The expo, the breakout sessions, the keynotes and networking times. Those are the basic elements to just about any expo and trade show, no matter the industry. Here in the restoration industry, there are a handful of conferences and trade shows working hard to bring in their share of attendees and exhibitors. The Experience is on that list – but, they do things a little differently than the rest.

Larry Cooper, a managing partner at the company behind The Experience, has been part of the cleaning and restoration industry for decades, and saw the need for an “outside the box” type of show. He talked to R&R about the evolution of The Experience, and what to expect at the Fall show at The Mirage in Las Vegas on Sept. 7-9.

The Experience By the Numbers

  • Anticipated Attendance: 3,000+
  • 240+ Exhibitors
  • 90,000 sq. ft. Show Floor
  • 1,000 sq. ft. Outdoor Hands-On Tent
  • 2 New Pavilions: Health & Wellness | Technology
  • 1 Flood House

Note: Registration for The Experience is still open. You can find out everything you need to know

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and history in the restoration industry.

A: “I’ve been in the cleaning and restoration business for 30 years and in my younger years was pretty involved in education, trying to develop the science of the industry because there wasn’t any. I joined the IICRC in 1984 as the vice president, then became president in 1985 and served for four years, then spent another three as chair of the IICRC Board of Directors. I also helped write policies for instructors and schools in the industry, and started the standards committee in which I served for 15 years. I was involved in writing the S500, 520, 100 and 300 standards.”

Q: What is the history of The Experience?

A: “We started The Experience four years ago, and believe it has become the event to attend to see new products in the industry, and learn new techniques and the right way to do things. The Experience is different than other shows. We researched for about 10 years on how people learn, and learned most people don’t learn from lecture. So, we started adding hands-on portion, which improved learning. We made it more experiential – people can learn from their own experience by using the products and tools, learning the procedures and techniques and so on.”

Q: What is the #1 goal of the Fall show?

A: “Well, the Spring Experience show is more of a technical conference. At the fall show, it is always our goal to provide new opportunities and show off the latest technology and information available anywhere in the industry. This September, we have a new technology coming to the restoration industry that will potentially revolutionize how we do restoration work. I’ve never seen this technology in the industry before. We are going to set up live demonstrations of this – so attendees will be able to view it and set up times to try it. However, we are not going to announce what it is until the show starts.”

Q: How can attendees get the most out of their conference experience?

A: “The Experience is broken down into two areas: education and trade show. The education programs are phenomenal. That is where you get a lot of info you can apply to your company immediately. You want to attend those … it is a chance to learn new ideas and techniques you can apply right away. The trade show will give you the opportunity to meet a lot of people and some of the biggest vendors in the industry, plus the smaller and newer ones.”

Q: What is new this year?

A: “There are two new pavilions in the trade show hall this year. One is the Health & Wellness Pavilion because, well, some people in the industry are aging! This is about properly taking care of your body, preventing injuries, proper nutrition, energizing your staff, and so on. Secondly is a Technology pavilion featuring all the new tech coming into the industry.”