To coincide with AIA Vision Week, an online five-day event of speakers and industry product showcase, MVPro has rekindled the quickfire Q&A.
We have sought the opinions of presenters, businesses and sponsors on this new online conference format, how they have adapted to the format and also their views on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We will share a number of them across the week. Today John Thrailkill, co-founder and CEO of Advanced illumination provides the answers.
Advanced illumination is a sponsor of AIA Vision Week.
What’s your take on the ‘virtual’ conference?
AIA’s decision to host a “virtual conference” was a unique solution to a currently unprecedented challenge. Many of us look forward to these events as an opportunity to connect with industry experts and share the innovative products and solutions we’d spent the previous year investing in, so when the in-person event was cancelled, it was disappointing. However, the formulation of this week-long event has provided an opportunity for us to still feature our new products, virtually “exhibit” our company messaging, and accept queries from attendees. We hope that attendees of this event can gather industry insights and updates on new product innovations that they would have at the in-person event, regardless of the “remote” circumstances.
Advanced illumination is one of the sponsors – what was the motivation?
We were extremely eager to participate in the 2020 AIA Vision Show in Boston, as we were featuring our innovative UltraSeal Washdown Series and planned a new and exciting booth experience for visitors. When the cancellation of the show was announced, it was a disappointing end to what we saw as our first in-person “mass reveal” of significant new product offerings.
However, when a call for sponsorships from AIA began for this new “virtual conference”, we considered it an opportunity to regain some of the trade show momentum that we may have lost, while also supporting this virtual venue during these challenging times. We understood that the reformatting of the show allowed attendees to still “visit” company booths, so if we were able to support AIA in their efforts while regaining some trade-show visibility in the process, then sponsoring the event was a no-brainer.
What products will you be showcasing and what is the format?
When an attendee visits our product page, they are presented with a mixture of corporate information, featured new products, brochures, videos, and additional supported content. Attendees can “save” our company and any of our downloadable collateral to their “Show Planner”, acting as a virtual home-base for whatever information he or she may be interested in saving.
In our company showcase, we are featuring our UltraSeal Washdown Backlights and Bar Lights – a unique family of lights that are engineered to withstand extreme environments. IP69K certified, virtually crevice-free, and featuring an FDA-compliant proprietary finish, the UltraSeal Washdown Lights can withstand high-pressure steam cleaning protocols which are ideal for food and drug applications or any industry with aseptic or sanitary washdown requirements. These lights were going to be a significant feature of the AIA Vision Show in Boston, so we’re grateful to have the opportunity to feature them in our New Products section of the Showcase – be sure to check out the video for a complete visual experience of the UltraSeal advantage!
What presentations will you be tuning into and why?
The number of different presentation topics has given us a wide variety to choose from, so we’re looking forward to participating in quite a few of them. We’re particularly interested in hearing from representatives that are discussing challenges unique to specific industries, so we can better understand their pain points. Monday’s presentation by Proctor & Gamble was very insightful, and we’ll be looking forward to the medical and pharmaceutical industry presentations on Wednesday afternoon.
How have you and the business adapted during the COVID-19 crisis?
While Vermont issued a “stay at home” order for all non-essential businesses, our products support essential businesses producing vital goods and services across the country, so we have taken significant measures to protect the safety of our workers while maintaining our manufacturing schedules. Ai personnel with the ability to work from home have been doing so whenever possible, and we’ve moved our manufacturing personnel into separate workspaces around the building to respect distancing rules. Our employees have been actively participating in coordinated sanitising efforts, and we’ve continued to monitor the needs of our people as well as the needs of our customers in this challenging global situation.
What will be the biggest impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the business?
Due to the diversification of our customer base, we are fortunate that we have only seen a modest impact on our business activity. However, one area that has been impacted, and I would say it was ultimately for the better, has been employee relations. As mentioned before, some of our employees were shifted to work remotely, while others were required to report to the factory, which developed an internal issue of apparent fairness. In addressing this management challenge, we decided to provide “loyalty pay” to the factory employees who were necessary to have in-house to keep our business running. As a result, the morale has been greatly increased among all parties and we are now in a better position to face future challenges.