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Seth’s Cut: Sentimental for a selfie

September 8, 2020 -  By
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Craig MacGregor, Seth Jones, Bill Roddy (Photo: LM Staff)

Craig MacGregor, Seth Jones, Bill Roddy in Louisville, Ky., for GIE+EXPO 2019. (Photo: LM Staff)

I am not one to often take a selfie. For multiple reasons — and probably some of the same reasons I’ve never responded to a text message with an emoji. But last October, I was feeling a mix of emotions — excitement, anticipation, energy — and I had two St. Ed’s High alums with me: Bill Roddy and Craig MacGregor, publisher and associate publisher, respectively, of this fine publication. I extended a go-go Gadget arm, and we all looked up and smiled, capturing Fourth Street Live in the background. It was Day One of GIE+EXPO 2019, and we were just about to arrive at the party we were hosting at the Goose Island Beer Bridge.

A year later and with some hindsight, that photo means a lot more to me than I thought it would when I took it. Bill, Craig and I are all still fine and well and doing our thing. But, one of our annual meeting places — GIE+EXPO in Louisville, with Fourth Street Live and the Goose Island Beer Bridge — is off our travel schedule for a year.

It’s like my friend Louis(ville) got thrown in the slammer for a two-year sentence, and now I know I can’t see him again until 2021. And, because he’s locked up, that also means I don’t get to see Bill, Craig and the rest of the LM team as often, as they live in Ohio, and I live in Kansas. I also don’t get to see the other GIE+EXPO attendees — our readers and our advertising partners. It’s … strange.

It was an interesting journey putting together this month’s cover story on GIE+EXPO being postponed to 2021 (“No show. What now?” starts on page 10). I called my sources, and in most cases, I left a voicemail that said, “I’m doing a cover story for LM on there not being a GIE+EXPO in 2020 … and what that means to people in our industry. Call me back if you’re interested in giving me your thoughts.”

Every source returned my call immediately. Every source was passionate about the topic and the unusual year we’re in. Everyone was optimistic that things would get back to normal eventually. And, most of the sources also told me that though they’ll miss GIE+EXPO and all it entails, at the same time, they’re having a record-setting summer.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case for everyone. One of my sources is Karen Williams, CEO of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. As you would imagine, the tourism business in Louisville has taken a serious hit, and as a result, many people are out of work. GIE+EXPO annually brings $17 million to the Louisville community. But this year, zero.

But, if there is a positive here, it’s the recurring thought that everyone said to me … when things get back to normal and we can meet again … that will be the best GIE+EXPO ever. In the meantime, we strive on. Next month, in part two of this series, we’ll ask “What if?” What if there wasn’t a pandemic and the 2020 show went on as planned? What would we have seen, who would we have met? What product would have won the show? If you have the answers to any of those questions, please email me.

And, when we’re all at GIE+EXPO again, I’m going to take another selfie of me and the St. Ed’s guys. Louis will be free from his sentence — turns out he was wrongly accused. And, all of us will celebrate his freedom, as friends should do.

This article is tagged with , , , and posted in 0920, Blog, Current Issue, Editor's Note, GIE+EXPO
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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