London and IMTS Have Something in Common

Navigating London and IMTS are not dissimilar


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For the last year and a half, my youngest child, David, has lived and worked in London, England. I was able to visit him twice during his stay there. We had great times together. I was impressed at how this 28-year-old got his head around such a large and complex city. He had the Underground, Uber, taxis and walking down pat. And man, did we walk. My iPhone recorded eight to nine miles daily. It was hard on an old man like me, but see the city, we did.  

The company Dave works for, which administers pensions and medical plans for state and national governments, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. where he transferred from. The experience was fantastic for him. He used England as a springboard to visit many other places. Being a soccer fan, he went to Amsterdam over a weekend to see a match. Plus, he got to see his beloved Manchester United play in London.

He and some friends took a long weekend trip to Iceland, which he described to me as “otherworldly.” The Riviera, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and Scotland were all trips he made from his base in the U.K. What a great experience for a young man.

As someone who has traveled for most of his business life, I’m especially proud of my son’s willingness to explore and fearlessness to meet new people. My guess is his wanderlust was inherited. Dave is single and will probably never be in a better position to do what he’s been doing for the last year and a half. 

My son has recently transferred back to D.C. to take a new position for his company. I jokingly call it his Brexit. His performance in England has earned him a promotion, and his international experience will be applied in the new job as he is assigned to manage some of his company’s overseas operations. It looks like he’s off to Australia next. No doubt he will get back to England and visit many other places as time goes by. He’s a lucky young man, but has worked hard making his luck. Yes, I’m a proud papa.

Getting around London with Dave and learning from him how to use the infrastructure tools available to Londoners reminds me a bit of attending a massive trade show such as IMTS. Roaming around the four buildings that comprise the McCormick Place complex can be intimidating for people not familiar with it and for many of those who have attended in the past. Getting around Chicago isn’t too shabby, either. 

In London, we could find a specific location using the subway maps, then decide the most efficient way to get there. For IMTS attendees, there are numerous tools available to help find the specific company and product category that is the reason for your visit. With an exhibition this large, being efficient with your time and shoe leather is very good advice.

To get organized at IMTS, take advantage of some of the planning tools that are available at your fingertips. Overall details and updated information can be accessed at imts.com. Other planning tools can be found through the IMTS 2016 app, which can be downloaded for iOS and Android platforms. This app will help you find your way around the miles of aisles that comprise this huge show and let attendees easily locate what you are looking for, be it exhibitors, specific products of interest or educational sessions. Moreover, accessing the MyShow Planner, either on a phone or using kiosks located throughout the show floor, will help organize a straight line visitation plan that saves backtracking. You’ll understand that better once on site.

McCormick Place is not London, but then again, what is? However, for metalworking professionals McCormick Place is the place to be in mid-September. 

On a personal note, I will not be able to attend this year’s show. Because of health issues with my wife of 37 years, I am staying away from IMTS for the first time since 1980—priorities. On the upside, I’ll be home for my September 15 anniversary in an even numbered year.

I’ll miss seeing many friends and new technical developments, but I can read about them in PM. Keep an eye out for Chris Felix, Lori Beckman and the newest member of the PM team, Associate Editor Russ Willcutt. They have my back.