Reading time ( words)
The SMTA Carolinas Expo and Tech Forum on May 15 was a local show for me, since I live in Virginia, so the drive down to North Carolina was pleasant. This marked my first time attending a local show of this size by myself. Around 40 exhibitors filled the room of the DoubleTree Raleigh Brownstone. I was happy to see familiar faces, including representatives from companies I had met at previous shows, like SMTA International in Rosemont, Illinois.
Though the show appeared small, I quickly learned that there was great value there. I encountered numerous local companies that do not always attend larger shows. The smaller environment also contributed to more in-depth conversations, like the one I had with Ryan Takahashi from Nitto Kohki about his specialized screwdrivers and even his life before the U.S. living in Japan. Even though I am still rather unfamiliar with the processes of our industry compared to others in attendance, it was great to talk to people who were passionate about their profession; one person specifically comes to mind and I definitely learned something about the metal composition of stencils.
In the hustle and bustle of larger trade shows, faces seem to fly by and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, but I noticed attendees recognizing each other and engaging in friendly banter. Even during lunch, people who may not have known each other before the event sat together. I enjoyed talking to individuals from different backgrounds and lines of work.
I didn’t win a raffle prize, but one winning ticket belonged to the man in the exhibitor booth next to me. He had been so helpful to me throughout the event and it was exciting that he won something. He chose a $50 Best Buy gift card. Three other lucky winners received $100 gift cards. A raffle at the end of any event just seems to make everything better, including a trade show.
Overall with the food, people, and the raffle, this show was very worthwhile to attend and I'd highly recommend anyone with a local show to check it out. I know I’ll keep my eye out for future SMTA events!