What an exciting time in Las Vegas with ISA International Sign Expo 2011! I'm sure that you've read about our increased attendance and expo show floor space. Both of those, I believe, point to a stronger sign industry.
For me, there were a number of positive indicators that this Sign Expo was one of the best yet. We started out strong with Gen. Stanley McChrystal's inspiring keynote speech on leadership. It was honest and moving while also having moments of humor.
I had heard General McChrystal speak in one of his first engagements after retiring from the military and I knew that we had to have him at ISA Sign Expo 2011. I was thrilled that we were able to work out the details and am grateful to our sponsors for helping to make it happen.
Those who attended the opening general session were no doubt as impressed as I was; he was greeted with a standing ovation and received another at the end of his speech and question-and-answer session.
We also were excited to co-host the session with the International Reprographics Association, which held its own event concurrent with ours, providing their members an opportunity to visit the International Sign Expo 2011 exhibit hall floor.
That same opening session provided a state of the association update from John Allen, ISA's Chairman of the Board of Directors. He reported that ISA has spent more than $10 million in the last five years promoting the sign and visual communications industry, and our members' interests. That happened through a significant commitment to educational efforts, government relations, and technical research.
John also reported that more than 110 volunteers serve ISA throughout the year. This commitment of time and expertise certainly has strengthened our association.
Expo is the highlight of our year-round educational efforts at ISA and this year offered nearly 70 sessions. Attendees gained new business ideas, technical skills, and general business principles from some of our industry's brightest leaders.
Though there was a lot of activity happening throughout the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, no place was quite as busy as the expo floor. Every time I ventured onto the show floor, I was impressed by how many attendees were there, gathering information, learning about new products, or meeting with their vendors and suppliers.
The range of products showcased was impressive as well, representing every facet of the sign industry. It truly demonstrated both the breadth and strength of our industry. At almost every turn, there were remarkable new products or improvements on existing products.
Here at ISA, there is barely time to catch our breath. We have a full and busy year ahead as we look forward to ISA International Sign Expo 2012 in Orlando, March 21-24. While it will take a lot of hard work to top the successes of Expo 2011, I promise you, we already are discussing and planning ways to improve and grow.