By Sarah Mainhart
Strategic Account Manager, CORT Event Furnishings
Taking on Capitol Hill
In the morning, shuttle buses delivered us to Capitol Hill armed with our message. We were instructed numerous times that comfortable shoes were essential, and that was great advice. The halls of Congress occupy multiple buildings sprawled over a massive campus. Appointment times were preset with our respective state representatives, and many of us were surprised at the warm receptions we received from our elected officials.
“I was really given a big dose of Hoosier Hospitality during Exhibitions Day as I was able to meet all three of my elected congressmen,” said Chris Lake, Director of Manufacturing Operations with beMatrix USA. “During my favorite meeting of the day, I was invited to the office of Representative Jim Banks where I spent 15-20 minutes with him and a staffer sitting on the couch in his personal office. [He] even sent a letter of thanks to me a few weeks later. I really had my eyes opened about the democratic process in America and it left me with two big thoughts: Politicians will listen to their constituents, and face to face is still the best way to do business and communicate a message. What we preach in the event and experiential business, we need to continue to practice in our democratic process. You can’t replace a handshake and a smile with any other communication medium. Tradeshows work because it is personal. Legislatures listened because we were there in person. I thought it was a great lesson and a great day. I look forward to doing it again next year!”
To cap off the day, our group reunited at Bullfeathers for more networking. Despite a long day of walking and talking, the overwhelming mood was enthusiastic. Any pre-event anxiety had long dissipated and we were excited to share our experiences with one another. “It was a great day moving our agenda ahead and I even got to meet Representative Karen Handel’s dog in her office. I can’t wait to go back and do it again next year,” said Dave Flory, Director of Sales for CORT Event Furnishings.
While it is still too early to say what the lasting impact from Exhibitions Day 2018 will be, it is clear that we must continue our efforts in order to protect and advance our industry. We heard from multiple second time attendees this was not the first time that online booking scams had been a talking point for Exhibitions Day, but it was promising to see that bills addressing the problem had been drafted in both Congressional chambers.
“As I participated in Exhibitions Day for the second time, it was encouraging to see some small signs of progress even if our government is not speedy to address the exhibitions industry’s issues. I was delighted with the strong participation by EDPA members, having grown from two attendees last year to 18 this year,” said Kelli Glasser, President and CEO of Exhibit Concepts, Inc.
More information on how you can be a part of Exhibitions Day 2019 with EDPA, contact Chris Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org