The weather outside may have been bitterly cold, but inside McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, January 12-15, ProMat 2009 attendees and exhibitors alike were in their comfort zone on the showroom floor. Some thought harsh economic conditions, and even harsher weather, might temper enthusiasm for the show—they were wrong. According to MHIA, ProMat 2009 was the largest event in the history of the show, featuring roughly 800 exhibitors, 100 seminars and visitors from more than 90 countries.
MHEDA’s Presence Is Felt
MHEDA had a noticeable presence at the show. Exhibiting members showed their pride by placing “Proud MHEDA Member” signs at their booths while many MHEDA members, including some of the Board, roamed from exhibit to exhibit. Several MHEDA Members sponsored seminars and held press conferences to announce company news. MHEDA’s booth, always a hot spot, received a steady stream of traffic, according to Membership Manager Kathy Cotter. Visitors to the booth were treated to a complimentary chair massage and supplied with information about the association and its goings-on.
MHEDA sponsored a very well-attended post-show reception, where nearly 100 distributors and manufacturers had a blast mixing relaxation with networking and relationship building. The next morning, the association’s impact on the show was evident once again as more than 20 attendees took part in the MHEDA-sponsored Objective Based Selling seminar presented by Gary T. Moore.
Outstanding Experiences for First-Timers
MHEDA was also well-represented by its Edgers like Trelleborg’s Marketing Coordinator Jessica Aubley and E.P.I.C.’s Assistant Vice President Rich Gunn—both first-time attendees. Gunn said the show was a great learning and experience and that he had particularly enjoyed meeting other MHEDA members. “Everyone I talked to was so nice. It’s great how genuine everyone around here is,” he explains.
For Aubley, ProMat was an eye-opening experience. Not only was she new to the show, but she’s been in the industry less than a year. “This was an incredible experience. There’s so much more to this industry than I realized,” she said. Aubley was encouraged by the quality leads Trelleborg was able to generate and by how many people came out in spite of the economy.
Distributors Make the Most of Opportunity
With the economy continuing to slow, Storage Solutions (Knoxville, TN) and Sales Representative Brian Allen came to ProMat to be proactive. “We’re actively trying to diversify and find new products that will sell in this down economy, and this was the ideal setting to do that,” says Allen. He also took advantage of another opportunity at the show. “I was able to attend the Objective Based Selling seminar. It taught me some great new strategies that are going to help me to better prepare my proposals.”
Advanced Equipment Company (Charlotte, NC) Sales Engineer Ivar Lonon is a ProMat veteran, but he still learns from each trip. “It’s hard to come to these shows sometimes and see something different that I haven’t seen before, but I did here. For example, one company was showcasing an earthquake protection rack attachment that I had never seen before,” he said. Even more than new products, Lonon found relationship building to be the highlight of the show. He explains, “It’s important for us to come here because we get an opportunity to solidify our relationships with our manufacturers.”
ProMat brought out the best the material handling industry had to offer both in products and in people, and MHEDA and its members once again played a prominent role. Judging by the innovations on hand and the young people manning the booths, the futures of the association and the industry are bright.