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2021 GIE+EXPO Preview: The Show Goes On

September 20, 2021 -  By
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GIE+EXPO 2019 (Photo by Brian Bohannon)

GIE+EXPO 2019 (Photo by Brian Bohannon)

After an unexpected year off, GIE+EXPO is set to return Oct. 20-22 with a bang

Chris Sonafrank, president of Lakeway Landscaping in Clemmons, N.C., had been trying to attend GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., since 2010. Every year, he’d register but something always came up right before the show, forcing him to cancel.

In 2019, he finally broke through and attended his first GIE+EXPO. He was stunned by what he saw, what he learned and what he could immediately apply to his business.

“Look at what classes are offered and get signed up prior to getting there. Plan your schedule. I went with a purpose. To be effective, you have to have a plan. Don’t just show up to get swag.” Chris Sonafrank, president of Lakeway Landscaping

“Look at what classes are offered and get signed up prior to getting there. Plan your schedule. I went with a purpose. To be effective, you have to have a plan. Don’t just show up to get swag.”
Chris Sonafrank, president of Lakeway Landscaping

“I went there thinking, I’ve been in business 17 years, I know it all,” he recalls. “I thought I knew what I was doing, but that show changed so much for us … cutting down on turnaround time, fleet management, time management, hiring people. I absolutely loved it. I implemented a new price list two days after I got back from GIE+EXPO.”

Lakeway Landscaping has been growing exponentially and organically over the last 17 years, Sonafrank says. He’s now entering the commercial construction and commercial installation markets and feels he’s making better use of his time than ever. After the success of his 2019 show, he knew he would be back in 2020, and every year after.

Until the 2020 show was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that is.

“I hated — hated — that the 2020 show was canceled,” Sonafrank says. “We were ready to go, but we’re ready to go this year. Mask or no mask, I don’t care, it doesn’t matter to me … we have goals.”

This article is tagged with and posted in 0921, Cover story, Current Issue, Featured, From the Magazine, GIE+EXPO

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