Convention and Exhibitor registrations are arriving at a good pace — almost 70% of booth space is sold, the highest pace since 2008. Convention Registration forms were emailed to all EMDA members on July 16 and Appointment Books were mailed via USPS on July 20. Convention registration looks to be on track, and we expect registrants from 75% of distributor and reps members to be in attendance in Kansas City.
Beginning with the Joint Opening Session on Wednesday morning and ending with the Joint Industry Reception on Thursday evening, EMDA reps and distributors will fill their convention times with member-to-member contact; manufacturer and supplier interviews and informative and entertaining convention programs. Meeting and networking opportunities are the main reason attendees and exhibitors participate in the Fall Convention and EMDA strives to provide the most effective structured means to enable such interaction.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015 – Arrival day for most attendees. For members making early appointments with their suppliers, the EMDA registration desk will open at 7:00a.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 – The EMDA and FEMA Joint Opening Session is designed to bring the members together to “kick-off” their conventions with a dynamic presentation that will set the tone for a intensive week of appointments and meetings. The Joint Opening Session, beginning at 8:00a with a breakfast, features John Ratzenberger presenting “Made in America: Educating, Motivating & Empowering Americans to Expand Skills & Entrepreneurship” A multi-Emmy-nominated actor and accomplished screenwriter, director and author, Ratzenberger may be best known for playing mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the long-running NBC sitcom Cheers. Though never a postman in real life, he worked as a journeyman carpenter, archery instructor and oyster boat crewman. He created and starred in the Travel Channel series Made in America, which highlighted U.S.-made goods and workers. Ratzenberger is passionate about manufacturing and how important it is to recognize the need for, and to provide the training to produce skilled laborers. With Made in America, Ratzenberger established a television precedent and led the way for a new series of Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers to celebrate the work ethic that built America. He co-authored A Common Man’s Salute to an Uncommon Country. His current foundation, the Foundation for America, exists to educate and prepare workers, manufacturers, educators, innovators and leaders for a manufacturing renaissance.
Immediately following Thursday’s Joint Opening Session is EMDA’s General Assembly & Corporate Annual Meeting which includes the Association’s annual report to the membership. Then EMDA’s Contact Session completes the morning’s agenda from 10:30am to 12:00pm. The Contact Session is designed to provide manufacturers an opportunity for a quick introductory interview with individual member reps and distributors. This session will help bring together manufacturers who are looking for distribution partners and the EMDA members looking for those new products. The Contact Session can be used to determine mutual interest in setting up an appointment during the convention week. Wednesday afternoon is free for appointments.
Wednesday concludes with a fun tradition, the EMDA Partners Party bringing reps and distributors together with the manufacturers that they do business with. The party is a “Thank You” to the manufacturers who understand the value that the EMDA network of distributors and reps provides in bringing their products to the marketplace. The reception begins at 5:00p and ends at 7:00p.
Thursday, October 29, 2015 – In an ongoing review of the convention structures, both Associations continue to provide attendees as much meeting opportunity as possible, and are, once again, co-sponsoring a breakfast area that will be available from 7:00a until 9:00a. When you don’t need to schedule a full-blown private appointment, but still need to make contact with certain suppliers – why not meet for breakfast at the Joint Breakfast Buffet. Thursday morning is free for appointments.
A special roundtable session “How to Market to North America” is scheduled from 8:30a to 9:30a. This roundtable is geared toward manufacturers looking to sell product into North America. A panel of EMDA members will be on hand to help offshore manufacturers learn the keys to creating successful partnerships with distributors and reps. EMDA distributors and reps are welcome to participate in this roundtable.
EMDA’s annual Industry Showcase is a highlight of the Fall Convention, bringing suppliers, distributors, reps and vendors together in more than 100 booths which feature products and services of interest to all. Doors open at 12:30p and the Showcase runs until 4:00p.
Thursday concludes with the traditional Joint Industry Reception. Meet your friends for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at this party sponsored by the two associations.
Friday, October 30, 2015 — No program, but meeting space is available for any last minute meetings before heading home.