Last week gave me an opportunity to attend the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia. This giant tradeshow focuses on the poultry industry and includes all aspects of the farm to fork approach of food processing and operations. Someone described it as "they've got everything you need to grow the chickens over there and everything to process and package them over here." It was actually really fun to experience all of the innovation for the industry. It almost felt overwhelming to see all these neat gadgets, but fortunately I was on the vendor side of the booth where I got to focus on my product. In a room full of new and exciting technologies, it's good to feel like the expert on a specific one!
Our instrument is designed for pathogen detection so I was there as a food safety representative. Attendees came to the show for all kinds of solutions; not necessarily food safety. I was still amazed by the variety of visitors that came to our booth. I had a chance to talk to students still in college or recent graduates that showed an interest in our technology and even inquiring about careers in food safety. I talked to representatives of contract labs that had customers requesting our instrument be used when testing their samples. I even had a chance to discuss our technology with foreign distributors that were very excited about taking that information back to their country's reference lab.
Let's not forget the swag! Isn't that the real reason to attend the tradeshows? We gave away several USB car chargers and chicken key chains. The box company next to us was handing out tiny elephants. I walked around and saw a booth that had an indoor driving range set up to win a prize and another booth that had a Mardi Gras theme complete with beads. People walked out with bags filled with all kinds of goodies. I'm sure there were all sorts of sweet trinkets to be found by just exploring a bit more.
All in all it was a fantastic experience! It's a lot of fun to attend these shows armed with a great product that I am passionate about. I'm looking forward to upcoming tradeshows; to have another chance to chat with others interested in our technology. I hope to see you there!
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