Oaks and Diamonds – Dealing with Professional Pressure

Picture of Uber Eats exhibit

Whenever I get the opportunity to make a contribution to the Nationwide 360 blog series, I usually start by looking for a quote to set the tone of the piece. These sometimes clever quips are usually light and airy, but the first kernel of wisdom that popped up in a search while preparing for the topic of dealing with ‘professional pressure’ made such an impression on me that I thought it should be given more than the usual throwaway lead-in. So, true to my visual nature, I’ve made a graphic of the wise words spoken by Peter Marshall (the Scottish clergyman, not the Hollywood Squares game show host, by the way).

Words of wisdom, indeed.

Overlapping in May were two of our biggest shows of the year—Sweets and Snacks Expo and National Restaurant Association Show– and while having them both in the same exhibition hall (McCormick Place in Chicago) allowed for some logistical streamlining, with a combined forty-plus clients on the show floors, including five brand new exhibits, the Nationwide 360 team’s mettle was put to the test. We certainly had to cope with our own form of contrary winds and diamond-making pressure.

Our determination paid off. By all accounts our long-standing clients enjoyed successful shows, the new exhibit debuts made great first impressions all around, and to top it all off, the new exhibit we designed and built for Uber Eats took home the prize for Best of Show in the Large Exhibit Category at the National Restaurant Association Show!

Those of us in the exhibit industry know that rush projects are the norm rather than the exception, but considering that we had just over five weeks to build the Uber Eats exhibit in the midst of preparing the rest of our clients’ exhibits, the award was that much more gratifying, if not to say miraculous.

Dual image of the Uber Eats exhibit

After renting properties for their multi-show yearly schedule with us for some time, when Uber Eats reached out with a request to design a new custom exhibit, I was thrilled. Working with such an iconic, instantly recognizable brand is every designer’s dream. Steve Griffith, President of Nationwide 360, Karen Johnson, Account Manager, and I jumped at the chance, and after a couple of preliminary face-to-face meetings with Emily Grant and Ana Pelina,  Head of B2B Marketing (US) and Marketing Manager–Strategic Initiatives for Uber Eats respectively, I set to work with my team on two design concepts. I was excited when the Uber Eats team chose to go in the direction of the concept that was the more daring, more experiential of the options.

Conceived to lead attendees through the ‘Uber Eats journey’ from restaurant to home, the selected 40’ x 50’ exhibit design featured an illuminated can-letter logo of monolithic proportions, a raised floor dining area, an open air lounge, monitors disguised as giant handheld devices, bicycles(!) and an all-encompassing ‘Uber Eats Green’ illuminated header structure, among other exhibit marvels.

I recently spoke with our General Manager Frank Vesce, who kept a close eye on all aspects of the project’s development. “There’s no two ways about it,” he told me. “Getting all that built and out the door in the allotted timeline was a challenge. But worrying is time wasted, so as soon as we heard the word ‘go’ we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.”

Anthony Calvaruso, Production Manager, cited the tenacity of the Nationwide 360 shop: “My team worked tirelessly,” he said. “Our Lead Carpenters and Skilled Craftsman have the patience of saints. The entire team worked twelve hour days, seven days a week to complete the project. We’re like a family. One of our guys falters, the other picks him up.”

“Thankfully we have strong relationships with our vendors and suppliers as well,” Vesce added, “I consider them part of our extended family. They weren’t rattled by next day turnarounds. They stayed cool when they were asked to expedite or find alternate sources for materials that weren’t readily available.”

Perhaps Steve Griffith summed it up best. When I asked him about how he thinks his company deals with the pressures the industry often presses upon us he responded, “It comes down to two things: teamwork and the integrity of the individual.” He continued, “They get the job done and done well because they care about their work. That’s the greatest quality any business owner could hope for in his staff. I consider myself a lucky man to have such a great team on my side.”

I can’t add much more to that, so in the interest of balance, I’ll end the piece as it began, with another quote. Jonas Salk:

Onward and forward.

-Joseph Christiana, Creative Director

Collage of Darrell Lea and Fancy Heat exhibits
Collage of the Smarties and Saucy Ladies Exhibit

Have Questions? Contact Nationwide 360

Nationwide 360 is happy to answer your questions. We are a one-stop shop for comprehensive trade show solutions. These range from designing and crafting unique custom exhibits to providing trade show services. To learn more, give us a call today at 631-467-2034.

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