Now in its fifth incarnation, EPIC – the groundbreaking convention collaboration between US dealer groups Independent Stationers (IS) and TriMega – will return to Las Vegas in 2017, bigger and bolder than before.
Since its inception in 2013, when two of the largest dealer groups in the US took the unprecedented step of combining their national conventions into a single event, the EPIC show has grown year on year in terms of the number of attendees it attracts and the size of its tradeshow floor. It has continued to provide added value for all attendees by constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas to ensure they get the most out of the event.
Starting with charity
Proceedings kick off a little earlier this year, namely on Sunday, 10 September. Day one of EPIC used to be all about the annual golf outing, but more events have been added to the opening day agenda over the years. Aside from networking sessions for members of both dealer groups, two of the big charity events will take place on this day.
The third annual Hike for Hope, a sponsored trek around the spectacular surroundings of the Valley of Fire National Park takes place in the morning where all money raised goes to City of Hope, while in the afternoon volunteer attendees can help assemble Cheeriodical gift boxes for hospitalised children as part of the annual Spreading Cheer event.
On Monday, 11 September, following a short series of dealer group-specific meetings, delegates have the chance to take part in EPIC’s education forum. Presented under the banner ‘For Dealers, By Dealers’, these sessions take the form of panel discussions, roundtables and idea swaps as the organisers try to get away from the more traditional seminar format to allow industry peers to learn from each other – sharing best practice, tips and tricks relevant to their businesses and the office products industry in general. This year, topics up for discussion include Succession Planning, Selling from a Position of Power and Motivating Sales People.
Get together at EPIC
The tradeshow on the third day sees the return of the extremely successful Epic Get Together (EGT), introduced to the exhibition element of the convention last year. The idea behind EGTs is to have specifically-scheduled slots between exhibitors and tradeshow attendees, meaning there’s no wasting time and ‘missing each other’, and ensuring that both parties get quality, one-on-one time together with prepared and pre-arranged topics to discuss.
“The quality of the interaction attendees get out of EGTs is really quite different,” explains Michael Morris, EVP of Marketing at TriMega. “Both dealer and exhibitor participants have a chance to get their homework done and prepare the relevant reports for more constructive discussion. Plus, scheduled EGT appointments take the chance out of booth visits. We received such good feedback from delegates who participated last year that we are happy to bring them back as one of the many ways EPIC delivers more value for event attendees.”
Janet Eshenour, Director of Marketing at Independent Stationers, adds: “We are excited to be hosting our next – and biggest – EPIC event this year in Las Vegas. It will be a great opportunity for all IS shareholders and affiliate members to network, participate in dealer-focused seminars, learn about new products and much more. The collaboration with dealer colleagues is well worth the trip.”
In another effort to help consolidate the events calendar and bring yet more value to attendees and the industry, this year EPIC is co-located with ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America 2017 – one of the largest trade shows for the cleaning industry worldwide. Delegates who register for EPIC will be able to attend ISSA/INTERCLEAN at no extra cost on the Wednesday and Thursday after the show.
ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America preview
The 2017 ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America Trade Show and ISSA Convention is returning to the Las Vegas Convention Center this year and will feature a new schedule and expanded exhibition space, together with customised events tailored to attendees’ specific needs. It’s billed as the largest exhibition for the cleaning and hygiene industry and will take place from 11-14 September.
The expo typically attracts more than 16,000 cleaning and facilities supplies professionals who gather annually to sharpen their skills, learn what’s new and discover fresh ideas.
The theme for this year’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN event is ‘Uncover Extraordinary’ and over 700 exhibitors will reveal the latest developments in facility solutions. According to ISSA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Lisa Richter, one of the most popular areas of the trade show floor promises to be the ISSA Innovation Showcase. “This is where top manufacturers and suppliers showcase their most cutting-edge products and services – everything from self-cleaning surfaces to robotics and smart technology that can help facility managers monitor their inventory.”
New for 2017
In addition to the greater exhibition space, the 2017 event includes more options for attendees to tailor their own learning programme to suit the particular cleaning sub-sector in which they operate. There are also new show dates – the event now runs from Monday to Thursday, whereas previously it was held from a Tuesday to a Friday.
As Richter explains: “Feedback from previous years had highlighted the challenge of fitting everything in, so we’ve shifted the schedule with the show finishing on a Thursday. Attendees can now use this last day to meet with suppliers and see products and services they may have previously missed, while still making it home in time for the weekend.
“There’s also a valuable programme of events lined up on that Thursday, including the State of the Industry panels for each or our major audience segments, and our ISSA keynote address, which this year will feature Howie Mandell – comedian and a judge on the popular US TV show America’s Got Talent.”
The trend for mergers and acquisitions is one of the main issues affecting the cleaning industry in 2017, according to Richter. Retaining talent in this sector can also be difficult, she adds: “Whether it’s sales people, managers or frontline workers, this continues to be a real challenge for professionals in this category. We’ve packed our education schedule with plenty of seminars to address all these issues and help businesses keep abreast of the key trends, allowing them to innovate and stay relevant in this shifting landscape.”
The all-inclusive trade show and convention packages are another new feature this year, each designed with specific goals in mind and tailored to the needs of people from different industry sectors. They include a welcome networking reception, tradeshow floor access, keynote speakers, show floor guided tour and evening roundtables. Attendees can either mix and match seminar sessions as they see fit, or choose from one of five programmes centred on the following topic areas:
- Disrupt and innovate – a new think tank for distribution: designed to spark innovation in this distribution sector.
- Commercial cleaning business solutions: aimed at building service contractors.
- Residential cleaning connection: provides more than 20 hours of education customised for residential cleaning companies.
- Green clean schools: designed to provide facility personnel based at schools and universities with the tools they need to implement healthy, successful and effective green cleaning programmes.
- Healthcare environment essentials: an intensive educational programme designed for those with a special interest in safeguarding within the healthcare sector.
Also available are several workshops and certification opportunities covering topics such as hard floor, carpet and restroom care through ISSA’s Cleaning Management Institute.
Rounding off ISSA/INTERCLEAN in 2017 are more networking opportunities than ever before, including the ISSA Lunch and Learn on the Monday.