Trade show organizers expect Quinn to sign bill

Posted May 20, 2010 at 4:20 p.m.

By Kathy Bergen
Some of Chicago’s biggest trade show organizers emerged from a meeting
with Gov. Pat Quinn this afternoon expecting that he’ll sign the
McCormick Place overhaul bill. But they believe Quinn may try for some
modifications, perhaps in an add-on bill.

The bill, which passed both houses of the General Assembly by wide
margins, “is not anything we’ll see vetoed by the governor,” said Steve
Drew, a point person for the radiologists convention.

Those attending the meeting said the governor had concerns on some labor issues, and on the bill’s lack of a succession plan, in case Jim Reilly cannot fill that role. Reilly is the legislature’s chief advisor on the bill, and is a former chief executive of the agency that runs McCormick Place.

The governor is expected to act before this legislation session ends later this month, participants said.

“He conveyed a sense of urgency,” said Mia Rampersad, a representative of the Housewares show.

After the meeting, Quinn’s office issued a prepared statement, which said, in part, “While this is a complex bill, Gov. Quinn is committed to making sure reform is handled correctly and understands that action must be taken quickly during these difficult economic times.”

Quinn is in a series of meetings on the legislation. He went straight into a meeting with officials from the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, who urged him to sign the bill.

Tim Roby, chief executive of the bureau, said after that meeting that Quinn “clearly understands it’s about jobs and the importance of the convention industry and tourism.”

The governor is now meeting with representatives of the Illinois restaurant and hotel associations.

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  1. Chicago 20 May 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Is all of this to benefit the monopolies of Freeman and GES?
    Is there anything in place to prevent David Causton from accepting a job with Freeman or GES after he takes his pension?
    Is David Causton doing what Jim Reilly did, give Freeman and GES whatever they want while they work for McPier, so they can work for Freeman and GES afterwards as a consultant?
    Is this why no one challenged the obviously fictitious HiMSS booth claim, the SPI-NPE Cost Comparison and Ms. Heftman’s testimony?
    They are all talking about exhibitor’s rights, but they are doing nothing to protect the exhibitors.
    What is in this legislation that protects exhibitors from unpredictable and escalating charges, cost-shifting, energy surcharges, special handling, bundling, undisclosed third party payments, exorbitant mark ups on drayage and other services by Freeman, GES and other GSC’s while at McCormick Place?
    Where is the transparency?
    None of these proposals addresses 90% of exhibitor’s complaints.
    Again, here is an exhibitor survey from Trade Show Week magazine.
    Let see how these proposals match up to address the exhibitor’s complaints.
    In your opinion, what is the single most inflated tradeshow cost?
    Materials handling (drayage) – No change, Freeman and GES retain control and profits.
    Exhibit space – No change, Freeman and GES retain control and profits.
    Furniture rental – No change, Freeman and GES retain control and profits.
    Electricity – Focus One is no longer the exclusive electrical contractor, the prices are reduced to cost.
    Telecommunications – Focus One is no longer the exclusive electrical contractor,the prices are reduced to cost.
    Exhibit transportation – No change, Freeman and GES retain control and profits.
    Installation and dismantle – The bill allows exhibitors to set up their own booths, regardless of size.
    Booth decor – No change, Freeman and GES retain control and profits.
    Catering – Trade shows to bring in their own food and beverages.
    The failure to address these problems will not solve any of the exhibitor’s concerns.
    Only Mr. Reilly’s past clients, GES and Freeman, and their trade associations will benefit from this legislation.
    The exhibitor’s are the customer, NOT Freeman and GES, and this legislation completely ignores the exhibitor’s concerns.
    Why is there no competition on drayage?
    What about exhibit space rate disclosures?
    Where is the competition on furniture rentals?
    All of these items are directly controlled and profited on, by Freeman and GES and will continue under Mr. Reilly’s guidance.
    Jim Reilly’s past clients are GES and Freeman Co. and we are to believe there is “absolutely no” conflict of interest?

  2. Chicago 20 May 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    “The execs almost certainly want Mr. Quinn to sign, and at least one, if not more, is believed to be preparing to split for Orlando or Las Vegas should Mr. Quinn amend or veto legislation that they think would save them millions.”
    The Trade Show Execs really wouldn’t save anything, because they don’t pay the bills.
    The exhibitors pay the bills.
    After the Trade Show Execs apply their mark-ups, charges and fees.
    So how much profit does a Trade Show make for its association or organization?
    In 2006, HiMSS, a 501C 3 charity, reported $17,000,000 of revenue from just one show.
    How can the National Restaurant Association charge $28.50 per square foot for its show, when Pack-Expo is only charging $24.50 and including drayage?
    Why did the SPI-NPE Plastic Show charge $19.50 – $22.50 per square foot for its show, when Pack-Expo is only charging $24.50 and including drayage?
    It is the same convention center, same labor, same work rules, but exhibitors at Pack-Expo are happy.
    Why does the NRA and the SPI-NPE Plastic Show charge its exhibitors thousands of dollars extra for drayage?
    Why is Pack-Expo growing, while the SPI-NPE Plastic Show and the NRA shows are in decline?
    What is Exhibiting Transparency?