GSE Expo 2000 Report
By Richard Rowe
The third GSE Expo rolled into Las Vegas in October and confirmed its position as an international event of considerable stature. Richard Rowe opens GSE Today’s comprehensive report into the event.
When GSE Today first launched its sister exhibition, GSE Expo, in Las Vegas three years ago, some suggested that this arid desert city would be more likely to experience wet weather than any meaningful presence from the international ground support community.
They obviously didn’t know the desert and certainly underestimated the pulling power of a focussed GSE show. This year it rained cats and dogs during exhibition set up, and rained visitors, domestic and international, when the doors opened. There were more than 3,300 in total, walking the aisles inside and out, kicking tires and asking questions of more than 260 exhibitors--and every one from the GSE industry.
"This year’s show was by far the best equipment show I have attended," Tim Wix, General Manager, Ground Support Equipment, Delta Air Lines, told GSE Today. "There was good representation by second and third tier suppliers who are becoming critical to the supply chain at both the manufacturing and maintenance level."
Scott Whitfill, Director of Maintenance at Worldwide Flight Services was equally enthused: "The turnout for the show was great this year. It was a pleasure to see so many people in the industry attending the show. It gave lots of good opportunities to visit with vendors and learn about new products."
The fact that so many major airlines and manufacturers chose to hold their management meetings at the event guaranteed the kind of buyer/seller interface that makes or breaks such a show. Northwest, United, Southwest, TLD, Hobart, FMC and others all took the opportunity to hold key meetings, and were joined by several divisions of the U.S. military--major buyers that are often overlooked at commercial aviation shows.
Importantly, the international flavor of the event has increased, and many overseas attendees had warm words for the show. "I found the exhibition interesting and enjoyed speaking with my old friends," says Takeo Hamada, General Manager, Procurement Administration Department, Japan Airlines. Meanwhile, Hee-Won Roh, Manager, Asiana Airport Services pointed to "... real quality time at GSE Expo in Las Vegas."
Peter Sluiter from KLM Cargo, who also spoke at the resource management seminar, provided a European perspective. "The Expo gave me a good impression of what kind of equipment is available for airports," says Sluiter. "It was well organized and the conferences covered a wide scope of issues.
"Outside, together with fantastic weather, I looked around to see tomorrow’s equipment. Inside, I found a few ULD manufacturers which was very interesting for me. There was even a bombproof container [on show]. Overall, GSE Expo was impressive and very interesting."
Another European, Alain Fribourg, the new Chair of TLD, was also pleased. "I really believe that the last Las Vegas Expo was a good show," he says. "We met a lot of customers who were very glad to be there."
Back on the domestic front, the exhibitor community was equally pleased. "The focus of GSE Expo has brought customer and supplier together in an unequalled technical environment and at the lowest possible cost to both," Dennis Morrow, Director of Marketing, Eagle Industrial Truck LLC enthuses.
"We really did have a good show and ... decided that we should commit to another outdoor display in a good location for next year," adds Don Frassetto, Director of Sales, Contrac North America.
There was a great deal for visitors to take in. Hobart and Trilectron were on hand to explain the ramifications of their coming together. FMC had a huge outdoor exhibit and was talking up its new WhereNet GSE tracing, and maintenance service capability, while Toyota was on hand to discuss its move into the airport market with its range of fork lifts (plus a new 7-series lift truck).