Sunday, October 31, 2010
GIE + EXPO staying in L'ville through 2014
LOUISVILLE, KY — The GIE + EXPO is staying here at least through 2014 and Hardscape North America is returning for 2011, reported Bill Harley, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). This was the first year that hardscape suppliers, under the sponsorship of Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute (ICPI), had a large presence at the event.
Harley’s announcement Thursday, Oct. 28, ended speculation (as little as there was) that the GIE + EXPO might move elsewhere as the original agreement between the three-sponsoring associations approached its end. But the board, made up of members of the OPEI, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), decided Louisville was the place to be, at least for the next four years.
This year’s event, Oct. 28 – Oct. 30, featured 750 exhibitors and attracted an estimated 20,000 participants (including exhibitors), Harley said at a press conference the morning the trade show opened. The trade show is reported to be the 14th largest in the United States, says the OPEI. Final attendance numbers will be announced soon.
Why Louisville again?
A number of factors figured into the GIE Board’s decision to keep the trade show in Louisville, not the least being the 190,000 sq. ft. of indoor space in the Kentucky Exposition Center and the 20 acres of outdoor demonstration space just outside its doors. All of this located just minutes from the Louisville airport and an easy 10-minute drive from downtown. What other cities east of the Mississippi can offer this?
Important as that is, the efforts made by the convention people in the city itself appear to be an equally large reason why the event isn't moving soon. They genuinely seem to appreciate having the event and, from appearances anyway, do everything they can to accommodate the trade show and the concurrent PLANET and PGMS business conferences.
It's strictly business
While many of us, myself included, wouldn't squawk if a different venue were chosen (just for a change), there's no denying that, unlike other cities with huge convention centers (Las Vegas, Orlando, New Orleans immediately come to mind), if you're coming to the GIE + EXPO in Louisville, you're coming to learn, network, operate some really neat equipment out in a big dusty field and, perhaps, do business. As nice as the city's smallish Fourth Street Live entertainment district is, Louisville is not regarded as a family vacation destination. Not like other big convention cities, anyway, and certainly not in late October.
In the end, the decision to keep the event in Louisville for another couple of years is a good one. Louisville is a nice city with good facilities, and the people that run the event do a very good job.
Hey, that's just my opinion. What do you think? — Ron Hall