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The Reunion Factor


AuthorSo, I have satisfied the marketing team’s request at supplying a blog for this week. They are happy and I am happy. But I had a few memorable experiences at this last Exhibitor show that I felt compelled to type away some more. They included: getting up and saying a few words at our reception and then realizing that I forgot to wish Abby Butler a Happy birthday as I intended; spending time with many students from BSU; chatting up the school’s Dean of All Things Dean, and realizing that Optima is forming a great bond with the school (and now many alumni.)

Two post show experiences reminded me of seeing my old college buddy Phil Barta. I consider Phil one of my dearest friends on the planet. We lived in a few crazy flea traps but now don’t see the whites of each other’s eyes very often. We talk one or two Saturdays a month and see each other when the wind blows us in each other’s direction. Regardless, when Phil and I get together, we click – we laugh, we talk, and our relationship is the same even if we have not been in the same room for two or three years.

The two etched moments were with friends I have made in the industry. We started as fellow distributors, then vendor/customer roles after I joined Optima, then followed the path of business acquaintances…”strategic partners” and then, in my eyes, friends. We hit this mark when we had no kids or kids were very young and now we have kids either in college or looking to attend college. Back in the day before gray hair, we stayed out too late, worked too many hours, and formed bonds that will last into the days when we are retired. Author Fast forward to today…gray-haired days and we work too many hours trying to juggle our professional lives and family lives, looking for the time to be with our families or whatever. Translation: we are loyal to our companies but not blind to our lives, so we don’t spend as much time together face-to-face. Infact, one of the folks I am referring to…I hate to say…we have not broken bread or hung out into late nights for 3 to 4 years. Our business relationship never stopped growing in that period (just the opposite – it has soared!) but the formative face-to-face times have been less frequent.

So, I had two fantastic (or three if I look through a possible gimlet haze) evenings with these humans and during each I thought to myself, “Wow – it has been far too long since we sat, laughed and had so much fun together!” I remembered the good ol days and what we were like before bifocals, but the feeling was pure and amazing. I was hanging with my friends and it seemed not a day had gone by since we enjoyed that last Sushi meal or take-out Chinese together. It was as if I was hanging with Bill Pharta aka Phil Barta back at Beloit College and our lives lay in front of us.

Good times were had, life was good, and to the two I allude to: thank you, thank you, thank you. We will do it again soon or in five years (all the same as the time spread does not matter.) And we will laugh together as if not a day had gone by. Pretty cool to have built such amazing bonds and having built them through “work”. Now, let’s go sell some stuff…I have college tuition to save for.

About the Author

Dave Brown is the Vice President of Sales at Optima™.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

  1. March 20, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Great blog today, nicely written and shared

  2. Gina Madonna
    March 23, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    In our industry, I feel we all have similar stories as we have connected with so many people throughout our long careers. It is always a treat when stories like this come around to remind us that our network, whether friends or colleagues are treasures in our lives. Great blog, Dave….thanks for sharing.

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