SGIA Expo: Wide Format in the Desert

Las Vegas event takes place October 13-15, and will feature new Expert Advice Zones and much more. Visit The Big Picture magazine at booth 3479.

The Specialty Graphics and Imaging Association Expo (SGIA, sgia.org) is betting on a successful event as it gets set to roll the dice at the SGIA Expo 2010, October 12-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Okay, it’s not actually that much of a long shot--if last year’s event in New Orleans is any indicator, SGIA can expect upwards of 14,000 participants for the tradeshow which, to date, has slated more than 365 exhibitors and will showcase some of the newest technology available in the wide-format marketplace.

“Early registration for the annual expo is way up compared to recent years,” reports the SGIA. And, says the association, Las Vegas is also expected to draw more first-time expo participants than in recent years.

“Much of SGIA’s recent growth has been from companies new to specialty imaging. The relative ease of implementing digital imaging technology is bringing new companies into the community. Many of these new community participants are lithographers adding wide-format capability, reprographers and sign makers expanding their markets, as well as companies from the manufacturing sector adding or changing industrial imaging applications in their manufacturing process,” the association reports.

 Products and technologies on parade
The epicenter of the expo is the sprawling exhibit hall, featuring a collection of product suppliers and service providers nearly as diverse and comprehensive as the industry itself. From digital output and screen printing, to textiles, vehicle graphics, outdoor advertising, and more, the entire spectrum of the industry will be on display on the show’s exhibition floor. And prospects are good for business deals to be made on the show floor during this year’s event, with SGIA reporting that nearly 56 percent of graphics and sign businesses “plan to add new equipment or production capacity in 2010” (via its Twitter site).

For “window shopping” attendees who are interested in checking out the latest trends and products but who may be turned off by the hard-sell tactics of traditional tradeshow banter, SGIA has created five Expert Advice Zones. Billed as “totally sales-free zones,” housed within the exhibit hall, and sponsored by exhibiting companies, each of the five areas—Digital Apparel Production Zone (DAPZ), Professional Decal Application Alliance (PDAA) Graphics Application Zone, Industrial Application Zone, Signage Zone, and the Screen Printed Apparel Training Zone—includes information and presentations aimed at helping visitors enter new markets and explore new business opportunities. Industry experts will be on hand daily to answer questions and to demonstrate a broad range of equipment featured on the trade show floor.

“This is a great way to see all facets of the specialty imaging industry first-hand,” says SGIA president and CEO Michael Robertson. “The sales-free Expert Advice Zones will demonstrate the most innovative concepts and applications showcased on the Expo floor.”

Cost to register onsite for the exhibit hall is $35 (for all three days); pre-register online by September 10, however, and you get into the exhibit hall for free.

Abundant learning opportunities
The Expo experience doesn’t end in the exhibit hall. SGIA has renewed its commitment to providing high-quality training for specialty graphics professionals, and this year has organized more than 20 educational sessions in five customized tracks, allowing a wealth of options for participants to customize their training experience to meet their specific needs and those of their business. Seminars run the gamut of topic areas, including graphics and sign, garment decoration, industrial application, graphics installation, and business management, so there is something valuable to be garnered from the experience for everyone working in different capacities and niche areas within the specialty graphics industry.

“We’re developing a program that really targets strategic business strategies,” said Dan Marx, SGIA’s vice president of markets and technologies. “It’s what specialty imaging companies need to succeed in the rebounding economy.”

Here are just a few of the educational session available to attendees at this year’s SGIA Expo; for a complete list visit the SGIA website:

• “Understanding the Advantages of G7,” with Hoddy Peck, Meisel; Dean DeMarco, IDL Worldwide; Fernando Garcia and Robbie McDaniel, PSP & Digital; and John Fazzi, Idea Alliance.

• “Single Pass Inkjet Panel,” with Tom Cooper, Alliance Group; Chris Lynn, Xaar Americas; and Paul McGovern, Mimaki USA.

• “Vehicle Wraps: Best Practices,” Rob Ivers, robivers.com.

• “Pricing Accuracy for Graphics and Signs Producers,” M. Scott St. Cyr, Cyrious Software.

• “Working with Graphics Installers,” with Nathan Franzblau, Graphic Application Systems; Ron Gizzo, Visual Marking Systems; Rob Ivers, robivers.com; and Rich Thompson, Ad-Graphics.

• “Digital Textile Technologies Panel,” with Lynn Krinsky, Stella Color; Vince Cahill, VCE Solutions; Steve Urmano, Mimaki USA; and David Robinson, dGen.

Various registration packages for the Expo’s educational sessions allow participants to select individual sessions, purchase three- or six-session blocks, or buy unlimited access to all seminars, networking events and the exhibit hall. SGIA’s online Conference Planner tool helps participants organize their educational goals by searching individual sessions or clicking on a track name to highlight all of the sessions in that particular subject area.

In addition, SGIA rolls out its first-ever Pre-Expo Business Development Conference on Tuesday, October 12, the day before the Expo floor opens. The half-day program (slated for 1:00 - 5:15 p.m.) focuses on maximizing profitability in various imaging segments. The event sets the stage for the week’s educational activities and is comprised of breakout sessions in three distinct tracks, including: Graphics (“Rising Above: Marketing for Profitability in Graphics and Sign Shops,” with Ann Brown, New Vista Image; Tim Markley, Markley Enterprise; Tom Pratt, Pratt Corp.; and Kent Yunker, Yunker Enterprises); Installer (“Getting Noticed: How to Market Your Installation Business,” with Barbra Bannon, Cranky Creative; Michael Faulkner, Gator Wraps; Chris Prenovost, AZ Pro Signs; and Rick Stemmler, Creative Sign Resources); and Garment (“Tools for Success: Marketing Opportunities in Garment Decoration”).

Two general sessions featuring nationally recognized speakers are also included in the Development Conference. Participants will hear from best-selling author and speaker Orvel Ray Wilson, who also delivers the keynote address during the Expo Breakfast Keynote, with tips on “Guerrilla Selling: Seven Strategies to Double Your Business.” And, Heather Lutze, a nationally recognized search marketing guru, shares her expertise in a featured talk on “Grasping the Value of Social Media and Website Optimization.”

Admission to the Business Development Conference is $149 ($99 for SGIA members).

Making connections
All work and no play would make for a rather dull exposition, and SGIA knows the value of making face-to-face contact with customers, suppliers, and vendors. “A company's success depends a lot on what you know, but also who you know. The 2010 SGIA Expo is the ideal place to network and build significant business relationships,” says Robertson.

So, as in past years, the Expo will offer attendees and exhibitors alike a wealth of networking opportunities, beginning with a series of community-building receptions on Wednesday, October 13 (5:00 - 6:00 p.m.). Developed for the core sectors of the specialty imaging industry, individual receptions will be held for the PDAA, Latin American, Garment Decoration, Canadian, and Printed Electronics Communities (all free, but by invitation only).

Catch up over coffee and croissants during Thursday morning’s Keynote Breakfast (8:30 – 10:00 a.m.; $40 ($35 members). Author Orvel Ray Wilson takes the stage again to deliver tips for growing your business in his high-energy presentation, “Upsell! How to Expand Your Value to Sell at Higher Prices.” Then, plan to unwind as you finish off the evening at SGIA’s Thursday Night Dinner Party (6:30–10:00 pm; $35). Connect with industry colleagues, customers and suppliers after the tradeshow floor closes for the day, and unwind over cocktails, dinner, and dessert.

If you go
The Las Vegas Convention Center is the heart of the event’s activity throughout Expo week. Centrally located within walking distance of most of the hotels in SGIA’s room block and just minutes from the airport, its also a stop on the Las Vegas Monorail line. SGIA has coordinated with Travel Planners to offer discounts at hotels throughout the city, and reservations can be made online or over the phone.

Expo Hours
Wednesday Oct 13: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, Oct 14: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, Oct 15: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Honoring the Best
As always, the SGIA Expo will play host to an array of industry awards in 2010.

Golden Image Awards: This competition honors top printwork in various output categories, both screen and digital; every entrant is considered for “Best in Show” (digital and screen print) and “Best in Creativity” (digital printing only). Peer judging. Deadline is September 24. Winners will be displayed all three days of the show.

Product of the Year Awards: Recognizes the top equipment and supplies currently on the market “that are advancing the specialty imaging industry.” Winners represent the best-judged consumables and output devices for the wide-format market. Major categories include Media for Digital Inkjet; Inks; Business and Workflow Software; Finishing; and Output Devices (must print a test image). Deadline is September 24; only exhibiting companies may enter. Winners are announced and awards presented at the SGIA Thursday night Dinner Party.

SGIA Howard Parmele Award: Recognizes the ongoing commitments of a professional “who has advanced specialty imaging's products, services, and overall image.” Accomplishments may include technical developments in methods or materials, or more general successes that enhance the perception of the industry. Nominees do not have to be Association members to win. Award presented at the Thursday night Dinner Party.

Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition Awards: These awards honor superior imaging work within a variety of categories; entrants represent secondary (high school and vocational) students and post-secondary (technical school, college or university) students. Named in honor of Tom Frecska, the late editor of Screen Printing Magazine, sister publication of The Big Picture. Winning submissions will be displayed during the SGIA Expo.

Where the Locals Go
When people think of Las Vegas, they often think of the flashy lights and glitzy shows of the strip. But just outside the city lies an entirely different world—one of natural beauty, recreation and, for some, quiet dinners, sans show girls.

For Las Vegas native Doug Newson, president of The National Print Group (tnpg.com), getting back to nature is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and from the rigors of the trade show floor. When he wants to unwind, Newson heads to Red Rock Canyon, a scenic area of desert rock formations just 15 miles west of town.

“It’s a national park hardly anyone knows about and it’s beautiful beyond words,” says Newson. “There’s hiking, trails, rock climbing, repelling, wild life, wild burros, desert tortoises.”

Situated on nearly 200,000 acres, the conservation area includes a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, and a nature center with book store.

Newson’s also a fan of hitting the links after a long day at the office: “Golf is phenomenal here in the fall and, within 30 minutes of the strip, there are a bunch of very nice courses. Badlands (badlandsgc.com) is probably my favorite course. It’s probably 15, 20 minutes from the Strip at most. It’s a challenging course, but it’s a phenomenal golf course and the scenery is just breathtaking – you can see the strip from part of it. It’s really a fun golf course.”

The hotels can arrange golf outings for SGIA guests, he says, and many of them offer shuttles, so a rental car is unnecessary.

For thrill seekers, Newson recommends the city’s newest thrill attraction—SkyJump—an 855-foot free fall from the 108th floor of the Stratosphere Hotel and Tower (skyjumplasvegas.com). Billed as the “only sky jump in North America and the highest in the world,” the newest addition to the Stratosphere’s collection of attractions for adrenaline junkies is similar to a vertical zip line. Jumpers are harnessed in and attached to a cable that is connected to a “descender” machine. Guide wires keep the skyjumper on course and on target and, just before reaching the rapidly approaching ground, the skyjumper is slowed down for a controlled and safe landing.

“I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve seen people do it and my son’s done it,” Newson says. “It’ll scare you to pieces.”

What better way to end an adventurous day than with a mouth-watering meal? When company comes to visit Newson, he takes them to Rosemary’s on West Charleston (rosemarysrestaurant.com). Named in 2007 “Best Gourmet Restaurant” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and recipient of an Award of Distinction from Wine Enthusiast magazine, Rosemary’s offers “French-inspired, creative American cuisine with regional twists from New Orleans, the Deep South and the Midwest,” according to its owners, chefs Michael and Wendy Jordan.

“The service is out of this world,” says Newson. “Two of you can go in and have dinner, but you’ll have four servers waiting on you. They fall all over themselves to help you. It’s a favorite of a lot of locals. It’s a great place to go and the food is fantastic.”

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