Two weeks ago I attended the world's largest trade show aimed at the theme park industry. I've attended the show many times through the years and have always learned plenty but we decided that rather than merely being a spectator, for next year we would attend as a vendor. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions show is very large with over 1000 vendors and 28,000 attendees from around the world. It is held in Orlando each year. Committing to have a booth at the annual show is a substantial investment. Adding in costs to ship our display booth down south (and back) plus all of our travel expenses and we got some pretty large numbers.
All that made us more determined than ever to go all out or stay home. We got busy with the design and construction of our booth this past week and have already made good progress. While we would love to lease a large space it made good sense to start with a ten foot by ten foot booth. After our first year we'll see how things work out and go with a bigger space if the demand is there.
Our booth is designed to ship with everything fastened securely to the walls. This minimizes the setup time and also eliminates the chance anything will suffer damage at the hands of the shipper or handlers at the show. We're going to have a custom, heavy duty tarp cover made which will slip over the booth and fasten on the bottom. Once at the show we just pull off the tarp, hook up the laptop computer to the large TV and plug in the electricity and we are ready to go! With more than a hundred sample 3D signs and models currently on display in our shop the hard part will be to decide which ones we take to the show.
This afternoon we finished the last of the welding on the heavy duty framework. The new MultiCam plasma cutter was given a good workout. The swoopy I-beams on the sides are made from heavy duty 3/8" steel. We used 8" x 4" square tubing to make the frame as a pallet so it can easily be moved with a forklift.
In one of the front corners we built a table/stool combination so we can do a painting demonstration (on a small study model) during the show. It is all in the interest of drawing and engaging a crowd. The table/stool is elevated so we are at eye level with the guests walking by. The two connected pieces swivel from the front post and tuck inside during transport.
Next week we will begin adding the myriad of custom details to make this booth like no other!
Right now I would estimate that the booth weighs in the range of 1,500 -2,000 lbs. We will be adding 1- 1.5 inches of hand sculpted fibreglass reinforced concrete to the floor and lower portion of the wall plus all of our display stuff still has to go in there and it adds up. By the time we are done it should be a little more than 4,000 lbs. As long as we are under 5,000 lbs it is no problem and won't affect the price of shipping and handling at the trade show. The only possible way this thing could be moved is with a forklift or boom truck. (our forklift is capable of handling 6,000 lbs so there's no worries) The fork lift holes are on every side so it can be picked up from any angle.
We have an accurate floor scale, good up to 20,000 lbs and we will be weighing it tomorrow and again after the concrete is done.
We made good progress on the details today and are also finishing off some of the display pieces which will mount inside. Another week and this thing should be ready to go.
Dan's mind works in a different hemisphere than most of us...but he will tell us that he's no different than the rest of us - just thinks different and dreams on a different scale. Then he does something every day to make that dream come true. It has worked for years.
I'm not taking anything away from his genius (and that's how I see him), but any one of us could do the same thing if we have the courage to follow the dream. My world is different because I sit on a couch rather than getting up and putting thoughts into action.
Congratulations, Grandpa. Keep on truckin'.
-------------------- Chapman Sign Studio Temple, Texas email@example.com Posts: 6306 | From: Temple, Texas, USA | Registered: Nov 1998
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I absolutely am inspired by people like Dan...and I certainly appreciate the sense of purpose he feels to inspire others to be all they can be..I'm also inspired by Raymond who always has keen observation and a playful or witty remark...though I'm not so sure about Joe...probably if we looked deep enough we could find something that inspires us...though one may have to descend into the subatomic quantum level for that answer.
True that many people do not reach their full potential...and a little...if not a lot of inspiration and courage is what they need.
Having said that...and not meaning to take anything away from the value of positive encouragement and inspiration there is a reality to face as well...I would loved to have played basketball on the level of Lebron James when I was younger...or now to paint Yosemite like Albert Bierstadt...or to have the mind of Einstein...I always wished I sounded as good to others as I do to myself when I sing in the shower...maybe no one here is genetically capable of being a Sawatzky...and I think that's probably true...his kind don't come along that often...but that doesn't mean one stops dreaming and persevering to be all that mother nature has blessed them with in relation to their individual abilities...I think happiness and contentment will come to those that follow that path regardless of what others think.
Dan, you might want to get to the border crossing early. The last I knew, it could take a week or more to clear customs, and that is each way. Every time I see pictures of one of your latest creations, you have raised the bar, and this one is no exception! Very nice! Peace and Good Luck! Don
-------------------- Donald Miner ABCO Wholesale Neon 1168 Red Hill Creek Dobson, NC Posts: 842 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Apr 2006
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Thanks for the kind words. I believe, like Raymond, that we all have a great deal of potential inside us. Realizing these dreams does take a bunch of energy and effort... but that is what I find the most fun in life.... achieving what most have convinced themselves is beyond their grasp. We all have special abilities of some kind. I don't sing, can't dance and am not particularly mechanical. I'll never be a brain surgeon or do good at mathematics. Duncan can tell you (from first hand experience) how bad I am at finding my way in a strange place. So I don't do those things.
The reality is that I get a great deal more credit than I earn. I do much of the basic concept design but these days Peter also does a fair amount. All contribute ideas as we go along. Most of the work done in our shop is done by team members - not me. Peter manages the shop these days with a little help from me. We currently run with a staff of four full timers. Matt has been with us for about four years. While he isn't a strong designer he can do a lot of different jobs with skill. Jack (21) is the youngest member of the crew and is our metal fab guy and welder. He doesn't think he's especially artistic but we see the truth in his work and he is very good! Jenessa and Angie, both in their mid-twenties, are extremely good at sculpting and painting. Jenessa is much better at detail work than I am by far.
I believe Peter's accomplishments in years to come will far outshine anything I've managed to accomplish. He has some amazing projects in progress that are going to blow things wide open. It is exciting to say the least! Together we do an amazing amount of work each day, relying on all of our individual strengths and encouraging each other. We are never content to merely do what we did yesterday - and always push the bar upwards with every single project. That's how we accomplish our magic.
The big show in Orlando does not happen until next fall but we are well on our way with our display booth. We'll also use it during our spring workshops. I don't like to leave things until the last minute and also don't like doing overtime. We will employ our customs broker, a shipping logistics company and also a trucking company experienced in cross border shipping. And we'll allow lots of time for the process.
As we repositioned the booth in the shop today we put it on the scale and it came in at 1,952 lbs. It lifted easily with the forklift and the fork pockets worked perfectly - as planned.
We've been busy with the new CNC plasma cutter creating fancy metal brackets and shelves for the booth display. It's going to be pretty cool! Stay tuned...
Grandpa Dan is a treasure, I am honored to have him as a friend. He is so far above most people with a vision. Each day he does more to prove his dreams can come true.
-------------------- Bill Riedel Riedel Sign Co., Inc. 15 Warren Street Little Ferry, N.J. 07643 firstname.lastname@example.org Posts: 2953 | From: Little Ferry, New Jersey, USA | Registered: Feb 1999
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