OESP’s inaugural Roadshow kicked off at the beautiful Mohegan Sun casino May 12-13, 2014 to some mixed reviews. A niche show, OESP—the oil and energy service professionals association—has always been known for its intimate setting and social interaction. “It’s like a family reunion,” said Robert O’Brien, vice president, national OESP chapter.
Listening to its constituents, the OESP board decided to change up the format with the off-year Herhsey, Pa. show and create two smaller “road shows” that feature a format of “bring the show to you,” making it easier for Northeasterners to attend.
According to Judy Garber, OESP executive director, typical decision makers do not want to spend more than one night away from the office to attend an oversized trade show, and they would prefer to travel no more than 100 miles. Also, explained Garber, many owners do not want to send their technicians into a large metropolitan area to attend an event where parking is a hassle. The result? The traditional show was replaced by a scaled-down, relaxed setting that allowed for more personal interaction. “This was not your typical trade show. The focus is on education and new products from our partners, at a more intimate level,” said Garber. “When attendees get to the convention and show, they want to hold those products and strengthen their relationships with other industry professionals. They also want hands-on training and the opportunity to earn CEUs.”
Education, Education, Education
The show’s condensed schedule gave attendees access to quality education, with programs featuring more than 13 hours of managerial and technical classes, with plenty of opportunities to earn NATE and NORA CEUs.
The technical and sales workshops covered smart pumps, controls and resets, duct design, ventilation, outdoor reset controls, mini splits, radiant, future energy trends, and more. Always a treat, Dan Holohan’s session on “The Roots of Radiant” entertained and informed attendees. Management sessions were relatively successful; especially break out tracks on structuring a profitable service plan by guest presenters, Michelle Wilson, ServicEdge, and Ted Harris, Consumer Focus Marketing. Overall, “the educational tracks went well, particularly in the areas of air flow and duct design,” said O’Brien.
Dave Holdorf, residential trainer, Taco, was pleased with the turnout in his seminar on Smart Pumps. “I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout in the class, especially considering it was one of the very first technical workshops, and the day after Mother’s Day,” said Holdorf.
On one hand, the format worked: the educational tracks, the table top show floor with coinciding catered meals and free drinks, and the social interaction and one-on-one booth time proved valuable. The venue was excellent, providing great accommodations, fine dining and the onsite casino for entertainment.
On the other hand, there were some grumblings about traffic numbers on the show floor. In defense of the format, however, it would be unfair to judge the two-road show format without witnessing the second show, which will be held from September 21-23, 2014 at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg, Pa. “We have to get the second one under our belt to comprehensively examine the first in terms of risk and financial exposure,” said Garber.
OESP will be making some positive changes to its second Roadshow in Gettysburg. These changes are a result of feedback from partners (exhibitors), attendees and of course, our Education Committee, E-Board and Convention Committee. In addition, expect to see some outdoor training at the next road show, as well as the Care To Ride charity events and the annual Dave Nelsen Scholarship Golf tournament.
A lot of credit must be given to Garber who manages, directs, accommodates—you name it—to get OESP headed in the right direction. The fact the she’s attentive, thoughtful, and has the “guts” by changing the game for this road show format, in particular, speaks volume about her willingness to change, adapt, move forward, and most importantly, listen.
For more information on the next OESP Roadshow, www.thinkoesp.org.