Gordon: Why did you write the Professional Trade Show Exhibit Manager’s
Brett: There was no one stop guide book on how to purchase, design and
run an exhibit with a detailed approach to the logistics aspects
involved. I was running a 5000 square foot exhibit from within a
company in the Fortune 1000, and had to learn all of the logistics
aspects myself. There are some courses given by Exhibitor, and some
articles in various data bases, but no guidebook for the new exhibit
are many trade show directors who have lost the “pulse” of exhibit
management costs. In short, if you have been running an exhibit for a
long time with the help of an exhibit house, using a turn-key type of
approach, you lose track of the un-marked-up costs. Exhibit managers
will say to me that they know they are paying a competitive rate for
exhibit labor, but how do they know how long the exhibit should take to
put up? The cost of labor equals rate x number of hours. Number of
hours is important. The exhibit manager has to observe the project once
or twice to understand what is really happening during installation and
Weight drives the cost of freight handling, usually the 2nd highest cost
after space rental. Booth weight also affects storage costs between
shows. Depending on carrier, shipping may also be based on exhibit
weight. That makes weight a very important aspect of booth design and
related logistics take a lot of experience to plan and run properly. The
pre-show planning is the most important part of the project. Without
it, the project cannot run efficiently and a large percentage of trade
show marketing budgets are wasted!
exhibit houses give very little thought to pre-show planning. So my
book tries to drive home how important pre-show planning is and get the
corporate trade show director involved in this process, so that at
future shows, when the director is not involved, the projects run more
efficiently without his / her involvement.
Gordon: Who should read the book?
Brett: The book is designed to be a how-to guide to help an entry
level trade show person to better understand the process of choosing and
running an exhibit. It is written so that knowledge is gained without
painful, costly mistakes!
The book is
also written to help a senior level trade show person to find the areas
within their exhibit related budgets that can be improved. It is my
hope that this senior person will be motivated by the book to take a
good look at the exhibit related logistics and their costs and then
invest a minimal amount of time to greatly reduce his/her costs.
Gordon: What should the results be?
on the reader’s time availability and motivation, they should be able to
eliminate up to 40% of their exhibit related running costs. Many of
these changes require time to complete. By reviewing how their projects
are being completed now, what is being paid for related services, and
what variables can be modified to greatly reduce these costs, any trade
show staff with decision making authority can better decide what parts
of their approach should be modified to create the greatest results.
Gordon: What initially interested you in tradeshow and event
Brett: As the youngest new hire at a sporting goods company, I was
assigned the task of exhibit coordination. By the fourth show, I was
managing all of the pre-show planning and logistics on my own, and
managing exhibit installation and dismantle at the shows for a 20’ x 30’
booth. I love the process of planning and working with teams of
laborers to install and dismantle the exhibits. There is nothing like
seeing a trade show hall empty, and five days later filled with
extravagant exhibits….Only to see the whole space empty again 7 days
Gordon: I was initially introduced to you from your articles in Exhibit
City News, Could you remind our readers of some of the topics of
Brett: Scheduling Installation Labor, Scheduling Dismantle Labor,
Freight Handling – eliminating extra cost, Hanging Signs - Parts I and
II, Shipping Exhibits by Freight Train to lower costs, Emergency
Electrical Work, Key Information Not Spelled out by the floor plan, Top
10 Ways to eliminate booth related costs, Exhibit Flameproofing,
Choosing Exhibit Size, Carpet: Nylon vs Polyester, Most of the articles
are how-tos for lowering cost and increasing efficiency
Gordon: What prompted you to launch Event and Display Consultants?
Brett: My background includes being a very hands on exhibit
manager…running a 5000 square foot trade show display without the help
of an exhibit house. Later, I was a partner at an exhibit house. I
realized by being a client of and later a partner of an exhibit house
that many exhibit houses can build a good exhibit, but most do not run
the exhibit well. Exhibit houses are not structured to run trade show
installation and dismantle projects well. Unfortunately, using an
exhibit at a number of shows is much more costly than purchasing the
exhibit so it is imperative that your exhibit is run extremely well. I
saw opportunity, and new that I could provide customers with a service
of much greater value.
Gordon: Could you give us some background about your major accomplishments
with Exhibit and Display Consultants?
Brett: Helping to grow my clients’ businesses substantially. I have
been able to work with boot strapped companies and help them grow to
multi-million dollar companies on several occasions. I have worked with
two companies that met or exceeded 1000% sales growth over a very short
with clients to supplement their staff in a seamless manner. We meet my
personal goal in becoming trusted partners for our clientele.
team to provide some of the best service in the trade show industry and eliminating
30% of our clients’ exhibit related running costs on a consistent basis.
I have been
able to author a book and many articles that help exhibitors to run
their exhibit better by increasing their skill and knowledge level and
making better decisions.
Gordon: Please list the top five lessons that you have learned since
launching Exhibit and Display Consultants?
Brett: The most important part of the exhibit installation project
happens before any crates are shipped.
pre-show logistics plan, which includes time frames for pre-show
storage, electrical, rigging, exhibit installation, and freight
handling, should be completed 4 weeks or more before the show. Often,
an effective installation and dismantle plan takes as long to create as
the total time invested in exhibit installation and dismantle.
prep for next show, begins during the pack-up and dismantle of the
at the current show must be written very clearly so that any exhibit
coordinator can work from these notes weeks or months after the notes
installation is different. Building the new installation and dismantle
plan from past projects paperwork will absolutely cost the client extra
money. Conditions within each hall are different, and the variables for
working at maximum efficiency and lowest cost are different at every
show, because the labor members, time available for installation and
dismantle, convention center, rules and regulations are always changing.
Gordon: Do you have any advice for college and university students
considering tradeshow and event management as a career?
Brett: T rade show work is very rewarding if you like project work.
There are definite timelines in all of this work.
timelines don’t move, so with the timeline comes
You need to
be very good at problem solving in real time.
You need to
be very detail oriented. There are a lot of moving pieces with even the
smallest face to face presentations and exhibits.
are truly an example of show business…..the show must go on, and
everything must look right to provide a strong first and continued,
impactful marketing impression!
Gordon: You have written an essential book for everyone in the Trade
Show and Exhibit industry - and not only for Trade Show Exhibit
Managers. It should be on the bookshelf of everyone in our industry.
© 2014 by Gordon Nary