News

Back to News

February 5, 2018

It Takes A City — And So, So Much More


By Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

By all accounts the 2018 SHOT Show was a huge success. In fact, while we were on location in Las Vegas many of you told us that this was the best show yet for your company. That has been reinforced by an unusual number of unsolicited emails we have received since returning from the show. We’re obviously very pleased that our customers are happy and that the industry kicked off 2018 with such positive energy and a sense of optimism.

We’re fortunate to hold the SHOT Show in the most exciting trade show destination in North America — Las Vegas. The energy and pulse of the city fits our show and our industry like a pair of custom-fitted gloves. But the synergy between the SHOT Show and Las Vegas didn’t happen accidentally, and it didn’t happen without help. We do this with the help of thousands of people.

At the risk of sounding like a recipient at the Academy Awards, here’s a shout-out to the many partners who helped make last month’s SHOT Show as great as it was. Principal among them are those with ConvExx, our show management partner, headed up by Jeff Pressman and Chuck and Susan Schwartz. Our success with the Supplier Showcase, Pressman’s brainchild, and that of our attendee registration audit program that disqualified literally thousands of unqualified people from attending the show are directly attributable to ConvExx and its very talented staff.

The workhorse staff at Freeman, our general services partner for the show, likewise deserve attention. We’re all in good hands with Linda Pilgrim, Stephen Hagestette Jr. and Mandy Geistweidt leading our Freeman team. General attendees never see much of the work they do, but if you’re an exhibitor, you’ve witnessed the near miraculous setup and takedown of the show floor, something that takes place in less than 48 hours on either end.

Exhibitors shake hands, compare iPad notes, bills of lading and contracts, and work closely with dozens of other SHOT show employees — our Safety Advisors who verify that the firearms on display have empty chambers and that the firing pins are removed from thousands of display firearms, and floor managers who fix a litany of booth emergencies large and small so that no one walking the aisles ever realizes something was amiss.

A battalion of highly skilled security professionals from Century Security, led by Charles Swanopel and “Bear” Marshall, keep our guests and merchandise safe from move-in to move-out. There were significant changes to our security plan for this show, most of which were not visible to you but that were necessary and warranted.

I was tempted to say “compared clipboards” instead of “compare iPad notes” above. Clipboards, of course, survive in numbers akin to landline telephones these days, for if it can be made digital, it is done. For SHOT Show, vast credit for that enormous digital transition goes to Go Expo and Core Apps, the show management software that produces not just the amazingly robust SHOT Show Mobile App but the many features on SHOTShow.org that keep everyone organized. From the Exhibitor Dashboard and Planning Dashboard to the digital show floor maps that detail the information for every booth from Level 1 to the NEXT exhibitors on Level 3, not to mention the dedicated, streamlined pages for Media, Attendees and Exhibitors, all of that is the result of the professionals at Go Expo.

When it came to the new registration system, we couldn’t have done that without Experient, our registration and data management partner. In a world where everyone always seems to be reaching for more, we wanted better. Experient’s overhaul of the online registration process, led by Brian Crum, Helen Burgess, Carrie Porter and David Dorwart, greatly enhanced the professional aspect of our show, helping us maintain the show’s trade-only infrastructure and improving business on the show floor. “We were able to connect with everyone we needed to connect with, such an improvement,” so many told us this year. That’s the work of Experient.

There are others who touch, influence and impact the SHOT Show experience in innumerable ways. Las Vegas Sands, led by Chandra Allison and its Sands Expo & Conference Center, stands out, for it is, without a doubt, a place our industry now calls home and we’re grateful for their partnership and that of Kirsten Diamond. Our headquarters hotel, the Venetian/Palazzo, delivers five-star service year after year — thank you Tyler Stewart, Sean Morris, Kent Stanton, Barry Tester, Danielle Shapiro and Zach Maddox.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority juggles dozens of trade shows taking place literally every day of the year, and yet Chris Meyer and John Schreiber help ensure that work so everyone who attends SHOT Show feels as if we’re the only show in town. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Tourism Crime Unit, Special Events Unit and Traffic Unit do a wonderful job in keeping us all safe and sound, with special thanks to Rick Marini. FBI Special Agent Fred Bradford coordinates with federal law enforcement agencies on a wide variety of fronts, including intellectual property and counter terrorism.

Thanks also to Michael Howe, who leads our housing partner onPeak that works so diligently to make hotels available to fit the needs and budgets of everyone attending SHOT Show. We are grateful to these agencies, businesses and their teams of tremendously talented professionals, for we wouldn’t sleep as soundly without them.

SHOT Show is the heartbeat of our industry, the one time, the one place, where, for five days, we gather as one. Exhibitors, buyers, outdoor media members, wholesalers, distributors, PR and marketing gurus — this is your show, and we thank you for being there. For the FBI, ATF, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce and International Buyer Program professionals who set aside this week in their schedules to make our industry better, this show belongs to you, too, thank you. And, finally, NSSF’s Board of Governors who see the forest for the trees and work cohesively as no other team works to steer our organization and the show in the right direction.

Thank you all. We look forward to 40 more years of success with you.

 

You may also be interested in: SHOT Show Celebrates 40th Anniversary