Re: Students Awed by Technology & Career Opportunities

Date: Wed Sep 11 2002 - 09:59:09 EEST


You make some good points, however, trade shows are NOT the correct forum,
and RP vendors are not the problem.
Trade shows are VERY expensive, to the point of ridiculous.
An average trade show could cost an exhibitor $10-20K. An extended show like
IMTS could eat $100,000 in a heartbeat. The fault is with convention centers
and show operators who gouge exhibitors at every turn. A $5 waste basket
rents for $15 a day. Bring your own, and you may be charged the same rate, or
some venues (like Chicago) the union charges at least $100 to carry it in the
door. Sneak it in and your crates and equipment get "lost" or have an
"accident". Chairs and tables go for $50-100. Badge readers rent for $250 and
the paper they use is separate at $20-60 per pad. These pads have either 50
or 100 sheets, depending on venue. Booth electricity costs more per day than
most of us pay per month in our homes.
These cost have to be justified by sales.

All RP technologies have great levels of "cool" and fascinating, and offer
great appeal to students. Groups of students massed in trade show booths tend
to crowd out industrial customers, and supplies of sales literature and
sample parts can be depleted in minutes. These show materials have costs
associated, and if you run out, potential buyers may go without. All RP
vendors also have to deal with display models that are stolen or broken. This
is not limited to students, but then incidents do seem to increase. Those of
us selling RP equipment all understand the value of cultivating students as
future customers and most have educational programs, but if I spend tens of
thousands of dollars on a show and report to management that I have some
great prospect for 5 years from now, they'll suggest I stop by in 5 years and
see if my job is available.
Managers and shareholders want to know what's selling THIS MONTH.

Trade shows seem like a carnival, but they are very serious to those who
exhibit in them. Exhibitors work long hours on their feet, are forced to eat
those damn overpriced hot dogs, and deal with lots of unpleasantness from
show operators. All this with intense pressure to "move the iron".

I remember attending trade shows as a student, and yes, it is a bit
frustrating to not get the same attention as a company president, but
spending too much trade show time on students could cost someone their job.

Schools should do more to promote their own technology seminars. They could
invite vendors and local businesses to attend, as well as students. I've seen
this work in situations where CAD users meetings are held at colleges. Costs
are low, and students can view the equipment while the group is in meetings.
This seems to be a win for all involved.
 I agree that more should be done to bring students up to speed in the latest
RP technology, but I don't see it happening at the trade show level unless
costs come down significantly.


Glen Chancellor

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