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NE Expo Makes Strong Showing in Maine: Added Venue in NY Also Attracts Support

Trade Show Makes Strong Showing in Maine

By Staff
Date Posted: 6/1/2009

            The Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo had a strong showing of exhibitors and attendance at the trade show in Bangor, Maine in early May.

            The expo, the major trade show of the forest products industry in the Northeast, featured 190 exhibitors and more than 6,500 attendees.

            Joe Phaneuf, executive director of the Northeastern Loggers’ Association, which sponsors the expo, termed the event an unqualified success.

             “You can speculate about the state of the industry all you want,” said Joe, “but the true test is to get potential buyers and sellers of forest products equipment together in one place and see what develops. Obviously, there’s still life in the forest products industry in northern New England.”

            The crowd appeared to be upbeat, and several exhibitors reported making substantial on-site sales at the show, he reported. The weather was pleasant, giving both indoor and outdoor exhibitors exposure to what appeared to be a motivated crowd.

            Recent changes in the forest products industry were evident during the expo. Biomass equipment continued its emergence as a ‘third leg’ of the industry, joining logging and sawmill equipment as mainstays of the equipment most in demand. For the second time at the Bangor trade show, a large amount of exhibit space was devoted to live demonstrations of grinding and chipping equipment.

            This year, Bandit Industries, Continental Biomass Industries and Precision-Husky demonstrated their large-scale biomass processing equipment. Their machines reduced many truckloads of raw logs into pulp- and fuel-grade chips that were hauled off to market as quickly as they were produced.

            The expo also featured its usual extensive outdoor static exhibit space along with smaller-scale live demos of firewood processing equipment, sawmills and chain saws. Two separate indoor exhibit areas — the Bangor Civic Center and the Bangor Auditorium — held more static displays, including the newest generation of wood gasification boilers, which drew steady interest from those in attendance.

            “We’ve been holding the Northeastern Expo here in Bangor every second or third year since 1983,” said Joe, “and it continues to grow and change to reflect the state of the industry.”

            Show management was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who registered for and attended the expo, considering economic conditions.

            The Northeastern Expo is an annual trade show, but it alternates year-to-year in different locations – Bangor, Maine and Essex Junction, Vermont. The 2010 event will be held in Vermont.

            In addition, organizers added another venue this year, Watkins Glen, New York. The New York event was held in early April. Despite miserable weather and being the inaugural event for the venue, the New York expo drew nearly 2,500 people from the forest products industry and featured 80 exhibitors.

            “We’re trying to establish a world-class regional forest products equipment exposition in the northern Pennsylvania-southern tier New York region,” said Joe. “The industry has a fantastic history and presence in this part of the country, and we have many members as a result.

            “Despite bad weather and poor markets, the industry showed its support, and we look forward to making the show bigger and better in the years to come,” he added.

            A post-expo survey of exhibitors indicated they were pleased with the crowd, happy with the quality of people they met at the show, and looking forward to returning again in 2011.

            “A surprising number of exhibitors went out of their way to tell us that they share our goal of building a show like those in Bangor and Essex Junction in the heart of Appalachian hardwood country,” said Joe. “In a strong economy, the value of the timber produced here is extraordinary. They want to be a part of that.”

            Organizers are considering holding the New York event somewhat later in April in hopes of having more favorable weather.


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