President's Column - August 2023

President's Column,

Hello Loves!

It came in a flash
It came out of nowhere
It happened so fast
And then it was over

What am I talking about? The Odyssey Expo of course. I’m sure not everyone felt this way, but I’m also sure that there are plenty of us that did. Especially the people that were involved in many of the different aspects of planning the trade show; whether that was as a volunteer for the association or as a member of your company.

This Odyssey Expo was definitely a different show then past shows. I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect going into it. Mainly due to the pandemic, we knew it was going to be a different show though. It was long-awaited, with a four-year gap instead of the standard two between shows. But if you ask me, it was worth the wait. And yes, it was a little bit different—but different is good.

For me one of the biggest differences was that I am serving as your IADD President. This was the first and only Odyssey Expo where that will be true. My responsibilities for this show were a little bit different than shows that I’ve been to in the past. One of my first calls to action was to do the ribbon cutting ceremony. I don’t think this would normally be anything that would cause me any concern but in my current condition it was a bit tricky. Giving the girl with numb hands and questionable balance a pair of giant scissors is probably not the best idea. Luckily, IADD immediate past President Gino Gualtieri was there for the assist! I was very happy with this for multiple reasons. But one of the biggest ones was because even though he served us for three years, Gino did not get the opportunity to have an Odyssey Expo during his term.

Once we got into the show, I spent most of my time at the IADD booth. I have always volunteered an hour or two of my time at the booth, but this year I spent only a few hours away from it. This was an exciting opportunity for me as it was a unique chance for me to really get to spend more time with the IADD staff. I love that they had the opportunity to be part of the trade show and am happy to hear that they all really enjoyed their experience. Not everybody who has worked for the IADD has always had a chance to be part of the trade show and meet some of the members that they work for. Spending my time in the booth gave me the chance to see all the hard work and preparation that they helped with the show and really made it what it was! For everyone that stopped by and came to visit me, THANK YOU! It was great to spend time with you!

This was only the second Odyssey Expo that I have done with National Steel Rule, so that in itself still feels new and different. One thing we did differently this time compared to last was that we had many more employees involved than in years past. For us this was important because we want to make sure more people in the company get the proper exposure and experience what the show offers.

Another difference for me was that I had the privilege to present two well-deserved awards at the show. John Dickison of Bobst North America Inc. received the Cutting Edge Award and Natalie Taylor of Pace Punches, Inc. received the Pillar Award during our pandemic time away from one another. It was an honor to be the person to tell them each how awesome they are and how much they mean to the association. Congrats again to them both!

While there may have been a lot of differences during the show, there were also some things that remained the same.

We were able to attract a high quality of attendees and offer them more educational programs than ever before. Our initial feedback from attendees has been extremely positive—they truly appreciated the collection of expertise and information available to them in the Technology Hall. Many of you reported making important and valuable business contacts, including prospective new partners and customers.
The feedback that I got from the employees at National was all positive as well! A post-show recap lunch with some fellow National employees did reveal some self-critiquing that I found interesting… but we’ll save that for another article. 

In the meantime, I’d really like to hear from you and what your experience and thoughts were from the show. What did you love? What did you hate? What do you wish was different? 

Here is to hoping we are back to our standard two year cycle. I am already looking forward to working together with everyone at Odyssey Expo 2025!

Jennifer Thoroe is Director of Customer Service & Business Development for National Steel Rule, a steel rule manufacturer based in Linden, NJ, USA. She joined forces with National on November 1, 2018 after working in the industry and volunteering with the IADD for over 15 years. She moved up to NJ from GA in the summer of 2019. One pandemic and three moves later, Jennifer is finally settling into her home near the Jersey Shores with her awesome super-fantastic brother Tom and his even cooler dog, Kelowna.

She has consistently used her time and talents to bring greater value to IADD members, whether through chapter activities, managing volunteers, Board service or overseeing myriad membership recruitment and retention activities. For this, Jennifer received the 2017 IADD Cutting Edge Award, one of the Association’s highest honors. She is the first woman to serve as IADD president.

The President's Column appears in The Cutting Edge, the IADD's monthly magazine.