New show features, innovative technology and opportunities to network led to the sixth consecutive record-breaking year for GIE+EXPO. This mega show, one of the largest trade shows in the U.S., drew more than 26,500 people from around the world. In addition, the indoor exhibit floor and the Outdoor Demonstration Area were larger than ever, covering 24,000 net sq. ft. more than last year.
GIE+EXPO is the annual gathering place for all segments of the outdoor power equipment and lawn & garden industry. The event is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
“This is big! I’ve been able to see the new technology and how things are changing in the industry so I can gauge my options for the coming year,” said attendee Seth Clayton of Mowglee Lawn Care in Lexington, SC. “Being here reminds business owners like me why we do what we do in this industry. Every lawn care business owner needs to be here next year.”
“I’ve never been to a more awesome show. I’ve tested equipment and picked up innovative ideas to help increase profitability. This is our first time attending, and now we have to attend every year. Luckily Louisville is very easy to get to,” said Ben Ulmer of All Around Lawn & Landscaping, Fairmont, NE.
Show Highlight & Special Features
- Lawn and landscape attendee categories increased by 18%.
- Servicing dealer registrants increased by 8%.
- 34% of dealer/retailer and 42% of lawn and landscape attendees were first-timers.
- Attendees hailed from all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
- Indoor booths were spread throughout 675,000 sq. ft. of class A exhibit space.
- The Outdoor Demo Area exceeded 20 acres for the third year in a row.
- More than 80 products were highlighted in the New Products Spotlight.
- Free parking at the Kentucky Exposition Center allowed easy access for all attendees and exhibitors.
- The number of software and technology companies exhibiting increased to over 80.
While new products and the Outdoor Demonstration Area are huge draws, organizers strive to keep the show fresh year after year by offering something new for visitors each time. Special features this year included:
- Arborist demos by the Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop gave attendees the opportunity to learn from a group of experts they demonstrated climbing techniques on a 40-foot tree inside the expo center. The sessions, presented by Davey Tree, were sponsored by STIHL, with support from SHELTER Tree.
- A new Social Media Lounge, sponsored by ECHO Means Business, provided a place for attendees to network and hear insights from live guests and social media influencers right on the trade show floor.
- A free technology seminar, Avoiding the Temptation of Enabling our Robotic Overlords, offered an overview of IT trends.
- Organizers partnered with the Kentucky Humane Society for the 2nd annual Mutt Madness, sponsored by TurfMutt. Thursday afternoon in Freedom Hall, attendees interacted with dogs looking for a good home, and 15 dogs were adopted.
- Sessions by high-impact speakers, including Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, sponsored by John Deere; economic expert Brian Beaulieu, sponsored by Mahindra; and dealership guru Bob Clements were included with trade show registration.
- The winner of the Fabulous Friday $20,000 Giveaway was Jake Guindon of Lonestar Landscaping & Co., Waterdown, Ontario Canada
- In the $15,000 UTV Giveaway, Neil Murphy of Lawn Cure of Southern Indiana Inc., Sellersburg, IN won $15,000 toward his choice of UTVs. Participating manufacturers included American Land Master; Gravely, an Ariens Company; Bobcat Company; Greenworks; Hisun Motors; Intimidator; John Deere; Kioti Tractor and Kubota Tractor Corp.
- Nick Williams of Power House Outdoors, Hattiesburg, MS, won the $5,000 STIHL Giveaway during Wednesday’s Dealer Preview.
- In addition, many other exhibitors created buzz around their participation with giveaways and prize drawings. Some of the winners include:
- Mech Marvels gave away three portable generators. Winners included John Conner of Armstrong Landscaping, Chris Elrod of Cuttin’ It Close and Thomas Phillips of The Yard Man.
- Gravely gave away a Pro-Stance Commercial Stand on Mower to winner Chris Thomas, Thomas Lawn & Landscape, Indianapolis, IN.
- The Propane Education & Research Council gave away a Big Tex Trailer that included an Exmark Mower and a Spartan Mower to Jim Langendorf of Olympic Lawns, Springboro, OH.
- The highly competitive HNA Installer Championship concluded with Segmental Systems from Otis Orchards, Washington, emerging as champion for the second year in a row and winning a prize package valued at $11,000.
GIE+EXPO 2020 is set for October 21-23. Plans are in the works for new features and real-world education on hot industry topics such as how to use drones in your business, and exhibitors are already signing up to showcase their innovations.
“Unlike other events where attendees sit in meeting rooms, GIE+EXPO offers hands-on training with things like the arborist demos, the Outdoor Demo Area, the new Social Media Lounge, engine tech training and live hardscape demos,” said Kris Kiser, managing partner of GIE+EXPO and OPEI President. “Next year we’re adding indoor drone training in Freedom Hall, an equipment test track and hands-on education with the latest in technology and robotic mowers.”
According to Kiser, the Kentucky Exposition Center is one of the country’s most unique venues because it offers an indoor arena with 70-foot ceilings where attendees can learn to fly drones, and right outside the exhibit hall sits a 20-acre demo park where there are hands-on training opportunities and all types of equipment available for testing.