By Andy Slawetsky, Industry Analysts Inc. – ACDI held a Solutions Summit Oct. 22 – 25 in Lexington Kentucky. Under the theme “Lucky in Kentucky,” roughly 150 dealers and exhibitors showcased their products, services and programs and mingled during the evening and daytime excursions.
The event kicked off with a welcome reception at a restaurant right next to legendary Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington. It was great to see everyone again and the party was underway!
The next morning began with breakfast and a product fair where dealers got a chance to spend time visiting event partners and sponsors such as PaperCut, Elatec, GreatAmerica, Konica Minolta, Lexmark and many others.
After some early networking and visiting the surrounding vendor area, we sat down to begin the event. The first few speakers were from ACDI and most of them came equipped with slides covering things like the agenda, ACDI updates on the company and their strong performance, etc.
They all also had some pretty funny and possibly incriminating photos of each other (as well as most of the ACDI team) that they ran through. By the end of Jeff McWilliams’ presentation, the crowd was rolling as one hilarious out-of-context picture came after another.
After Jeff, Mark Hart spoke to us for quite a bit. You can see Mark’s presentation below.
Following Mark, Matt Bennett took the stage. Matt is ACDI’s EVP and in-house magician. I’m still trying to figure out how he did a card trick from the night before. Matt told the crowd that last year ACDI made over $48 million in quotes with POA providing the most quotes and Centric Business Systems sold the most renewals.
In all, there were about 50 dealers in the crowd. Many of them were some of the bigger names that you know such as NovaTech, UBEO, Milner, Flex, Atlantic…the list goes on and on. ACDI certainly supports some of the industry’s largest dealers.
After the ACDI crew finished their presentations, some of the event sponsors got the chance to take the stage and talk to us about what they where showing at the event.
Tawyna Stone of GreatAmerica spoke about some of the things dealers might not be using or be aware of within the GreatAmerica program.
Epson’s Joe Contreras and Scott Marsic spoke to dealers about Epson’s strong push into the dealer channel. Indeed, Epson is on the move, taking 20 dealers to Japan a few days later to tour their factories and learn more about inkjet and the $10B manufacturer.
The full team of Clark Bugg, Greg Chavers and Phil Boatman were on hand as well. Being in Lexington and a partner of ACDI, how could they not be at this event? Phil spoke to the crowd for a bit as part of their event sponsorship.
Konica Minolta also took a turn on stage, discussing their newly released i-Series.
After the presentations and a few breaks mixed in, it was time for lunch and more networking. Once lunch was finished, ACDI began their speed dating event.
These have become very popular at conferences lately and I feel like I’m seeing them everywhere. And with good reason.
These quick sessions allow attendees to sit down with ACDI people and sponsors to hear their quick pitch or to just chat about What’s Happenin’ with the companies at the table.
They really allow for some nice albeit brief dialog and before the conversation gets stale, attendees are off to the next table. It keeps things moving and ensures everyone gets some face time with each other.
A few more presentations closed out the day from ACDI and PaperCut and then it was time for fun. ACDI is known for throwing a party and taking care of their customers and this show was no different.
After heading back to our rooms to get into comfy clothing, we were picked up by a smaller limo bus to take us to the dinner. ACDI never misses an opportunity to impress.
The bus took us to Battle Axes, a short ride from the hotel where we were all suddenly thrown back a few hundred years into an old industrial building that has been reborn into an axe throwing facility.
Fully equipped with beer and axe throwing experts, it wasn’t log before attendees were hitting bullseyes all over the place.
You can see from the reactions in the photos and video people had an absolute blast. Mixing it with beers and cider may have helped.
After some time, everyone was split off into “houses” based on who their sales manager was. Complete with banners up on the walls, dealers competed for the ultimate prize – to be known as the best axe throwers in the ACDI family, a trophy among trophies.
Once we finished, we walked a short distance to what is known to be the best pizza place in Lexington. You know it’s good eating when Lexmark’s Phil Boatman starts giving you the full run down of the place. He’s been everywhere and if you want to know where to eat, Phil is better than Yelp.
I will admit, the pizza was excellent and we had a lot of fun fueling up for the 80s band that would close the night right down the street.
But, before that, it was time for some unique ice cream where the key ingredient is, what else, bourbon.
Finally making our way to the dancing, everyone was out there having fun, many wearing old concert t-shirts to celebrate the 80s theme.
The next day was another fun networking day as dealers toured a bourbon factory and spent some time at Keene race track, always an incredible experience.
ACDI is known to be a PaperCut reseller, but they’re so much more. The product fair was a great example as they had so many partners on display, many who have been around for ages, some you probably haven’t even heard of (yet).
I appreciate ACDI including me at this event and I look forward to seeing them at the next one!