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Tuesday’s SMTA Dallas Expo and Tech Forum drew a strong crowd of exhibitors and attendees to the Plano Event Center in metropolitan Dallas. The show has been growing over the years—excluding a brief pandemic timeout—and featured 100 exhibitors, an increase from last year’s event.
Keynote speaker Don Kinard of Lockheed Martin discussed “The Digital T’s: Threads, Twins, Technology, and Transformation.” Other speakers included Mike Bixenman of Magnalytix, who focused on controlling flux residue for PCB reliability; Plexus’ Dale Lee, with a DFM discussion; and Francois Caudrillier of Ericsson North America, who explained how to use collaborative robots in our industry.
Longtime show organizer and Dallas SMTA chapter president Gary Tanel has it down to a science, scheduling two of the presentations before the show floor opened to increase aisle traffic. The aisles were busy for most of the show, those I spoke with said while they don’t often get to attend SMTA International, but they always attend the Dallas Expo.
I’ve heard the same thing from attendees at the SMTA Atlanta Expo as well. These one-day events are hard to pass up for attendees and exhibitors alike—a tabletop exhibit costs a fraction of what it costs at a larger show. Some of these exhibitors have been doing this show for 10 years.
Gary has been working to differentiate this event from the typical tabletop show. One great idea that he implemented last year was a Happy Hour that lasts for several hours. Exhibitors say they get more leads during Happy Hour, which is usually right before the show closes. Why not have Happy Hour throughout the afternoon?
In true Texas fashion, the food is bigger and better each year at this show. As Gary said, “You won’t have to eat rubber chicken at this show.” The catered lunch included barbecue chicken, rare brisket, green beans, and potato salad like my grandmother used to make. It’s generally a good day when you can have brisket for lunch.
All in all, this is more than just a regional tabletop show as I was able to talk to exhibitors and attendees from all over Texas. I even learned that quite a few people from Silicon Valley made the trek to Dallas. Many exhibitors I spoke with said they planned to head down to the SMTA Houston Expo on Thursday, March 30—kind of a one-two punch.
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