April PowerSource

Inside Look at IHRSA 2016

Prior to my onboarding as the Education & Trade Show Coordinator for Power Systems in June 2015, I was fortunate to gain the majority of my experience in my career as a full time professional in the health club industry.  As a young professional climbing the ranks, I always heard my superiors reflecting on their exciting experiences surrounding something called “Er-sa”. Over the years as I matured, I began to understand that what they were talking about was in fact called “The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association” or IHRSA.

While there are many noteworthy professional organizations that put on remarkable conferences & trade shows for the fitness industry, IHRSA was the one that executives from my particular organization would attend each year.  Over the years as I advanced my career from Assistant Fitness Manager to Regional Fitness Manager, I anxiously awaited the day when I would be tapped on the shoulder to attend as a representative of our select group.

Needless to say, I could barely contain my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to work for Power Systems as the Education & Trade Show Coordinator and represent them at IHRSA 2016! After months of meetings and planning, teamwork, and yes a little blood, sweat, and tears… it was finally show time!

Day 1: Saturday, March 19th

We have arrived! Our team went straight from the airport to the Orange County Convention Center to check out the trade show floor. As I walked in, I dodged crates and pallets that framed hundreds of people deep into their booth set up and construction of everything from treadmills to cable equipment, ellipticals to weight racks. I was like a kid in a candy store! I continued to walk towards our booth space dodging forklifts and boom lifts with staff hanging huge banners, signs, and light boards.

I made it to our 30×50 space that was to be Power Systems, Orlando over the next few days. A blank space flanked by our crates and pallets full of our furnishings and equipment. The blank space that was the perfect metaphor for the incredible opportunities that awaited us.

Day 2: Sunday, March 20th

Up early and excited for booth set up day 1! Today we get to put up new branded trade show booth for its premiere debut to the industry. Anxious? Yes! The Power Systems team sprang into action and even impressed our trade show booth installer with how fast things started coming together. It seemed like the more furnishings we set up, the faster we worked as we were fueled by the excitement to see the finish product on the floor.

Day 3: Monday, March 21st

Final set up day. Less pallets and boom lifts now. The red carpet was literally laid out in the aisles as all the exhibitors were putting the finishing touches on their spaces. For us, it was time to set up the AV and start to set the products on the rack. Then, one of the most exciting moments of my IHRSA experience occurred: I looked down one of the few uncarpeted aisles and here come three forklifts with pallets of our NEWEST products in tow! I couldn’t contain my excitement as we unpacked and set what was to be our newest product showcases on display for our customers for the first time. The excitement echoed throughout our whole team as we hustled and bustled to get all the finishing touches buttoned up. It’s an early night for the team as we have a 5:30AM start time tomorrow!

Day 4: Tuesday, March 22nd

The first day of the trade show and the public premiere of the Power Systems PowerWave™ Wave20™ workout! The team gathered at 5:30AM at the convention center break out room to finish class set up and put up welcome signs. You could feel the energy start to rise as we started testing the audio and mic for the class at 6AM. The participants started arriving around 6:15 AM, a slow stream at first, but by 6:30AM we were at capacity and had a line of others waiting for the next round at 7:00 AM. The response was astronomical! Exactly what we hoped for and much more!

After a quick breakfast and refresh, the team convened at the booth at 9 AM for a final huddle on the new products and specials we were offering at the show. We were a rather sharp and energetic group for having been awake since before 5 AM. We all knew we were on the verge of what was to be a very exciting day!

We all stopped anxiously in our tracks when we heard “Good Morning and Welcome to the 2016 IHRSA Trade Show!” It was time. All the work from the entire Power Systems team, both attending the show and back at the home office in Knoxville, was about to start paying off.

Our booth had a busy and steady flow of traffic all day full of new and familiar faces of our both our prospective and loyal customers. The team was firing on all cylinders as we were welcoming guests in the booth, performing equipment demos, taking quotes and orders; all like a well-oiled machine!  We thrived on the enthusiastic responses we kept getting in regards to the new logo, the new products, and the new brand.

Day 5: Wednesday, March 23rd

The final day of the trade show began with a bit friendlier start time of booth refresh at 8:30AM. The show opened for day two and it was just as busy and exhilarating as the first. More in booth demos were in store with both the PowerWave™ and our strategic brand partners in showcase. It seemed like we were putting on steam rather than slowing down as day two came to a close.

After what seemed like a five day sprint, our team was looking forward to our evening of celebration as we attended the Florida Bash and Fundraiser in support of Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS. It was the perfect and inspiring end to IHRSA 2016.

And there you have it. The trip I had been so anxious to take and the show I’d been waiting years to attend was over.  I boarded the plane on day 6 proud, motivated, eager, and… exhausted. Our entire team planned, executed, and delivered a phenomenal customer experience that has undoubtedly set the tone for the rest of the year. I cannot thank our entire Power Systems team enough for all the hard work that went into the success of our new brand reveal & product launch at IHRSA this year. We wouldn’t have made the impact we did without the efforts of the entire team at the Knoxville home base. What a great way to start off Power Systems’ 30th year in business!


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Elisabeth Fouts

About Elisabeth Fouts

Elisabeth serves as the Education Coordinator for Power Systems and is their primary content contributor for blogs and articles on a variety of subjects from personal training and group fitness programming to product spotlights and health club operations. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and has over 12 years of experience in the fitness industry from a personal trainer & group fitness instructor to regional level fitness management. Elisabeth is also a Master Trainer for PowerWave Master and holds industry group fitness certifications with ACE & Les Mills.