Brooke Conrad, Communications Director for the TurboMachinery Laboratory at Texas A&M University, talks about the show and some of the things the show is doing to help the people in Houston effected by Hurricane Harvey.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey, guys. Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio, texasbusinessradio.com is the website. As you can tell, we’re not in the studio. We are at the George R. Brown Convention Center at the 46th Turbo Machinery and 33rd Pump Symposia brought to you by the turbo lab at Texas A&M University. We’re down here talking about rotating equipment, pumps, gear boxes, turbines, anything that goes round and round. We have an absolute show full of these guys, and we are bringing you the best of the show. To kick things off, we’re going to talk to Brooke Conrad who is the lady in charge here. Brooke, what’s going on?
Brook Conrad: I wouldn’t say I’m the lady in charge.
Matt Register: One of the ladies in charge.
Brook Conrad: The lady in charge of the graphics and things, so we’ll go with that one.
Matt Register: Yeah, there you go. Talk to me about the show. We were here last year. We’re here again this year. This is supposed to be a September show. What happened?
Brook Conrad: Well, there was a hurricane that struck the Houston area, and so we decided to reschedule, as there were 10,000, I think, at one point, refugees staged in the George R. Brown where we are now, on this very exhibit floor.
Matt Register: Yeah. I got it. That doesn’t make for a smooth show. It was rescheduled, turned into a Christmas show, so tell me a little bit … because you guys raised a significant amount of funds for the Houston relief effort in the meantime. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Brook Conrad: Yeah, so we partnered with New Way Air Bearings, who’s exhibiting here today, to launch TPS Helps Houston, which is a relief fund. It’s going … All of the funds for that are going to ShelterBox, which sets up emergency shelter for people in these situations, so they do it abroad, they do it here locally. Wherever they’re needed, they dispatch and help people who need emergency shelter. That’s where those funds are going to. You are still invited to give if you want to do that. There’s a button for … It says reschedule info on our homepage, tps.tamu.edu. You can go there [crosstalk 00:02:13]
Matt Register: Even easier than that, guys, if you Google Turbo Machinery Show, that’s what’s going to pop up. Far easier than trying to remember that. We’re going to have it linked right there from the website as well. There’s a silent auction out front. There’s a whole bunch of ways to donate to that, right?
Brook Conrad: Yeah. We’re excited. We had a pop up silent auction in the front at the registration area, and all of the purchases from that are going to benefit our TPS Helps Houston efforts, and so we’re just excited. Houston is so great to us year round, especially … I was going to say in September, but this time it’s in December. We wanted to do what we can to give back to our friends here who were affected by the floods. We’re doing what we can to give back.
Matt Register: It’s a good thing, and we appreciate it for sure. Now, tell us a little bit about some of the new things that are going on in this show.
Brook Conrad: We have 89 new companies, like never been to the Turbo Machinery and Pump Symposium before.
Matt Register: It’s funny, when we got here to set up, I was expecting this to be a light show. You’ve just rescheduled it, right? You had it scheduled for September, you called an audible and pushed it to December. I’m fully expecting a lower turnout show, and in fact, you have more exhibitors now than you were going to in September. How in the world does that happen?
Brook Conrad: We’re not sure. We are down one company from last year. We were at 360 companies, which was a record for us, and then this year, we’re only down one company, even due to the reschedule. I don’t know if the timing works out better for people, or they had three extra months to get in here, so we are seeing some companies who might not have made the original show that are popping up, and we’re excited about that.
We had 79 new companies last year, so we’re up 10 new companies this time, and we’re very, very excited about that. We are very thankful to you and all of the rest of the exhibitors here who have been gracious in working with us in the reschedule. We know that’s not easy for you guys, too.
Matt Register: Well, it’s an important show, and it’s one that turbo machinery, the industries that this show represents are vitally important to the economy in Texas. We love coming here showcasing these guys and showing a little bit of what they do, because most people aren’t aware of it, but it affects their lives on a daily basis. Talk to me a little bit about some of the sponsors and some of the big exhibitors that are here.
Brook Conrad: Well, if you look in your show guide, look in your mobile app, you’ll see all those sponsors, but we do have … You’ll see our nice aisle signage out there. It’s got the Siemens logo beneath it. Siemens is a great sponsor. We’ve got Empowering Brands, who is sponsoring our social media. We actually have a scavenger hunt on the floor, which we’re excited about. Getting people tweeting and Facebooking and hoping to engage some of our audience who isn’t normally on social media, get them social with us. We do have some excitement going on in our booth today, the turbo lab booth, 2411. The turbo labrador is coming to visit today at 1:30. What time is it? I got to get back and see the dog.
Matt Register: You need to go see the dog. That’s all right.
Brook Conrad: We’re also throwing it back with some Polaroid photos in the booth today, so we’re excited to be able to provide that for people. Little keepsake, branding.
Matt Register: I find it very interesting that there are companies of all sizes here. There are small, one man shops. There are big, multi-billion dollar corporations. Talk to me a little bit about that mix, because there’s a lot of companies here. Not all of them are big, right?
Brook Conrad: Yeah. It’s really interesting to see the differences, but I think … Sometimes you see that in booth size, and sometimes it’s not reflected in the booth size, but we have companies that have been exhibiting with us for years, and Martha may be able to talk to you a little bit more about those details, since she’s been with the show for, I think, 15 years. We do have mom and pop shops that come set up because they do see the value of the show. We bring the people here. We’ve got OEMs and users meeting together. You’ve got a fantastic exhibit hall combined with the technical program. It’s a win-win, so the show continues to accomplish its goals, which is educating engineers and technicians, and bringing people together to network and find new opportunities for business, and I think that’s why people keep coming back. They’re willing to work with us in the reschedule.
Matt Register: Well, I tell you what, that’s quite remarkable, the fact that it’s rescheduled and not a down show, which I think everybody was expecting, and that’s quite remarkable. We’re talking to Brooke Conrad with the 46th Turbo Machinery and 33rd Pump Symposia down here at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. We’ll be here all week. Guys, 1950, booth 1951, come by the broadcast booth and see us at the Corporate Finance Associates Broadcast Booth. Swing by, say hi. We’ll be here all week. In fact, we’ll be speaking at the … on the Turbo stage here later this afternoon.
We’ll be back right after this. Brooke, thank you very much for joining us.
Brook Conrad: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Matt Register: Have a great rest of the show. We’ll be back right after this, guys, here from the George R. Brown Convention Center. Don’t go anywhere. You don’t really even have time to go anywhere. We’ll be back right after this.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.