The drive from UL’s Headquarters is but a mere 60 minutes away from “Brew-Town”, Wisconsin. A straight path on Interstate 294 led us from our office in Northbrook, IL, to the Wisconsin Convention Center, and we felt right at home from the moment we walked in.
As our fourth of five NSTA events planned for 2017, we had a better understanding of what to expect this time around. Along with an estimate of attendees (which turned out to be over 1,900), a 10×10 booth space, a LED-sign, and a few items to give away to those who visited our booth, we brought with us a sense of confidence in knowing we had something to offer our guests that our fellow booth-mates did not. We did not arrive to sell anything, but rather to present a trailblazing idea – a free concept that could potentially change the path of a middle-schooler along the road of a long, rewarding career – and in that idea we found friends who shared that same passion for education.
Over the course of 3 days we had the pleasure of meeting, talking to, and interacting with dozens of the most passionate educators whom we have encountered. Whether they came to our booth as individuals or in a group, whether they were attracted by the neon colors of our LED sign or by the exposed hoverboard on our display table, or whether they just wanted to follow-up and visit our booth after a referral from a colleague, all who visited our space in the exhibitor floor left with the impression that two letters would mean far more than just a trusted mark on an everyday household product. After this event, they would know that UL’s commitment to education was as important as their dedication to science and safety around the world.
Though our team was small and the challenge was great, we made every effort to approach as many of those who would be willing to hear what we had to say – even if it meant having to wear a fireman’s jacket and helmet, indoors.
What we liked most about this event was not so much the distance back to Northbrook, but rather the engagement of the educators who were genuinely searching for a quality resource to take back to their schools, classrooms, and students. STEM coaches, science coordinators and department heads were willing to listen to our short presentation, and feeling intrigued by our explanation of lithium-ion batteries and fire forensics, they soon wanted to learn more about this resource.
With the closing of the event being on a Saturday, we drove our message until the very last minute of the conference. We had given away nearly all of the “goodies” we brought with us to Milwaukee, and we were proud to have added more names and email addresses to our list of friends. All in all, we loved this event and are grateful to everyone who came by to talk to us.
As for the new friends we are looking forward to meeting….well, let’s just say this: how far is it from the Windy City to the Big Easy? See you in New Orleans!
To the many dedicated educators who took the time to visit Booth 705 at the NSTA Regional Conference in Milwaukee, the UL Xplorlabs team sincerely thanks you!