Home > 6 Questions > The 6 Questions with Bonnie Higgins

The 6 Questions with Bonnie Higgins


Preface by David Brown –
I met Dr. Bonnie five-ish years ago, and I could immediately relate to her academic background and approach since I am the son of a Chemistry Professor and grew up around academia.  What I found interesting is her ability to toggle between the classroom pressures and realities to the “real world” of what her students will face once they have graduated and are part of the exhibit biz. This perspective is the reason why her former students speak of her in almost mythical terms and her current students love her and appreciate the nudges and expectations she places on them.  Thanks for taking the time to talk with Gary!
~ David Brown 

I Asked Dr. Bonnie Higgins,
Professor of Art & Design at Bemidji State University
, The 6 Questions

1. Tradeshow industry lore is that we all just fell into tradeshow and once you’re in you never leave. For many people that is certainly true. For others, they leave but a part of them remains.  How did you get into the business?

AuthorBH – In my first few years in the design program at Bemidji State University, Dr. Mark Schmit took me aside and said, “I would really like to see you take over the Exhibit Program at Bemidji State. It has a long history and I don’t want it to die. I took on this challenge and have put my heart and soul into the continued success of our program, students and graduates.

And who inspired you to grow into your Tradeshow career?

 – Then I met Kermit Anderson, who was one of the programs founding professors. His passion, entrepreneurial approach to educational opportunities, and his genuine positive approach to life inspired me to carry on his and the departments’ mission for the success of BSU’s students and programs.

2. What would you be if you were not in Tradeshow?

BH – I would be teaching in the graphic and multimedia focused realm of design education, or pursuing a career in designing 3-dimensional spaces and experiences as I have fell in love with this industry.

3. Without considering the customers you visit, focusing only on the location, what is your favorite city to hang out in for business travel and why?

BH – Wow, this is a hard one to answer, Lansargues, France would be hard to beat with its Mediterranean Sea access. In the US…Chicago, Boston and San Francisco would top my list.

Author4. What experience do you recall as a nightmare when it happened but can sit back and laugh about it now?

BH – When Sachel Josefson lost our BSU exhibit design promotional booth in a taxi cab.

5. Do you have any hobbies? How does your hobby influence your industry work and vice versa?

BH – I love woodworking and building furniture; photography, printmaking, remodeling and interior design. I think my woodworking informs me in the process of exhibition design and manufacturing processes and my interior design aspirations influence the material/experiential portions of exhibit design. I love learning about CNC processes, laser and plasma cutting, 3D printing, construction methods and all process that require 3-Dimensional thinking and design.

6. If you could send a message to yourself day one of your tradeshow career what advice would you give yourself?

BH – Pursue it with passion, your students deserve to be exposed and provided opportunities in this crazily energetic industry!

Thanks Bonnie & David!
If you or someone you know are thinking about a career in the creative world and wonder what options are out there, consider exhibit design. Exhibit designers learn how to execute their creativity by developing a combination of rewarding skills. A well rounded and diverse career, designers master corporate branding, interior, retail, experiential, structural and more. They also gain an important understanding of client budgets and face-to-face marketing. Bemidji turns out exhibit industry professionals that get jobs and make a big impact on the industry!

Thanks again for everyone that has been reading this series and sending me messages about how diverse and fulfilling working in Event and Exhibits industry really is. ~ g


Check it out!

Have someone that you would like me to ask “The 6 Questions” ?
I thought so, just send me an email at gcamarato@optimagfx.com

What is The 6 Questions?

A clever friend of mine, we’ll call him Harold Mintz, just to use a name, once hipped me to a trick. Harold explained that whenever he is at a party and the conversation is slow he loosens things up with a question. “What did you go to school for and what are you doing now.” Everybody has a story – Brilliant!

Piggybacking on big H’s idea, I’m running a new blog series titled The 6 Questions. I have some of the icons of our industry, folks you all know, lined up and ready to reveal the how, why and whatever. Our tradeshow industry is packed full of some of the most interesting people. They each have a unique story to share. Thanks for reading!   ~ g

About our Author
Gary Camarato is the Vice President of Marketing & Creative Development at Optima™ and has been in the Trade Show industry since 1992.

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.

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