Last week I took part in my first business trip and trade show event: FabTech in Chicago. I am still very much in the processing phase of this event but I know it has had a large influence on my life.
On Sunday, Paulina (a Balluff colleague) and I left the Cincinnati area around 9:00 AM. We arrived around 1:30 or 2:00 and checked into the Hyatt. We then went over to the McCormick building to finish setting up the Balluff booth. The vastness of the building itself was inspiring. Carpets were rolled up, displays were being manipulated in several booths, and I was experiencing slight sensory overload.
After a few hours running around, cleaning, wiring, and finishing up all the final touches, the power was cut and we called it a day. The evening brought some slight exposure toChicago.
Monday: the first day of the show.
I kept the morning for myself. I put on my nicely pressed silver Balluff button up shirt and I headed to the show. It was more of a foreign experience than anything else. I helped finish setting up, and the show floor took to life. Machines humming, stamping, drilling, cutting, products gleaming, lights flashing, people everywhere. The facility was put together, nothing like before. Some of the machines were larger than ¾ of my apartment and I was dumbfounded, absorbing as much as I could.
During the show I had the opportunity to walk around, gawking at all the impressive machinery and things of the sort, while allowing my brain to finally connect the dots that are my education. To see, to ask questions, to learn from experience, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
One of the most interesting aspects of the event was the people. It was incredible to see such a massive collective of individuals moving about like a body of water, each with a different intent, the majority of their conversations revolving around engineering and problem solving.
It is also interesting to be exposed to many of the facets of the functioning of a business. Being an in-house contributor, I’m rarely exposed to ‘the other side’ of Balluff operations. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the perspectives offered by the sales team at the end of the day’s group meeting. It was a very tactful and strategic way of summarizing the results of the day, reassessing goals, reinforcing alignment with those goals, and raising awareness. Also, every perspective had the opportunity of representation: no voice was unheard.
Tuesday was spent on reflection, good conversation, and a car ride home.
Though I only had one full day to experience at this event, it has been an eye-opening experience. It has allowed me to gain some insight on a portion of engineering and how extensive this field truly is. Due to the display, our role in this field, and the people I work with, my enthusiasm and pride for Balluff has been reinforced. I have come to see the amount of time, effort, and persistence necessary to establish yourself in such an extensive field.
Special thanks to all of you who made this trip possible for me and who devote so much to making Balluff what it is. Also, thanks to Vestal Simms, Will Healy, Paulina Johnson, Mike Bouts, Shawn Day, and Tom Rosenberg for your insights and guidance.