Making the Rounds
LaFleur Chats About Issues Facing Operators and How AMOA is Helping
Q: Will AMOA have a presence at the IAAPA show this year?
A: Yes, and we look forward to engaging with IAAPA attendees at our association booth throughout the four-day trade show. In addition to our exhibit space, AMOA’s executive leadership team will be attending to visit the show floor and conduct some association business as well. We look forward to a productive week.
With summer’s end here, can you give us an update on how plans are moving along for the AAMA/AMOA Amusement Expo?
AMOA has been hard at work with our show partner AAMA and we’re quite excited about the 2018 AAMA/AMOA Amusement Expo International (AEI). Very soon, the 2018 AEI website will be launched offering a new experience for both our exhibitors and attendees. The website will include not only a new look and feel, but will have interactive capabilities as well. Leaders from both AMOA and AAMA sat
down with show management immediately after our Dallas show to identify available technology we can embrace moving forward. We’re excited about the new experience we’ll be sharing in 2018.
Please explain the importance of attending IAAPA.
As an operator, attending IAAPA is a great place to see what products are competing for the entertainment dollar. While I find Amusement Expo to be more engaging when it comes to spending quality time with manufacturers and suppliers, IAAPA offers the opportunity to see a plethora of other venue opportunities as well.
As AMOA President, attending IAAPA provides the opportunity to see the industry in a much broader scope. While much of the floor space is outside of route operations, it’s helpful to know and understand what the current products are, as well as what new technologies are being deployed. The energy and excitement at IAAPA typically is a barometer for Amusement Expo in the Spring.
Trade shows offer many things with floor space being only one of them. Education and networking are also key components of attending a trade show such as IAAPA and Amusement Expo International.
Can you share any new updates on Amusement Expo?
The Expo will debut a new experience for both exhibitors and attendees in 2018. We’ve recently launched our new interactive website offering exhibitors an updated technological experience, not only when registering for their exhibit space, but also when it comes to digital opportunities available to expose their brand. We’re also pleased to announce registration is now open at www.amusementexpo.org as we return to Las Vegas, Feb. 27 to March 1.
Anything else you can share?
As mentioned above, education is a key component of any trade show, and Amusement Expo has expanded its educational offerings on Education Day, Feb. 27 at the Westgate Las Vegas. Soon we’ll be announcing four tracks offering a total of 16 different breakout sessions. The opening keynote speaker (Meagan Johnson, a generational expert and humorist) AND closing keynote presenter (to be announced shortly) will round out Amusement Expo’s most extensive educational program to date.
Of course, Day One of Amusement Expo International wouldn’t be complete without the Industry Gala offering great networking opportunities with industry colleagues. The Amusement Expo trade show will take place in the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall on February 28 and March 1. Attendees will find it an efficient and effective place to collaborate and build their businesses.
Rick LaFleur brings a wealth of experience to his term as AMOA president from running the I.F. LaFleur and Sons multi-generational operating company in Devils Lake, North Dakota. Seeing the job as an opportunity to give back, the genuine and likable LaFleur has a tremendous amount of optimism for the industry as it embraces opportunities and navigates challenges ahead.
Rick sees collaboration within the industry as a key way to ensure success, whether that be with technology, products or growth in new directions.
“It’s fun to see the brilliance that’s out there and the solutions people come up with,” says Rick. “I like to think every problem has a right road to take. The key is finding it! Not every turn will be a perfect one, but if you make as many good turns as you can, you’ll be okay.”
LaFleur credits his father for a lot of what he learned about the industry and life, saying he was a goodhearted man who had the foresight to provide his two sons with the room to grow into success. He hopes to emulate that as he takes over the new role at AMOA…and if you’ve ever spent any time with Rick, you’ll know he’ll be successful at it.