Craig Sagar

I wanted to take the time to share with you what it is like behind the scenes at one of the biggest tradeshows we take part in the UK.

Lab Innovations takes place annually at the NEC in Birmingham and brings together a broad community of scientists and laboratory workers in a lively community comprised of over 150 exhibitors.

Visitors may experience each stand for only a brief time but for exhibitors, it’s long, high energy days and having a great team is essential.

Setup was smooth with the help of Dr. Michael Brogan – Account Manager for Advanced Materials. We co-ordinated our arrival of cars packed with our booth gear. Loaded like a couple of pack horses we walked our gear into the exhibition hall and set up within a couple of hours. 

Lifting and shifting equipment is a big physical part of shows and something all exhibitors undertake. What is key when passing a fellow exhibition mule is a comradery acknowledgment of sympathy when trudging hands fully laden with baggage. A simple nod or “I feel your pain” or “Not far to the entrance now” is a key part of exhibitor etiquette to your fellow booth neighbors on the long haul from the car park.

Having built up an appetite Mike and I headed to grab lunch at the nearby Subway. Previously learning that Mike lives in close proximity to Subway I asked the standard Subway question… “6 inches” or “Footlong?” He turned to me with no hesitation and stated: “Craig, I do not order from the children’s menu”. A look of mutual understanding warranted no further conversation and I was sold into ordering a delicious and much needed footlong. (That’s why he is in sales)

During the show, it was a pleasure to watch Mike work for a crowd and he must hold a record for the duration of customer conversations engaging groups of visitors on the booth for good amounts of time. Mike is also a dedicated Jelly Bean enthusiast and was instrumental in keeping the supply topped up and quality control checked for our trick or treat booth game.

Dr. Michael Brogan – Account Manager for Advanced Materials and Elise Guerini – Account Manager for Food and Pharma

On Day 1 we were also joined by Elise Guerini – Account Manager for Food and Pharma. Elise has sharp expertise in a wide range of areas and responds with eloquent efficiency to answer some of our visitors’ most challenging application questions.

unset on the first day was made memorable through our golden ticket invitation to the Live Lab area for the Select Science awards. I had the honor of being able to accept 2 awards at the event. A Silver Seal of Quality for Mastersizer 3000 and a special award for being the company with the most positive reviews in October. A huge thank you to all our customers who sent in product reviews. It made me feel very proud to be part of a team bringing award-winning solutions to the scientific community. The awards took pride of placement on our stand for the rest of the show and more details can be found here.

On Day 2 we had a fresh changeover of staff and welcomed Louisa Mafeld – Account Manager Advanced Materials and Terry Soteriou – Business Development for Primary Materials.

Louisa Mafeld – Account Manager Advanced Materials and Terry Soteriou – Business Development for Primary Materials

Terry brought a captivating charm to the booth along with a following of long known customers who were pleased with the opportunity to connect. Louisa brought high energy and an engaging and kind nature which drew large amounts of visitors. At midday, we were told by the organizers that we were in the running to be one of the most visited exhibitors at the show as per check-ins on the booth badge scanners.

This gave us a strong motivation to capture a large number of badge swipes in the last few hours and I was convinced that we would have the most visits. At the final tally, we came in second place with less than 10 check-ins in it. The organizers were so impressed with our efforts that they gifted us with a second-place bottle of bubbly.

Another key part of attending Tradeshows for long hours is, of course, bringing home some exhibitor swag home for friends and family. One of our main promotional items is our famous Malvern Panalytical Jelly Beans. Before the event closure, I armed myself with a few packets of Jellybeans to visit fellow exhibitor booths and barter for swag swaps. I managed to exchange Jelly Beans for a squishy penguin, a squishy panda and a small tube of bubbles much to the delight of my 2-year old daughter Maisey.

The dedicated teamwork from Terry and Louisa meant the booth was deconstructed and repacked into cars within the hour and with a little kindness from the traffic gods I made it home in time to take my daughter Trick or Treating before bath time.

I’d like to thank everyone who visited us as Lab Innovations and if we didn’t meet at this event, I hope to catch you at the next. I’d also like to send a huge amount of appreciation to the Malvern Panalytical event team at the show and supporting from afar. Without great colleagues and good teamwork, events can be a tough day, but I must say this event was very enjoyable and Lab Innovations has a great community.