Chatting It Up
From Hap Porter, President of SMI
I have always enjoyed traveling to Chicago (once I get past the world-class-hassle known as O’Hare Airport). I moved there after college to begin my first real job; my wife, Jen, and I were married there in 1980; I worked as a salesman there, gaining a thorough knowledge of getting around the Windy City; and my daughter went to college there, so for four years, it was great fun to visit her on campus.
In addition to these Chicago-area connections, I have often traveled there in October, in some years as a member of the SMI Board of Directors, for the biannual CASMI SpringWorld show. The occasion has provided a gathering spot to hold meetings, visit with old friends, and to greet fellow springmakers who are in town for the show. This past fall was no different, only I was there as president of SMI, and as a result my duties were different than during prior visits.
I spent time in the SMI booth at the show, and I had the chance to speak with both regular and associate members of SMI, as well as with numerous nonmembers. It’s always good to hear how others find business conditions, and to get a sense of their outlook for future prospects. This year, I was also pleased to have the chance to respond to several inquiries about the upcoming SMI Metal Engineering eXpo, to be held in Charlotte, N.C., from October 2022.
One question was along the lines of: Why is SMI putting on a show of its own? Answering this gave me the chance to review the strategic planning process undertaken by the SMI board and our members at the 2013 annual convention in Tucson, Ariz., and then refined by a small group of SMI directors and key industry members in Las Vegas six months later. There was strong interest expressed by many of the participants in this extended planning process for SMI to serve as a repository of technical information. And the consensus was that a key element of this function could be a trade show, which would be open to springmakers, suppliers, and other interested parties from around the world.
With this explanation, potential attendees had the answer to their next question:
Why should I consider attending (or, if a supplier, consider exhibiting)? We expect there to be extensive interest in the show, which will be built around at least 24 hours of technical sessions. Education tracks will cover the six areas of: business environment; business practices; materials and testing; manufacturing; technology; and culture, leadership and motivation. Speakers will cover topics of critical importance to anyone with an interest in spring manufacturing.
Finally, why Charlotte? Our research showed this is a great trade show venue, with convenient (and reasonably-priced) airport access and abundant hotel capacity. And even if, like me, you are not a big NASCAR fan, the Hall of Fame adjacent to the convention center is impressive in its own right.
(In case you can’t tell) I am very, very excited about the SMI Metal Engineering eXpo, and I hope to see you in Charlotte in October!.
President and COO, SEI MetalTek