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).
"It is truly an international show with many of the top people involved in GSE from around the world in attendance," comments Jim McManus, Corporate Sales Manager, Toyota Industrial Equipment. "I found it very refreshing to go to seminars that were presented by the people who actually perform the job function instead of consultants who usually run them.
"I was able to get a great insight into some of the problems the users are facing and was pleased to see that the GSE users really want to partner with suppliers to develop equipment for this industry."
Meanwhile, Adaptive Engineering showed off its second generation Mobilcart, Trelleborg introduced a new range of solid tires, Aerogen highlighted a new ground power generator, Charlatte America demonstrated its latest T135 A/C drive baggage tow tractor, and Par-kan its new regional jet lavatory truck. They were joined by Hobart, Malabar, Nordic Systems, Tesco Hi-Lift and many other companies in offering attendees a first glance at new equipment.
The big question, of course, is whether the show delivered sales leads for exhibitors. The answer is a resounding "Yes!" from Endre Pataky at Adaptive Engineering. The company surpassed itself with some outstanding sales finalized with several regional airlines at the show including: eight AXR wheel chair lifts, 36 AX20 boarding bridge adaptors, and 156 baggage carts.
Pataky told GSE Today that the total Expo orders represent a value of C$ 1.5million (US$ 980,000).
In the seminar rooms, the majority of workshops were well attended with standing room only. Futurist and consultant to Fortune 500 companies Dr Lowell Catlett was at his rabble rousing best, and entertained an audience of 200 with his paper exploring "How to be Rich and Famous even if you are in the Ground Support Industry.
Catlett assured the audience that if they really wanted to do something and make a contribution, it was an easy process of learning their ABC.
A is for affluence. "There's an affluence out there that's blowing us away," he said. A staggering amount of money is available to those who provide a good service. Letter B stands for brand names, trademarks and reputation. People have a lot of decisions to make. They seek familiarity, consistency and convenience.
C is for convenience. "It's a busy world, so anything you do for me, or make convenient for me--you own me," says Dr. Catlett. Just bear in mind that what's convenient to one group, might not be to another.
High profile speakers from Continental, American Airlines, United, Delta, KLM Cargo, UPS, Southwest Airlines, Swissport, and many others also provided valuable insight to attendees on subjects as varied as cargo handling to cost of operations, and resource management to safety on the ramp.
Some of the underlying themes of the show were clear. Concerned with meeting environmental regulations around the world, industry buyers are re-evaluating fuel usage on the ramp, and exploring electrification of vehicles. Standardization of equipment is another priority with the airlines, as is the need to have open and honest communication between customer and vendor. Relationships are everything.
Interestingly, some attendees felt that the scope of the show could even be broadened slightly. "The one place where I feel that the show lacked was representation by baggage and cargo conveyor systems," comments Tim Wix at Delta. " I plan for these systems and would be interested to see what the different suppliers have to offer."
Others pined for longer hours, and even an extra day. Already, much of the space for next year has been bought up, so hurry if you are still undecided.
The GSE Today editorial team spent much of the show gauging opinion, talking with key players, and analysing some of the primary issues faced today by the international ground support community. The following articles in this Expo report come from a show that exceeded all expectations, and serve to highlight the kind of industry depth and know-how that has become a feature of GSE Expo in Las Vegas.
Box story one
The Romance of GSE Expo
This year’s Expo was the site of both a wedding and a honeymoon, writes George Prill.
The fortunate groom was Don Bundick, part of the TLD team. He and the beautiful Dee Miller were wed in the "A Special Memory Wedding Chapel" in Las Vegas on the Monday before the Expo.
As I also function as the GSE Today Society Editor I can report that the bride carried a bouquet of roses. The wedding party was composed of TLD executives and the wedding dinner was held at Antonio’s, one of the Rio Hotel’s outstanding restaurants.
Don is a veteran of the GSE industry, and Dee is certainly not a newcomer to aviation. Dee is with the Headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base. The happy couple will live in Seguin, Texas.
Don continued working with the TLD team right through until Saturday. While I know that some outsiders might feel that there are more romantic sites for a honeymoon than a ground support exhibition, in my opinion, Don and Dee have set an example that folks in the GSE community should consider following. Those who are already married can renew their vows and take a second honeymoon. If the weddings are held at the Expo, the management of GSE Today and the Expo will be pleased to help with arrangements. We will even supply the famous Hatch chilies for the wedding dinner.
Box story two
GSE Expo 2000 was a great success. Why? Simple answer--great exhibitors. The exhibitors brought new equipment and new ideas and they supported and participated in the conferences. It was their affair. It is for this reason that we feel that it is our responsibility to do everything that we can to make the Expo fit their needs. Our aim is to keep costs down and customer attendance up. We welcome suggestions as to how best to do this.
One issue faced by exhibitors in 2001 is the decision of the organizers of the Inter Airport Europe show in Munich to push back the event from September to early October, just two weeks before GSE Expo 2001. We understand that this imposes a burden on companies that wish to participate in both. We also know that trying to ship display equipment from one to the other will be very difficult, if not impossible. We will do everything that we can to help those companies that believe they should attend both shows.
As Inter Airport Europe is now more of an airport show and GSE Expo is recognized as the premier international ground support show, the decision may become easier for exhibitors in the future. (JGP)