Despite Challenges, GRAPH EXPO Proves a Hit
RESTON, VA—It would have been hard for even the most tenacious of travelers to not be impacted by the significant challenges that the fire at the FAA facility in Aurora, IL, caused for people attending GRAPH EXPO 14 and co-located CPP EXPO last month. But despite 4,251 flight cancellations and over 12,000 significant delays at Chicago's two major airports during the show, attendees found a way to get to the show.
"The show's success, measured by increased leads and orders over the last GRAPH EXPO would have been noteworthy, but the number of stories of persistent efforts and the creative ways attendees used to get to Chicago further highlighted the value and significance the show holds for our industry and its leaders," said Ralph Nappi, president of the Graphic Arts Show Co.
According to Igbanny Kalu, owner of Discovery Print House, "EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK is the best thing that ever happened to me after so many years in the Graphic/Print profession. Regardless of the distance I traveled, more than 28 hours by air, to attend GRAPH EXPO 14 and especially EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK."
Disappointed others who could not get to the show, like Henry Freedman, owner, Technology Watch, went so far as to say, "This was the first year in three decades I missed GRAPH EXPO due to Chicago's air traffic control problems. This significantly impacted our business in that I lost 14 meetings, was unable to share our company's latest developments, and missed my first-hand opportunity to get a pulse on the state of the industry."
Despite the negative impact from the FAA fire in Aurora, show attendance was off only 8 percent from the last GRAPH EXPO with actual onsite verified attendance totaling 19,229.
Well satisfied attendees and exhibitors, who declared plentiful new leads and sales during the event held Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2014, in Chicago's McCormick Place, proclaimed the show a success.
Read on for more about the show and complete testimonials from just some of the striking "Who's-Who" roster of top industry suppliers who came to demonstrate their latest and most advanced technologies and services-many making their U.S. debut at GRAPH EXPO 14.
Setting an enthusiastic tone for show week was turnout for the EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK Conference, held on Sunday, Sept. 28, and for the first time on opening day of the show. Focused on "Print That Performs," satisfied EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK participants conveyed their favorable assessments of the program.
"I enjoyed the session on Sunday prior to the show opening; it gave people time to get into town. Also the segments on forecasting and how to stay relevant, I gained a lot of insight. It was a great session!"—Ruby Grant, account manager, Alcoa Global Packaging Division
"I come for the seminars as much as the show, so being able to go from the EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK Conference to the seminars was nice, and the shortened overall show was just fine as well-one of the best I've attended-thanks for another great EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK! In these changing times, it was good to see how the show organizers and NPES pulled it all together"—Henry Hunt, chief, Publishing Services Section, UNON
According to Vincent Cahill, president, VCE Solutions, "EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK was excellent. I reported Jon Budington's comments in an article I wrote; Hal Hinderliter's presentation provided confirmation of trends we have observed as well; and, I loved Sabine Lenz's videos and her presentation, she was a true inspiration. In short, it was worth the trip to Chicago, even with the flight delays!"
Positive feedback from other EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK attendees continued with remarks including: "Well worth the extra day! Great start to the conference," and "Will be back in 2015 with more of my executive team."
When GRAPH EXPO 14 and CPP EXPO officially kicked off at noon on Sunday, Sept. 28, and throughout each day of the exhibition, exhibitors welcomed throngs of enthusiastic attendees to the show floor.
By the time the final closing announcement was made, vendors had been able to spend four days interacting with attendees from every key segment of the graphic communications industry, clearly gratified over the value and results of their time spent at the industry event of the year.
"The quality and quantity of the traffic at this year's show exceeded our expectations—and we like to have high expectations. We always look forward to the opportunity to meet with many of our customers at GRAPH EXPO and hear how they can use EFI products to be more competitive."—Guy Gecht, CEO, EFI
"KBA was extremely pleased with the quality of attendees at the show this year. With many new introductions, we were able to meet and connect one-on-one with many of our key accounts due to their attendance at the event. This year's GRAPH EXPO was a great show!"—Eric Frank, vice president, marketing, KBA
"From the beginning of the show we saw the traffic not only steady but growing. GRAPH EXPO 14 attendees came to the show ready to invest in the latest inkjet technology, and we experienced record sales and qualified leads for the iJetColor Press; we're going to have a great October."—Tim Murphy, president, Printware LLC
"GRAPH EXPO was a solid show for Goss, an efficient way to meet with customers across a broad range of specialties and interests. Seeing plenty of newspaper and commercial customers, also our packaging technology encouraged lively discussion and we also closed some deals during the show which, of course, is really what it's all about."—Mike D'Angelo, managing director, Goss International Americas
"We have had very nice traffic and solid business written"—Brian Wolfenden, marketing manager, GTI Graphic Technology
"GRAPH EXPO 14 has been a very successful show for Xerox. This has been a true selling show and we have sold everything from 150s down to our new Versa products right here on the show floor, so we couldn't be more pleased with the benefit from this event."—Gina Testa, vice president of the graphic communications industry, Xerox
"We're very pleased with the amount of traffic we've had. There's a nice buzz in the industry and Canon is very optimistic about the state of the marketplace. There is a lot of customer excitement around inkjet and the other technologies. We couldn't be more pleased. We're turning a corner."—Dennis Amorosano, vice president of marketing and general manager marketing and professional services, Canon USA
"It appears that the industry is ready to go again. The show floor was packed full of people wanting to buy products. We hardly had the time to eat lunch at this event."—Robert Ross, CEO, Xanté
"GRAPH EXPO 14 was a fantastic show for HP," said Avi Basu, director of market and business development, Americas Graphics Solutions Business, HP. "Across the HP Graphics portfolio, we signed new customers and enjoyed a wealth of networking opportunities that helped demonstrate our HP Indigo, Inkjet Web Press and Latex industry innovations."
According to GPA, who reported a 58 percent increase in booth traffic from the last GRAPH EXPO, making this year's show an undeniable success: "We couldn't be more pleased with the response we received at GRAPH EXPO 14. Over the course of the show, we met with hundreds of new contacts and many of our most successful clients to discuss how GPA can best support their business goals. We're in a better position than ever before to serve the members of the graphic arts industry based on the tremendous investments we've made in the expansion of our offset, digital and newly-introduced wide-format lines."—Bob Niesen, president, GPA
"This has been a great show; it has met our expectations. We actually just signed up onsite for next year's show!"—Pete Simpson, graphic arts and printing manager, Nitta Corp. of America
"This is our third time and we feel this has been the best show. Attendance at our booth has been high, really good."—Kevin Goeminne, CFO and managing partner, CHILI Publish
"Our booth traffic was excellent with plenty of qualified and interested buyers. Also, we've seen an increase in offset printers who are interested in getting into the wide-format world."—Michele Johnson, corporate events and communications manager, Mutoh America.
"We did excellent business at GRAPH EXPO this year. What was most impressive was the quality of the people we met with who were there looking for specific solutions."—Karen Morris, vice president of marketing and communications, Bell and Howell
"The quality of attendees at this year's show is very high. We released new products here, which generated lots of interest and quality leads for us. It's been a very good show for us."—Doug Houser, vice president of sales and marketing, Fastbind USA
Vastly satisfied with his ROI from the show Michael King, President/CEO, Eagle Systems stated, "We got what we wanted: customers! With plenty of high quality customers, and having sold a machine here, we've had an excellent show." Ellen Manning, VP of Sales and Marketing, Eagle Systems wholeheartedly agreed, sharing "We've enjoyed solid traffic flow throughout the show, and what was even more interesting was the number of prospects that were seeking us out. We've already sold the floor system right out of our booth to Ellis Packaging (Mississauga, Ontario Canada), Canada's largest folding carton printer. Add to that the many quality leads, and we're flying high at the show!"
"The show has been absolutely fantastic! We're seeing a crossover between the narrow format to the wide-format, so for our particular business model it's been really nice because we have something for everyone."—Frank DeLeone, ImageOne Impact
"The response to 3-D printing at GRAPH EXPO was way beyond my expectation. The number of high-level executives I was able to engage with at the show was impressive."—Paul Cesak, president, 3DConnectS
"The leads at this event have been amazing," "We definitely increased our leads year-over-year 35 percent. We have had excellent quality conversations and seen more existing clients than ever before!" —Tawnya Starr, CEO, PrinterPresence by Firespring
"We were delighted to be back in Chicago for GRAPH EXPO. A large number of our Authorized Resellers attended the show, which gave us the ideal opportunity to introduce and demonstrate our newest product lines. We also received a very warm welcome from many of the show attendees"—Bruce Cozens, export manager, Vivid Laminating Technologies
Onsite at the show, Amit Shvartz, vice president of marketing at Scodix stated, "We've already sold systems to Presentation Folder (Orange, CA) and EarthColor (Moonachie, NJ), and we anticipate additional sales to close before the show ends. GRAPH EXPO has been a very rewarding and impactful event for the Scodix team." Scodix Marcom Manager Ela Bukshpan agreed the "Scodix booth was crowded with companies seeking new ways to differentiate themselves and take advantage of innovative opportunities in the print marketplace. It was a very good show for us!"
"I was a little skeptical about coming in Sunday, but we had great traffic and awesome traffic Monday, so we are happy with the turnout."—James Schall, president, Budget-Inks
"This is our first show in five years and has been a good decision. This is the best show we've been to yet, and we'll be back next year."—Craig Andersen, executive vice president/COO, Enterprise Print Management Solutions
"Everything in our booth on the show floor sold!" "The relationship with Ricoh launched this year has been very good. The leads are five times what we had last year. We just renewed our booth space and will definitely be back again next year."—Eric Gutwillig, vice president of marketing, PriscoDigital
First-time exhibitors were equally impressed with the turnout and ROI from participating in the year's industry event.
Polish-based company Mnumi, whose presence at GRAPH EXPO was supported by an EU grant, showcased its flagship management system to scores of eager buyer attendees. "Many customers were very conscious of the newest technologies and the necessity for implementing them. We were very happy with their interest in our product as they compared it with other systems at the show, and extremely glad it was perceived as a flexible, affordable and reliable solution. GRAPH EXPO was a huge success for us as our first important step in worldwide expansion; as a result, we have started negotiations on sales and distribution worldwide."—Piotr Pakier, managing director of Mnumi
"This is our first show and it's been busier than anticipated,"—Kevin Kennington, sales and marketing, TechVOX Inc.
"All the tremendous attention we've enjoyed at this year's show [first time Highcon exhibited in the United States] has resulted in hundreds of quality leads, thousands of new industry contacts who better understand our mission-and even a sale of our Highcon Euclid II+ system to Carolina Graphic Services, based in Greensboro, NC. Our success at the booth and the resounding reaction generated from our press conference has catapulted our launch into the U.S. marketplace."—Aviv Ratzman, CEO and co-founder, Highcon
Highly trafficked show floor pavilions and specialty features across the show floor signaled success as well.
"Show visitors at the PRINTERVERSE who came to network and hear our amazing presenters were highly engaged and informed. The booth was hopping with some sessions having standing room only. We're going to need more space next year!"—Deborah Corn, principal, PrintMediaCentr
Upbeat reactions about the show from co-located event organizers were equally glowing.
"Xplor is extremely satisfied with the results of our sold-out GRAPH EXPO breakfast session-the energy was high and feedback I received was very positive. In fact, the whole event seemed to have a pent-up energy about it."—Skip Henk, president/CEO, Xplor International
No less enthusiastic, attendees who came to the show from every key industry segment with shopping lists in hand and to participate in the continuous networking and learning opportunities, wholeheartedly confirmed their time was well spent and highly productive.
"This is a really interesting show; different from what we have seen in the past."—Richard Coffman, owner, PrintTekk, Kansas City, MO
"The industry is changing and becoming more of a digital marketplace. Pretty much anybody who is in the digital arena and is serious about the digital marketplace is here with a large footprint - whether equipment manufacturers...finishing equipment that tags onto the digital solution. There are a variety of business solutions here at GRAPH EXPO."—Keith Kemp, president of Xerographic Digital Printing, Orlando, FL
"I think the show has been great! I've been able to get the information I need talking to the vendors that I can take back to my business in order to do a better job. I have seen several things that I can make my job and business better and easier to sell."—Charlene Simms, owner, Masters Press in Dallas, and 2014 NAQP Printer of the Year
Next up for the industry is the "Transform" themed GRAPH EXPO 15, together with co-located CPP EXPO and a host of co-located industry events, set to take place Sept. 13-16, 2015, at Chicago's McCormick Place.
- Bell and Howell
- Canon U.S.A.
- Eagle Systems
- Goss International
- GPA, Specialty Substrate Solutions
- GTI Graphic Technology
- KBA North America
- Mutoh America
- Nitta Corp. of America
- Print Media Centr
- PrinterPresence by Firespring
- Printware LLC
- Prisco's (Printers' Service)
- XANTÉ Corp.
- Xerox Corp.
- Xplor International