IBEX – inspiration, innovation and location change in 2014

Leigh at IBEX 2013
Leigh Francis
Just back from Kentucky, Louisiana in the US where he attended the trade-only show, IBEX 2013, Leigh Francis, director at All Marine Spares said the mood was 'definitely upbeat', boding well for gains and good business in 2014.

'People were very positive,' said this veteran of the past 25 years of IBEX events. 'They are much more prepared to have a go and seemed optimistic, despite the looming government shutdown which the industry feared would impact on the US boating industry.'

The event, which ran 17 to 19 September, is considered one of the world’s most significant trade events, this year showcasing 500 exhibitors representing 50 countries and attracting an audited 4,700 visitors – the same number as 2012.

Highlights of the show included the well-attended All-Industry Breakfast, where NMMA president, Thom Dammrich delivered a 'State of Industry' report, in which he noted continued growth in the industry, and the keynote address by Rick Pitino, head basketball coach for the University of Louisville, who shared his insights about leadership acquired in his 40-year career, taking three separate teams to the Final Four.

Attendees were able to learn about and experience hundreds of new products throughout the three-day show, plus there were several boats on display that featured cutting-edge building techniques or technologies.

Leigh and Michael Linsdau
Leigh Francis

'As a trade-only distributor for major US and international brands, it really is imperative that we attend IBEX,' said Leigh Francis.

'We may not be a major client of brands like Mallory Marine, Lasdrop Shaft-Seals and Dr Shrink in global terms, but they are pleased to have our business and we need to be in front of them each year. Renewing acquaintances, meeting new contacts and building relationships is what this business is all about.

'Especially being from Australia, distance is still an obstacle in some respects, despite the immediacy of technology and communication.'

Starting next year, IBEX will alternate venues for its event between Kentucky and the Tampa Bay Convention Center which will host the 2014 exhibition and conference.

Leigh and Michael Stenberg, President at Dr Shrink Inc
Leigh Francis

According to organisers, the waterfront location in Tampa offers IBEX new social and networking events, incredible dock space, an outdoor demonstration area, easy travel, fine restaurants and attractions, and a beautiful setting for marine industry technology and innovation and will run 30 September to 2 October 2014.

'Rotating the location between Louisville and Tampa creates a fresh foundation each year that’s ideal for an innovation-focused show like IBEX,' said Anne Dunbar, IBEX show director. 'We anticipate seeing a lot of new faces in Tampa next year and are excited to explore opportunities the new venue and city bring.'

In terms of new products at IBEX 2013, Francis said All Marine Spares has picked up some 'new products from existing suppliers, but nothing out of left field'.

Leigh and David Kennedy Volvo Penta
Leigh Francis

'I am hoping to see something new and wonderful at METS in Amsterdam in November,' he added.

At METS, which runs 19 to 21 in Amsterdam, Francis and his sales manager, Brett Hurlstone, intend to be 'flat out', scouring the exhibition halls for the latest in parts and new products.

'You can count on METS for something you haven’t seen before,' said Francis.

'The bottom line is, METS is about four times larger than IBEX and it attracts European companies that don’t attend IBEX. We will meet up with our suppliers like Flexball cables and ATI water heaters from Italy, as well as seeing what’s new on offer.'

Call Marine Spares on FREECALL from landline and mobile 1800 677 436.

More at allmar.com.au