(Pictured: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Addresses Firms at Baltimore CC)
by Amadeus Finlay
As society continues to come to grips with the impact of COVID-19, businesses across the tradeshow and event industry have been turning their attention to philanthropic endeavors in an effort to bring the crisis to a halt.
In terms of infection, the northeast remains one of the most badly hit parts of the country. New York City is a ghost town. Rhode Island has checkpoints on its borders, while all travelers arriving in Massachusetts must self-quarantine for 14 days. Thirty minutes south of Boston, venerable exhibit and event service provider, Willwork, has answered the Bay State call by building temporary medical structures in Baltimore (pictured below), Detroit and other cities to ease the burden on the nation’s overworked hospitals.
Pam Sparks, director of exhibitor services, explains why the 25-year-old firm decided to get involved. “It was simple, really. The events industry shut down almost overnight, which meant that the traditional demand for our time, talent and equipment quickly faded. As a result, our leadership team began brainstorming about ways we could put those resources back to work in meaningful ways.”
“The Army Corps of Engineers was pushing contractors hard to build quickly in hot spots across the county, with no time to spare,” continues Sparks. “Building temporary structures under tight deadlines is in our DNA, so we knew this was our opportunity to help.”
But for all its national outreach, Willwork has not forgotten to check-in with the people who make the firm what it is. “We have a ‘social hour’ via ZOOM each Friday,” says Sparks, “and the level of excitement and energy displayed during these group interactions shows that our Willwork family remains highly engaged and optimistic overall about the future of events.”
Fremont, Calif.-based ProExhibits has been fighting COVID since the beginning, initially building temporary hospital rooms and testing facilities. However, as Paul Miller, VP of marketing explains, the firm soon identified an underserved need: physical barriers within office spaces to safeguard personnel when they return to work.
“We began to design aesthetically pleasing partition structures that not only would protect employees,” explains Miller, “but also give them more privacy and sound reduction all while fitting in with corporate branding guidelines.”
And that’s not all. Living up to the Californian reputation for technological savviness, the company has also ramped-up its virtual events platform. “Many events are being forced to use virtual methods to achieve their goals,” continues Miller. “We believe that even after the pandemic crisis eases that virtual events will remain an important solution for the industry.”
From the complex to the everyday, the tradeshow industry is making impacting society at all levels. In Elk Grove Ill., Moss Inc. has expanded its global manufacturing capabilities to produce high-speed automated production for Personal Protective Equipment. In short, Moss has turned its attention to making protective masks.
The firm’s proprietary manufacturing technology can produce 1.2 million face masks per day, each meeting the required ASTM Level 2 Procedure Mask and EN14683 surgical MNS standards. Moss is planning to increase that capacity to produce a global output of three million masks a week by June, and six million by August.
Display Supply & Lighting, Inc. is also providing face masks, having obtained disposable, 3-ply face masks through a hardware distribution partner. The masks are estimated to be in the firm’s Itasca, Ill., warehouse by mid-June.
Upcoming stories in this series will feature how Acer, AGAM, Allspace, Aluvision, Astound, beMatrix, Bespoke Displays, Blueprint Studios, Classic Exhibits, Design Factory/LV, GES, Octanorm, ProGlobalEvents/ ProExhibits, Studio Displays and more have all risen to the occasion to build temporary medical facilities, masks and whatever is needed during the current crisis. If your company is going above and beyond to assist in this fight, please email us at email@example.com and Amadeus at firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in future stories in this series.