(Pictured: In Boston, more than 100 Teamsters Local 25 Trade Show Division members in partnership with CorpEvents New England and Suffolk Construction installed 1,000 beds as they converted The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center into a field hospital.)
At the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic is the venerable northeast corner, and the hardy Yankees aren’t changing their tone—they’re innovating in the face of adversity. In Boston, Teamsters Local 25 Trade Show Division members in partnership with CorpEvents New England and Suffolk Construction have been transforming the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center into a field hospital. An initial team of 25 hands soon grew to more than 100, with Local 25 Teamsters at Waltham Lumber playing an important supporting role by delivering essential building materials to the BCEC.
The project, completed on April 11, saw more than 1,000 beds installed across the show floor, with several hundred further beds installed as solutions for the homeless population and non-critical patients who still require hospital treatment. Not to be outdone, six acute-care suites and a physical therapy suite as well as 52 nurses’ stations and 48 bathroom facilities were also constructed as part of the project.
But New England isn’t the only region investing its energies in solutions for the greater good. In the far northwest lies in the drizzly beauty of Portland, Ore. The City of the Roses is home to many things, the computer mouse included, but few residents have the longevity of Classic Exhibits. And in its 27th year, this veteran of the tradeshow and convention industry is switching its focus to helping those in need by building a squad of temporary medical structures.
“We have a large inventory of extrusion which is what was needed to complete these Temporary Medical Pod units quickly and efficiently,” explains Kevin Carty, executive vice president. “While we are charging a fee,” continues Carty, “it is at very aggressively low margin to make them as affordable as possible considering the dire national need.”
When asked if Carty had any words of motivation or inspiration he wanted to share with the industry, he responded profoundly. “Being face to face is a human nature thing. What I mean by that is, yes, we are in a new world right now, but beware of thoughts that we are a society ready to live from behind their computer screens solely. We are social beings and our industry provides a meaningful blend of doing business and providing human interaction. We NEED to be around other people. So be patient, we will figure out how best to tackle this on the tradeshow and event floor.”
Creative solutions drive the tradeshow and exhibit industry, and on April 22 Freeman launched the “Go LIVE Together” coalition designed to protect the industry by bringing together leaders driven to urge local, state, and federal legislators to consider measures for support and recovery. The coalition comprises of 80 founding partners, representing over 4,000 companies nationwide, and are mobilized by a common goal.
“While our concern is first and foremost supporting the suppression and mitigation efforts around COVID-19, live events will be an integral part of accelerating the U.S. and global economic recovery,” says Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman. “A fundamental aspect of the industry are that tradeshows and events enable companies to grow, educate and innovate. Protecting the industry means protecting key economic and social drivers that not only impact jobs today, but also the development of the next generation of businesses. As the largest live events producer, Freeman is proud to unite with other industry leaders to form a coalition to make this possible.”
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 who 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Amadeus at email@example.com for inclusion in future stories in this series.