Paco Collazo's Global View
Share this post:

United We STAND

Why Belonging to Associations is Key in this Globality

by Paco Collazo

Last minute changes, time pressures and access snafus aren’t only faced at home—we experience the same problems  everywhere we get to work in this crazy world.

One thing I have discovered in 18 years of building exhibition stands and taking our clients through the exhibition process everywhere, is that while local customs and cultures are strong all over the world, event professionals experience a very similar reality wherever they go.

It doesn´t matter where we are in the world—I think we all can agree that this place feels pretty familiar, no?

Like many booth builders, we do much more than simply build stands for our customers and partners. We walk them through the whole exhibiting process, and they are able to take advantage of our experience working on exhibitions all over the globe.

As members of the Experiential Designers and Producers Association, ESSA UK and IFES, we already know the importance of having an association behind you, and that is why we have chosen to join and be active members in three of them. If you haven´t joined, I urge to join an association—the amount of support, new business opportunities, education, inspiration and most importantly, you get to hang with similar humans who understand and share the same issues and lifestyle. Yes, this live events job is a lifestyle … don’t you agree?

At my company, 95 percent of our work is now international and insight is essential to working overseas. Knowing the local and cultural landscape as much as how the industry works means we are able to deliver the same level of service in North and Latin America, and now increasingly in Europe and Asia too.

One thing that is clear from our travels and work worldwide is that sustainability has to be a primary consideration for every project, which is why we are investing strongly custom modular systems, and reducing the amount of wood used in construction (besides it’s fewer headaches and less money, so basically it’s a win-win-win).

It’s reassuring to see this belief mirrored in other countries too, and I am looking forward to being able to exchange our knowledge and experience with like-minded exhibition friends from around the world in the next industry events we meet at.

Technology and digital information are changing the exhibition industry very quickly, but the skills and expertise required to build successful exhibition stands that deliver on our customers’ requirements haven’t changed that much. It is simply that we now have new and exciting tools at our disposal. So even after 18 years in the business, and while  much remains the same both here and in Europe, we are always learning new ways of bringing about total customer satisfaction. Our greatest asset is the trust and belief our clients put in us, and that is something that cannot be bought or hired in when needed—it must be built, piece by piece, year by year. We understand that choosing a new exhibition stand builder is difficult, and we believe that by joining any association and this community of trusted businesses, we can bring the same service enjoyed by our clients anywhere.

So please look for me at the next industry event and let’s share war stories with a drink.

Paco Collazo is the owner & CEO of Atlanta-based Happy Projects, where their passion is “to collaborate with the planet’s top standbuilders, event production companies, agencies and brands to solve all your face-to-face marketing needs from concept to seamless execution.” He worked 13 years in the family business, ending as a sales and project director at SISTEXPO (Sistemas de Exposicion), a full-exhibit/event house based in Mexico. Contact him at

This story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 21. For original layout, visit



  • BREATHE Ad Digital

Related Stories

Trending Now

  • Employco
  • Full Circle Events Sidebar Ad
  • Brumark
  • Superior Logistics