Experience: One year with MHI. Prior to that, McKinnon has more than 28 years producing trade shows.
Duties: Responsible for the ecosystem of Modex and ProMat.
Modern: Daniel, how long has Modex been around?
McKinnon: The first Modex was in 2012, and this will be the fifth show.
Modern: ProMat was your introduction to our industry. What caught your attention?
McKinnon: Having come from a background of producing large trade shows globally, I was amazed by the commitment of the members, the exhibitors and the attendees. The energy on the floor was immeasurable. I expect to see the same thing in Atlanta. The other thing is that it was the first time I’d ever seen a robot on a show floor. It was an “Oh, my gosh” moment: I had no idea of the technology that goes into automated materials handling equipment.
Modern: And, since this is your first Modex, what are you looking forward to?
McKinnon: There are going to be some unique features, even for people who have been to Modex before. The most notable is the expansion of the transportation and logistics solution center. And, there has been a dramatic renovation of the Georgia World Congress Center. This year, the whole show will be on one level and one floor. The third thing is the proliferation of automation and robotics in the materials handling industry.
Modern: Let’s do some numbers. How big is this year’s show? How many exhibitors? And, how many attendees?
McKinnon: We’re going to have 950 exhibitors; 375,000 net square feet; we’re estimating 35,000 attendees; and there will be 130 education seminars on the show floor. And, of course, our keynotes. I’m especially looking forward to hearing from Peyton Manning and Nikki Haley.
Modern: How does that compare to past shows?
McKinnon: In 2018, we had 907 exhibitors and 283,000 net square feet, so the show will be a third bigger. And, we had 31,000 attendees in 2018. Those kinds of numbers are unheard of in the trade show world. That’s exciting.
Modern: Do you have a sense of what’s driving attendance?
McKinnon: From what exhibitors tell us, it’s the explosion of e-commerce and the development of smaller warehouses located geographically closer to the customer. And then, there’s an explosion of automation being created every day by the solutions community.
Modern: You’ve talked a little about this already, but what’s new and different this year?
McKinnon: Two important things. The first I already mentioned, which is the renovation of the Georgia World Congress Center. That’s going to make things easier for attendees. The other thing is that we have invested heavily into what we call the Back Yard. This is a special feature that’s designed to create a great experience for the attendee and create a chance for repose in a busy environment. It will be a large lounge area with gourmet food trucks and experiential opportunities like a puppy petting zone, a s’mores station and a baseball simulator.
Modern: Last question. A lot of attendees come for the education. Is there anything you want to highlight?
McKinnon: The Transportation and Logistics theater will be amazing. And, we have eclectic, comprehensive opportunities for attendees to learn about best practices and to learn about new technologies and innovations.
Get news, papers, media & research, delivered.
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job. Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Supply Chain 24/7.
Subscribe to our email newsletter and we’ll keep you up-to-date.