Featuring more than 100 new products from 79 companies, the New Products Spotlight at GIE+EXPO (Oct. 17-19) is sold out. A spin-off of the popular New Products Showcase, this special display, which will be located in the registration area, will highlight manufacturers' newest items.

In order to qualify for the Spotlight, products had to have been introduced within the past year. Some will have their unveiling during the show.

"The new products area has always been a popular feature, but as the show continues to grow, we had maxed out space on the show floor. In order to make room for more exhibitors, we've revamped the feature," said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. "With this new lobby display, attendees will be able to get an overview of new products and where to find them before they head onto the show floor."

After reviewing the latest innovations in the New Products Spotlight, attendees can plan a strategy for visiting the other exhibits. In addition to the Spotlight, new products will be introduced during more than 20 press conferences scheduled during the three days of the show.

Attendees can find details about all exhibitors and products on display with the Go EXPO mobile app sponsored by Turf Mutt.

A Boise landscaping company was fined $9,054 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the accident on Boise’s Hewlett Packard campus that killed 65-year-old Antonio Barroso Garcia, of Nampa.OSHA cited Trautman Lawn & Landscape Company on July 31 with a “serious” violation, setting an abatement deadline for Aug. 24. Garcia died May 23 at the former HP complex, between buildings six and seven, at 11311 Chinden Boulevard.According to the citation, employees were operating a John Deere 5525 tractor with a 553 Loader that had an implement attached to collect grass clippings. The clipping weight was about 200-300 pounds and the implement, described by OSHA as “after-market fabricated metal bins” used to collect and dump grass clippings, was not designed or approved by the manufacturer.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday that the employer then requested a meeting and OSHA agreed to amend the citation language, but the penalty was not reduced. An informal settlement between OSHA and Trautman Lawn & Landscape Company was signed Aug. 27.

Jerry Schill, president of Schill Grounds Management in North Ridgeville, Ohio, vividly remembers his first trip to GIE+EXPO about two decades ago.

“My brother and I and one employee and a spouse drove down in a little Ford Escort – and we broke down along the way,” he says. “We were dirt poor at the time. So, when we got there, I remember walking into that trade show and the outdoor area, and I was blown away by the sheer size and all the things available to us that we had no idea existed.”

Schill and his brother were just starting their business at the time. He says the show really opened his eyes to the size of the green industry, and it encouraged him to network to grow his Cleveland-based business.

“It opened our eyes to so many things beyond equipment,” Schill says. “GIE+EXPO is where people go to learn. Education there led to consultants. Consultants led to improved processes and improved processes led to higher profitability.”

The size of the show impressed Schill upon his first trip down in the 1990s. Today, the show has grown significantly. This year’s GIE+EXPO is expected to be bigger than ever before, with more exhibitors and education offerings than in past years.

“For first-time attendees at EXPO, it’s overwhelming,” says Bob Clements, president and CEO at Bob Clement International. “It’s like Disneyland. Where do I start?”

Schill and Clements have both attended numerous GIE+EXPO events over the years. They offer the following tips for first-time visitors:

Network with professionals. Above anything else, Schill recommends all contractors meet contractors from other parts of the U.S. at GIE+EXPO. He says networking at the show is key for a company’s growth – and he says it was key for Schill Grounds Management’s growth, as well.

“You have to network with like-minded professionals, people in your industry who love and have a passion for what you do,” he says.

While schedules during the trade show can be busy, Schill says to make time for networking in the evenings after the show floor closes. He says there are many opportunities to connect with other landscapers on 4th Street Live! during the GIE+EXPO concert series.

“Some of my most memorable moments have been at the networking opportunities, like down on 4th Street Live!, getting to know and form relationships with people,” Schill adds. “Absolutely go with a mindset to work hard and play hard.”

Prepare the trip ahead of time. After Schill’s first trip to GIE+EXPO, he says the one thing he did differently the second year was prepare ahead.

Before going to GIE+EXPO, he says to answer some vital questions: Why is your business going to the show? Why are you personally going? What do you hope to take away from the show? How will that takeaway improve your business or your employees? When you return from the show, how are you going to implement what you learned?

He adds that if an owner or manager plans to bring others from their team to the show, make sure to get a clear reason from them on why they want to go.

“For my staff to go to the show, they have to answer those same questions,” he says. “We just want to make sure they have a thirst for knowledge and challenge why they want to go.”

Book hotels near the events. Since GIE+EXPO is a growing show, Schill recommends booking a hotel and travel well in advance of the show. “Don’t book late,” he says. “Hotels can be a nightmare.”

He notes that his first year at the show, his team booked a hotel too late and had to stay pretty far away from the show and networking events. “If you don’t commit to booking early enough, it gets to be a challenge and you isolate yourself,” Schill says. “So sign up early.”

From cool attractions to award-winning restaurants, even GIE+EXPO attendees who returns year after year will find something new. In fact, Forbes recently called Louisville one of the 10 coolest cities to visit.

If bourbon – or maybe craft beer – is your thing, you’ll want to say through the weekend and explore. Whether you’re looking for a tour or just a taste, you’ll find establishments popping up all over town.

New and in the downtown area, there’s Old Forester and Rabbit Hole for bourbon; Prohibition Craft Spirits Distillery for everything but bourbon – gin, vodka, rum and tequila; and Goodwood Brewing or Falls City Brewing’s first stand-alone tap room for beer lovers.

And, of course, there’s always Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail. With almost 40 establishments on the trail, you’re sure to find a new one to try. There are two ways to travel the trail. You can pick up a free passport at the Visitors Center (4th and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville) or at an Urban Bourbon Trail stop. Or download an electronic passport using an iPhone or Android app. Ask your bartender or server to validate your passport (or app) at each stop, and once you’ve visited six stops along the trail you’ll earn an Urban Bourbon Trailblazer T-shirt.

Louisville has been dubbed the northernmost southern city, so you can bet the restaurant scene is packed with variety that ranges from down-home southern to eclectic. If you’re headed downtown for the concerts, here are a few new and noteworthy spots you might want to check out.

Whiskey Dry is the first locally owned business on Fourth Street Live! You may recognize Chef Edward Lee from his past appearances on “Iron Chef America” or “Top Chef” to name a few. Back home in Louisville he has created a whiskey-forward menu featuring diner-style burgers with affordable prices.

Branching out from the popular Fourth Street entertainment venue, you’ll find all kinds of deliciousness. Just steps away, Porch Kitchen & Bar is cooking up plenty of southern comfort food. For a sweet treat after dinner Ehrler’s Ice Cream is a quick walk to Main Street.

The new Omni Hotel offers a wide variety of dining options. Bob’s Steak & Chop House and Neighborhood Services are both great for a sit-down meal. If you like some activity with your meal, Pin + Proof is a speakeasy that features a bowling alley. The Library Bar is a good option for local cocktails. Or stroll through Falls City Market where you can grab anything from sushi to BBQ at one of the culinary stations. There’s even a taco truck inside the market!

Fourth Street Live! has a wide variety of dining and entertainment offerings, including the free nightly concerts sponsored by BOB-CAT Mowers on the Mercedes-Benz stage. You’ll find all kinds of cuisine from pub food to New York style pizza to a raw bar.

If you want a taste of the bourbon scene before the concerts, Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse is right there at Fourth Street Live! The tour includes a small working distillery, a bottling line, a tasting experience and a unique bottle-your-own-bourbon experience.

Or if you’re looking for more music, try Howl at the Moon, the city’s dueling piano bar where you’ll hear musicians playing everything from classic rock to pop. You can request your favorite song or just enjoy the party.

Wherever you go, be sure to take along your show badge. Many local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues offer discounts through the Show Us Your Badge program. Check out the list of participating businesses here: http://bit.ly/2tGCxYe.

Jerry Schill, president of Schill Grounds Management in North Ridgeville, Ohio, vividly remembers his first trip to GIE+EXPO about two decades ago.

“My brother and I and one employee and a spouse drove down in a little Ford Escort – and we broke down along the way,” he says. “We were dirt poor at the time. So, when we got there, I remember walking into that trade show and the outdoor area, and I was blown away by the sheer size and all the things available to us that we had no idea existed.”

Schill and his brother were just starting their business at the time. He says the show really opened his eyes to the size of the green industry, and it encouraged him to network to grow his Cleveland-based business.

“It opened our eyes to so many things beyond equipment,” Schill says. “GIE+EXPO is where people go to learn. Education there led to consultants. Consultants led to improved processes and improved processes led to higher profitability.”

The size of the show impressed Schill upon his first trip down in the 1990s. Today, the show has grown significantly. This year’s GIE+EXPO is expected to be bigger than ever before, with more exhibitors and education offerings than in past years.

“For first-time attendees at EXPO, it’s overwhelming,” says Bob Clements, president and CEO at Bob Clement International. “It’s like Disneyland. Where do I start?”

Look for new technology. With exhibitors showcasing new equipment at GIE+EXPO, Clements recommends first-time dealers spend some time at the show looking at emerging technology featured at manufacturer booths. He says dealers should also prepare ahead of the show to check if there is any new technology their dealership might want to offer.

“If you don’t have a line of robotic mowers or battery-powered trimmers, go to EXPO and look at what’s available from that perspective. Start having conversations from that standpoint,” he says.

While a dealer might not be ready to embrace new technology, Clements says to look at it anyway, remembering that decisions don’t have to be made right on the show floor.

“Take a look at future technology, but that doesn’t mean you need to sign onto it right then and there,” he says.

Sign up for training. GIE+EXPO offers many training sessions specifically for dealers, so Clements says owners and managers should check out those sessions. Clements is also offering a Dealer Boot Camp Wednesday through Friday morning at the show.

Also, the show offers some training for technicians. Clements advises dealerships invite their technicians to take advantage of educational offerings, as well.

“The best trainers in the industry are at these,” he says. “While you’re going through a training session, encourage your technicians go through advanced training at the EETC.”

Make changes back home. At the end of the show, list things learned and enjoyed at GIE+EXPO and then figure out which of those things can be applied at the dealership.

“When you leave, sit down and determine one thing you can do starting next week that would move you to becoming a better business,” Clements says.

He says don’t try to change everything at once – pick a few things that were impressive and feasible to work on first.

Take pride in the industry. For dealers making their first trip to GIE+EXPO, Clements says the show should give them a better idea of the size of the industry.

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“When you leave GIE+EXPO, you have to be impressed with the industry you’re in,” he says. “There’s no show in the world like GIE+EXPO. People all over the world come to it. It’s the place to be if you’re in the green industry.”

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