Following their decision to keep future WasteExpo events in the Spring, exposition management announced that its 2001 show will be held in Chicago, April 3- 5, at McCormick Place.
"Chicago traditionally has been a strong site for WasteExpo as well as other major trade shows," says show director Rita Ugianskis. "I am aware that there were problems for some exhibitors at our last Chicago show - hotel rooms and union problems - but two major things have changed."
First, Ugianskis says, Chicago has received a "wake up call" from Las Vegas, which reportedly replaced Chicago as the No. 1 trade show city. "WasteExpo wasn't Chicago's only dissatisfied customer," Ugianskis notes. "There were enough defections that Mayor Daley 'convinced' the unions that fees had to go down and service had to go up.
"Second, there won't be a problem with hotel rooms because it is unlikely that the Bulls will be in the playoffs next year," she adds.
In late 1998, Chicago's Unions agreed to a unified labor pool, which means that both carpenters and decorators can do the same work. Now, exhibitors won't have to wait for two separate groups of laborers, says Mike Tester from Chicago's Convention and Tourism Bureau. Also, exhibitors can set up their own booth if it is 300 square feet or less.
In addition, exhibitors can interconnect their computer peripherals, set up and operate a single video camera or VCR, and even plug in their 110-volt equipment without paying electricians.
The union's overtime fees for riggers, decorators and carpenters has been reduced, too, Tester says.
All this means more efficient service at a lower cost, Ugianskis says. Bus service and parking around McCormick also was improved.
Trade show directors across the country say that they see "an overwhelming difference in Chicago compared to what it was like in the mid-1990s," Ugianskis says.
"We're excited after the presentation [at the recent Waste Equipment Technology Association meeting], says Gordon Shaw, vice president of sales and marketing at Marathon Equipment Co., Vernon, Ala.
"Historically, Expo is one of the better shows for us. In addition to having good drawing power from the Midwest, Chicago also attracts international visitors to the show, which is a real plus," he says.
Shaw, also a member of the WasteExpo advisory committee, acknowledged Chicago has tried to "improve the union situation."
Mike Knaub, vice president of sales at Charlotte, N.C.-based Schaefer Systems International and another member of the show's advisory committee, was "ecstatic" about the return to the Spring, but "isn't totally pleased with Chicago." However, he is willing to "deal with McCormick" and is impressed with its changes.
Ugianskis says that a representative from Chicago will be at May's WasteExpo 2000 in Atlanta to discuss potential exhibitor problems or concerns.