Kurt Medert: Gear Expo 2003

Celebrating a decade of the industry’s premier event.


In just six months, Gear Expo 2003 will be held in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is a new venue for the show, and it’s ideally suited to host the event. It is geographically and economically desirable, and it is known for its ability to attract exhibitors and visitors alike to shows held in its state-of-the-art Convention Center. AGMA is looking forward to holding Gear Expo 2003 – the 10th edition of the show – in such an appealing city as Columbus.

Gear Expo 2003 is coming together nicely. To date, 43,000 net square feet of space have been reserved by 150 exhibiting companies. That’s 75 percent of the net square footage sold at Gear Expo 2001. With a little more than six months to go, I am still looking to equal the level of exhibit space sold in 2001 – even in the present sluggish economy.

In a recent issue of Tradeshow Week, Dr. Allen Konopacki, president of the Incomm Center for Research & Sales Training and a life-long student of and teacher for the trade show industry, observed that, “In the current economic climate, most trade shows are suffering declining show numbers – smaller booths, lower attendance – but not necessarily lower return on investment. In fact, studies have shown that, in a soft economy, trade shows actually deliver greater return on investment than they do in good times.” Each company that exhibits at Gear Expo 2003 will find the experience to be a cost-effective one. AGMA’s low space-rental rates, combined with a non-union facility, will make for a less-expensive event in Columbus compared to experiences in other cities – hence, a greater return on investment.

As the manager of Gear Expo since 1992, I can safely say that our exhibitors recognize that the event is the best selling opportunity of the year. It delivers a closely targeted, high-quality audience with extraordinary power to source, specify, and purchase. Further, the show is truly international in scope, attracting top executives and buying teams from major companies around the world.

Since the 1991 show, the biennial Gear Expo has grown more than 16 percent per show. The reasons are not complex. Gear Expo has evolved over the years into the preeminent gear industry event because, to put it simply, it is unique. It is unlike any other trade show in the world of metal cutting, and it is valued highly as such. It is revered for the high quality of the visitors – those who have invested time and money to come to Gear Expo to solve their gearing problems, to fill their gearing needs, and to become part of the only event of its kind in the world.

In fact, it is considered to be the gearing trade show for exhibitors around the world, and from all relevant categories of equipment, products, and services. Companies prefer Gear Expo because it is focused, economical, and results in a low cost-per-lead ratio compared to other trade shows. Gear Expo delivers a sufficient number of leads for exhibitors to continue justifying their presence at the show. This is critical because most exhibitors measure success by the number of leads a trade show produces, and leads turn into sales.

In fact, at Gear Expo 2001 – less than a month after the events of 9/11 – 194 exhibitors came to Detroit from 40 of the 50 states, and 27 countries on six continents. First-time exhibitors came from as far away as South Africa, South Korea, Australia, Scotland, and France, and all during a severe recession in the gear industry and a down economy. The demographics for the show’s visitors are similar. Why? Because Gear Expo is special; it fills a niche that no other trade show in the metal cutting industry does. That’s why it has succeeded over the long term. During my three decades of involvement with trade-show management, Gear Expo 2001 stands out in my mind as something special. I was very proud of the exhibitors and visitors who turned out under the difficult circumstances that prevailed at that time.

So, if you are interested in applying for exhibit space or attending the show, please contact me at (703) 684-0211, ext. 51, or send e-mail to medert@agma.org. Information about Gear Expo 2003 can also be found on the AGMA Web site [www.agma.org] or at the event’s dedicated site [www.gearexpo.com]. I look forward to seeing you in Columbus!

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is vice president, business management division, of the American Gear Manufacturers Association. His responsibilities include the planning and oversight of GEAR EXPO. He can be reached at (703) 684-0211 or medert@agma.org. Visit online at [www.agma.org].