A couple of years ago, I attended CVC in Kansas City with a different perspective. I had come down from Michigan with a colleague
who took an interesting approach to the show. His mission was to visit every vendor in the exhibit hall.
Dr. Jeff Rothstein
My friend dedicates one trip a year to visiting conference vendors. He likes to do this when he's on the road, away from the
state veterinary conference, because on his home turf he's too easily distracted by all the people he knows.
When I visit an exhibit hall, my approach is usually to go to the few booths that interest me and make a few other stops to
say hello to industry friends, then I blow by the rest. So my friend's strategy was novel to me. He says he can learn a lot,
or at least a little, from every vendor.
I followed closely as my guide religiously visited every booth. It was a little like being at a flea market. And sure enough,
there was something to learn from everyone. For example, after many years of doing dental work, we learned that there's a
whole world of useful dental instruments we didn't know existed—but probably should have. At the same booth, I found out that
the manufacturer of our new dental radiography unit would readily sponsor a dental seminar for our clinic or a group of area
Working the floor: The information-packed exhibit hall at CVC Central.
Next I met the president of our veterinary software company and got updated on some important new features, including a new
integrated credit card processing system, which will save my practices big bucks. The list goes on and on: technological advances,
improved medications, online hospital pharmacy services, and online staff training programs that will serve our businesses
I'd thought this might be a boring way to spend two or three days, considering there were lots of other things competing for
our attention. But I tried it, and it was eye-opening and educational. The growing veterinary industry has attracted all types
of new services and products. And thanks to my foray through the trade show hall, I'm on the cutting edge. My friend and I
met a lot of interesting folks and made some solid business connections. We ate well, too. There always seemed to be an interesting
lunch presentation and no shortage of snacks being handed out.
So, I encourage you to experiment with your conference time, too. A different perspective certainly yields different results.
And don't overlook the incredible resources in the exhibit hall when you make your plans.
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board Member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management
Group in Michigan.