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Truxpo 2010 brings latest gadgets and gear to Abbotsford

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - The quantity of Truxpo 2010 attendees may have been a tad off, but organizers came away pleased with this year's version of the British Columbia Trucking Association's biennial bash...

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. –The quantity of Truxpo 2010 attendees may have been a tad off, but organizers came away pleased with this year’s version of the British Columbia Trucking Association’s biennial bash anyway.

“Attendance was down slightly from the previous show,” admits Michele Nicol, Truxpo show manager and the BCTA’s director of business operations. “However, many exhibitors noted that the quality of attendees was very high and consistent with previous shows.”

Attendees ran the gamut, from transportation company owners and managers, owner/operators, company drivers, safety and maintenance managers and interested “civilians” who turned out to feast their eyes on the latest equipment and maybe get a head start on a career.

Unlike shows produced by show management or media companies, Truxpo is the BCTA’s baby from womb to tomb, from conception through execution and the eventual teardown.

“We’re one of the few truck shows that are managed by an association,” Nicol says. The organization has been producing the trade fair since 1988, holding it initially at the Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver before moving the whole shebang to its current digs about four years later.

“It’s a great location,” Nicol says of Abbotsford’s Tradex complex nestled beside the city’s airport with Washington State’s stately Mount Baker prominent in the background. “There are a lot of industry people in the Fraser Valley and this side of the Lower Mainland. It didn’t work as well to bring people to downtown Vancouver,” she adds.

Truxpo is primarily a trade show for the industry, but the public is welcomed for the Friday and Saturday sessions. Nicol says such rubberneckers come from across B.C. as well as from Washington State and Alberta.

“We have people come in who are looking for career information and others who just want to know more about the industry,” she says.

While admission at the door is a relative pittance -$5 per person or $10 per family -the BCTA encourages people to pre-register for free and Nicol says most do. “We ask them to provide us with their business contact information, so if exhibitors want to follow up with them they can.”

And while attendance may have been down slightly this year, the show was sold out as far as exhibitor space is concerned, and they were a wide-ranging bunch as far as their wares and their home bases were concerned.

The 2008 show featured a definite environmental theme, but this year’s was less specific. One thread that wound through the proceedings, however, was “human resources” -as evidenced not only by HRrelated exhibitors, but also by some motor carrier companies which Nicol says were actively recruiting on the show floor.

“They’re looking for additional staff at all levels,” she says. “Not just drivers, but also dispatch and other positions, and certainly that’s a good career path and there are lots of opportunities.”

Truxpo 2010 saw a dozen exhibitors recognized for the creativity of their booths. The show’s Exhibitor Display Awards went to: Best Large Space Display, Ocean Trailer; Best Outside Display, Econo-Pro (Shadow Lines); Best Medium Display, Groeneveld CPL Systems; and Best Small Display, Lubecore International.

With Truxpo 2010 receding in her rearview mirror, Nicol is already looking down the road toward the 2012 version. Assuming that the much-hyped Mayan “end of the world” calendar scenario turns out to be as overblown as the Y2K disaster was, Nicol promises Truxpo 2012 will once again showcase the latest in trucks, trailers and equipment.

“We hope people who are interested in purchasing or looking at equipment -and also ones looking for a career in the industry -will check us out and see what we’re all about,” she says.

Nicol says Truxpo has a very high percentage of returning exhibitors, “Especially the major truck and trailer manufacturers, the major equipment suppliers and service providers,” but that doesn’t mean newbies’ displays end up shoved into a corner. “We certainly have booth space, especially smaller booth space, that’s available every year to new exhibitors,” Nicol says.

Her advice for companies who’d like to get involved in Truxpo 2012 is to be proactive. “If they get in touch with us a year out from the show, really by the end of 2011,” she says, “we’ll have our initial booth allocation on a lottery basis.”

What happens is that they gather together all the requests for booths received from new and returning exhibitors -starting with the returning exhibitors, Nicol says -then “pull the names from a barrel and set the show floor, that way.”

Nicol says they’ve had people literally come onto the show floor as the show has opened, asking for booth space, “But we’ve been sold out, so we encourage them to contact us early.”

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