By Jim McCloskey
My bags aren’t quite packed yet, but I’m already excited about hitting the road for New Orleans and the International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo during the first week of November. As I’ve written in previous blogs in advance of the show, I always look forward to these events – and I have to confess that I’m particularly pleased when they’re in New Orleans.
It’s the perfect time of year to go there, the food is always fantastic and everyone who attends the Expo seems to be in an unusually chipper mood. But this time will be special for me, because my wife is coming to join me on the last day of the show: After a couple days in the Crescent City, we’ll be cruising about a hundred miles down the road to Mississippi to visit my brother and his family.
Thinking about the Expo puts me in mind of the fact that I’ve always seen trade shows as being about developing and maintaining my extended family – catching up with people I don’t see as often as I’d like but who have been an important part of my career and life for the past three decades.
After all this time, of course, there are some people I used to see at these events who have stopped coming for any of a number of reasons – and, increasingly (as I get on in years myself), some others who are no longer with us. I have a sentimental streak a mile wide and miss seeing them – but I’m always startled by the sights, sounds and little events at a trade show that stir memories and bring them instantly back to mind.
I also look forward to seeing old friends and colleagues who are still active in the industry, of course, and count myself fortunate that they are many and that they’re continuing to attend the national show.
But I’m even happier to make new acquaintances: They give me a proud, satisfied sense that there’s a future for watershaping and that there are plenty of designers, engineers and builders out there who’ve heard absorbed the messages we started delivering as a printed magazine more than 17 years ago. It’s been quite a ride!
I have a few goals while I’m in New Orleans, and if you’ll be there, you can help.
As the owner and operator of a huge and constantly growing web site, I am always on the lookout for people who want to get involved and see the value of using WaterShapes.com to share what they know, what they’ve done and what was involved in doing it. So if you have projects you’d like to show me or a concept you’d like to discuss, please do stop by Booth 563 (over in the Genesis Pavilion) and say hello.
I generally come out of these shows with enough editorial irons in the fire to carry me through the first half of the year to come. With six feature articles appearing every month over those six or seven months, that’s about 40 productive conversations – seems about right to me, although I’m certain I could find time to have a few more!
I’ll also be available to discuss the WaterShapes Professional Network, which is a bit over a year old now and has already developed a fine track record when it comes to making easy, early connections between watershapers and prospective clients.
I’m also hoping to pick some brains and get some ideas about where watershaping is heading: I want WaterShapes to get there first, of course, but I also want to make certain that we’re prepared to do all we can to support ongoing or emerging trends and keep everything rolling along.
So stop by Booth 563, even if it’s only to say hello. You’re always welcome!
This is my 30th time at the Expo: My first was in November 1986, near the end of my first year as editor at Pool & Spa News.
The 2016 edition would actually be my 31st if I hadn’t missed one in 1997 while I was briefly away from the industry. That’s a lot of water under the bridge, so to speak – or is it over the dam?