By Steve Noe
Take it from someone who is about to go to Louisville for the 20th consecutive year for the outdoor power equipment industry’s annual trade show — formerly the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Expo (EXPO) and now the Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) — it is well worth the trip! During the past two decades, my reasons for making the trip south from Chicago have evolved as the show, town and industry have evolved.
When I started attending EXPO in 1998, the show was held in the sweltering heat and humidity of July, and I would start dripping in sweat the moment I stepped outside. In 2003, the show’s sponsor (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) and management (Sellers Expositions) moved EXPO to a much more favorable time of year — the fall — a few weeks before the Green Industry Expo (GIE). With both shows taking place just weeks apart and competing head to head for exhibitors and attendees during tough economic times, they sensibly merged and became the Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO), starting with the 2007 show. In 2010, GIE+EXPO welcomed Hardscape North America to co-locate, expanding the show once again. In 2016, GIE+EXPO introduced UTV University, as well as the Golf & Sports Turf Management Conference. Louisville has also changed significantly since an old, rundown mall on Fourth Street was torn down and replaced by Fourth Street Live!, which revitalized the downtown area and became a great venue for GIE+EXPO’s free nightly concerts. The industry has also changed dramatically through consolidation and technological advancements, obviously impacting which exhibitors come and go and the products displayed at the show.
Well, without further adieu and without going into great detail here (see my “GIE+EXPO 2017 Show Preview” on pages 20-30 for in-depth pre-show coverage), here are 17 reasons to attend this year’s show on Oct. 18-20:
1) Dealer Day
2) LatinoLink Dealer Day Breakfast
3) Technician Training
4) UTV University
5) New Dealer Boot Camp
6) New 30-minute Dealer Resource Center Workshops
7) Dealer Kick-off Keynote
8) Dealer Day Preview and Welcome Reception
9) Great giveaways
10) Free nightly concerts at Fourth Street Live!
11) Power-up Morning Sessions
12) More than 18,000 attendees
13) 900 exhibits (indoors and out)
14) 20-plus-acre outdoor demo area
15) See and test new products
16) No better place to network
17) A chance to visit with yours truly (All kidding aside, please be sure to stop by booth #10215 to say “hello.” I hope to see you at GIE+EXPO!)
OPE Senior Editor Steve Noe