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GIE+EXPO sets new attendance record

Highlights of event included women's tree climbing workshop


November 1, 2019
By Turf & Rec

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October’s GIE+EXPO realized a sixth consecutive record-breaking year, drawing more than 26,500 people to the landscaping conference and trade show in Louisville, Ky. Registration among lawn and landscape attendees increased by 18 per cent.

In addition, the indoor exhibit floor and the outdoor demonstration area were larger than ever, covering 24,000 net square feet more than last year.

GIE+EXPO is the annual gathering place for all segments of the outdoor power equipment and lawn and garden industry. The event is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

Show highlights and special features:

• Lawn and landscape attendee categories increased by 18 per cent.
• Servicing dealer registrants increased by eight per cent.
• 34 per cent of dealer/retailer and 42 per cent of lawn and landscape attendees were first-timers.
• Attendees hailed from across the United States and more than 40 countries.
• Indoor booths were spread throughout 675,000 square feet of class A exhibit space.
• The outdoor demo area exceeded 20 acres for the third year in a row.
• More than 80 products were highlighted in the New Products Spotlight.
• Free parking at the Kentucky Exposition Center allowed easy access for all attendees and exhibitors.
• The number of software and technology companies exhibiting increased to more than 80.

While new products and the outdoor demonstration area are huge draws, organizers strive to keep the show fresh year after year by offering something new for visitors each time. Special features this year included:

• Arborist demos by the Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop gave attendees the opportunity to learn from a group of experts who demonstrated climbing techniques on a 40-foot tree inside the expo center. The sessions, presented by Davey Tree, were sponsored by STIHL, with support from SHELTER Tree.
• A new social media lounge, sponsored by ECHO Means Business, provided a place for attendees to network and hear insights from live guests and social media influencers right on the trade show floor.
• A free technology seminar, “Avoiding the Temptation of Enabling our Robotic Overlords,” offered an overview of IT trends.
• Organizers partnered with the Kentucky Humane Society for the second annual Mutt Madness, sponsored by TurfMutt. Thursday afternoon in Freedom Hall, attendees interacted with dogs looking for a good home, and 15 dogs were adopted.
• Sessions by high-impact speakers, including Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, sponsored by John Deere; economic expert Brian Beaulieu, sponsored by Mahindra; and dealership guru Bob Clements were included with trade show registration.

The winner of the Fabulous Friday $20,000 giveaway was Jake Guindon of Lonestar Landscaping & Co., Waterdown, Ont.

GIE+EXPO 2020 is set for Oct. 21-23. Plans are in the works for new features and real-world education on hot industry topics such as how to use drones in your business, and exhibitors are already signing up to showcase their innovations.

“Unlike other events where attendees sit in meeting rooms, GIE+EXPO offers hands-on training with things like the arborist demos, the outdoor demo area, the new social media lounge, engine tech training and live hardscape demos,” Kris Kiser, managing partner of GIE+EXPO and OPEI president, said. “Next year we’re adding indoor drone training in Freedom Hall, an equipment test track and hands-on education with the latest in technology and robotic mowers.”