What I’m about to share with you isn’t recent news, though it’s likely the first time you’ve heard about it. Most of you simply know us as Inside Self-Storage (ISS), with little or no knowledge of the company or division that owns or supervises us. There’s generally no need for our audience to be aware of this information, as it doesn’t impact the user experience in regard to our magazine, website, online store and forum community. That said, the ISS brand is now part of a new family, and we’re excited about the possibilities it opens on the expo side of our business, as well as how it might translate to an enhanced experience for our show attendees and customers.
Nearly two years ago, ISS and all the other media brands that were formerly owned and operated by Virgo Publishing LLC were purchased by global information provider Informa PLC. We became part of the company’s Global Exhibitions Group, which is focused on expansion in the U.S. and other regions of the world. In August 2014, I published a post in this very blog space to explain what that might mean for ISS and its readers, advertisers and other supporters.
Even though Informa is a huge company with more than 6,000 employees and 100 offices worldwide, not too much changed for our staff or audience. Of course, there were administrative transitions, new systems, updated policies, etc., but our general business practice remained the same. In fact, the acquisition even allowed us to broaden our brand’s international reach; and last year, we were able to produce our first-ever conference and tradeshow in Canada.
Until January 2016, my immediate team continued to be based out of the Phoenix office, where we all were hired and have worked for anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Though we’re now able to work from home in this grand age of telecommuting, we continued to meet regularly at the downtown building; and our business needs—administration, art direction, audience development, event production, human resources, marketing, printing and Web design—were handled and supported by Phoenix staff.
This year, Informa executed a strategic reorganization of its U.S. personnel to streamline functions around key brands and better align those that might successfully share resources. As a result, those of us who work exclusively on the ISS brand were welcomed into the Informa U.S. Construction & Real Estate (CRE) network led by Rick McConnell. A 27-year veteran in tradeshow management, Rick was formerly president of Hanley Wood Exhibitions, which was purchased by Informa in December 2014. You might recognize some of Hanley Wood’s signature events such as World of Concrete, the International Surface Event and Greenbuild Conference & Expo.
Based in Irving, Texas, CRE is a dynamic team of talented go-getters who really know how to kill it when it comes to tradeshows. And though the ISS brand comprises much more than an event, they’ve received us willingly into their family and invested time and resources to not only help us assimilate but to ensure our future growth and success.
Several CRE hard-hitters joined at the recent ISS Expo in Las Vegas to observe our operation and meet the amazing people who comprise the self-storage industry. They rolled up their sleeves and dug into the work, supervising seminar rooms, assisting at registration, and doing whatever was necessary to keep the ship sailing smoothly for those four frenzied days. We’re extremely grateful to Donna Bellantone, vice president of operations; Jayne Dalton, show director; and all the others who joined us from the Dallas area to strengthen ISS Expo.
Now that many of our key advertisers and expo presenters have had the opportunity to meet our new leadership, I wanted to share this exciting development with you, our readers. What CRE brings to the table is monumental, and with the expertise and resources to which we now have access, we can’t help but make advancements in what is already a phenomenal industry event. We hope that becomes evident to those of you who attend the 2017 expo, April 10-13.
Transitions often come with growing pains. In a professional integration, there are compromises on both sides as co-workers get to know one another and figure out each other’s strengths and frailties. We feel fortunate to have joined a group that is so ripe with welcoming, gifted and fun-loving folk. Most important, we know this tribe is behind us in accomplishing our No. 1 goal: to create the best possible environment for educating and sustaining the self-storage community. Here’s to two great families working famously together!