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APTA Members Prepare for EXPO-travaganza; Networking, Product Innovation, Solutions Take the Floor

As public transportation industry professionals worldwide make their plans to attend the 2017 APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Atlanta, Passenger Transport asked a few business leaders and public transportation providers to comment for a one-question interview:

Why does your company exhibit at EXPO?

Clever Devices: Unique Platform to Feature Solutions
Buddy Coleman
Chief Customer Officer
Clever Devices Ltd.
Woodbury, NY
Member, APTA Board of Directors, Business Member Board of Governors

As one of the industry’s leading providers of ITS technology, Clever Devices exhibits at the APTA EXPO for a multitude of reasons.

Because APTA EXPO is the largest showcase for transit in North America, it provides us with a unique platform to demonstrate our industry leading suite of ITS technology solutions and a forum to connect with customers and prospects directly.

At Clever Devices, our solutions are always designed with either efficiency improvement or the passenger experience in mind. APTA EXPO enables us to engage directly with hundreds of industry leaders to better understand the challenges they face and share how our solutions can help them serve their customers better.

The EXPO provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to showcase how our advanced ITS products work together to reduce operating and maintenance costs while improving passenger safety and comfort. Our live demos allow potential customers to experience our solutions in action so they can see for themselves how we can help them optimize their operation and maximize their existing resources. Very often, these live demonstrations lead to additional conversations and leads for our sales team.

Finally, the APTA EXPO affords our Clever Devices team the opportunity to network and acquire critical industry knowledge. This valuable information is imperative to our success and an important reason why we continue to grow not only as a company, but more importantly as a valued partner to our customers.

MCI: Opportunity to Showcase Products on ‘Grand Scale’

Patrick J. Scully
Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Motor Coach Industries
Des Plaines, IL
Member, APTA Executive Committee, Business Member Board of Governors

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has been a proud exhibitor at APTA EXPO for over 30 years.

MCI sees EXPO as not only our opportunity to display our products, but also an opportunity for our industry to showcase on a grand scale all of the nuts, bolts, iron, vehicles, software, services and capabilities that our industry’s supply side offers to our operating members.

It is often breathtaking for a new attendee at EXPO once they see the breadth and scale of products on display. Given that the EXPO occurs every three years, it provides our entire industry with the optimal forum to showcase our latest innovations in products and services to help our customers add value to their businesses.

In our view, attendance is a must for anyone in our industry. Consequently, EXPO is a must attend for us at MCI.
EXPO is an exceptionally well-run exhibition with excellent site cities and significant depth of attendees. It is essentially the “who’s who” of our industry and allows us to engage with our customers in a setting unparalleled in the market.

Through EXPO, MCI will be engaging with the key customer decision makers and buyers in our industry. MCI will be able to unveil our latest product innovations that will set the stage for the next five to 10 years for our industry, and we will do so together with New Flyer as we will display together for the first time as North America’s largest transit and motor coach manufacturer at EXPO.

Bottom line is this: It’s an excellent showcase with excellent customer attendance that delivers excellent results! MCI looks forward to a great week in Atlanta in the fall.

Axis Communications: Innovate, Integrate, Collaborate

Anthony Incorvati
Business Development, Critical Infrastructure & Transportation
Axis Communications Inc.
Member, APTA Closed Circuit Television Working Group

Axis Communications has a clear vision—innovating for a smarter, safer world. In saying that, there are a number of contributing factors as to why we exhibit at APTA EXPO.

Axis is a market leader in network video. We invented the world’s first network camera back in 1996 and we’ve been innovators in video surveillance ever since, increasing the security of millions of people worldwide and helping to meet the growing need for a smarter, safer world.

In public transportation, safety and security are paramount to everything in the operation of transit systems. Although our technology had early primary use for security, we should point out that users and uses of networked video surveillance have gone way beyond security to include other functional areas such as operations, maintenance, risk management and so on.

APTA EXPO brings the entire community together—not only the different users and uses of the technology within transit authorities, but also consultants, system integrators and vehicle builders to other technology providers like Axis.

From a committee standpoint and from being on the APTA CCTV Working Group, this is a great opportunity to provide input for recommended practices and also to be a liaison to other associations. For example, as chair of the Security Industry Association (SIA) Transportation Working Group, we are working to have the associations collaborate and support each other. This was evident in working together on encouraging FTA to provide clarification on IP cameras as related to Buy America.

We also like the EXPO because it brings many industry professionals together from across North America and beyond. Axis Communications is a global company and with the help of 90,000 partners spanning 179 countries, we’ve delivered a series of groundbreaking products and many industry firsts and look forward to pioneering many more in an effort to serve public transportation.

And here’s what public transit providers had to say to this question:
Why do you attend EXPO?

CT DOT: Nothing Like Seeing It All Under One Roof
Michael A. Sanders
Connecticut DOT
Newington, CT
Member, APTA Executive Committee

Where do I begin? That is applicable both for the question you asked me, as well as when you first walk onto the EXPO floor. Where do you begin?

When I was new to the transit community and walked into my first EXPO, it was absolutely overwhelming to see the breadth of products and services that this industry offered. Even just wondering how they got that rail car into the exhibit hall was thought-provoking.

Over the years as my job became more specialized, I realized the depth of products and services this industry offered.

During a career that touched on work in the areas of planning, capital procurement, operations, maintenance, marketing and finally, more broadly general management, there has always been too much to see in the time allotted. The range of products for specialists in any of these areas is incredible.

Reading sales brochures or taking sales calls may be a traditional information gathering approach. But there’s nothing quite like seeing, for example, all the product options you were thinking about for your new bus purchase and being able to “touch” them, all under one roof.

It has been amazing to see the industry evolve to take advantage of the latest technologies and apply them to vehicle location, fare collection, customer information, data collection, power trains—and the list could go on and on.

Finally, you see every friend you’ve made in the industry on the EXPO floor, whether they are on the supplier side or the agency side. Whether it’s catching up with an old friend, learning about the newest product innovations or merging the two and tracking down a colleague to learn about their experience with a particular product, there’s always someone to talk to, someone new to meet and a vast array of new or updated products that greet you.

I suppose every industry has its exhibition floor that amazes people. But if you are going to be an active part of this industry, you have to do an EXPO if for no other reason than to give you the perspective to realize all of the people and products that make this industry what it is.

CATA: EXPO Is an Engaging Experience

Sandy Draggoo
CEO/Executive Director
Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA)
Lansing, MI
Member, Bus & Paratransit CEOs, Small Operations Committees

Few would refute APTA EXPO’s power to draw a big crowd and engage attendees. For CATA, it’s a “not-to-be-missed” affair; a place to see and be seen and an opportunity to network, learn, exchange ideas and see firsthand what’s on the horizon in our wonderful world of transit.

APTA EXPO is to transit what SXSW is to creative folks and what the Worldwide Developers Conference is to Apple and its army of developers. As part of their professional development, administrative personnel from CATA are attending EXPO 2017.

I have attended countless EXPOs throughout my 43-year career at CATA. More than anything else, I look forward to seeing my transit friends, old and new. I particularly enjoy catching up with vendors who are very knowledgeable and provide critically needed products and services. EXPO is also a great opportunity to reconnect with fellow CEOs and GMs from other properties. We face many of the same challenges and issues, but the solutions—many of them under this very roof—are endless.

“The key reasons I enjoy attending EXPO include the ability to network with colleagues from other properties and vendors who support the industry,” said Andrew Brieschke, CATA director of operations. “Learning about new best practices and trends in bus specifications that enhance the customer experience—fare collection systems, seating, wheelchair securements and so on. Experiencing new technologies that create efficiencies for the operation makes the operator’s job easier and our service more customer-friendly.”

Director of Marketing Lolo Robison said, “As a marketer I learn so much about what’s trending in terms of technology, fare media, data collection and more. It gets the old noggin thinking and the wheels turning, all of which benefit CATA. I particularly enjoy running into my counterparts and transit professionals from other agencies to brainstorm, compare notes, share ideas or just catch up. I return to my office with new ideas and creative solutions that may help my authority achieve the excellence in service delivery and efficiencies we continually strive for.”

Looking forward to seeing you there!
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