October 25, 2011

Testing out equipment at the GIE Expo.
Photo by Jim Ruen
My favorite part of any trade show, including the GIE Expo, is to try out the equipment in the demo area.

Have I said how much I enjoy trade shows? The ones I attend are usually loaded with great tools and often some great looking machinery. The outside demos, when they have them, are especially interesting. I’ve got a show coming up that is always fun. It’s the Green Industry and Equipment Expo. Most attendees are from the landscape, golf course maintenance or allied industries, such as hardscaping and small-scale construction.

The show is in Louisville, Ky., which is one of my favorite cities to visit, so GIE is a double win. As a writer with a major focus on equipment and machinery, it’s full of things of interest. New products at the GIE Expo this year run the spectrum from test kits for gasoline to new sprayers, stump grinders and lots of lithium-ion-battery-powered tools.

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While the big outfits often have interesting products, it is the little guys there on a prayer and a promise that I love to run across. They have been laboring away in their shop for months, or more likely years, working on an idea. By the time they get to a show like this one, they have their patent and may have set up a production line or found a company to make the product for them.

Every now and then, I’ll hit an inventor who is exhibiting at the show simply to see if anyone is interested. That’s when it can get fun. If they are getting a good reaction to the product, they’re like a new father, excited to show off the new baby. If I like what I see, I try to find a way to help publicize them and their product. You never know when somebody’s new idea will change the industry.

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