Tips and tricks for ProMat 2011 attendees, Part 2

This is the second installment in a three-part series on tips and tricks for attending ProMat 2011. These tips will help you navigate the show floor.

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What’s for Lunch?
If grazing from the candy bowls at exhibitors’ displays doesn’t fill you up, Rabya’s Fudge Shop, Connie’s Pizza, Starbuck’s and McDonalds are located in the McCormick Place South Building. Additionally, specialty food carts can be found throughout the McCormick Place South Building. Concession areas and food courts are also located at the back of Halls B and C. In addition, a large food court area is located in the McCormick Place Building.

New this year is ProMat Bistro, located right on the show floor. Bistro provides an opportunity for uninterrupted, face-to-face time with attendees. Tables of 10 or four can be reserved for the whole day or the entire show, so your company will always have an off-booth site to eat, meet, and network. You can buy tickets and reserve a table in advance at

What’s “The Hub?”
Head to the center of the ProMat 2011 show floor to check out The Hub, an interactive resource center that offers multiple informational and educational opportunities. Special features include a Material Handling Industry Resource Center (also known as MHIA’s Bookstore), City of Chicago Concierge services, an overview of MHIA’s educational programs, information about the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), and a preview of MHIA’s newest show Modex 2012 to be held February 6-9, 2012 in Atlanta.

How to Build Your Materials Handling Library Collection
If your bookshelves are bereft of the latest in great materials handling literature, then the ProMat 2011 Industry Resource Center is your destination.

Located in The Hub, at the center of the show floor, the Resource Center will have some of the Material Handling Industry of America’s (MHIA) publications available for purchase, as well as access to their entire catalog online for on-the-spot ordering, says Allan Howie, MHIA’s director of continuing education and professional development.

“Over the years, we’ve found that attendees want to buy these materials while they’re at the expo, but don’t necessarily want to lug them around the show floor,” Howie says. “Our staffers will be on-hand to help guide their selections and walk them through the ordering process, if need be.”

MHIA’s online bookstore offers a full range of materials, from books and multimedia about the industry to standards, specifications, and application guidelines. Many of the publications are now offered in downloadable PDF format, continues Howie.

“The end users who come to the trade show are particularly interested in systems, equipment and specifications,” says Howie. “If you want to learn more about the industry, the MHIA bookstore is definitely your top resource.”

Where Can You Learn More About the Materials Handling Industry and Education? 
With the tagline “Everyone’s A Student!,” you’ll definitely learn more about the materials handling industry and its many educational and career paths at an exhibit in The Hub, located in the center of the show floor.

In addition to highlighting the educational tracks and on-floor seminars available at ProMat 2011, this area will feature the Material Handling Industry of America’s College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE), Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. (MHEFI), and Technical Career Education Programs (TCEP), says Allan Howie, MHIA’s director of continuing education and professional development.

“It’s a place for anyone who wants to learn more about education in material handling—including educators, students and corporations—can learn about our programs and offerings,” Howie continues.

Howie also anticipates that this area will provide a central location for educators looking to network with others in the field of material handling instruction. “Some of our veteran TCEP instructors from programs around the country will be available to chat with educators contemplating starting their own programs at the high school, two-year college, and four-year college level,” he says.

Interest in establishing materials handling education programs has grown exponentially, says Howie, with nearly 30 programs located throughout the country.

“The demand for trained, entry-level warehouse and materials handling workers is tremendous,” says Howie. “MHIA’s programs continue to help school systems and teachers with materials and information about how to set the programs up and how to offer practical, hands-on experiences in a simulated warehouse setting.”

The programs offer recommendations for syllabi, curriculum and resources. “Many of these programs are now introducing a real-life, hands-on component to their curriculum by adding a community service project to help their local communities,” he concludes.

Find Hot Tips for Chicago’s Not-to-Miss Attractions
Overwhelmed by the multitude of restaurant and entertainment options offered by the City of Chicago? Need some ideas for how to spend your time away from ProMat? Drop by The Hub at the center of the show floor to use the expertise of the City of Chicago’s concierge services staffers. They can guide you around the city, and help you pick the food and fun that maximizes your downtime and makes your stay memorable.

Where Can I Learn More About Modex 2012?
The Material Handling Industry of America’s newest expo, Modex 2012, debuts in Atlanta next year and highlights the hottest solutions for the manufacturing, distribution and supply chain marketplace. Set for February 6-9, 2012, Modex 2012 will feature “Solutions that Move Supply Chains” from more than 500 leading providers in the industry. To learn more about what you can expect—either as an exhibitor or as an attendee—drop by The Hub in the center of the ProMat Show floor, or visit

How Does the Materials Handling Industry Support Disaster Relief?
Whenever a natural or man-made disaster occurs, either within the United States or abroad, there’s always a tremendous outpouring of generosity—compounded by the challenge of channeling this goodwill effectively. That’s where the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) steps in, to coordinate supply chain disaster relief resources to support humanitarian relief efforts through the supply chain community. Want to hear more? Drop by The Hub in the center of the show floor to learn about ALAN’s work, the numerous organizations it coordinates with to make disaster relief possible and how you and your company can become involved.

How Can I Stay Connected at ProMat 2011?
Plug into your networks within ProMat and elsewhere in the Social Networking Lounge, located in The Hub at the center of the show floor. This networking and gathering place will feature Tweets and the “One Minute To Connect” exhibitor videos posted on two screens. The video displays will also share show news and information.

“At every show, we like to provide an area for attendees to come together for social interaction and networking during the show,” explains Carol Miller, vice president of marketing and communications for the Material Handling Industry of America. “Additionally, there will be email kiosks, charging stations, Wi-Fi wireless internet and plenty of seating.”

To hear what others are saying at the show via social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you can follow the following websites:,,

To Tweet about ProMat 2011 and view tweets from show management, other attendees and exhibitors, use #ProMatShow as the hashtag. Follow @ProMatShow for show information, photos and special offers. If you have Twitter on your mobile device, you can text “Follow ProMatShow” to 40404. No Twitter account? Text “START” to 40404 get set up, then text “Follow ProMatShow” to 40404 (standard text messaging rates apply).

To access the ProMat 2011 show website away from your computer, visit on your mobile device to access the online exhibitor directory, educational seminars, and your agenda planner.

Where Are the Free Educational Seminars?
Rest your feet while you learn something at one of the 80 free educational sessions. Sessions are located in the ProMat 2011 Knowledge Center in the back right corner of the show floor. They run from 10:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Presented by industry experts in materials handling and logistics solutions, topics range from best practices reviews to maintenance to metrics. Detailed abstracts of each session, with key takeaways for attendees, are included in both the show program and in a special seminar directory booklet. Only a few of the sessions run twice. Each theater holds 120 participants, and it’s first-come/first-served with no standing room allowed.

ProMat 2011 will be held March 21 - 24, 2011 at McCormick Place South in Chicago. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry.

Read all of Modern’s ProMat 2011 coverage


About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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