A Newcomer’s First Time at the Utility Expo

The Utility Expo is one of the largest events for utility professionals and construction contractors. This biennial event, produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, offers insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations, and trends.

Before the 2021 show, I had no prior experience with utility industry trade shows, so I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, not knowing what to expect.

It was impressive, to say the least.

From Sept. 28-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, The Utility Expo, formerly known as ICUEE, covered over 32 acres, and featured more than 900 exhibitors, most of whom set up their booths outside to showcase their equipment.

Arriving around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the first day of the show, there was a buzz in the air as exhibitors were excited to showcase their products face to face. I opted to spend the morning outside before the temperature climbed to the mid-80s later that day.

With vehicles and equipment as far as the eye could see, I didn’t know where to begin. You could easily spend all day outside and still not see every exhibitor on Day 1. Bucket trucks, backhoes, tracked aerial lifts — you name it, it was there.

Seeing Pro-Vision cameras on the vehicles at the expo allowed me to see our products out in the real world.

I learned the difference between an OEM, an upfitter, and an end user. I learned that FMVSS 111 rule states that all vehicles under 10,000 pounds must be equipped with a rear-view camera. Maybe what I learned the most was that comfortable shoes are a requirement at this event.

While the indoor section of the show didn’t offer as many massive vehicles, it was just as impressive. I spent hours walking up and down the aisles on Day 1 and returned on Day 2 to find more booths I missed.

Listening to Pro-Vision salespeople discuss our products with attendees gave me insight into how our products are being used. One fire station wanted to attach cameras to a robot to send into burning buildings, keeping firefighters out of harm’s way — a thought-provoking application I had never considered.

As a newcomer in the industry, I was worried about coming off as a nuisance to the thousands of industry professionals. However, everyone I spoke to was happy to take time out of their day to educate me about the details of the utility industry.

Must be that southern hospitality Kentucky is known for.

While each vendor at The Utility Expo had to compete for face time with attendees, the amount of collaboration between competitors was remarkable.

Yes, every company wants to expand its reach and gain more customers. But what was more important to them was making the industry better and safer for everyone.

That collaboration is going to encourage outside-the-box thinking to produce solutions for problems that were considered unachievable. I’m excited to see what the event has in store for this year.

Even though this was my first time at The Utility Expo, Pro-Vision has been coming to this event for years. If you were unable to attend the 2021 show, register for 2023 with code PRO237C for a 75% discount or contact our sales department to set up an in-person or virtual demonstration of our commercial mobile video solutions.