It’s a beautiful sunny Las Vegas day. I’m in a corner writing to you all with headphones on to keep me from being distracted from one of the largest conventions for the automotive industry, AAPEX/SEMA that’s currently all around me. There’s a pageantry to Trade Shows that I just love. The lights, the art direction, even the people and the energy they give are all set pieces representing what a company hopes is their A-Game. All of these components set directly within the reality of the ultimate trade show that is Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s overwhelming in the most wonderful way for a guy who grew up in the backwoods of Wisconsin.
My goals here at the AAPEX are to essentially be a sponge. See what companies are selling. How are they displaying their products? What can we learn from other companies? What looks good and what doesn’t? All questions umbrella’d under the larger question: “How can I make a difference in my company and in my life?” The answer may or may not be at this show. That is up for me to figure out.
Trades shows are not for the timid, and you can feel that energy. Shirt tucked in, Stacy Adams applied to my feet, and AAPEX lanyard around my neck, I need to walk 1.5 miles down the Las Vegas strip to be in the booth by 8:30am so that we can be prepared to mingle with spectators by 9:00am. When it’s time for the Trade Show day to end, my night is just beginning. I’m going with my team to have cocktails with a client, followed by dinner with another client and THEN a networking social event for young professionals in the auto industry. For some, the thought of suits, meet and greets and (*gasp*) smiling is exhausting. For me, I remember where I came from.
This isn’t one of those sap-sack stories where the poor boy finally makes it big in the city. I get along just fine with my parents and we were financially stable, but I still came from what I would classify as small town USA. I always keep this in the back of my head because it reminds me of all the hard work and effort I put in to get to exactly where I am right now. My company sent me to Las Vegas because they believe I have what it takes to not only best represent their interests, but believe I can make a difference when I do finally find the answer to that question. All while under the beautiful neon fantasy backdrop of Vegas. This feels pretty good, not gonna lie.
When I finish up here in this small corner, I’m going to stand up, fix my shirt, walk back into the chaos and find my way back to my trade show booth to meet exciting people who may offer tips and solutions to my very big question. Cheers to anyone at a trade show who grew up having to explain the town you grew up in is not located on maps. You’re doing great and people can finally see you! Keep up the good work.