Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reports from inside the GWCC

By Kevin Henry, editor, Proofs

Interview with John Bettencourt, vice president of marketing for Patterson Dental.

"Our booth had quite a bit of water damage as well as a large amount of soot. We did have some severe damage to our technology. Our technology will be brought back to our technology center to see what can be salvaged. It's hard to tell right now about our booth structure. Until the swelling on the booth goes down, we don't know what we'll be able to utilize and what we can't.

"We definitely will salvage what we can. We'll be meeting on Thursday to look at our options, and see what we need to do for the California meeting. We have some other regional setups we can use, and if we combine that with some rentals, we'll be OK for Anaheim.

"Leads were processed at our booth and nothing was lost in that respect.

"Honestly, we were looking at a new booth overall. Certainly this isn't the way you want to move along the project, but we will move forward. There's nothing we can do about what happened. We'll chalk it up and move our plans forward."

By Penny Anderson, senior editor, Dental Economics

Kathy Taylor is the director of trade shows and special events with Zila Pharmaceuticals. At 12 noon today, she and other exhibitors were allowed back into the exhibit hall at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“At first, it didn’t look that bad.” said Taylor. “The holes had been temporarily patched and the carpet rolled up. But as you continued in, you became aware of just how devastating it was, and while some areas and booths were not structurally damaged, others had a lot of damage.”

Taylor said the worst damage was on the right side of the aisle where the higher-numbered booths were. “The biggest hole in the roof was right above the Patterson booth, and that booth sustained a lot of damage. The wind came through the wall on the back and blew over the lightweight pop-up booths.

“We had two booths. The one in the 700 aisles was not damaged. The booth in the 1700 aisle was covered with dirt and debris, but it has been determined to be structurally sound. Many booth had a lot of water damage as well as dirt and debris.”

“There were a lot of labor people lined up to file into the arena as we did when the exhibit hall opened, and everybody went right to work to clean things up. We had planned to retire one of our booth for the year after this meeting, so that was good. The other booth will be wiped down and cleaned up and sent on to the California Dental Meeting, our next show.”

From John T. O'Brien III, Southeast Regional Sales Manager, A-dec Corp.

A-dec survived this disaster with minimal damage. As the result of the outstanding efforts of our corporate exhibit team (Bill Staser and Linda Turnidge) and the local A-dec Territory Managers (Clint Campbell, Perry Greenway, Chad Mohon and Mark Pontarelli), we were able to finishing packing our booth by 5:30PM EST yesterday (Wednesday, March 18). The transportation trucks departed with our booth at 10:00AM this morning (Thursday March 19). This was very important as a strong storm with heavy winds and rain are expected today in the metro Atlanta area.

There was significant damage to the back wall of the Georgia World Congress Center in the concession area as well as several large holes in the ceiling. The Patterson booth took a heavy hit and several other exhibits were water damaged. The water main break that was widely shown on television was actually in Exhibit Hall C while the Hinman Meeting Exhibits were located in Hall A.

It is A-dec policy to not leave our leads or sales bags in the booth overnight. As a result, we are not concerned about lost information as it pertains to sales.

This was a devastating storm and one that nobody will soon forget. We are confident that the 2009 Hinman Dental Meeting will be bigger than ever. We believe this because of the fortitude of the Hinman management and staff, it’s manufacturing partners and the dental community it serves.

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