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Network and Engage

Behind-The-Scenes Interview with AVP of Convention, Part 1

MarkTraegerHave you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes for the biggest gathering of community bankers in the nation? We got a chance to ask Assistant Vice President of Convention/Exhibits, Mark Traeger, about everything from time and number of people involved in setting up as well as challenges. His answers definitely make us appreciate all the team’s hard work and efforts to produce a good show!

How long does it take to set everything up before everyone arrives for the show?

                Typically, our staff arrives on-site for the convention several days before the attendees. Working closely with the hotel or convention center staff, along with other partners, it can take several days to set up the general session room, Techworld and put together all the individual meetings room sets together before the events begin.

How many people are needed to tear down and set up?

                For our general session, dozens of skilled labor personnel are needed to rig (hang) lights, speakers, screens and truss equipment; set up the stage with all the components; wire the stage for sound, video equipment, etc. In addition, many hands are needed from our production company to get the sound and lighting console set up to “run” the show. The hotel has an additional dozen people or more that will need to set chairs and other equipments and work closely with the production company to ensure every aspect of the room is set and ready to go from a production and safety standpoint. Techworld often takes two full days to set up, involving more than 3 dozen to 4 dozen people at a time. With more than 260 booths, a lot goes in to ensuring every company has what they need for electrical and other services within their booth. Tearing down everything usually goes much faster than set up, with usually 12-24 hours being the timeframe that everything can be moved out.

What are some of the hardest parts about changing up the main ballroom?

                There are times when one of the main ballrooms is used for multiple events during the convention (i.e. General Sessions, Theme Party and Final Banquet & Show), and it takes a lot of coordination with the production company, the facility and the decorators to ensure the timing will come together. The biggest challenge is making sure all the rehearsals can be scheduled and uninterrupted for the general session presenters and moving equipment in and out of the ballroom to accommodate entertainment that we may have. In addition, often times a decorator is involved in a major room change and they will need to modify the space for props and arrangements for tables and chairs.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview which includes the strangest requests during the event and how the 2011 Convention in San Diego presented some huge hurdles!

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