2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy Earns High Praise


Nearly 100 new and veteran SHOT Show exhibitors last week attended the 2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy, where exhibitors filled seminar rooms at the Sands Expo Center to learn how to maximize their return on investment and exchange ideas to improve the show experience for all in attendance.

P1020028The first day of the Academy opened with some quick-witted remarks by Rick Harrison, star of the Las Vegas-based reality TV show “Pawn Stars,” as he urged the crowd to continue to fight for their Second Amendment rights and protection of the shooting sports. NSSF’s President and CEO Steve Sanetti then took the mic to welcome attendees and provide an overview of the Academy’s agenda, before turning over the stage for the afternoon’s keynote address. With an emphasis on perspective and how exhibitors can look at SHOT Show as an investment from which returns should be expected, motivational speaker and trade show expert Jefferson Davis took no time at all engaging the crowd in a focused exchange of ideas that forced exhibitors to reevaluate how the 2016 SHOT Show can be their best show ever.

Treated to numerous seminars and one-on-one sessions covering everything from budgeting, advertising opportunities and vendor contracting to interacting with the media, lead retrieval and improved logistics handling, the Academy strongly encouraged interaction both between exhibitors and with show management and their partners. A special highlight to these sessions was the presentation by noted social media expert Traci Browne. The author of The Social Trade Show emphasized how exhibitors can capitalize on the power of social media through a dedicated plan of before, during and after-show outreach campaigns, and her engaging speaking style had even the most experienced vendors taking notes and asking questions.

“We were very pleased to see so much interaction among the exhibitors in attendance,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “With a mix of veteran exhibitors and those who had a booth with us only a year or two, everyone was truly invested in working to make the SHOT Show a better experience not just for each other, but for everyone whom they’ll interact with during the show. That’s the kind of teamwork this industry and the SHOT Show need to continue on the successful trajectory they’ve experienced over the last several years.”

The 2016 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show will be held January 19-22 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, visit www.shotshow.org.

NSSF would like to extend a special thanks to its SHOT Show partners ConvExx, Freeman, Century Security, as well as the many professionals at the Sands Expo Center and The Palazzo and Venetian hotels (NSSF’s headquarters hotels for SHOT Show) for their contributions to the 2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy.

Melissa Schilling is the Director of  Conferences and Exhibitions for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF Names Schilling Director of Exhibitions & Conferences

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) has announced that Melissa Schilling has been promoted to the position of Director, Exhibitions & Conferences. Schilling’s most recent position with the organization has been Director, Recruitment & Retention, a title she’s held since 2012.

Schilling brings a wealth of talent to this new position, which includes development and organization of NSSF’s many conferences and shows, including its annual Industry Summit, Congressional Fly-In and the SHOT Show, one of the country’s largest trade exhibitions, attended annually by more than 65,000 firearms industry professionals from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

“Melissa has risen steadily over the course of her career with NSSF,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “She has a proven track record of managing for results and is well respected by everyone she works with. Melissa has a remarkable ability to build and maintain strong professional relationships and I’m confident that she will be very successful as our Director of Exhibitions & Conferences.”

Schilling began her career with NSSF in 2003, first working in public relations before progressing to her position in Recruitment & Retention, where she worked closely with the American conservation community of fish and wildlife agency professionals and hunter education instructors. Highlights of her tenure with NSSF have included managing the organization’s Range Partnership and Hunting Heritage Partnership grant programs and the very successful, national STEP OUTSIDE program, as well as the Families Afield and Explore Wingshooting initiatives, which encourage mentoring and increased participation afield by hunters. Schilling also oversaw NSSF’s flagship firearms introductory program, First Shots.

“I am excited to take on the new challenges this promotion will offer,” said Schilling. “I’ve enjoyed more than a decade of service to the NSSF and the many, many people who ensure, year after year, that our industry sees continuous growth and participation in hunting and the shooting sports, and all with a level of unrivaled safety. It is with great anticipation and enthusiasm that I’ll continue to serve our industry as a whole, and NSSF’s members in particular, in this new role.”


About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 11,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.

Seminars and Press Conferences and Meetings, Oh My!

We’ve made dozens of posts over the last few months about the many educational seminars and press conferences available to the thousands of people who will attend SHOT Show this year. All offer numerous opportunities to learn about the latest industry research, current compliance issues, marketing tools, new products and much more. To maximize your time at the show, seeing what you need to see and meeting with who you need to meet while still getting to the classes and seminars you want to attend, turn to the Digital 2015 SHOT Show Tracker.

The Tracker is your one-stop tool for mapping out the sessions you want to attend. Whether it’s the various sessions of SHOT Show University, the many and varied Retail Seminars, or the nearly dozen Law Enforcement sessions, the Digital 2015 SHOT Show Tracker contains the dates and times for every session during the show. The Tracker also features floor plans of the Sands Expo and Convention Center and a shuttle bus schedule to and from the many nearby hotels, along with a breakdown of exhibitor categories and booth locations.

To access the Digital 2015 SHOT Show Tracker click here. And don’t forget to download the SHOT Show Mobile App, available for iPhones and iPads through the Apple store, for Android devices through Google Play, and for Windows and Blackberry devices through a web-based application. Go to shotmobile.com and download the app for your mobile device now.

Diedra Cauley is the senior director of exhibitions and conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.

December Exhibitor Deadlines, Part II

We are now down to just a little more than five weeks before the opening of the 2015 SHOT Show. With that comes multiple exhibitor deadlines in the month of December.

In this post, I’ll focus on the deadlines for December 19. I’ll follow that with another post reviewing the numerous December 26 deadlines.

December 19 Exhibitor Deadlines:

  1. Exhibitors utilizing third-party labor for duties outside those that must be handled by official show contractors (e.g., SES—Specialized Event Services—or Freeman) must submit their Exhibitor–Appointed Contractor (EAC) applications to ConvExx by this date. EAC’s include exhibit installers/dismantlers, decorators, booth hostesses, videographers and photographers, florists and others. Click here for the online applications. Information and a sample of exhibitor insurance can be found here, while rules and regulations for EACs, including show activity dates and times
  2. are located here.
  3. All U.S. exhibitors wishing to receive their badges by U.S. mail must have completed their credential submission by this date. Complete information regarding required credentials and booth badge allotments can be found here. Note: Online registration closes Thursday January 16. After January 23, everyone must register onsite.
  4. December 19 is the final date that exhibitors renting the automated, computerized Lead Retrieval systems from CompuSystems may receive the discounted advanced rates. CompuSystems offers 2015 SHOT Show exhibitors a variety of handheld, smart device and desktop products that collect full contact information from every scanned badge, thereby eliminating the problems associated with handwritten notes and lost business cards while providing additional functionality such as lead qualifiers and note taking. CompuSystems also provides in-booth setup and training for its devices. Click here for CompuSystem’s rental application, including a full listing of the advanced rate discount.
  5. This is the last date that exhibitors can receive the advanced rate from CSS (Convention Staffing Solutions) for temporary booth personnel such as greeters, business card collectors and product presenters. Click here for the application.
  6. The last deadline for December 19 is for exhibitors to finalize food and beverage sampling for booth catering. The online order form for samples can be found here. For more information, contact Tricia Hanisko at thanisko@convexx.com or call 702-216-5865.

For the full list of show deadlines, click here. Remember, the Exhibitor Resource Center at shotshow.org/erc can provide the answers to many questions exhibitors have regarding deadlines, contractors, booth services, media and more. Need to contact someone with a specific questions? See the list of all 2015 SHOT Show contacts here.


Dave Jeannette is Senior Director, Sales for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJeannette.