When MINExpo International kicks off
later this month, it will have a slightly Northern flavour.
Convened every four years in Las Vegas,
MINExpo International is considered one of the premier trade shows
for mining supply and services companies because of the volume of
information and contacts accessible in one setting.
Being held Sept. 24-26 at the Las Vegas
Convention Center, this year’s edition features more than 1,800
exhibitors from 35 countries, occupying more than 850,000 square feet
of space. A number of Northern Ontario businesses are expected to
have a presence there, said Dick DeStefano, executive director of the
Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSSA).
“MINExpo is the motherlode because it
contains a worldwide presence,” DeStefano said. “Much of what
goes on in a trade show is just meeting with people who you haven’t
met with before, or talking to customers you haven’t had
face-to-face meetings with.”
Despite living in an age of technology
that facilitates many long-distance business transactions, there is
still value in making in-person connections, he emphasized.
Participation in trade shows allows
Northern mining supply and services companies to create awareness
around their brand, products and services, gain sensitivity to what
competitors are doing and renew contacts, as well as gain awareness
of new technologies being put forward by competitors, DeStefano said.
For Tom Palangio of WipWare in NorthBay, MINExpo provides an opportunity to meet with distributors,
interview potential agents, discuss projects with customers, renew
old friendships and see what’s new in the industry. This will mark
his fifth time at MINExpo.
“Everyone we wish to see is usually
at the show,” Palangio said. “This makes it a convenient,
cost-effective way to see them all on the same trip. I’m thinking
it is one of the most well-attended mining shows in the world.”
Palangio said the steady growth of
WipWare can likely be linked back, at least in part, to its
appearance at trade shows like MINExpo. “Our products are universal
and I know of no other venue where I can reach so many at one event,”
Andre Ruest, general manager at B&D Manufacturing in Sudbury, will also be there. This marks the third
consecutive time B&D has made an appearance at MINExpo, an arena
that allows the company to achieve several goals in one setting.
“Since this is an international show,
it gives us the opportunity to introduce our products and meet a
large group of potential customers all in one venue,” Ruest said.
“To meet this amount of quality mining executives and end users,
and to have them view our equipment, and to do this in a three-day
show would take our sales team years to accomplish on an individual
The 2012 edition will give B&D an
opportunity to introduce its new heavy truck and shovel product line
for open-pit mining, but attendees will also meet with new and
existing customers and distributors. Ruest said the show is
invaluable for increasing the company’s visibility and product
Ironically, Palangio said, it’s while
in Las Vegas that he’s often able to connect with other Northern
Ontario businesses that he otherwise doesn’t get to communicate
with as regularly.
“It’s useful sometimes to discuss
issues and compare notes over a beer,” he said. “There are unique
challenges to conduct business in Northern Ontario and it is useful
to see how others deal with the obstacles.”
Attendance by Northerners may be
attributable, at least in part, to the Export Marketing Assistance
Program. Administered by Ontario’s North Economic Development
Corporation (ONEDC) in co-operation with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM), the program provides business owners
with up to $10,000 to help with export marketing assistance, include
funding their attendance at trade shows like MINExpo.
DeStefano said the program, funding for
which is set to end in March 2013, has been a success, with several
SAMSSA members taking advantage of it.
How business owners get to MINExpo is
up to them, but when it comes down to success at the show, the
traditional tenets of good business practice still apply.
“You’ve got to have a good product,
you’ve got to have good service, you have to be able to deliver on
time and you’ve got to have pricing,” DeStefano said. “It’s
price sensitive; it’s really competitive.”