12:02 p.m.: The committee's breaking for lunch, with the last booth placed No. 481, Janus International Hospitality Student Exchange. Booth moves caused the past 45 minutes to bog down, but the committee remains ahead of last year's pace.
11:11 a.m.: Hanging out in the Space Allocation meeting reminds me of my former life as a newspaper reporter. There's nothing like a busy newsroom on deadline, with phones ringing, conversations going back and forth, challenges and solutions being debated. It's a glorious, constant, productive racket.
Space Allocation is like that.
I've had IAAPA V.P. of Exhibit Sales Pete Barto in my ear all morning as he works the phone trying to get exhibitors coming up for placement in the best possible position. Down the table from him is the rest of the Exhibit Sales Team, keeping in constant contact with the committee to make sure everything's flowing correctly, while Director of Operations Diane Vidoni mans the massive physical floor plan over on the other side of the room.
The committee members are constantly on their own cell phones touching base with their constituent groups, then talking among one another to ensure no one's stepping on another's virtual toes. Some of the members stay stapled to their seats and man their personal virtual trade show floor layouts, while others prefer to stalk back and forth in front of Diane's big board as they look for spaces. And all the while, Committee Chair Jack Mendes' voice booms over the room's sole microphone keeping everything moving, confirming assignments and moving on to the next company.
Yeah, it's busy in here. Shouldn't be any other way.
Just placed Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems, No. 466. We're now into the companies with two year's exhibiting seniority.
10:54 a.m.: Less than 150 booths left to assign today.
10:52 a.m.: The committee paused a few minutes ago to let the IAAPA Exhibit Sales Team catch up on confirmations after that flurry of assignments in the past half hour. During the break I talked to Bob Domkowski, marketing manager for ITT Water & Wastewater, about this morning's session. Talk to 14 different committee members, you'll probably get 14 different takes on how this process goes. Domkowski, participating in his fourth Space Allocation, said: "This is the most challenging portions, I think, the fill-ins, trying to satisfy requests and come up with unique space sizes and placements."
The committee continues to move right along in what is certainly the most consistent hour of this entire process, though booth moves and a few larger booth placements pop up occasionally and halt the process. They just placed No.450, Amusement Insurance Resources, with three years' seniority.
10:17 a.m.: The committee is CRUISING right now: Just assigned No. 433, Unlimited Snow, with three years' seniority.
9:51 a.m.: Just assigned No. 400, Seasafe Inc., with five years' exhibiting seniority.
9:38 a.m.: We're getting close to another milestone, as the committee approaches No. 400. Right now they're working on No. 395, Eworks Pro Inc.
9:00 a.m.: OK, going back a little bit, the committee took some time this morning to redraw portions of the floor plan because they looked ahead and saw there are several large booths coming up for assignment. To accommodate the exhibitors as best as possible and maximize traffic flow on the show floor, a few portions of the floor plan were adjusted; often these things have to be done on the fly as the committee sees how the floor shakes out. Check here for the updated online layout.
The committee just assigned No. 379, GEP Productions Inc.
8:53 a.m.: Google's been having technical difficulties for the past half hour, and it just came back, so sorry about the lack of posts. Will update what's been going on momentarily, but for now the committee is at No. 375, InPark Magazine.
8:19 a.m.: Still working on booth moves/floor plan adjustments. I will post again once new booths start going on the floor.
7:57 a.m.: Getting ready to start up again this morning. A handful of booth moves to take care of first, then on to new assignments, starting with No. 360, International Currency Technologies Inc., with six years' exhibiting seniority. There are currently 359 booths on the floor covering 226,900 net square feet.