Click here for the Podcast Episode



Mike Morrison 00:03

You’re listening to the Don and Mike show powered by SMT Expo. Don Avila, owner and publisher of exhibit city news and exhibit city and Mike Morrison National Sales Director for WS display. The Don and Mike show, a weekly podcast focused on tradeshow event and experiential marketing industries in today’s world. And now from our studios just outside of Atlanta, here’s Don and Mike.


Mike Morrison 00:34

SMT Expo presents the industry’s first live event PPE booth system. Prepare for the future today with our Exponit tooless fabric booth system. This sleek, safe and secure full fabric product can be configured into a multitude of layouts to also include hard walls, doors, and even Flexi panels. Aside from a cheer good looks, this tool is lightweight product is available now and will give you your exhibitors as well as the attendees that needed feeling of safety and security from airborne contaminants. And this pandemic make your event safe with our medical grade booth system that has been proven to stop transmission of airborne contaminants from even sneezes and coughs. Feel safe and secure with SMT live event PP, full floor plan booth system. See them today at SMT


Jasmine Jeannie Bright 01:28

Hello listeners at the Don and Mike show. Jasmine Jeannie Bright editor in chief of exhibit city news magazine with this week’s headliner news blast. We open with the big news of the Las Vegas Sands core penciled in Las Vegas properties for $6.25 billion on the road to recovery our weekly series. So, states are reopening Texas and Mississippi by next week. Ending math mandates and we also feature pram and cadmium CD pivoting. A business events industry has launched an advocacy coalition called the exhibitions and conferences alliance for more lobbying in Congress. But TCF Center hosted their first events. It’s March of 2020. From our latest issue, the shop to show for teamwork is keeping their workers working. Other breaking news the national restaurant show has canceled their main show in Chicago. From our latest issue In Memoriam Shelby see people juniors the founder of Emerald carpet, 2021 NCAA Division One men’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh is on the Mandalay Bay Events Center has been renamed the MC globe ultra-arena. Center played at San Diego Convention Center surpassed 1 million meals for the homeless last month. Magic off price and WWINC at the Orange County Convention Center a little recap. Scabies, a rat has gotten a reprieve meet at Atlantic City has revamped their virtual reality experience. Charlotte venues have added technology to enhance their cleanliness protocols. Speaker applications are open for ETL that’s event tech live USA and Canada. Do in by March 31. T-West airport the Coronavirus fighting robot has been named our two key two. We also have EDTA California happy hour on March 4 at four Pacific Time. Compo system has renewed HDAW-AACR and ACS events Industry Council as welcoming 60 new CMP south east, CDPA had their happy hour on February 25 and international news with government can’t see us social media storm in the UK. ICC Wales launched a motivational master class series IACC has published two guides on the future of event breaks and lunches. IATPCO has celebrated its largest gathering virtually. Retail marketing group has launched e-colon vent virtual and hybrid solutions. And finally first site media is going to carry the content for event tech live US and Canada in June. So, that’s this week’s headliner news. If you’d like to sign up for the blast, please go to our site at www. Exhibit city Go to the top right corner for subscribe. In the meantime, five new stories every day. Keep ahead and stay healthy and keep on seven.


Mike Morrison 04:36

And we now graduate to the month of March and 2021 Mike Morrison National Sales Director for WS display on the Don and Mike show March 5 edition. Don Avila is a little south of Las Vegas for today’s taping and recording. He is having fun on a river down in Laughlin, Nevada. He’ll tell us more about that. Hope you’re doing well and stay in touch these days.


Don Avila 05:00

Hey there, Mike, a whole mates and all our listeners out there in gun in Mike land. Yeah, I’m in Laughlin and we’re going to barrel down in the Colorado River 48 miles to the town of Lake Havasu, Arizona. We’re in the way for the London Bridge. Then we get to spend two hours there. We barrel back and Mike, this boat is loud. And it’s mean and it just barrels. It only holds 22 people or something. But anyone listening, put it on your to do list, your bucket list no matter, how small it is? It needs to be in there if you like adrenaline rushing things and beautiful scenery. Okay, enough for the commercial.


Mike Morrison 05:40

Well, loud and mean sounds has a lot of symmetry with Washington DC these days. But I digress. Did I go political? I didn’t mean to. The good news is and there is good news as we track the research and all of the surveys that are taking place by industry professionals and organizations across the board like North Star meetings group in particular. And also Freeman are a couple of notations I made this week. Well, while reading industry news from North Star meetings group who keeps a pulse of, what’s going on? With trade shows, expos, conventions and meetings. US workers are eager to meet again in person that was the headline. New research finds 81% of former meeting goers are just as likely or more likely to attend face to face events in the future. And that’s just a general statement. More pointedly, Freeman just came out with research earlier this week as a matter of fact early in the week that shows an accelerated return to in person events much like the other research from seer and other organizations has been showing. Freeman is saying that by according to the study, 78% of attendees expect to attend in person events in the fall of 2021. That increases to 94% by winner and exhibitors not attendees but exhibitors are a little bit more optimistic. 80% are returning this fall, spotty for 95%, say they will return by winter. Provided Don that shows are going to happen and the doors open back up.



Don Avila 07:15

Yeah. Mike. That’s all great news. But I’m not so sure if you can rely on surveys anymore. And I’ll tell you, why? Canceled culture. Just think of the word surveys, male dominance, repression, sexist. It used to be they’d ask men their opinion, those surveys. And I don’t know even these younger people even participate these things anymore. And canceled cultures come in for surveys. Maybe in the future, we’ll just call them Bayes. What do you think?


Mike Morrison 07:43

Well. At this point, I can just tell you the facts. And the facts of the matter is that 67.5% of all survey statistics are made up. So, there you go.


Don Avila 07:55

By the way. How’s our poll?


Mike Morrison 07:59

Our poll was a layover of last week’s poll and few more answers came straggling in. But for the most part, we all agree that. What we’re going? To discuss in today’s show as a matter of fact in both interviews that we have, shows are going to change when they come back. And they already are coming back. It was another thing that I was in a lot of discussions with this week, our shows in New Orleans and in other parts of my social media feed is just loaded with people attending shows and saying, how great it feels? To go unload a truck, to set up a booth, to tear it down or to see traffic even though it’s masked and distanced, Don that type of reception, that type of attitude is, what’s going to take us over the top when we do start going back.


Don Avila 08:51

I agree wholeheartedly. Mike. It’s maximum not to talk so eloquently about today. All these new opportunities for products, companies, procedures and stuff. It’s going to be exciting times when people get over the fear of change that it’s going to build on its own momentum.


Mike Morrison 09:12

Normally you and I, we banter back and back, back and forth a lot. We’re going to cut it short today because these interviews are pretty extensive. And you also will probably want to listen to these interviews and to hear, what Mark Zimmerman from Zimmerman consulting? Here in Atlanta has to say about his consulting efforts, what the feedback has been from his clients? What the industry is saying? And the questions they’re asking, and what they’re trying to get answers for? And then we also have besides mark on the show today is Joe Cascio. Now Joe is no stranger to Don and Mike. It’s a matter of fact, SMT Expo is our sponsor, corporate sponsor for the show. He is vice president of sales there and just recently he and the owner Scott Lieder wall did a big webinar, written involving about 40 some odd plus questions from attendees of that webinar are concerned about, how we go back to work, back to shows and back to conferences and expos? We take about 10 of those questions and we break them down and expound on them a little bit further than, what was in the webinar? Both interviews are packed with exciting and informative information. You’ll want to sit back and grab something to drink and check these out coming up after the short break. Your event provides closed circuit audio turnkey solutions for all live events, outdoor concerts, festivals, private radio remote broadcasts, language translations, speaker extension and much more. With the new COVID-19 normal in place, your event can help with your event. Go to the website, Your event audio. com and see the videos of previous applications and let us start helping with your event tomorrow at your event  Back on the Don and Mike show, Mike Morrison here and with us right now our first guest of the show is a no stranger at all to the Don and Mike show. As a matter of fact, in Don and Mike show a minute ago, we were just talking if there’s any listener of the show that’s won more money from the Don and Mike show than anyone else it would be this gentleman that would be Mark Zimmerman. Mark is the owner of Zimmerman consulting here in the Atlanta area. And we’ve had him on the show many times. It’s been a while. Today, he’s actually interviewing behind the steering wheel going to a site for some business. So, first of all Mark, thanks for taking time and talking with us. Speaking with us again, here on the Don and Mike show.


Mark Zimmerman 11:41

Well, thanks, Mike. I appreciate it. You and Don has done such a great job on the program promoting the hospitality industry throughout the country. And it’s been good. And but the fact that you guys got podcast going out there all the time encouraging other people and, what’s going on? In the businesses is fantastic. Keep up the good work.  Well. First of all it is unfortunate because a lot of good people have been put out of work in many different areas in America, many cities around the country. My self I’ve focused in, on the sanitization and sterilization of other events and convention centers around the country. And that’s probably taken center stage because there was a quick review of people trying to get products out quickly into the hands of centers and events. And that was probably the big thing that took over center stage. But now that we’ve had a time to a year or over a year now I  am very optimistic that things are picking up in a way where people are in person doing events. I do think that the way that we’ve looked at some things where virtual has taken over but we are a business that needs to meet face to face. And the first group or company, events, convention centers or whatever can get where people can meet in person and also come together virtually is going to be very successful in our business going forward. Because what we’ve all found out? That we can work from home and can work from remote locations. That has really taken center stage and changed a lot of business not only in our business but commercial real estate and other areas of business in general have changed because people have access to work from anywhere.



Mike Morrison 12:04

I appreciate that. I’m sure Don will, too. And I’ll dive right into some questions that we’ve talked about on the front end that you’ll be able to shed a lot of light on and our listeners will want to know, what your experience has been? The first one is common place. It’s been a year now we’re right at the one year point when the industries of trade show event experiential marketing hospitality with they were all devastated, not devastated. They were very devastated with the Covid 19 pandemic and all of the occurrences that happened along with it. So, my question first off is, what is your business? The consulting side focused on during this time to help industries adapt to this crushing halt to activity.  It’s interesting that you say that because I’ve been worked for, from home for over 20 years myself, I was always detached. So, this whole new WFH work from home scenario is not new to me but I can see where across the board where people have been going into locations or events that obviously take place away from home, which would be their worksite where this whole new virtual aspect of work from home could be a little bit of a shock value. I’m sure that’s been a bit of a change across the board with people you’ve been talking to.


Mark Zimmerman 15:05

Oh, absolutely. And a lot of people working from home or working from remote locations but I also hear people in their voice and in their thoughts, is they want to be back around people, they want to be back around there. There are other employees,   work together and customers. So, there’s a combination that has been great that everyone’s been separated and going into their own neutral corners, I guess you might say. But there’s also been a great need for people to get back together and have social interaction.


Mike Morrison 15:40

From what I take it? On your main answer from the first question is, the safety protocols, the cleaning, the observation of the sterilizing and everything that’s been especially from a hospitality standpoint, I could see where that would be huge and a center of focus of where you would be at. But other than that, has there been a specific any other types of focuses that have been the crux of your activity over the last year that has some symmetry across all of those industries? Whether it’s tradeshow event or hospitality?


Mark Zimmerman 16:14

Absolutely. It’s ironic but I’ve talked to people about, how do we do things differently? Like this morning I had a breakfast with one of the big service contractors out of Atlanta. And we talked about digital marketing, digital advertisement and, how that can play a part into obviously producing events and offering it to their customers? And I say like that, there’s other things available. There’s the beam which was like a robot, just a product that I got going with five years ago, I guess in Atlanta, and that product has proved to be very successful around the country that people are using it that they necessarily don’t have to be in the room but they could be in like it’d be in California and operating a robot type piece of equipment that basically is interactive with people in different states and doing events. So, there’s more products that are coming online. And people are just looking for a way that improves their communication and connection with customers and events. That’s going to continue and we’re all looking at, what’s the newest product? What’s the newest widget? That we can do this with. Again a lot of it’s going to be remotely that people can use this but you take a piece of equipment like this robot and someone that can’t necessarily go to a show in past years. They could be over in Europe or they could be wherever and can take time out of their busy day to go to an event. But they could be on a robot that could go down the halls of an exhibit space, look at events and have interaction with the personnel that’s in the booth and basically not have to go and not to have a fire flare to a city or take time out of your busy schedule. So, anyways there’s products that are out there. And we all have to be open to looking at these products and say, hey, how does this make me better and more efficient at what I do? And how does it make me spend my time that’s most efficient in, what we do?


Mike Morrison 18:39

You’ve piqued my interest a little bit on this robot from, what? and I’m just going to try to figure it out myself here is it you are saying that the robots more or less the physical advocate at a show where the exhibitor doesn’t necessarily have to go to the show the robot does all the work in person, is that, what you’re referring to?


Mark Zimmerman 18:56

Exactly. And it’s not necessarily the exhibitor it could be an attendee that’s over in England and doesn’t have time to fly across the water to go to the show but wants to be on the show floor to see, what’s going on in this? This unit that can be done. And you can remotely drive in from your computer and anyone on the show floor in Atlanta. And there’s several products that are out there. But anyways this thing like I say, five years ago, I was able to get this in Atlanta for us at the convention center. And this is an unbelievable piece of equipment. Microsoft actually used it when Microsoft did a big user meeting in Atlanta. And that’s where I first saw it. And then Steve Ertz, there’s a guy that I’ve worked with and with this product and basically he came into my office and I said hey, I didn’t know you were here. And he said, oh, I’ve got these 20 robots that are here for the Microsoft show. And I’m like, Wow, so anyways, we were able to work a deal and get it at the convention center. And it’s very useful and very good. And I can see that even going farther in different areas to give an example. There’s a school district in Atlanta that I’m working with. And they want to put the robots in the schools where their superintendent and folks can be at each school, talk to the teachers, talk to the students and talk to whoever without physically have to be in the school itself. So, there’s a lot of things that are opportunities out there.



Mike Morrison 20:29

Well, it’s funny. I just thought and remembered this, my CEO of my company is located in Hawaii of course our corporate is in California and he has a robot like that. So, when I’m there or when they’re doing meetings and what have you? This robot rolls up. And there’s an iPad that’s attached to the head. And so you see the face of the CEO and then he’s actually interacting as if he were there. I’ve seen that before. It’s interesting that you could bring it into the event world. That would just be amazing to start seeing the Jet son’s tradeshow type environment when that’d be kind of cool.


Mark Zimmerman 21:11

Mike, that’s a great point. And some of us older folks that Texas used to be that cartoon that we all thought was a big Loafer in and sometime in the future we have. We’ll see if that really happens. And actually, it really is. So, anyways if you remember who Astros is, I might have to give you somebody.


Mike Morrison 21:33

That would have been the dog so I win. Let’s talk about the changes that, do you think? That all the industries that we’ve talked about tradeshow event experience hospitality? Do you think they’ve seen some permanent changes happen to them as we progress forward in the future due to the COVID circumstances? And if so, what are they in particular?


Mark Zimmerman 22:08

Absolutely. First of all, I’ve seen where folks have had to unfortunately reduce the size of their staff. And what I see? Also is probably go into some third party contracts to do specific jobs that they probably had employees to. So, they’re probably going to some third party groups that provide those services, what the other thing? I see is that people working from home will continue. And that obviously you don’t need big office space to house a bunch of people when they can work at home and probably be more efficient. Then driving like I did, I remember driving to the convention center. Some days it would be an hour and a half one way and the same thing going home now you can work for your home. You don’t have to sit in traffic and all that frustration with some of that comes to mind and hazards. But I could see that part of it as well. So, there’s this good lesson from this. But unfortunately the number one thing we have to really keep our eye on is, how do we? Keep attracting good, young or good talent in our hospitality industry and not lose them to another business or another outside industry because if we can’t keep them working and we got to get back to doing shows in person and virtually with a combination otherwise we’re going to lose people out of our business that will never be back.


Mike Morrison 23:47

It’s funny you say that the timing is amazing. I don’t know if you had a chance to listen to Jeff Quaid last week on our show from GES and, what they’re doing? But they’re utilizing this flex talent pool just for that very reason. Because the first thing he stated was that we as an industry, I’ve seen so many losses of good people because there was no work and they had to have money. So, they went elsewhere where there was work and the chances of them returning may be slim to none. So, the word flexible and flex will actually probably play a bigger role in the comeback and the turnaround within these industries, would you think that?


Mark Zimmerman 24:26

Absolutely. 100%. I did listen to that. And Jeff did a great job on that subject but absolutely we’ve got to find a way to keep the good people in our business and keep them longer. But like everybody they have to find another job to pay the bills and go on feeding their families. So, it’s unfortunate but we’ve got to find a way to get our events rolling, do a virtually and also in place. And I’ll give you a couple examples of that. Three weeks ago the cheer sport event was in Atlanta. Jeff Folks who puts on that event, right customer to Atlanta for many years. I went down, saw Jeff, great guy, great loyal person to the city in the state of Georgia. And they had an event they probably between 30 and 40,000 attendees and they did a great job of social distancing. So, did the convention center, helping that process and the security company that in Atlanta did it as well. It can be done. One of my other customers is informed of that produces five boat shows in Florida. They have been having events and they have been very successful. Yet, of course they’re on the water. They may be easily, not easily but it may be a little bit easier for them to do it, spacing people separate from being outside. But what I’m saying? Is people are doing events, they’re doing them on a smaller scale than, what they’ve been? Used to in the past. They are doing events and it’s good. The policy folks had a virtual show. And that was successful for them as well. But everybody did, there’s virtually a next year that I’m sure they’re going to try to step it up and how can they do? A combination of the two different types of styles of shows. But anyways, people are doing events, they’re stepping up. There’s only going to increase more and more. And of course, what our business is all about? Especially the hospitality business.


Mike Morrison 26:33

Well, that’s a great segue to my next question because for so long now we’ve had this discussion of digital versus in person. We across the board who have been in this industry for a little longer than a cup of coffee, they know that in person is the by far best scenario that you can have. But do you think there’s at the end of the day, it is what it is, as far as the digital is concerned? Do you think there’s a place for digital and in person to coexist when the smoke clears? And in person resumes?


Mark Zimmerman 27:08

Absolutely, there’s no doubt in my mind that will happen. And the group that figures it out, is perfectly I will say perfectly. But they’ve figured out a way to do it. Both those segments will be very successful in our industry.



Mike Morrison 27:27

I have to agree with you. At the end of the day too much has been spent on the digital realm for it to just disappear when in person relaxes all of the conditions relaxing we go back to in person which we’re already seeing. I can go to LinkedIn today. And I’ve seen six shows already posted that are happening right now across the United States in different municipalities that like you said, are smaller than, what we would normally see? But we are seeing the trend come back and that’s, what’s going to happen? It’ll be an hour refer to it last week to a crawl walk run scenario. Would you think that’s probably more or less what’s going to happen here in the next year or so?


Mark Zimmerman 28:10

Absolutely. Let me give you another example of an event that’s scheduled to come up in April. It’s Atlanta International Auto show. Shane Wilson another great friend and people go to auto shows, you got to go, get in the car, kick the tires and see, what it’s all about? You could go probably on a video and see, what it looks like on a video? But like me, I want to go and I want to search specially that new car smell like the guy gets me all every time. But anyways, I want to go feel it. Get inside of it. See what the real spaces? And it’s the same thing as exhibitors with any other show. They want to kick the tires and see, what the product is? And what it is? And see the video is that going to be the way. I’m going to make a big expenditure to spend money. I want to see it in person.


Mike Morrison 29:04

Funny, you say that most people that know me, know that I drive a sigh on IQ. So, leg room is something that’s not synonymous with that particular model. However, I’ve learned, how to fold myself? In half and get 37 miles per gallon in the city. I guess there’s some advantage to that and gas prices the way they are. We’re talking to mark Zimmerman, Zimmerman consulting here in Atlanta. One final question. And I’ll let you continue driving onto your appointment. Despite the negativity of the circumstances from Covid, Do you think any good has come from this new normal that you can say is a round for positivism and all this?


Mark Zimmerman 29:39

Well, it’s pushed us all to be more efficient at, what we do? If there was any kind of fact, what we were doing? Operationally or sales wise or whatever we all become a lean mean fighting machine. And that we’ve all been more efficient with less. That’s going to continue. But it also put the mirror on ourselves and said, you know what? We can do this. Here’s a different way to do it. Here’s a way we can do it and make it a little bit leaner. So, it has pushed us to be better business people and looked at, how we can be? More efficient, what we do?




Mike Morrison 30:02

Lean has always been a big part of the manufacturing world. And over the years there’s actually been modifications in processes that centered on the term lean. You’re right. Right now that lean is going to be more in the diet effect is probably going to affect all of our business dealings in the future than just those norms of eating and manufacturing is now going to be in every aspect of business, it seems.


Mark Zimmerman 30:51

Absolutely. We all recognize that and see that. But the companies that can make the adjustments will survive and they will be very efficient going forward and very successful.


Mike Morrison 31:05

It’s Mark Zimmerman from Zimmerman consulting. Sir, thanks for taking time out as always talking with us on the Don and Mike show.


Mark Zimmerman 31:11

Alright, thanks, Mike. I appreciate it. Have a great week and a great weekend coming up.


Mike Morrison 31:16

We will be right back after this.


Mike Morrison 31:16

SMT Expo presents the industry’s first live event PP booth system. Prepare for the future today with our Expo nit toeless fabric booth system. This sleek, safe and secure full fabric product can be configured into a multitude of layouts to also include hard walls, doors, and even Flexi panels. Aside from its sheer good looks, this tool is lightweight product is available now and will give you, your exhibitors as well as the attendees that needed feeling of safety and security from airborne contaminants. And this pandemic make your event safe with our medical grade booth system that has been proven to stop transmission of airborne contaminants from even sneezes, coughs feel safe and secure with SMT live event PP full  boot system. See them today at SMT  Back on the dynamite show Mike Morrison, the National Sales Director for WS display. And now we want to shift gears, talk a little bit about common questions and answers that have been going back and forth in regards to, what has been happening since 2020s? Inception of the pandemic and, how it’s affected? The exhibit world event world protocols, what to expect? What gets us back? To business sooner than later. And all of those types of things. So, today we bring on no stranger to the Don and Mike show Matter of fact, they are the sponsor of the Don and Mike show that would be SMT expos Joe Cascio, who’s the Vice President of Sales they’re calling in today from his home office in southern jersey. Is that where it’s located?



Joe Cascio  32:39

Thanks. Yeah South Jersey we won’t pick bones there.


Mike Morrison 33:04

You’re not in the working office today. You’re most likely in a home office environment, much like I have been in many others within the industry, hope you’re doing well today and things are going positive for you.


Joe Cascio  33:17

Things are going well as we could say, hopefully seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, can’t believe you know, it’s been a year, a year next week since this whole pandemic started. But here we are. And hopefully we’re for the better.


Mike Morrison 33:33

Agreed. It’s funny, 10 days from now, would have been a year ago that I was in Philadelphia on my final trip of normal any kind of normalcy or normality of visiting clients. And I actually stopped the trip abruptly, jumped on a plane and flew back home before everything shut down. That was crazy. I’ll never forget that. And hopefully in my lifetime we’ll never go through it again. But a lot of people seeing that. And I’m sure you guys have experienced something similar?


Joe Cascio  34:06

Well, for sure. Being in the northeast, in and out of the Davits Center for the first two months of last year visiting shows, working with clients and then like you said, second week of March with about 10 different things planned for March and April, everything  just shut down and went away. And here we are.


Mike Morrison 34:29

Of course, the trends are looking much better. The forecast or sunny skies and hopefully more sun than rain but we’ll see, what happens each day? Day by day we go by but to allude to or make reference to a Q&A session that you guys participated in. In the exhibitor insight webinar, there was about 40 questions that were also published in exhibit city news that we’ve hand-picked some that our listeners would find interesting to hear some of the answers that you would have on these, so I’ll just dive into it. It’s not uncommon that the 10 by 10 and 10 by 20 are the most common sized exhibits in a trade show or an event where there’s exhibition involved. So, the first question I’ll pull out of the hat is, what safety measures can be put into place and you guy’s opinion for small boots of that size?


Joe Cascio  35:21

Well, the easiest part again knowing the inline setups of, what used to be? To what potentially could become in the future? sticking with the 10 by 10s and 10 by 20s, the first measure that could be in place that would effectively give some, I won’t say protection but preventative measures going forward would be utilizing eight foot side walls in lieu of a three foot side wall. Its line of sight was always a big thing. But in the situation we’re in, we’re going to run into wider aisles. An eight foot sidewall will lend to the trade show floor similar to the European look as it is now.





Mike Morrison 36:03

Wow, then you get into the discussion of line of sight. And that ought to be an interesting, especially on the end line where you’re supposed to have that free line of sight as you approach the booth side with that eight foot upper height, you don’t know that’s going to cause a problem.


Joe Cascio  36:18

Again, I’m basing it off, some of the conversations over the past year I’ve been on with the look of the Asia look, the European look where primarily they’re utilizing hard wall and not the pipe and drape look that we have here. An eight foot regardless of the material would at least give you some sort of again, I hate using the word preventative measures but at least something that will give you more of a protective measure from your neighbor and things like that. But that’s some of the Q&A in the research that we found. That was a hot button item that people were looking for is okay, if you’re not going to space booth separate six foot apart or whatever that may be just for the next six months, year whatever however long this takes to get back to normal. What could you do? In an eight foot in lieu of a three foot would probably be the best remedy for it.


Mike Morrison 37:14

I have to agree with that. Because my experience and together again which was the last show that Well, it wasn’t last show I guess technically access in San Antonio was even though we had limited number of booths and there was spacing involved my next door neighbors that were side by side. There was no separation. It was this three foot tall pipe and drape separated curtain that you would have there that height even though you can distance the depth. If you’re not going to distance or do something on the side wall then you have to do something. So, it’s give and take, I guess.


Joe Cascio  37:51

Correct. The three foot. Let’s face it. The three foot side rail is nothing more than a line of demarcation between one exhibitors to the next. So, again an eight foot would at least do a little bit of remedy. It’s not going to solve any issue but it at least gives safety and comfort to those exhibiting, I guess that’s half the battle.


Mike Morrison 38:12

Well, what it does also is? As we have seen, causes some wars on the show floor sometimes when you impede upon your neighbor’s space past that three foot tall barrier.


Joe Cascio  38:24




Mike Morrison 38:25

I’ve seen some battles. And I’ve been involved in a couple. So, maybe you put a hard wall up there. There’ll be a defined area that you can’t go past this because you’re going to knock a wall over. Let’s move on. Can you discuss some perspective safety protocols on the floor during the, what I consider? The most chaotic time of the show and that’s the move in setup, teardown and the move out?


Joe Cascio  38:51

Well, again being on the product side and the supplier side, it’s hard to judge the whole but putting on my hat as a former venue manager and a show organizer, it’s a trickle-down effect. It has to start with the person while the venue first and really the back of the house has to be really set up in a way that there’s a schedule, moving schedule, freight schedule. And then obviously the show manager allocating when exhibitor could come in from an exhibitor B when the tables and chairs are going in the booth versus the freight coming in the booth and things like that. That probably would be in the guidelines. I would assume there’s a lot of smarter people than myself that would figure that out. There’s been a lot of research by G- back, the global bio risk assessment council that has really done well with getting venues up to speed as to safety protocols. That’s really the back of the house, front of the house. In the trade show floor just becomes the folks within the industry to show organizers and the contractors really making sure they’re on same page and ensuring that the exhibitors are safe and timely and all that good stuff and loaded.


Mike Morrison 40:07

Basically, what you’re referring to? Is or alluding to is organization and communication. And if they all come into play then nothing really is chaotic at that point in the move in and set out or set up in the tear now. But the problem is we’ve all been there at both of those events, in every event they are the most Chinese fire drill related or replicable events that take place.


Joe Cascio  40:33

Listen, our industry is managing chaos as we know nothing goes exactly as planned. And you have to be able to pivot and operate at the seat of your pants with everyone on the same page which isn’t the easiest thing. But we should be better at it now than we were last March.


Mike Morrison 40:49

I don’t know. If they take fork lifts off the show floor that life would be just a whole lot better. Now, I’m telling you, I don’t know where some of these drivers picked up. And if you’re listening drivers, I’m sorry. But some of you picked up your dang driver’s licenses at Walmart. I don’t know where he got him from but he drove crazy. But nonetheless, I digress. And we’ll keep going. Third question, will COVID-19 change the exhibitor cost to participate at shows? Interesting, calm question rather.


Joe Cascio  41:16

Again, that’s a tough one from the supplier side. From our perspective actually it should cost them less because the hope and coming back is maybe there’s a more dynamic type of booth or dynamic look to the booth or maybe an opportunity where they don’t have to drag in all their equipment and supplies initially just to get back to, face to face and alleviate some of the burden of the time to set up. The extra time to move out. I guess streamline it in a way to make it smarter to start and then go from there. The show organizer is going to do the best they can to bring the exhibitors back. That’s first and foremost. So, that’s the toughest thing, is getting the show organizers to be able to bring business back to trade shows and that’s ultimately going to be keeping the exhibitor happy. Then it’s up to the contractor and the supplier to work with that co-organizer change sure the exhibitors comfortable. The exhibitors not getting gouged on coming back and showing and go from there. Similar to the last question. It’s really managing expectations and managing the restart in a proper way.


Mike Morrison 42:33

You would think and I just thinking out loud that with the hybrid, quote, unquote, discussion going on for future shows you made that point a minute ago maybe you bring in less and I’m thinking well, if you could elude or maybe a pivot into a way of using technology to present your product more than the actual product itself or the tangibles then it might make life a little easier for the cost. And like I said, taking advantage of technology versus bringing in so much that ends up making the cost of your show exponentially larger than, what you would expect?


Joe Cascio  43:11

No, I agree with you totally. The days of the zoom events and things like that, we want to go back to face to face. That’s our industry. But I do think that technology that was born from the zoom events and pandemic will lend to, how we reopen? And the look of trade shows going forward, there will be a bigger technology component to all the events. That’s for sure.


Mike Morrison 43:35

This one is an interesting one. And it’s one that has been discussed on many different areas because there’s cost versus safety. And that battle between the two, there doesn’t seem to be much symmetry between them. But the question of, do you anticipate booth spaces becoming larger to account for social distancing? It’s a catch 22 in that regards, I would imagine you would think.


Joe Cascio  43:59

This was a pretty good topic from everyone’s perspective because the look of the trade shows the vanilla floor plan of your blocks and runs of 20 booths and things like that.  There may be an initial push back to being an inline exhibitor and possibly looking to become more of an island or pavilion or a standalone. Where it’s set up in a way that you’re, your own free standing space. It’s not going to be the easiest thing. There’s going to be a happy medium somewhere in between. But I do think there will be initially some larger booths. Show organizers like we were talking about before we’ll have to have some give back to a hesitant exhibitor wanting to come in and exhibit but not being comfortable being stuck in the middle of a row of 10 booths. So, I do think that there will be a little bit of it all. There will be probably more breaks in booth line where we’ll allow for, I don’t know If you want to call it cleaning stations or sanitation stations or break areas and things like that so that will also be a part of at least the initial reopening floor plan.


Mike Morrison 45:12

If they can control the cost at the end of the day it’s all about pictures of dead presidents. And at the end of the day the more you require an exhibitor to expand, the less likely they’re going to participate. So, that’s going to be a catch 22 in my opinion across the board, where does safety and economy meet in the middle? And that’s going to be the big factor. Discuss how you believe health and safety practices will evolve post vaccine?


Joe Cascio  45:44

We talked earlier being this past year of, I’ve been involved with a couple think tanks and groups talking weekly on safety and best practices going forward. A lot of, what I’ve heard? is that all the inflammation and changes that were put in by again, the G back folks, IEE, CIR, ESKA, those will be the minimums going forward. I do think the way that registration is being handled, the way hotel registration, the air travel. All of that lends to the same Hall that would become the new standard. Then hopefully we just get better at it as we go forward it might be a little bit different. It’s not going to be 100% different but it’s never going to be the same as, what it was before? That happy medium in between where everyone’s comfortable is where we’ll end up.


Mike Morrison 46:39

It’s going to be very interesting and we all think but nobody knows. But the end of the day, what I’ve seen? In these situations when anytime you relax, anything you give an inch, they take a yard and that’s human nature, that’s not necessarily a negative cast at anybody. It’s at everybody. It’s a human nature thing. And especially a pent up aggression that everybody has to get back out there for and I’m not talking about just a few people. The majority of people that are being surveyed now or anywhere between 80 and almost 100%, ready to get back to normal. So, it’ll be interesting to see, what health and safety does? As the vaccines are put out there and to see, what percentage of people? Do end up taking them versus the ones that don’t. It’ll be an interesting road to watch and an interesting rollout of events for sure. Which leads me to when do you think large? In person trade shows will start again, we’ve already seen activity, we’re seeing the smaller ones happen as we speak.



Joe Cascio  47:46

This is all regional. We can agree that Florida, Texas, that’s going to happen already in this spring. Vegas, which is the lifeblood in somewhat of our industry and really the hospitality industry. They’re pushing and there’s a tug of war there. But I would think by this summer, you get Vegas rolling and getting that going again and for our region in the northeast, New York and then obviously California that’s probably going to be the fall, there’s going to be smaller venues, I’m sure that we’ll be able to get up and running sooner. But I would say the fall of this year, knock on wood, we’d be looking at getting back to in person live face to face events. And hopefully again 2022 becomes not back to, what it was? In 2019. But at least a growing stage but better protocol put in place to ensure safety and all that good stuff.


Mike Morrison 48:42

I believe 2022 is your Ultimate Reset button. It has to start crawl, walk run again. We’re being the walk stage in somewhere in 2022. But we all agree with that. You’ll see them. The Spitz, the spurts and the little spikes in the graph of shows picking back up world of concrete is one that’s got everybody’s attention in Vegas will that one take place, which is a pretty good monster size show in comparison, what we’ve been seeing? That shows that it takes place then we see that there’s nothing that comes out of it of a negative aspect. That’ll be the launching pad for bigger shows to take place.


Joe Cascio  49:23

The other good thing is our industry is a global industry. Luckily enough we’re able to not necessarily learn exactly from but the Asian events to European events. Australia just had a large event that took place there. So, that we can also get some insight from, what they’ve done and how they’re doing it? And learn from that and hopefully be able to implement that into 2022.


Mike Morrison 49:47

Funny you say that, a couple more questions. We’re talking to Joe Casio from SMT Expo, the Vice President of Sales there and the International is on the docket. Now to talk about when it comes to shows with international attendees and that’s been a sticking point across the board for 2020. And if so far in 2021, what do you think needs to be done? For those shows to be successful to get back to that. Obviously past the travel issues and restrictions that are in place now.


Joe Cascio  50:17

Again look at the International Toy Fair, one of the largest events we have in the country obviously as a huge international component to it. One of the largest events in in Davits Center in New York. That’s next February, By then there’s going to be screening and safety protocols that are going to be put in place, all that should and would be done on the outside of the trade show floor. I’m assuming prior to entry via airlines via hotels all of that should be done in advance by that point there should be protocols put in place that will allow for international travel both ways from us there. And from there back here. So, that should hopefully take care of itself. I’m assuming that’s those guidelines are already been put in place across the board or will be put in place because it’s going to come up sooner than later.


Mike Morrison 51:15

It actually is because this is a small world. After all, it’s an international world. We have economies that depend on each other. And we’ve gone right out a year without this international travel aspect involved. You’re right, people are chomping at the bit to get back on a plane, go across water and start in person again. But those safety protocols have to be in place in order to see it successful and then absolutely no account at all. Really, you may have an isolated issue of Covid that may take place but at least no spikes from an international travel perspective when you think.


Joe Cascio  51:57

There were minimal ways that this was implemented while we were starting and stopping over the last year. And then we’re like holding areas, there were testing areas. All of that will initially be the case. There will be areas that will be put into larger events that will be holding areas or testing areas. If you don’t have the proper paperwork. Again, rapid tests hopefully could be done that should become something more regular than, what we’ve had in the past? So, that’s all part of this whole plan moving forward. I’m sure that these folks planning for the events on the show organizer and the venue side have taken that into consideration as we reopen.


Mike Morrison 52:41

The last thing we’ll talk about is probably one of the most sticking questions and concerns that businesses have across the board. There’s not only just the aspect of liability, there’s also the human aspect of concern that accompanies employees, constituents and workers, If and when they travel because we are, let’s face it in a very much travel industry with trade shows, events, experiential, conferences and so forth. So, the concern is, how can a company? Prove to its employees and constituents the safety of traveling to and exhibiting at and out of state chauffeur in the future? There’s going to have to be some kind of campaign there. That’s going to be a convincing nature that it’s okay to go back to the show.



Joe Cascio  53:32

This has led to the whole conversation come to this part is that really, it comes to a full collaborative effort related to the housing industry, the airlines, the venues, the show organizers and the rich companies down to the contractor, handling the floor. Before XYZ exhibitor is traveling from California to New York, there has to be some competence put in place that everything lends to the travel from there, to the city, to the hotel, to the venue, to the registration, to the set up on the floor, all of it will tie into one another. And again, we’ve talked about this but obviously any listener can reference going to the feedback page with the venues that have already fulfilled the protocol for safety and requirements from the CDC. Their show organizers, many of which are on board with, what they need? To do to ensure proper health and safety relative to exhibitors, attendees and what not. The airline’s their life blood. If people aren’t, don’t feel safe to travel then they’re done. So, obviously they’re at the forefront of the whole. You got to be feel safe on getting on a plane because we’re not going to be able to drive to all these different venues.


Mike Morrison 54:54

In layman’s terms, it feels I have a parachute on. I’m standing at the cargo door of the plane at about 10,000 feet. And I’m deciding whether or not I want to jump. Even though things are supposed to be looking good. The chute has been inspected, everything is in line for safety. It’s just seemingly still a fear factor involved. I see that as the analogy. Maybe it’s a poor one. But that’s the analogy I see America looking at or the world in essence, looking at in returning back to live events.


Joe Cascio  55:33

We’ve read about pandemics. We’ve read about history as it proceeds itself. We’ve never been through something like this. So, I know it’s going to take some time to unwind. I do think if there’s that gradual trend of starting slowly and then picking up from there and knock on wood that there’s no hiccups, there’s no push backs, and there’s no further issues. We’ll be fine. It’s going to take that time. We’ve done a lot of good research over the year. The industry, we’re all sick of the word safety and prevention. Let’s face it, what we need to do? is consider ourselves as better for the future of the industry. That’s going to be the key that we have to now start talking about all we’ve learned from the past year and what we can? Implement to make ourselves better. Vaughn Collard.


Mike Morrison 56:20

Fair enough. Joe Cascio from SMT. Expo. Sir, thanks for taking time talking with, stay on the show.


Joe Cascio  56:25

Thank you, Mike.



Mike Morrison 56:26

We’ll be right back after this.


Mike Morrison 56:28

Would you like to be a part of the dawn and Mike show? It’s very easy. All you have to do is send us an email at the Don and Mike Once again, it’s the dawn and Mike You can also text us at 770-298-0695 with your comments, questions input, as well as any sound bites you’d like to have placed on the air. Once again, it’s the Don and Mike for emails or text 770-298-0695. And thanks for listening to the Don and Mike show.


Don Avila 57:04

Don Avila here and welcome back to the Don and Mike show. This being our March the fifth edition. And how about that great information? Hope everyone was taking notes, the good things about our show. They’re all archived and you can play them just as many times, is your ears want to listen to them. But great information nonetheless. And we’re proud to be the connector that brings information like that to our listeners near and far especially in these challenging times. Mike, right.


Mike Morrison 57:33

They were both great interviews. I love talking to mark Zimmerman. He’s always full of excitement and information especially trends. That discussion about robots was very interesting. And it just eluded me. I’d forgotten that even at WS, we have this robot inside of the organization. It’s the CEO, Craig Van Pelzer. He has an iPad there at the top. He connects up his face comes across, they like the head of the robot. And I’ve been in there before where I’ve been talking to people and all of a sudden this thing rolls up beside me. And I’m like, what the heck? It’s him. It’s as if he was there and which is scary in itself. But he’s right that type of technology and others that have been introduced during this pandemic should come to play as a part not as a dominant factor. But when we go back to in person meetings and face to face events and if we can incorporate certain technologies into that to make it go better, why not?


Don Avila 58:33

Mike and I have seen that robot down in your Southern California office and that did catch my eye for sure. The first time I saw it, what if the? People come up with malware as robots coming down the aisles to look at your wares and other exhibitor makes it like, have Tourette’s or something real loud or even worse but that’s excitement about new things, the bit of great to have and I hope that’s adapted. Well, can you imagine? That they have a lane for those little robots, all the shows now especially if we’re going to have wider aisles.



Mike Morrison 59:06

Kind of a bicycle lane on the street. This is the robot dial.


Don Avila 59:12

That information from Joe Casio incredible. Other than the Jet son was on the technology front and new things happening. These guys have been on top of it since day one and they’ve been retooling their offerings to take advantage of the new world. We’re going to face as we come out of this COVID situation which we are starting to. Thank goodness.


Mike Morrison 59:32

Depending on who you’re listening to, we’ll be out of this by as early as April and late as fall. For somewhere in that window fine. Let’s adapt to it. Let’s accept it and then let’s get back to work. It’s time that we need to move on. And of course the consensus of the industry is the same way. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having these discussions and research but your results being done and then having. We’ll talk about now is our next week show. We’re really excited to have Tommy Goodwin come on the show. He is the new executive vice president with the ECA. And he has been hired through several associations within our industry to be our lobbyist to be our face on the hill to discuss matters of trade show and exhibition, issues and answers with legislators and Don that’s way overdue. We’re all in agreement of that.


Don Avila 1:00:34

Mike, proud to have him on our show. Looking forward to that interview. We’re doing together next week. And let me ask you with all the people working from home and stuff. What if building stop having lobbyists? Or lobbies. Would we have to come up a new name for the lobbyists? Or we can put that out for a poll question.


Mike Morrison 1:00:52

The work from homiest? I don’t know office from homiest? I don’t know. That’s the best I can come up with on very short notice. But we do need a new poll question. We did get a lot of responses on the change of trade shows and events for the future. They will change together just as you’ve been hearing from Mark and from Joe, it’s going to be a different show Hall. Now, it’s going to be a different event site than, what we’ve seen? At least for the immediate future. Whether we went back into the old habits, what did happen? It was funny, Joe and I were off. We were talking after we had finished our interview. And what you got? To remember in history books even though most of them are being canceled these days, is remember the pandemic in the late teens. And just before the 20s, what happened after that pandemic happened? Remember what happened? During that.


Don Avila 1:01:43

Roaring 20s.


Mike Morrison 1:01:44

If you don’t know, what that is? Go back and research it. Because everything went crazy. Everybody was so pent up with being so cautious that they became absolutely non cautious after that point.


Don Avila 1:01:58

That certain especially the younger folk. We’re good to remain focused mostly about some of that stuff that happened before they were born. Like we were here back in the 20s. Right Mike.


Mike Morrison 1:02:09

Exactly. Like I said, I have to rely on history books because I wasn’t there. But it was very similar Woodstock and all that kind of crazy stuff happening in the 60s. Everything is secular whichever one row goes round and round. That’s what happens in history? And so I have no doubt that as we come out of this, it’d be real interesting to watch the trends after the vaccines get passed out.


Don Avila 1:02:36

That’s going to be pretty awesome collection by the time we get through the majority of this Covid switch over for our industry to look at the time before the change started and our shows all the way through this as we come out of it. If we reach a point where we can say, we’ve adapted to most of the major changes, there’s always going to be constant change. But this big wave is going to be something, so stay tuned.


Mike Morrison 1:03:01

Speaking of change, I need to go change out my glass because it is empty. And we need to move on down to the editing station and get this edited and on air, anything we want to add before we wrap this one up and put it up uplink onto the web.


Don Avila 1:03:15

Everyone, enjoy your families, enjoy your weekend and get ready for a lot of work coming up.


Mike Morrison 1:03:23

And believe after next week’s show, we will actually be into daylight savings time,


Don Avila 1:03:29

Excellent. Anytime we could save. Let’s save.


Mike Morrison 1:03:33

We’re going to spring forward and for me, springs are broke. I need to go lube mine up and get them ready for spring because they’re pretty stiff for not being able to have any activity for the last few months. So, looking forward to that better, sunshiny days and hopefully some more shows coming up very soon from the tradeshow world. So, Don Avila and Mike Morrison, thanks for listening to the Don and Mike show, as always powered by SMT Expo.