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Executive Interview

Executive Interview with Arlene Davis, CMP, Senior Director of Tradeshows for AAIA

In this week’s exclusive Executive Interview, Davis talks with about what exhibitors and attendees can expect at this year’s AAPEX.


In this week’s exclusive Executive Interview, Arlene Davis, CMP, Senior Director of Tradeshows for AAIA, talks with about what exhibitors and attendees can expect at this year’s AAPEX.

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What’s new at AAPEX this year?

Attendees and exhibitors will notice immediately that the show has been refreshed with new graphics and a new color scheme. The entrance ways will have a new, lighter look. We are switching from structural panels to fabric to reduce the weight and the cost of material handling as well as the labor to build the fixtures. We are practicing what we preach to exhibitors.

We have revamped the New Packaging Showcase. AAIA has been working with the International Organization of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) and the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) on programs for the association. This year at AAPEX, we will use the IOPP standards and judges will be provided by both PMMI and IOPP to add credibility to the program.


The new packaging categories are Innovation, Protection, Economics, Performance, Marketing and Environmental Impact. The categories are described on the AAPEX website under the exhibitor tab. The judging will take place online and all entries will need to be in by Sep. 15.

We are adding two more interactive touchscreen "You Are Here" (YAH) kiosks to the show floor. The kiosks were popular with both attendees and exhibitors. Attendees will now be able to print out a list of exhibitors by category.

Attendees and exhibitors can visit the new State Associations booth and pick up a listing of the associations. The state groups are in a unique position with many small business members and provide a variety services.


This year, attendees can have access to WiFi at the Internet Cafés located on the show floor, known formerly as the restaurants.

Sue Kalish, Senior Director of Education here at AAIA, has updated the AAPEX Inside Track Learning Forum with 28 education sessions. New this year are "Lunch and Learn" programs set for Tuesday and Wednesday. The cost is $15 and includes a box lunch. Attendees can register on the AAPEX website.

Who may be at the show that people might not expect (for example, financial analysts, CARB reps, other government officials)?

I think that we look back to last year’s show to see some people who were at AAPEX who we expect to see this year.


For publicly traded companies, it is important that the folks analyzing the aftermarket understand it. Last year, a number of analysts attended the show and learned more about the aftermarket.

Federal and state regulators from a variety of agencies regulate the aftermarket. Last year, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) walked the show for the first time and learned a great deal about the aftermarket and the innovative companies that are solving issues related to emissions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) visited exhibitors that manufacture lighting products and were looking at the HID Conversion Kit and removed those that were non-compliant. The show provides NHSTA an opportunity to see many manufacturers.


This year, AAIA will be inviting high school and college counselors as well as the state directors of vocational education to AAPEX to learn more about careers in our industry.

*How can attendees, vendors and exhibitors maximize their ROI during the show?

Setting objectives and understanding how to measure the success of the show is important. Buyers and attendees need to plan their visit and allow time to not only meet with current suppliers but to walk the show to see prospective suppliers. They may want to consider reviewing the education sessions offered and inviting staff members to come to the show to learn more about the industry and to network with peers. Three days at AAPEX can exponentially increase a person’s knowledge of the industry.


For the exhibitor, setting objectives and creating a plan to meet them is extremely important. This year, AAPEX has presented free webinars for exhibitors to assist them in preparing for AAPEX. The next webinar will be held Sept. 8 and will feature CompuSystems advising exhibitors on all of the options to collect leads from the show and other useful tools to increase ROI.

Exhibitors should consider taking advantage of the Exhibitor Invites, a new program for exhibitors to offer their customers that have never attended AAPEX a discounted rate for registration. Exhibitor Invites is being used by AAPEX and SEMA. The invite is customized for the exhibitor and is a simple turnkey program. Exhibitors can learn more about the program at The exhibitor that has the most new registered buyers will receive a $25,000 promo package from AAPEX.


Is there anything else you’d like to say about the show?

Tradeshows have evolved beyond buying and selling events. AAPEX offers professional development, networking with peers and the opportunity to see new products. AAPEX is the aftermarket’s time to celebrate. Based on exhibitors and registrations to date, we are expecting a good show. See you at AAPEX.



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