Back and Bigger Than Ever: CES Connect
After four years since the last CES conference, more than 2,000 electrical professionals excitedly await this year’s gathering in June at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida. That includes more than 50 industry-leading manufacturers at our largest Counter Day ever.
But before we head to the Sunshine State, read ahead to learn about the success of past conferences and this year’s newly branded CES Connect.
City Electric Supply Conferences Get an ‘A’ in Attendance
President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Hartland-Mackie first approached Chief Marketing Officer Thomas McShane about the idea of hosting a conference in 2013. It would provide employees from across the nation with an opportunity to network, learn more about the electrical industry, and discover new opportunities within the company.
“It was the first event we ever hosted under Thomas Hartland-Mackie,” said McShane. “He asked me to help put it together for over 140 people, district managers and above.”
McShane continued, “We didn’t have a playbook or things to reference from last time — it was a completely blank sheet of paper. But the strength of partnerships and relationships brought it together.”
But it all worked out, and the first North American Managers Conference was a hit. Everyone gathered in Dallas, Texas, at the Hyatt Reunion Tower across the street from company headquarters.
“Still looking back, I’m thinking, ‘How did we do that?’” said McShane. “Putting this huge conference together at the age of 23 with zero experience was really intimidating but an amazing opportunity. But I just appreciated the opportunity to showcase the quality and caliber of the marketing and event teams.”
CES experienced so much growth that by the second conference in 2016, the facility was bursting at the seams.
The company took the 2018 event to the next level, hosting more than 1,300 attendees at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas. This three-day event included general breakout sessions hosted by Hartland-Mackie, McShane, Co-Chief Operating Officers John Gray and Andrew Dawes, and other C-suite members and executives.
CES Returns to Even More Excitement in Florida at CES Connect 2022
Despite plans for another event in 2020, the onset of COVID-19 provided unprecedented challenges. In the interest of safety, CES postponed the event.
“The decision to cancel the 2020 conference just started as a general conversation about the state of the world and how big of an impact COVID could potentially have on not just the event but the overall business,” said McShane.
Senior Marketing Manager Leigh Ann Moltz said, “We had invested so much. Every day we worked on the event, every hour we put into preparing it. However, we were all working under the expectation that it could absolutely be canceled. Events outside the company were being canceled left and right.”
“It was definitely something we were all disappointed about, but looking back now, it was definitely the right decision,” said McShane.
But thanks to the planning and determination of many within the company, the conference is back. Rebranded as CES Connect 2022, it’s shaping up to be the most impressive CES gathering, with more than 2,000 CES employees, manufacturers, and customers.
Filling the Gaylord Palms Conference Center, electrical professionals will come together for company updates, awards, networking opportunities, and more. And to unwind, they will enjoy an unforgettable event each evening.
“I hope when people walk away from this year’s conference, our employees feel connected, refreshed, part of a bigger family than they realized they were part of before,” said Creative Director Juan Villalba.
And to help everyone feel that connection, there’s one very important addition this year.
“It’s the first time we’re inviting customers, so that changes everything,” said Director of Events Christine DeMartino. “I think everyone thought we’d just pick up the pieces and start planning again in 2022, but we’ve revamped everything. We started in 2020 to make 2022 even better. We want everyone to say it was the best time ever.”
The largest CES Counter Day will take place on June 18. Built on-site from scratch, customers can visit over 50 industry-leading manufacturers, discover exclusive promotions, and network with CES staff from across North America.
Plus, realistically designed full-sized dioramas, called “Application Centers,” will demonstrate products’ specialized uses and features in residential, jobsite, and commercial spaces.
McShane said that despite so many moving pieces, it’s worth it because the conference is, at its core, a celebration of CES employees.
“It’s the old analogy that a house isn’t a home; it’s the people inside. So, thank you to everybody that will be attending, and the collaboration, the connection, and the culture of all our team members,” said McShane.
Don’t want to miss the biggest Counter Day in City Electric Supply history? Register today at CESConnect.com.