What I did on my SEMA vacation

This blog is dedicated to all those people that think we're on vacation when we go on the road to work at car shows. Well, maybe it?s mostly for the people I work with that don't work the shows. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "must be nice...get to travel all the time and not have to be at work!" So, this is what I did on my SEMA "vacation." On Sunday November 2nd I woke up at 4:30 am to make the trek to the Detroit airport to catch our 8 am flight to Vegas. I made it through check in & security without a hitch since there were no lines, because come on, who is up that early on a Sunday? Since Vegas is 3 hours behind Michigan we landed at 9:45 am local time. By the time we got our luggage, caught the shuttle to the airport and checked into our rooms it was nearly 11 and we were ready for lunch.  Remember, our bodies think it's 2 in the afternoon. After a quick lunch we were off to the Convention Center to start setting up the booth. It was crazy, we had people setting up our booth, people running to the next building to deliver our new product to the New Products area, while some traveled half way across town just to park our trailer. Did I mention just how big this event is? It's huge! New products is a really long hike from Central Hall where we're set up and carrying a steering column & all the accessories gets heavy after the first 1/2 mile or so.  Sounds fun, right? Kellie and I were given the task of setting up the booth, which for the most part is easy, it just takes a little while to do. Our booth consists of a backdrop that is about 7' tall and holds panels of art work and lights. In front of the backdrop sits a couple tables that we use to display our new products. We also have about 12 towers that hold 4 columns each and are spaced out throughout the 20' x 20' booth. As I said this place is huge. Located directly behind us were large overhead doors that a semi truck could drive through. Earlier in the day there was a welcomed light breeze that blew through the doors but in the afternoon it turned into a much stronger breeze. You might sense a little foreshadowing here and can maybe guess what happens next...the entire booth backdrop came crashing down, knocking over the tables and generally causing mass destruction to the booth. It looked like a tornado had blown through. So, what to do now. The only thing you can do really. We started from the beginning and set the booth back up again, but this time we left the artwork off. We?re really having fun, right? But the day?s not over yet! That night we had a 5:00 pm meeting with one of our dealers followed by a 7:00 dinner. Remember that whole time change thing? Its 10:00 o'clock at night back home and here we are just getting ready to eat. Yes it was a nice restaurant and yes we had a good time, but by the time we got back to our rooms and settled in for the night it was nearly 10 pm Vegas time which meant it was 1 am Michigan time. Did I mention that I was up at 4:30 am that morning?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to complain but, this is not my idea of a vacation! On day two it was a little less chaotic, some of us finished setting up the booth while others attended some of the seminars.  In the evening there was an industry reception with lots of mingling and networking, which is a job in its self sometimes. Day 3 of our trip finally comes and the show begins. If you?ve been to the SEMA show then you will understand that no man can rest at this show. It is four long, full days of standing in a booth talking to customers and potential customers. Every evening is one industry reception after another. Partying? Hitting the casinos? HA! After the day is done about all you want to do is get back to your room, put your feet up and maybe soak them in a bucket of ice for a couple of hours. I won't lie...I did (foolishly?) head down to The Strip and walk around a bit. Because of this, I may have permanently injured my right foot? Yep, that one is on me. As a final, cruel joke we get to Friday night. You've been there for nearly a week, you're tired, your back hurts, your feet hurt and what do we get to do? Tear down the booth and haul it hundreds of yards to where the trailer is now sitting.  Load up, go eat a late dinner and get to bed so we can wake up at 4:00 am to catch the shuttle back to the airport! Now, before I get fired for excessive complaining, I do really enjoy going to shows. Over the years I have made many good friends that I only get to see at these events. Of course we're there to do a job, and scoring a big new account or even helping to maintain a current one is very satisfying. Just like it is seeing our products being used in the nicest cars on display at the show. The relationships you make with customers and fellow vendors at these shows can last a lifetime. One last thing, and don't tell anyone I said this but? it sure does beat working behind a desk all day! The next time you hear somebody wishing they could get away from work and go to one these shows...it's a good bet they've never done it before! Marty Waterstraut Sales Manager
  • Posted on   11/13/14 at 05:48:46 PM   by Megan  | 
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Posted in Marty's Blog
Tagged with Car show, ididit, Marty's blog, SEMA, SEMA 2014, vacation