Exhibit Hall 2018:  A Transformational Experience

by Maureen Becker

IPMBA Executive Director

Washington University in Saint Louis, perched on the threshold of the magnificent Forest Park, was home to the 2018 IPMBA Conference.  Every location creates opportunities and challenges, and WashU was no different. The meeting rooms in the Danforth University Center were a presenter’s dream come true, and the inner campus was a veritable playground for bikes.  The residence halls were light years removed from those recalled by anyone of a certain age, and the quality of the catering high.  On the other hand, parking was at times inconvenient, the venues were further apart than preferred, and parts of campus were off-limits due to the inevitable summertime construction projects.  None of this is surprising, as campuses are built first and foremost to serve the students, faculty, and staff, not conference attendees.

As a result, the planning team had to think very creatively about where and how to accommodate a very important aspect of the conference:  the exhibit hall.  This is where attendees go to learn about the latest innovations in public safety cycling products and to develop relationships with the industry representatives on the show floor.

After a bit of brainstorming and a couple of site visits, it became evident that the best option would be to transform the Bear’s Den dining facility into an exhibit hall.  This, apparently, had never been done before, at least not to the scale intended by IPMBA.  With the input of the Summer Conference team and the Bon Appetit food service staff, a plan began to emerge.  This plan was sketched out and ultimately implemented by Scott Furda of Paramont Convention Services.  It was a labor-intensive effort (especially for those who removed and replaced all the tables and chairs, to whom we are most grateful) that resulted in an attractive and functional, traditional yet unique, exhibit hall experience.

Our repeat exhibitors seem to have grown accustomed to the varied venues used by IPMBA, and it is hoped our first-timers will feel the same. 

First-time exhibitors included our two newest Corporate Members:  American Bike Patrol Services (ABPS) and RZ Mask.  ABPS is a full-service bike patrol supplier out of Southern California who also provided rental bikes and on-site mechanical service.  RZ Mask offers what they describe as the “world’s most comfortable filtration mask.” Marketed for civilian use as well, it is said to filter up to 99.9% of dust and particulate matter.  

Also new to IPMBA were several representatives of the emerging e-Bike market.  Samson Electric Bikes has consulted extensively with IPMBA founding member Gary Gallinot to design a bike specifically for public safety use.  It was great to welcome both Samson and Gary to the conference. Rad Power Bikes has recently entered the public safety field, and had several models available for test and input.  They partner with IPMBA Corporate Member velofix for in-the-field maintenance and repair.  Christini All-Wheel Drive Bicycles bridge the gap, offering both conventional and e-Bikes equipped with their unique AWD system, available at the flip of a switch.  

Once again demonstrating not only their commitment to IPMBA, but also their “staying power”, were IPMBA Corporate Members ISM Saddles, MOCEAN Tactical, Police Bike Store, Sound Uniform Solutions (Bratwear and Olympic Uniforms), and Volcanic Bicycles.  As usual, MOCEAN outfitted the instructor cadre, while Bratwear took care of the "Red Shirts" (a.k.a., Command Staff).  MOCEAN also sponsored one of the evening receptions (gooey butter bars, anyone?), while Sound Uniform Solutions slaked attendees’ thirst at the second.  Police Bike Store sponsored the PESC and IC Night Operations, offering C3Sports lighting system demos and giveaways to some lucky folks.  It seemed like every water bottle cage sported the distinctive blue of the PBS water bottle and every hand was wielding a PBS pen.  Attendees were decked out with Volcanic lanyards holding their name badges and riding smoothly tuned bicycles thanks to Eric’s mechanical skills.  

4Bike-Police.com, Bellwether Technical Apparel, and Patrol Bike Systems rounded out the exhibit hall.   Although they were not present, Corporate Members Cygolite Bicycle Lighting Systems and R&B Fabrications continued their sponsorships of the Nightlife District Operations and Tactics workshop and the welcome bags, respectively; while iFORCE Patrol Bikes and Cera Products maintained “virtual booths”   on the IPMBA website, in addition to donating products for the Product Showcase Silent Auction.  Newcomer Airo Bike Seat had a virtual booth as well.  TOGS provided each instructor and one student in each class and workshop with a pair of thumb grips (TOGS), an alternative to bar ends.

Speaking of the auction, the generosity of the following entities, coupled with the bidders, enabled us to raise $3422 in support of our programs:  A&M Bicycle, Adidas Outdoor, Bar Mitts, Bellwether Technical Apparel, Bern Unlimited, Borealis Fat Bikes, Bratwear, Cera Products, Cygolite, Dave Dager, Dick Kramer Studios, Dual Eyewear, Explore Saint Louis, Gary Strang, GQ-6, Haix USA, Hero Kit, IPMBA, ISM Saddles, London Police Service, MOCEAN, MRP/PowerGrips, Olympic Uniforms, Omaha Police Department, Patrol Bike Systems, Pedaling Innovations, Police Bike Store, Primal Wear, R&B Fabrications, Rance Okada, Rudy Project USA, RZ Mask, Saint Louis Bworks, Serfas, Sock Guy, Stat Packs, Street Crimes Seminars, Swagman, Tim Cisler, TOGS, and Visit Fort Worth.

On the raffle front, Greg Mudry of Wilfred Laurier University (ON) Police Department purchased the winning ticket (the only one he bought) and went home with the Fuji Police Bike donated by Police Bike Store.  In the meantime, Matthew Hyman of Lehigh University (PA) Police Department was delighted to win the 9 mm Kimber Micro 9 Stainless so generously provided by the members of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department Downtown Bike Unit.  

Finally, helping to fill out the welcome bags were EMS World, Law Enforcement Product News, Law Enforcement Technology, Nugo Nutrition, Police Magazine, and Whistles for Life, all of which donated giveaway items for the welcome bags.  

IPMBA thanks all of our industry partners for continuing to serve the intersecting public safety and cycling sectors.  It is a niche market, which requires a solid commitment to the men and women who serve their communities from the seat of a bicycle.

We urge you to show your appreciation by patronizing these companies whenever possible for your on- and off-duty needs.  As a reminder, many of them also participate in the IPMBA Product Purchase Program, offering discounts to our membership.  Visit http://ipmba.org/membership/product-purchase-program for details and to start shopping!

Photos by Scott Furda.

(c) 2018 IPMBA. This article appeared in Vol. 27, No. 2 of IPMBA News 2018.

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