There are two kinds of people in the tradeshow and event business; the ones who love it and couldn’t think of doing anything else and those that realize they can’t deal with the madness and bail out seeking greener pastures.  I fall into the first category and after 27 years, I know exactly why I keep doing it. For all the ups and downs, lost proposals, legal hurdles, personality challenges and myriad of land minds – it’s the adrenalin of seeing a high-profile client experience coming together behind the scenes.

Our friends at Bell Helicopter are introducing a new product that will change the industry and our team is part of the fabric that will bring the product to market during a live roll-out event at the Heli-Expo show on February 12, 2012.

What makes it special for the GES team is that we have provided a full range of integrated marketing communications services. Working with Bell Helicopter‘s team, we’re delivering a documentary video, sponsorship activations, airport advertising, collateral materials, room drops, email communications and live-streaming video of the main event.  The opening event rivals a Hollywood production with some great tricks and lots of high-end special effects that I’ll share once we go live.

Did I mention we’re also producing an exhibit experience that takes up 40,000 square feet (that’s just under an acre)? We started eight days before the show opens by rigging theatrical lighting that includes 98,000 lbs of truss, lights and projection gear with over 2,000 linear feet of truss. The exhibit is cordoned off by 16’ curtains and a small army of security staff. The crew is only allowed on site after surrendering cell phones and clearing a metal detector. Why? The new product is under tight security. That product is now sitting on a circular stage behind several layers of security curtains and shrouded in black plastic wrap.

I have to admit, even with all the action going on surrounding the launch, back of house is always my favorite place. Miles of high-voltage cables, electrical distribution, video production, editing and switching studio, lighting animation boards alongside huge canisters of liquid nitrogen all counting down to show time equals adrenalin, anxiety, stress… That’s what we’re addicted to and THIS is the kind of production that keeps us all coming back for more.

Stay tuned for the rest of my experience at Heli-Expo 2012! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to see the live video after Sunday, but until then hold tight to the edge of your seats, this product launch is going to blow your mind. Are you attending Heli-Expo 2012? Share your pictures with us by mentioning us on Twitter or posting them on our Facebook wall!

Signing off for now from the chilly Dallas Convention Center and missing the ranch, Tom Merrill