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A Newcomer's First Time at the Utility Expo

Tom Mitsos on October 8, 2021

The Utility Expo is the largest event 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.

Above: Badge Registration/Pickup Desk at the Event

As a recent Pro-Vision hire, I had no prior experience with utility industry trade shows, so I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, not knowing what to expect.

Boy was it impressive.

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 which set up their booths outside to showcase their equipment.

Arriving around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning on the first day of the show, there was a buzz in the air as exhibitors were excited to showcase their products face to face.

Many of the companies attending the show were able to successfully navigate the difficulties of COVID-19, but after speaking to several vendors, the consensus was there is no way to emulate what The Utility Expo offers: equipment test drives and in-person demonstrations.

I opted to spend Tuesday 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, upfitter and end user. I learned that FMVSS 111 rule states that all vehicles under 10,000 pounds must be equipped with a rear-view camera. I learned that comfortable shoes are a must at this event.

And 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 things 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.

And 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 2023.

And while 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 this year’s show, contact our sales department to set up an in-person or virtual demonstration of our commercial mobile video solutions.


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