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fixing snafus
illustration: Regan Dunnick
Water, Water, Everywhere
When they arrived at the convention center that morning, the installation-and-dismantle team encountered a full-blown disaster. In effect, it was raining inside the venue – and showering all over the new booth.
Plan A
A gentle rain shower is typically relaxing. But when that rain comes down inside a convention center, it's debilitating. Our installation-and-dismantle team found itself knee-deep in such a snafu at a medical convention last year.

My company had just designed and built an exhibit for a major pharmaceutical exhibitor, and our I&D crew had been on site for days. Two days out from the conference, our client's new 4,800-square-foot exhibit was almost fully installed.

Given their significant progress, the setup team only had to finish minor install details and run through the audiovisual presentations on the third day of setup. But when they arrived that morning, they encountered a full-blown disaster. In effect, it was raining inside the venue – and showering all over the new booth. The venue's overhead sprinkler system had failed spectacularly, causing water to spray from multiple places simultaneously. And based on the exhibit's condition, this deluge had likely been going on for hours, possibly all night.

Crew members ran to the general services desk, where venue reps were racing around themselves. They were already aware of the issue, and a crew was trying to remedy the situation. So our team headed back to the booth and waited. Thankfully, it wasn't long before the steady shower turned to more of a drizzle and ultimately stopped. But the damage was done.

The booth's carpet was soaked, and many of the graphics and fabric components were ruined from the downpour. Plus, several structural components were toast, as the laminates were letting lose, and a good deal of the AV equipment wouldn't power up. It was 48 hours before the show opened, and we had to not only get rid of the destroyed exhibitry, but also replace the damaged components.


Plan B
The on-site team immediately started collaborating with the venue staff to remove the waterlogged exhibitry and mop up the space. We then put out a mayday call to all of our manufacturing centers. Collectively, everyone dropped what they were doing to rebuild the affected components and get them to the show city by the following day for what would be an all-hands-on-deck installation effort.

While the components were being rebuilt, our in-house and third-party graphic-production teams reprinted and shipped all of the booth graphics so they'd arrive with the main exhibitry. In addition, our headquarters team arranged to have new carpet and AV equipment shipped to the convention center. And finally, our I&D division deployed every available laborer and supervisor to pitch in on the massive disaster-recovery effort.

Thanks to cool heads, an experienced crew, and lots of hard work, every piece of exhibitry arrived and was installed in record time. Granted, we worked feverishly through the night, but when the show opened, attendees discovered a brand new exhibit in a space that less than 48 hours ago looked like a very expensive swamp.


— Terry Campanaro, senior vice president client relations, Global Experience Specialists Inc., Pittsburgh


TELL US A STORY
Send your Plan B exhibiting experiences to Linda Armstrong, larmstrong@exhibitormagazine.com.

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