Celebrating the nation's top installation & dismantle talent
BEST TRAVELING LEAD
You ask, “Who’s on Your Crew?” Our answer is the most talented, passionate and remarkable individuals in the industry. We really love, respect and appreciate our team members. Nth Degree has always been about its people and we owe it all to them. One of these people that stands out from the crowd and who is always reliable, consistently talented and uncommonly loyal, is Mike Macauley.
Mike has been a part of the Nth Degree team for a total of more than 18 years and is a highly-requested traveling lead for clients and our account management teams. A few of the numbers that speak to Mike’s experience and dedication include his 18+ years total working as part of the Nth Degree team, his average of more than 100 days on the road traveling for projects (mostly at the request of clients) and the crews of more than 25 people that he can lead on-site without breaking a sweat.
And while Mike is certainly one of our best traveling leads, he is most definitely one of our best leads in general. He is a true brand ambassador, but perhaps even more importantly, he is a client ambassador. Every step of the process is executed with the goals and the success of the client in mind.
One example of Mike’s capability is when another project lead on a multimillion-dollar-project fell ill and Mike had to take over his responsibilities with only four days’ notice. He became the new lead project manager and had less than a week to catch up on all the nuances of this very important client event. This project typically requires three months of advanced labor management planning and daily meetings. Mike had to step-in, absorb every detail, lead a team, maintain a budget and ensure all client expectations were met and exceeded on-site. He didn’t skip a beat. This was one of the defining projects of Mike’s career. He overcame the challenge of jumping in sight unseen, of fielding last-minute changes with ease, gaining understanding of project plans with virtually no history and of communicating with all the vendors and client contacts with grace and professionalism. His project management was seamless, and the customer never had to worry.
Mike has traveled for many customers over the years including two key customers–one in the automotive industry and the other in technology. Because of the variety of industry circuits Mike is on, he has traveled all over the world on behalf of our customers. These projects also include multiple agencies, vendors and stakeholders and Mike can work with and collaborate with every person. He does this by setting aside any self-serving goals and ensuring that every action and step he makes is done so on behalf of the customer and ultimately, to make the project run smoothly. One area he always focuses on is efficiency and finding ways to maximize hours and labor calls so that we can save the customer money, but without sacrificing performance or speed.
The colleagues we asked to help with this nomination said that Mike is always willing to go the extra mile even when he should be dead tired. You will find Mike on the show floor or project site working all day and saying late at night to ensure everything is done right and to ensure he can help his team meet daily goals. He is a working project manager and will jump in and take any role necessary to get the job done with no ego and no complaint. He will carve out time for conference calls with clients leading up to projects, he will load freight at a warehouse and he will lead a huge labor team on round-the-clock shifts without thinking twice about it.
We asked a few people on our team who have worked alongside Mike to describe him in a few words. Here are the results: hard working, grit, honest, team player, can-do attitude, professional, willing to go the extra mile, knowledgeable, talented fabricator and carpenter, great communicator, easy to work with and client ambassador.
Need we say more? Thank you for the opportunity to nominate a truly special person on the Nth Degree team and in this sometimes-challenging industry.
One example of Mike’s leadership is when we had a very high-stress and tense client at a show. There was also a big learning curve as this client was from another country and did not understand unions and the complexities of the Detroit Auto Show. Mike was upfront and honest with the team from the exhibit house that was. They grew to trust him and value his opinion which in the end helped the project get completed on time and on budget.
Another example is when we were working with an automotive client for the first time and the lead supervisor had some hesitation about working with our team. Mike convinced him to give him a fair chance to prove himself and prove our team could do the work. Mike worked hard, acted as a leader with the team and a collaborator with the client. By the end of the tour they were insistent that Mike travel to every major show and he did for the entire length of the contract. On many occasions we were told that they couldn’t do the job without him.--
I am nominating Chris Pohanka for the Best Traveling Lead because he can truly do it all. He works hard, is a problem solver, and is respected by all the crews he works with. Whether it be in his home town of Chicago, or on any other show floor in the country, he's the first man there and the last man home. He leads by example, keeping a calm head in tough situations and providing an unmatched level of service to clients. He doesn't take himself too seriously, but he always knows when it's time to focus on work and get things moving. He's respectful of people's time, budgets and last-minute requests, and will always go out of his way to make things better for others. Chris is an integral part of the success of my shows and because of his positive attitude, his amazing work ethic, and his commitment to the team, I feel he deserves this award.
As a senior sales consultant at The Trade Group I’ve worked with Robert Lassiter for 16 years. He is a smart minded installation and dismantle supervisor whom several of my clients ask for by name. Never do I worry when I know he is traveling with one of my projects, which by the way, had him on the road for 282 days this year alone. When I say smart minded I refer to decisions made while building that will positively affect timing, budget and assurance of a successful problem free tradeshow or event. His customer service with clients make him invaluable to them on the show floor. I wish he could travel and supervise every single one of my clients shows.—Robin Dean, senior sales consultant at The Trade Group
I have known and had the privilege of working with Robert Lassiter for close to nine years. In those nine years, he has saved the day too many times to count. As an I&D Supervisor, Robert always goes above and beyond. He is consistently a vital part of the success of my client’s installation and dismantle process. I know that when he is present, the installation process runs smoothly, clients are happy and the show is a success. His attention to detail, innovative ideas, ability to quickly respond and MacGyver exhibits is incredible. He is kind, hardworking, the first to show up and the last to leave. Robert is a problem solver, “big picture” thinker and a true gem. He brings excellence to the show floor and The Trade Group as a whole. He is dedicated to his projects and clients, and is an unbelievable liaison for our company. He is undoubtedly a perfect candidate for the Exhibit City News’ 2019 I&D ACE Award and it is with genuine respect that I nominate the amazing Robert Lassiter!—Claire Amberson Phillips, senior sales consultant at The Trade Group
I have had the pleasure of working with Robert Lassiter on three of the past five shows (not that we didn’t try to get him for all five!). My first show with Robert was my first conference ever, and he managed the whole install to run smoothly and ahead of schedule—which I was told was an extremely rare occurrence, but it was basically as perfect as you could hope for. The same thing happened with my second show—smooth sailing. However, when the third show hit, everything that could have gone wrong, did. It was the first show I was pretty much on my own, major booth graphics were missing, as well as furniture and service orders—I was panicked. Of course, the install was over the weekend, so we couldn’t simply order replacement parts from Trade Group, but Robert did what he had to in order to get the best possible graphics available to us; he knew what we needed to print and went to multiple print shops to find someone who could make it happen before show time. With Robert running our installation, he was able to turn my panic into confidence that everything was going to be alright. Robert always knew who to talk to, how to speed things along, and how to best resolve any problems. If I was worried about anything at all, Robert would take the time to talk me through what the next steps were and wouldn’t leave until my worries disappeared. Robert is extremely knowledgeable and resourceful, and my team is always elated to find out when he’s been assigned to our booth; working with Robert isn’t just working with someone random to get the job done, it’s working with a friend that you know you can trust and who cares about your project just as much as you do.—Natalie Swan, CACI
One of the things I appreciate most about working with Robert Lassiter is his dedication to our booth and our brand. He goes above and beyond to make sure that we are always putting our best foot forward. He does this while also keeping a close eye on our bottom line. One example of this is our custom product display packages. Although they are not designed to be shipped from show to show, Robert has taken such great care of them that they have lasted 2+ years and still look like new. The show floor can be a chaotic and stressful place and we can be demanding. Robert handles even the most difficult scenario with a calm demeanor and a focus on problem solving. When Robert is managing our booth setup, I can relax and focus on other details because I know the booth is going to be completed on time and looking its best. —Jennifer Uhlemann, tradeshow & events manager, Karndean Designflooring
BEST TRAVELING LEAD OF THE YEAR
Traveling lead, The Trade Group
Becca Dewosky, The Trade Group
I am pleased to nominate Brad Kearns for the “Best Traveling Ace Award”. I have known and worked with Brad for over 12 years and have always found him to be an excellent team leader, dedicated colleague, resourceful and calm under fire. His attention to detail while consistently meeting the ever-tightening project budgets and time targets are a superb example to the crews he supervises on how to meet challenges. He always has time to lend an empathetic ear to a team member and provide understanding and support when appropriate while conveying a positive and can-do disposition throughout any challenge.
Brad is always willing to take on complex projects such as the Omers Special Ops installation of 26 floors of executive offices within a few months and the assembly/installation of the outdoor assets for the Pan Am games where he managed more than 60 installers spanning over five locations concurrently. Brad’s positive approach conveyed throughout these projects continues to resonate with our partners and their clients.
His commitment does not end when he leaves the exhibit floor or a special ops site. When off-site Brad is busy studying and walking through the next project from A to Z. This understanding of a project from start to finish has been instrumental in ensuring that Laborinc’s crews are always well prepared, have all the supplies they may require and the proper tools and knowledge to guarantee success.
Brad projects a warm, cheerful attitude to our partners and their clients. I have seen him resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact.
He loves people, works hard, and always tries to lift the spirits of those around him. I believe these characteristics represent all that is good in a Traveling Lead, and I am pleased to nominate Brad for the honor of Best Traveling Ace Award.
During a project debriefing meeting for a “large scale installation,” the president of a partner company AWF offered to the group “I wish I had 10 more leads like Brad.”
“Extreme Exhibits contracted with Laborinc to use Brad as our lead on a multi-city tour across Canada. We are so glad we did. During the tour we were met with all types of weather challenges, ridiculous time lines and changing layouts on the fly. Brad and his local crew delivered top drawer services with confidence, ingenuity and constant reassurances, which was nice to receive. We would contract for Brad as our exclusive lead on all our future marketing efforts in Canada.”
BEST TRAVELING LEAD OF THE YEAR
Traveling lead, Laborinc.ca, Ontario Canada
Don Brown, VP Operations, Laborinc.ca, Ontario, Canada