- THE MAGAZINE
LINCOLNWOOD, Ill. -- Despite a 25 percent drop in anticipated attendance, ISSA/Interclean -USA 2001 took the advice of President George W. Bush following the tragic terrorist acts of Sept.11 to "get back to business."
Hosted by the International Sanitary Supply Association, Inc. (ISSA) and Amsterdam RAI, ISSA/INTERCLEAN-USA - the largest U.S. tradeshow of its kind - was held Oct. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
While attendance figures hit 25 percent below projections at 11,674, it was only slightly less than last year's 12,848 Atlanta count. Still, the numbers spoke highly of the industry considering the average U.S. tradeshow attendance between Sept. 11 and the end of October in all industries dropped more than 40 percent from the previous year.
There were 682 ISSA exhibitors represented, 40 more than in Atlanta last year, and the 2,173 customers (distributors and end user firms combined) compared with 1,613 distributor firms at last year's members-only show.
Of greater importance were the survey responses from exhibitors that reflected an overall highly upbeat tone (with no more than the usual naysayers), recognizing the value of the show as being in the quality of this year's participants rather than in the numbers.
A typical response of the many received came from one exhibitor who said, "The most important manufacturers and distributors were there, and everyone that was there was there to do business ... Companies didn't send their 10th or 11th salesperson, they sent their most important people, the decision-makers."
And make decisions they did.
Surveyed exhibitors cited making more meaningful contacts-and taking more on-site orders - than in previous years.
More than 2,292 attendees registered for this year's education program. Several of the more than 30 seminars offered standing room only.
The sessions offered something for all segments of the industry including special tracks for in-house cleaning professionals and others for building service contractors sponsored and produced by Contracting Profits magazine. And again this year, the International Executive Housekeepers Association held its annual conference in conjunction with ISSA/INTERCLEAN, which further enhanced the educational opportunities available.
Some of the most popular sessions were led by well-known industry names as Michael Marks, John Walker, and Al Bates. Other big draws included several first-time ISSA speakers such as Robert Wendover, Roger Dawson, and Fred Broder.
About 3,000 participants heard Wednesda Keynote Speaker Stephen Wynn, whose gracious style, quick humor, and practical business advice proved captivating. Wynn's bottom line? Employees. Successful firms recognize their importance by making sure they love their work, and business will boom. And his presentation left no doubt in listeners' minds that if anyone knows about success, it's Wynn, the brains and financial brawn behind such Las Vegas mega-luxury resorts as the Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio as well as the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi.
The session proved truly inspirational, opening with Davonda Simmons' medley of America the Beautiful and God Bless America.