WASTECON and WasteExpo Co-Location Discussed

Boulder, Colo. – Representing a coalition of waste industry manufacturers that support co-locating the annual Wastecon and WasteExpo trade shows, Mike Knaub met this morning with the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) International Board of Directors to dispel rumors about the proposed co-location and propose next steps. SWANA invited Knaub to make his presentation during the board’s semi-annual meeting.

SWANA, a leading professional organization in the solid waste field, owns and manages Wastecon, an annual fall tradeshow and training conference attended primarily by representatives of the municipal sector. WasteExpo, an annual spring tradeshow and educational conference attended by representatives of both the public and private sectors, is owned and managed by Primedia Business Magazines and Media. Primedia Business owns more than 70 trade publications (including Waste Age) and 20-plus trade shows. The Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) manages the WasteExpo educational conference.

Knaub is senior vice president and managing director for the waste technology division of Schaefer Systems International, a manufacturer of refuse and recycling containers. A former member of SWANA’s executive board, Knaub has served as a spokesman for the exhibiting companies in support of co-locating the two shows for about 18 months. This role came about after he distributed a survey about the shows to more than 700 exhibitors. Of the 176 responses he received, 82 percent favored co-locating the shows. Last fall, the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) Board of Governors, of which Knaub is vice chairman, passed a resolution supporting show co-location. WASTEC, a part of the EIA, represents industry manufacturers, distributors, service companies and consultants.

Knaub began his presentation to the SWANA board this morning by addressing a prevalent rumor that Primedia is behind the co-location efforts.

“The idea that Primedia is the Goliath trying to put SWANA’s Wastecon out of business is simply untrue,” Knaub said. “This effort is exhibitor-driven. Primedia and EIA are uncertain and anxious, too, but they’re willing to explore the possibilities.

“The push for co-locating the two shows is not new,” Knaub continued. “This is something industry manufacturers and exhibitors have been discussing for financial and business reasons since the 1980s.”

The goal of co-location is to create a single bigger and better annual show that will better serve the industry by bringing together the public and private sectors for joint networking, education and to see the latest product and service developments, Knaub explained. Co-locating the two shows just makes economic sense, he said. Manufacturers save money by reducing the number of shows in which they exhibit, while SWANA and Primedia both have opportunities to increase their revenue from the larger event. At the same time, Knaub told the board, Wastecon will not lose its identity. SWANA can continue to hold its opening reception, educational conference and other unique activities at the combined show.

Similarly, other industry associations that are active at WasteExpo, such as the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) and EIA, would be encouraged to maintain their activities as part of the new show. The show co-location also would not affect the many state and regional shows sponsored by SWANA chapters and supported by industry manufacturers, Knaub said.

Knaub urged the SWANA board to form a committee to meet with representatives of Primedia, EIA, and exhibitors to start working toward a combined show for 2008 or 2009. He proposed that the initial planning meeting take place during Wastecon 2005, to be held Sept. 27-29 in Austin, Texas.

“It’s not my role to come here today and say, ‘This is how we’re going to do things,’” Knaub said. “We want SWANA to be a part of the process in helping to plan the biggest solid waste show in North America. Let’s work together to do what’s best for the waste industry.”

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