UShow floor space will be bigger as more exhibitors sign on
If you attended EXPO 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you watched as UMA leadership set the stage — literally—for EXPO 2020.
Board chair Gladys Gillis and board member Dave Dickson, in their finest cowboy attire on Awards Night, announced that the UMA is headed to Nashville in 2020.
Their hilarious demonstration of how to open a beer bottle using Gillis’ belt buckle was part of the build-up to the announcement—or so it appeared. It’s still unclear if it was supposed to fail that many times, but the two had everyone rolling with laughter.
Where it all began
This will mark a return to the Country Music Capital for UMA, which last gathered there in 1984 and 1985, the first two years of EXPO. Since then, Nashville has only become a better destination, says Dickson, owner and vice president of Elite Coach in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
“Nashville is one of the hottest EXPO towns in the country right now,” Dickson said. “It’s going to be a draw just because of how beautiful the town is, with all the restaurants and all the entertainment. People will want to come and be a part of our show. We are staying at a fabulous hotel, and the convention center is new. It’s going to be really good.”
There are early indicators of that. A seventh platinum sponsor—REV Group—has signed on, joining continuing sponsors ABC Companies, CHTC Bus Group, Irizar, Motor Coach Industries, Prevost and TEMSA.
Nearly 90 percent of the show space has already been reserved by vendors eager to be there for UMA members and guests when they gather for their annual event.
“We are up over previous years, and we are already at 105 percent at what the show floor size was this year. It’s going to be a big show floor,” Dickson said.
Adding to the excitement is the timing of the event. It’s moving from the beginning of January to the second half (Jan. 19-23) to give everyone more time to wrap up their holiday vacations and end-of-year bookkeeping.
2019 raised the bar
The bar for a successful convention was raised in Fort Lauderdale.
“It was a different format — a little more fun and relaxed,” said Dickson, adding that the laughs bring an energy to the fast-paced annual event that is packed with networking among new and old members, hearing from industry experts and exploring the latest equipment and products on the showroom floor.
Dickson says he heard from attendees that were impressed with the quality of the educational sessions and the showroom floor. He’s already working hard with the organizing committee on delivering even more next year.
“It will be a bigger and better show. We are going to have more activities and more entertainers. And more laughs, for sure.”