Best Foot Forward

August 6, 2013 09:28 PM
Best Foot Forward

GEA Farm Technologies has the largest indoor exhibit space at World Dairy Expo

Editor’s note: Check out the current issue at to watch a time lapse of GEA Farm Technologies’ 2012 exhibit set-up.

For the more than 800 companies and organizations taking part in the World Dairy Expo Trade Show, putting together an exciting and memorable exhibit can be a nerve-wracking, pressure-packed undertaking.

Just ask Julie Johnson, GEA Farm Technologies marketing projects and trade show coordinator. Johnson and fellow trade show coordinator, Dave Stith, are responsible for making sure their company’s 4,200 sq. ft. exhibit, the largest indoor exhibit in the show, will make a lasting impression on Expo attendees. "It is one of the best opportunities we have to interact face-to-face with our customers and show them our products. We have to get things just right," Johnson says.

GEA Farm Technologies staff begins planning the exhibit five to six months in advance of Expo.
"We have three different product lines in the exhibit—WestfaliaSurge, Norbco and Houle. While we have a relatively large exhibit area, there’s still only a finite amount of space to work with," Johnson says.

Once the product decisions are finalized, Johnson and Stith go to work on planning the exhibit’s physical layout. They start by drawing up a rough layout, then have an AutoCAD drawing prepared to exactly pinpoint where each piece of equipment, along with accompanying signage, will be positioned within the display.

A setup crew of seven people led by Johnson and Stith arrives at the Expo grounds early on Friday morning to begin work on the exhibit. Over the next four days (through late Monday afternoon), crew members unpack crate after crate of display material and products that are brought in on seven semi trucks from company facilities in Naperville, Ill., and Galesville, Wis.

They install false floors, hang signs from the Exhibition Hall ceiling, position and reposition products on makeshift shelving, hook up air hoses and water lines and measure and re-measure spaces. The goal is to ensure that every bit of product and every piece of equipment in the exhibit is positioned just so.
Part of the challenge for the setup crew is that many of the individual displays that are in the exhibit are designed to be "fully-functioning," Johnson explains. "There’s always one last detail to go over and one more problem to solve. It’s interesting from start to finish."

When the trade show opens on Tuesday morning, the company’s emphasis shifts from set-up to interacting with the thousands of customers who will visit the exhibit during the next five days. "It’s a great opportunity to meet with customers and potential customers in person and show them what we have to offer," says Linda Mrugacz, GEA Farm Technologies director of marketing.

To draw customers to the exhibit, the company conducts promotions throughout the show. Last year’s promotions included a technology exchange, a winter teat-dip special and a milking gloves giveaway.

Introducing new products is also part of the company’s strategy for Expo. During last year’s show,
GEA Farm Technologies introduced its ApolloMilkSystem, an automated teat-dipping and backflushing system; FutureCow, a milking preparation system; several long-day and LED lighting innovations; and a cow brush.

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