Grace Hopper, BoA
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Busting Through Ceilings: Exhibit Control and Orbus helped Bank of America reach for the sky

by Emily Olson with additional reporting by Christy DiGiambattista; photos by Exposures Ltd. 

The Bank of America Booth at the Grace Hopper Celebration, a recruiting show devoted to advancing careers of women in tech, took up an impressive amount of space. Its footprint certainly made it eye-catching, but what truly made it a show stopper was how far it went up. And up and up! 

“In the past, we weren’t allowed to do multi-level booths at this event,” explains CJ Stegner, vice president of business development at Exhibit Control. “But this year, they allowed us to create a multi-level booth, and it was an exciting challenge to figure out how to engage attendees at each level.” 

Building a booth of this size isn’t easy, and Stegner says Exhibit Control couldn’t have pulled it off without the support of Orbus. Stegner explains: “We design the booths and partner with a vendor we think will provide the most benefit to our client. And Orbus has been one of our greatest partners.”

Natalie Whited, Orbus vice president of marketing, concurs that the two organizations have a strong partnership. “Orbus works to bring Exhibit Control’s rendering to reality, and our solid relationship ensures we’re realizing the vision within the scope of work,” she says. 

“If we do something that’s kind of out there,” Stegner says, “we’ll rely on Orbus to do the installation.” 

And this booth was certainly out there, from top to bottom. The top level was reserved as a recruiting space for Girls Who Code, an organization devoted to encouraging women to enter the male-dominated field of coding. The second level, the Be a Game Changer tier, is where Bank of America executives met with career seekers. And the lower level brought a little magic into the booth. 

Bank of America gave some job seekers the opportunity to visit Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World while they were in Orlando for the show, so the company decided to pull some Harry Potter elements into their booth. “We took Harry Potter’s room under the stairs and turned it into a high-tech giveaway room,” says Stegner. “The area had this blue glow effect. A screen picked up body motion and created a galactic effect, and people could graffiti anywhere they wanted to. It was a recruiting event, so people would write why they should be hired. People were really captured by the environment.”  

Another impressive element of the booth was all the greenery that added some warmth to the modern white and steel design. “Those were all real plants rented from a local woman-owned nursery. And those trees were 10 feet tall!” Stegner says. “I prefer using real plants over plastic ones because they look better and they’re better for the environment. A goal of mine is to have environmentally sustainable designs.” He says that’s one of the reasons his organization enjoys partnering with Orbus. 

“We recycle 80 percent of our waste every year—metal, aluminum, electronics and graphics,” says Whited, an impressive figure that proves the company’s commitment to change practices for which the industry is often criticized.

Stegner and Whited agree that their favorite part of the booth was the multi-level concept. “It was a powerful space,” Stegner says. “Being able to look down on the exhibit hall and see everyone coming together on the show floor was a singular experience.”

Whited had a similar sense. “I stood on that top deck on the shop floor and enjoyed the perspective it provided,” she explains, although her bird’s eye view was different from Stegner’s. “There are so many levels of talent that go into building an exhibit like this—from woodworkers to welders to sewers—and it’s exciting to see all of them congregate and engage in a tradeshow environment. It’s important for economic growth across the board, and I’m glad to be part of it.” 

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