup of NPE2012 in Orlando, Florida, March 29, 2012

Images from NPE2012 setup on March 29, 2012