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Las Vegas: Small Shows – Big Impact.

Retail Packaging Show 2011 - Rio Hotel

Retail Packaging Association: RPA? It stands for Retail Packaging Association. And what better venue for a packaging exhibition than Las Vegas, which wrote the book on “packaging” glitzy experiences? Manufacturers, distributors and manufacturers’ representatives in retail packaging need to hold an annual meeting to facilitate new business development and networking. And the RPA, formed in 1989, provides plentiful educational and networking opportunities at its annual trade show and conference. It has 250 member companies representing all corners from the retail packaging world, America-wide and overseas. In a survey, the vast majority of delegates filling in their questionnaires opined that the length of the show was “just right”. So we assume these RPA organizer folks, like the glittering City of Las Vegas itself, are fundamentally pretty good at, well… packaging…

Western Veterinary Show: This is the Western Veterinary Conference, or WVC, and you’ll be pleased to hear that it was “practical, progressive and educational, at least if the publicity materials were to be believed.

Western Veterinary Conference 2011

Do you have any idea how long it takes to study and qualify as a veterinarian? Minimum is 7 years, and you first need to take the required undergraduate courses, which take 3 years. Many candidates prefer to get their bachelors before applying. It can take 5 years in vet school itself. You can specialize in horses, small animals, farm-stock, exotics… but you have to learn a lot more weird biology than the average sawbones who merely treats human beings. Once you are done, you will have a doctorate in veterinary medicine, and one-seventh of your adult life will be used up before you send out your first invoice. So, in view of what these dedicated individuals have to go through in order to become employable… “don’t forget: hire the vet!”

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International:
Sometimes, just to keep our readers on their toes, we’re going to do a show synopsis based only on delegate feedback, and you’re going to have to guess what the show was all about, okay? Try this: “WPPI was a whirlwind, and although I didn’t have time to attend any classes or speaking events or even any parties, it gave me some good insight into what the event is like, and I’m really looking forward to going next year. No sleep, dying iPhone battery, drinks with photographer friends, lots of walking, lots of talking, work emails and more work emails… Then back from the sunny desert of Las Vegas to the snowy chill of Seattle”. Guessed yet what WPPI stands for? How about if I tell you the above was posted by a visitor from an outfit called Cowbelly? Give up? Okay. WPPI stands for….. Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. Just goes to show that some show visitors get more specific experiences than others….

Wedding & Portrait Photographers Expo 2011

Las Vegas: ARA (American Rental Association)

“Someone wrote a musical about it. “”How we gonna pay… How we gonna pay… How we gonna pay… Last year’s rent?”” This is a business which says to itself: if folks need it, and folks are thinking of buying it, they could be renting it instead””. If you rent it, they will come. And the success of The Rental Show from the American Rental Association proves they have a point. Several attendees said equipment rentals were picking up steam in the fourth quarter of 2010, and that they expect the spring to bring more business as old and new customers turn to rental as a cost-effective way to get the job done. The industry was looking forward to a busy year for rental businesses as the equipment needs of customers in construction, general tool and party & event were all expected to grow in 2011. The downturn punched out some industries, but this one wasn’t down for long. The general consensus seemed to be “”The rental business is back””.

Long Beach: Electric West

It’s all about “connecting electric professionals with powerful ideas”. (Say what? Do these guys run on battery power or something?). Electric West is billed as the largest independent trade show serving the electrical design, construction & maintenance industry. Traditionally an event serving professionals from the electrical contracting, servicing and repair segment of the electrical industry, Electric West has expanded its focus to include information of importance to electrical engineers and consultants who oversee the design and development of electrical products, software and services; and plant and facility managers who are responsible for power quality and energy efficiency. The conference program also includes coverage of renewable energy and green business practices. Wait, what was that flash of pink zooming past the podium behind the keynote speaker? Must’ve been the Energizer Bunny…

NYC: New York Times Travel Show

If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere… And that “anywhere” includes a New York sky-scraper sized pile of alluring travel destinations, some familiar, some so exotic you’d be pushed to find them on the world map. And all courtesy of this New York Times-sponsored monster of a travel show. So where were you thinking of going? A cruise to Alaska, perhaps (from the observation deck you can see Russia AND Sarah Palin’s house…). A gemstone safari in Botswana? Wanna visit the Burmese Generals’ “paradise on Earth” (for trippers, that is, not local residents) with Myanmar Shalom Travel? Or maybe you want to mountain-bike up vertical cliffs with BikeSherpa? Trust us, however vivid your imagination, these excursion experts can come up with a recreational travel option that even you hadn’t thought of. Quark Expeditions? Is that the one where a rocket ship takes you on a visit to black holes in outer space, and you get to form your own galaxy out of dark matter? I’m telling you, the trip is worth it just for the T-shirt, though the bunk beds are a little narrow…

Yarmouth: East Canada Fisheries

Gone fishin’. To where? To the Eastern Canadian Fisheries Exposition in Nova Scotia, Canada, that’s where. To get an idea of who’s who at this piscine extravaganza, look no further than the A-Z of exhibitors and participants. Acadian Marine Inc. is there at the front end (did you know that Acadian is the origin of the word Cajun?), and there at the end is ZF Marine. (“Marine” is quite a common component of company names on this list). Along the way you’ll make the acquaintance of Best Glove Mfg Ltd., Easy Kleen Pressure Systems Ltd., Hi-Liner Fishing Gear & Tackle, Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association, Rainbow Net & Rigging Ltd., the Scotia Fundy Professional Fishermen’s Association, international logistics giants like Sealand Industries, and more modest enterprises like Wade’s Wire Traps Ltd. It all goes to show that there’s more to the fishing industry than just fish.

Vancouver: Buildex

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor was the fair Pacific city of Vancouver. BUILDEX Vancouver is one of Canada’s largest trade expositions, welcoming over twelve thousand Design, Construction and Real Estate Management professionals . Over 600 exhibits and more than 50 educational seminars impacted three distinct professional markets: interior design and architecture, property and real estate management, and construction and renovation. Discussions and seminars encompassed building regulations, “sealing the building envelope”, sustainability in construction, “how to get the most out of others” (??? threatening them with a brick maybe?), and the scary-sounding “perils of water, fire and mould”, which sound like three of the construction industry’s Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse…. Speaking of apocalypses, the recession was still being keenly felt, and there was a good crowd huddled around the on-site Job Board…

DCA: Destination Showcase

Traveler, you definitely needed to come to the nation’s capital for DMAI’s Destinations Showcase in order to “compare hundreds of destinations in one place at one time, to discover new destinations for your upcoming meetings in the U.S., Canada, and beyond, and to accomplish in one afternoon what would otherwise take weeks of research, phone calls, and meetings”. Breakout sessions covered some vague topics (Engaging technology”, Environmental sustainability”…) and a few highly specific ones, like “Just say no to Rubber Chicken — delighting your attendees”. The attendees were certainly ‘delighted” with the range of destinations to look at. The A to Z of featured destinations ran the full alphabetic gamut from Alberta and Albuquerque to Wilmington, Winston-Salem and Wisconsin, (though that last one was already pretty full with visiting demonstrators bent on preserving their union collective-bargaining rights against the depredations of a certain State Governor….)