The setup crew in the booth immediately behind ours was hard at work. And somehow, some way, our entire back wall suddenly came tumbling down into our space, narrowly missing our crew.
Exhibit managers have to juggle countless balls. And sometimes, through no fault of their own, someone else bats one of those carefully juggled balls clear out of their grasp. Last year at an orthopedics-industry show in Berlin, our client was keeping several balls in the air – until a neighboring exhibitor whacked one out of the park.
Our installation-and-dismantle team from Access Fair Event Design GmbH had been on site supervising setup of our client's roughly 13-by-33-foot booth. It featured a back wall that towered 13 feet tall and included a gorgeous fabric mural. In addition, the booth offered laminate-covered hospitality counters, LCD screens that displayed various product videos, and an assortment of booth furniture.
By the third day of a four-day setup, all of those balls remained effortlessly in the air, and 80 percent of the booth was complete by the middle of the afternoon. But that's exactly when one of our neighbors got careless.
The setup crew in the booth behind ours was hard at work. I'm not sure if the crew members were assembling their own back wall, or if they somehow just backed into ours. But the result was the same. Our entire back wall suddenly came tumbling down into our space, narrowly missing our crew. The wall and various other exhibit properties, however, weren't quite so fortunate.
Our crew sprang into action to ensure that nobody was injured. Finding everyone safe and accounted for, they called me to ask what they should do.
The wall was crumpled, and the fabric had come loose. But thankfully, the monitors had escaped damage, and the fabric mural hadn't torn but would need a bit of touchup. Meanwhile, the laminate on the hospitality counters had sustained considerable damage, some of the furniture was scratched, and one of our ladders used for setup was pretty much toast.
Following my instructions, our crew assigned various repair tasks to everyone on site. After they righted the wall, crew members straightened and reinforced the areas that had bent and then reattached the fabric graphics. Luckily, we had included a few extra pieces of laminate in our shipping crates, so they simply pulled them out, pried off the damaged pieces, and attached the new ones. Finally, they touched up the furniture with a quick coat of matching paint to cover up the scratches.
While the work was fairly simple, it took time and ultimately pushed our setup into midmorning on the last day. This in turn caused a few delays for the caterers, who had to rush to set up their hospitality equipment.
When all was said and done, the booth was back in working order by showtime, and the client was happy with the outcome. Through it all, one thing allowed us to maintain forward progress: We never once got mired down by trying to determine fault. Our wall came tumbling down, but our focus remained on fixing the problem, not assigning blame to whatever – or whomever – sent it down.
— Ivy Burnham, manager, International Operations, Access TCA Inc., Whitinsville, MA