Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge
and the dissemination of truth."

John F. Kennedy

Meet our Thoughtleaders: An Interview
Michael Flavin by Gordon Nary

Return to Michael's Webpage
Thoughtleaders Main Page

Gordon: Could you give us an overview of Gateway Exhibit Services, the services that you provide, and your affiliation with Skyline?

Michael: At Gateway Exhibit Services, we're focused on eliminating trade show headaches and increasing trade trade show results for our clients.
We're a partner dealer of Skyline Exhibits. Since its inception in 1980, Skyline has been a design leader in the exhibit industry, intent on creating
exhibit solutions that help exhibitors to exhibit easier, better & more efficiently. At Gateway Exhibit Services, we help our clients lower trade show
service costs by as much as 15% and virtually eliminate time & material reconciliation invoices after the show through our unique process. Additionally,
our unique, new trade show lead capture solution bridge the sales & marketing gap by easily capturing & instantly
following up on leads, thus increasing results.

Gordon: You have a somewhat diverse background  in business specialties including graphic design, writing, sales,
management, and public speaking   How do these talents complement each other?

Michael: I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Growing up, I was very active in Boy Scouts because I liked the opportunity
to learn and compete in activities. An annual car wash was one of our fund raisers. Each Scout had to sell at least 10 tickets
and there was an incentive if you sold 20. I sold 100, several years in a row. I was always interested in design and creating
things as well. I'm a graphic designer by trade, having received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. As I worked for small companies in
the graphics & signage industries, I found that I always had a lot sales & marketing ideas. When I learned of the trade show
industry and a position with Skyline Exhibits, I jumped at the chance & haven't looked back because it requires skills in all the
areas that interest me -- design, marketing and sales. Best of all, I have the privilege to work with many great clients to help
them achieve their objectives.  

Gordon:  Are most of your clients centered in St. Louis, or do you also travel to other states and/or internationally?

Many of my clients are located in the Greater St. Louis, Southern Illinois and Missouri areas. Our central location provides
a great benefit to my clients because we're able to quickly reach all exhibiting cities in North America, as well as world wide, where
we are seeing a large growth of clients exhibiting overseas.

Gordon: How if the current stagnation of our economy affecting the exhibit and tradeshow industry?

Michael: In my view, exhibitors have recognized that it's important to continue focused sales & marketing activities, rather than scaling
back. Many have re-doubled their efforts rather than letting status quo rule the day. Therefore, I have seen growth in my business year
after year,

Gordon: I know that you speak often at local organizations. Could you comment on the need for all of us to be involved in
community organizations and challenges?

Michael: We live in a wonderful period of time in history when technology can give us instant access to any information that we need.
However, it will
never change the way we communicate -- 57% through body language, 36% in our tone and 7% through our words.
Therefore, the best way that we can make new connections and solve problems is by meeting together in person -- this is both the value
of and payoff from organizations. And, thus trade shows will continue to be one of the most effective sales & marketing mediums.

Gordon:  We have a significant number of students interested in the exhibit and tradeshow profession that subscribe to our
Journal. What advice could you give them that could be helpful in applying for their first  professional position.

Michael: Before you apply for any job, remember that a part of you needs to be in sales -- everyone is these days. You have an objective
to find employment that fits your goals & objectives. So, take a step back and do a lot of background research before you apply for anything.
Start a LinkedIn profile if you don't already have one. Join industry groups online to learn more. Connect with industry leads and ask them
questions that might be helpful in the interview. Then, figure out why you're different and why the company should hire you. Everyone
sends a resume -- what will you do differently to stand out?

Gordon:  That's great advice. Thank you for your time and for helping us provide an educational  resource for everyone in our industry.