PLENARY Omaha Products Show Q Copper Skillet Competition Q Personal Chef Conference
‘Machinery, Equipment, And
MEETING: 25th Biennial Omaha Products Show, a regional business and industrial expo being produced by Mid-America Expositions at the Qwest Center Omaha on Sept. 14–15. The show rotates throughout the Midwest and the Great Plains — other stops include Kansas City, Minneapolis, Denver, and Des Moines — and returns to each city every two years. In Omaha, it averages 7,000 to 10,000 attendees, and covers more than 150,000 square feet of display space.
CHALLENGES: Launched in 1964 for an in- dustrial base rooted in “machinery, equipment, and manufacturing,” according to Mid-America Chief Financial Officer Bob Mancuso Jr., the show’s director, the Products Show has had to keep pace with the United States’ transition to a more service-oriented economy. Recently that’s meant expanding to include “office products, technology, accounting,” and other modern business services. “But our core component, what makes us different from other, smaller shows or net- working events,” Mancuso said, “is still the machinery, equipment, manufacturing compo- nent. You’ll see robotic machines working on the show floor.”
THERE’S A MEETING FOR THAT? Cooking for One
PERSONAL CHEF CONFERENCE: Every year, the United States Personal Chef Association whips up the Personal Chef Conference — which in 2010 was held at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, and included demonstrations by TAG restau- rant chef/owner Troy A. Guard (1), Americraft Cookware vendors Craig Weinand and Stephanie Alleyne (2), and Saffron Personal Chef Services’ Dean Mitchell (3); and a “Chef Knockout” competition between Mitchell and Orchard House Gourmet’s Jan Cooper- Webb (4). For more information, visit www.personalchefconference.com.
INITIATIVES: Still, there’s a new economy to serve, and in addition to diversifying the show floor, Mid-America not long ago added a Products Show Summit, which this year offers education sessions in two tracks: business management and industrial. “We were look- ing for another component to help give value back to the attendees,” Mancuso said. “Not only would they be able to see all the different companies at the expo in one place, they also would be able to … learn something in those different tracks.” A brand-new feature this year is a Job & Ca-
reer Pavilion, offered by OmahaJobs.com. “With today’s environment and the job situation with unemployment,” Mancuso said, “people are looking for new opportunities.” Plus, admission to the Products Show is free, “which is a value- add by itself.” Mancuso added: “The shows are very efficient, because [exhibitors] can not only showcase their products and services to new and potential customers, some of them also plan meetings before and after the show with some of their key clients.” n — Christopher Durso