by Kerstan Szczepanski
Anthony Floreano, CEO of Skyline Exhibits, will come back to that again and again during a conversation with Exhibit City News. The company’s acquisition of its authorized dealer, Skyline Carolina, was recently announced. The move is the latest in a series of acquisitions and part of Skyline’s post-pandemic expansion.
When Floreano was brought in as CEO in late 2021, Skyline was still weathering the disruption of the pandemic. Gemspring Investment had completed a deal with Skyline Exhibits and just two months later the Covid lockdown changed everything. Floreano had to get the company back on track and moving forward. “When I came in in 2021 the industry was starting to rebound.
The first order of business was to get my arms around the business and to focus on our response and on our people.” Floreano was happy with that start. “I’m really proud of the team that we hired, and the team that stuck through when the future wasn’t clear. It was really the balance of those that helped us navigate that time. Most of them had to do multiple roles, some which they had never done before. And there were many late nights when we left the shop not knowing how the outcome was going to be … it really helped us build a great culture that we continue to benefit from today, and build on.”
Rebuilding the culture was just the start. “The launch of our new marketing agency, BrandSync, was a need we heard from our customers. Live events outside of the tradeshow space! (That launch) was a great accomplishment in a short period of time.” There were also discussions with clients about what Skyline wasn’t providing that it could. That led to a complete brand refresh.
“When you look at Skyline today, versus how you looked at it pre-2019, you see a different Skyline. We’re expanding our focus to include higher value opportunities while still creating exhibits of all sizes, which is a more efficient way we can scale. We restructured into industry verticals … Skyline was built off of a predominately dealer network, now we’re a predominately direct sales network.”
“(I also wanted) to get marketing and sales in line,” Floreano continued. “Many organizations struggle in what marketing is doing and what sales is doing. But we brought the two together saying we’re not going to accomplish what we want unless we’re in unison here, and that’s something I’m proud of, how well our marketing group is working with the sales organization to achieve our transformational goals.”
“At one time we had 76 dealers. Today we have 23 dealers,” Floreano said, discussing the role the dealer acquisitions have in Skyline’s restructuring. “When we look at these acquisitions it’s really a simple plug and play integration. The customer personas are the same, the products we’re offering are the same, the talent that they bring in and develop help Skyline be a better company.” Better but familiar to the clients. “Our clients are rewarded with continuity of products and the people that they’ve worked with for years.”
“There’s a multitude of benefits for Skyline but for me the most important is talent. As we have rebounded from the impact of the pandemic there’s been a shake up of quality and experienced talent that is out there. Our dealers have done an exceptional job recruiting and training the talent, and we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our goals without that.”
Moving forward, Floreano is excited about a new launch, CMX, the Custom Modular Experience. “Many of our customers lack ROI (return on investment). ‘What do we spend on these shows?’ (and what they get in return) What’s new is how we bring in the digital activations and the physical activations in the lead up to show and at show site, and how we measure post show.
Our customers will get a comprehensive report at the end of the show … they’ll understand how many prospects they were able to attract, how many prospects were at the show site, what were the prospects dwell time, at which activation.” And when the client weighs that information against how many prospects led to opportunities that closed? “They can get an ROI that’s meaningful.”
And 2023 is looking meaningful for Skyline. “When we completed 2022 we were 96% of where we were in 2019,” Floreano said. “That allowed us to reinvest back into the company where we were able to hire 160 plus people back into Skyline,” he said with pride. “We realized double digit growth in (Q1 of 2023) and the second half of the year is looking even stronger … all in all we feel very good about where we’re at, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.”
Skyline Exhibits is a St Paul, MN based company that specializes in creating tradeshow displays and exhibits through modular design, high-impact graphics, custom fabrication, and comprehensive services. Established in 1980, Skyline has 40 years experience in serving the tradeshow industry worldwide. Their website is www.skyline.com.