So, as previously noted, we had marked up a Solar Power International 13 exhibit floor map with the location of the various Chicago-area exhibitors, and made an effort to swing by to see what was up with them. We didn’t make it to every booth, but we maybe hit 3/4 of the ones we’d identified from the media services print-outs. In most cases, there just wasn’t anything there for a “green tech” story, so we only shot video of a few.
Again, this show was very much “the industry talking to itself”, and there wasn’t a whole lot of inclination to address the “broad strokes” or the “long view” of the industry … understandable, I guess, in that most of the folks manning the booths were salesmen, focused primarily in pitching the virtues of their particular product lines.
In the videos below, we talked to folks selling capacitors, batteries, cable, inverters, and control system software … all important parts in the Solar Power field, but none of which seemed to have much interest in having “a story” that went beyond the spec sheets. Due to time constraints, Ed and I were only able to devote one day for going down the the convention, and perhaps we’d have been able to connect with more “visionary” material in the assorted talks and workshops that were part of the show … but the stuff we were looking for was hard to find out on the exhibit floor. Anyway, here’s a walk through of folks from the “Chicago area” with whom we shot interviews.
First there’s Kevin Sheldon, a Vice President of the American operation of Japanese capacitor manufacturer Nichicon, whose local office is in Shchaumburg:
We next had a chat with Sean A. Blaylock, the Director of Marketing for battery-maker GNB Industrial Power, located out in Aurora:
Then we wandered over to the Industrial Wire and Cable Corp. (of Lake Zurich) booth, and spoke with their President, Carl Calabrese:
From there we made our way over to the Coleman Cable’s booth (their corporate office being in Waukegan), and talked to Arnie Kravitz, the VP of Sales, Marketing & Support for their TRC subsidiary making smart grid and micro grid inverters:
The last stop we made in this part of the day (before we headed off for the appointments we had for the interviews in yesterday’s post) was to talk to Jay Marhoefer, CEO of Intelligent Generation, a control software organization headquartered out of IIT’s “University Technology Park” … actually in Chicago::
You can get a sense of how disjointed the experience was for somebody not in the industry, as the focus was very tight on the details of the products or services being offered by each exhibitor (and these were the most interesting of the booths we visited … I told you I’d spare you the less engaging stuff!), and not on how those fit into the Solar Power industry as a whole (let alone alternative energy as a general subject).
We had gone in thinking that we’d find a bunch of “WOW!” exhibits, and, with a few notable exceptions (the most “hey, that’s cool!” thing was a solar canopy where one could park one’s electric car and plug it in to charge it), there weren’t any.
However, one thing I’ll give the Solar Power folks is how “green” they were in the press room … the pic over here is the “press kit” table which was a sea of flash drives rather than stacks of classic “dead tree” kits! I spent a lot of my early career doing PR programs at conventions, and the slick (expensive) printed press kits of the sort that I used to slave over were very conspicuous in their absence. I guess it hasn’t taken very long to go from it being a notable “treat” to get a flash drive hand-out at a conference (I still remember the first time I got one), to it being “just another thing” to toss into one’s bag. At least it’s keeping a lot of paper waste out of the dumps.
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