Expanding the ACS Rubber Division's Rubber Expo by adding advanced materials in health care to its name and focus isn't a good idea. It's a great idea.
This is a bold approach for the association to latch onto the fastest-growing business in the Northeast Ohio region, and perhaps the rubber sector.
Medical and health care development is the biggest hope for the struggling area, and with good reason. The region has more than 400 bioscience companies, a number of other major medical centers, and several universities with sterling reputations in medical and polymer science.
The effort to establish the area as a leader in the field is exemplified by a $536 million medical mart and convention center being built in Cleveland.
Enter the Rubber Division. The group itself has struggled to retain membership, as well as exhibitors for its Rubber Expo. The major biennial exhibition is the prime source of funding for the division's activities.
The idea is that the Rubber Expo and Advanced Materials in Health Care show in Cleveland will attract former exhibitors that quit supplying materials for traditional rubber processors, but now serve the medical/health care field. The division also expects to get new exhibitors to its expo.
That doesn't mean the traditional expo and technical program will be degraded. The biomaterials portion of the show will be incorporated within the existing expo, and the division is lining up a technical symposium on the subject and developing a related educational session.
Additionally, the group has an impressive array of partners in its new effort that lends weight to the endeavor.
The downside? Competition exists in the form of other medical/health care related trade shows, particularly the four Medical Design & Manufacturing shows. Rubber is only a small portion of those events, but rubber-related companies do exhibit and attend.
The Cleveland expo, however, has a much narrower focus, dedicated to rubber and other elastomers. The question is, will exhibitors and individuals in the medical and health care field decide to add another show to their schedule, or switch to the Rubber Expo from another event? Or not.
No matter what the response to the change in the expo, the Rubber Division has hit on a way to better serve its members. The organization changes with the times, and has come up with a good idea. No, a great idea.