One on one with the new owners of Vegas Fastener Show, NIFMSE

It’s a big year for the Vegas fastener show – or to give it its full official name, the National Industrial Fastener & Mill Supply Expo (NIFMSE).

Last November, North America’s best known fastener show was taken over by Emerald Expositions, an experienced B2B trade show and conference producer headquartered in California. So for 2016 the pressure is on for the show ‐ what its new owners are going to make of it and also how it’s going to develop into the future. The organisers are confident, having already stated they expect attendance and exhibitor numbers to grow after a record 2015 where 600 exhibiting companies attended from 20 nations, with buyers arriving from 38 countries.

Karalynn Sprouse, Executive Vice President at Emerald Expositions

Karalynn Sprouse, Executive Vice President at Emerald Expositions

Needless to say, Torque will be at the October show and reporting back from it, but in the meantime we quizzed Karalynn Sprouse, Executive Vice President at Emerald Expositions, on the ambitions for NIFMSE, new show features, matchmaking and more from behind the scenes…

Earlier in the year it was predicted that the Expo would see attendance up 10% and exhibitor numbers up 15% – is that plan still on track? That’s quite a feat after last year’s record attendance…
Yes, it is still the plan. We are already well ahead of last year’s event and we still have four months before show time. We are implementing some great new tools that are driving new attendance to the show – the BYOD program, the Rising Star Program, Exhibitor Invites to name a few.

You’ve recently launched a new website for the show – does it have enhanced features for exhibitors and visitors alike?
Yes. We wanted to freshen up the site and make it more user friendly for both our exhibitors/suppliers and visitors/attendees. We wanted to make sure our visitors and exhibitors find the answers they are looking for when coming to our site. We’ve designed the site to also be responsive for those on the go. So whether you are on your mobile device, desktop, laptop, or tablet, when you visit, you’re able to navigate through the site without any issues to screen resolution. With the new site, visitors and exhibitors both have access to see a current list of suppliers, add conference/workshops to their planner, book hotel stays, register for the show, find information about the show, and much more.

It’s the first year that the show is under new ownership and it sounds like there will be a number of new features at the Expo – like the Sourcing Event. Can you explain how that will work and what it will offer?
Yes, we are excited about the launch of the SourceGlobal area at NIFMSE. In the past, the show has had international representations mixed throughout the show and we found that could be somewhat disruptive to our domestic suppliers and attendees without proper communication and education. With Emerald’s vast knowledge of the international business marketplace we understand the need to qualify the types of attendees that can do business with our international suppliers, therefore putting them all together and offering a matchmaking programme helps eliminate confusion on the show floor.

SourceGlobal is the destination for importers, distributors, wholesalers, product development and production professionals to connect and source directly with contract manufacturers from around the world in one easy location, Las Vegas, USA. As part of Source‐Global, we will have a global business matchmaking desk to assist distributors in finding an international company with the products they are looking for. We hope to educate domestic distributors about international sourcing.


This year the Expo is also aiming to bring in more product categories – machinery, tooling and speciality tools – can you explain the reasoning behind that?
Distributors throughout the years have begun expanding their product lines. Our goal is to continue to make the show a ‘must attend’ event by providing the products they currently supply while at the same time providing additional product categories to enhance both supplier and attendee ROI opportunities at the show. We have had machinery & tooling companies in the show for many years and are working diligently with the new team expanding it this year. The machinery & tooling companies have found that NIFMSE is the perfect place for them to showcase their products. In many cases, their core customers are the other suppliers exhibiting in the Fastener area. On Thursday at 11:00 am we plan to have a welcome reception in the Machinery & Tooling area and invite the exhibiting manufacturers/suppliers to spend an hour or so visiting the Machinery & Tooling area. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on this opportunity!

The ‘global matchmaking’ service sounds intriguing too – can you go into a bit more depth on that?
From our experience we know that there is a lot more involved than meets the eye in buying internationally than from buying directly from our domestic suppliers. Our goal is to educate the buyer in whether international sourcing is really the best option for them. If it is, we will then try to help them find the products they are looking
for based on the information our international suppliers can provide us in advance of exhibiting at the show.

The Young Fastener Professional Award has been added to the Hall of Fame Award programme – can you explain the thinking behind that?
We have heard from many industry professionals that it is important that we get younger people involved in the industry and we want to actively not only acknowledge but also work with our partners to mentor the next generation. The show and this platform will provide the opportunity to ensure we are actively involving our
bright young professionals and assisting them in making strong connections during our events. We want to solidify in their minds that we are a true partner to the industry and the show is where they come to network with others that walk before them, make new connections and learning more about the industry.

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Looking beyond 2016, what are the aims for the show over the next few years?
First and foremost, we want to continue to be a ‘must attend’ event for the Fastener industry. We want to continue to develop our educational programmes, our networking programmes and most importantly continue to add value to both our attendees and suppliers business. We hope to provide must‐attend educational
sessions, more products and more suppliers as well as continue to increase the number of attendees. We will continue to listen to both our suppliers and buyers as well as strengthen our industry partnerships to remain number one in the minds of the industry. We are looking at future opportunities to add regional networking
and matchmaking events to the roster to connect our customers to theirs more than just once a year in Las Vegas.

Have you any final points to add on the future of the show?
We are a reflection of the industry we serve. As such, we will continue to listen and learn from the industry and produce a show that fits the industry. Whether it’s expanding into other related product categories, creating new opportunities to bring in new buyers such as the BYOD ‘Bring Your Own Distributor’ hosted program and the ‘Rising Star’ programme, or building new partnerships with our industry, we strive to continue to be a leader in our market and at the same time stay true to our roots. It’s an exciting time and we are looking forward to the future.

The National Industrial Fastener & Mill Supply Expo (NIFMSE) runs from 25‐27 October at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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