by JIm Hinshaw


Just got back from the Service Nation Expo, our yearly trade show that is open to all that care to come.  We have a Spring show, the International Roundtable, that is for our members only.  In fact, in May of this year we started a new theme for the International Roundtable, call it the Barefoot Roundtable.  Held it on the beach in Clearwater Fl, under a tent.  No power point, no computers, just a microphone and some speakers, it rocked.  Coming out of the Covid year, we thought it made sense to do something different.  Outdoors was great, weather was good, was an excellent meeting.


Back to the Expo, since it is open to all, we had about 1200+ in attendance.  Some good numbers.  It was in Louisville, Ky, home of several Bourbon distilleries, Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger bats.  As well as some excellent venues for our after-hours parties.


We had some outstanding keynotes: Gino Wickman (Traction, as well as other fine books), led us off the first day with not only a keynote, but a 3-hour workshop on how to get traction with your employees and your business.  The second day we had Tony Drew share some findings about the supply chain mess we are in, starting with the famous chips that we need to run almost everything on the planet.  Turns out that Tony enlightened us on how many chips are in the cars we drive.  In a Ford Fusion, sort of an entry level sedan, there are…


He asked us to guess.  Some said 1, some said 8.  Correct answer is 300!  And in a Prius, there are about 3000!  Wow.  So the problem is severe, and we use those chips in almost everything around us, appliances, TVs, phones, everything.  Another bit of information he brought to the meeting was the amount of cargo ships waiting to be unloaded in just the port of Long Beach, Ca.  Anywhere from 70-100, depending on the day.  Some have been out there for 30 days, some at 45 days.  The problem is multi-level.  We don’t have enough people to unload the ships, we don’t have people to drive the trucks to move the contents of the ships, we don’t have people to unload the trucks into a warehouse, this is not going to go away.  So while we were not exactly encouraged by his message, we can take comfort in knowing we are a resilient group of humans.  We proved that when 9/11 hit, and we had to move fast to get our transportation system going again.


Third keynote (just for our Alliance members) was amazing, Scott Mann.  He has been featured on CNN as a Green Beret who served 4 tours in Afghanistan.  His talk was on communication, he had to get the local villagers to trust him enough to help him fight the Taliban, knowing that when he left, they were under a death sentence.  His talk centered around storytelling, that is how you get people emotionally connected.  It was engaging and he had us listening to every word, he and his team have now gotten out about 1200 Afghan citizens who helped him fight the Taliban.  Here is the link to a news article about the “Pineapple Express”, a group of retired military, some Seals, Green Berets, Marines, all sorts of guys who don’t believe there is nothing that can’t be done if you put your mind to it.


They smuggle people out 1 at a time, or in groups, through storm sewers, under barbed wire, whatever.


We had some great after-hours venues; we had the Louisville Palace rented for one evening, it is one incredible theater, built in 1928.  Has a Spanish Courtyard theme, they do live concerts and shows of all kinds, Chicago and Bob Dylan are some of the acts appearing later this year.  Google it, you will be surprised at the amazing artwork and décor inside.


We ended up at Churchill Downs our final evening, had the top floor all to ourselves, watched horse racing and ate some great BBQ, was a fun night.  Some even claimed to win, always wonder about the guy who claims he won $400.  It maybe he bet $500.  Just saying.


In summary, try to join us next year in Tampa for our Expo 2022, Oct 18-21.  You will not be disappointed.