June 11, 2014

Once a client buys into a concept, the challenge of bringing it to life belongs with JHE’s operations department. Greg Smith, senior manager of product development, oversees this process from the moment it’s a go until the minute the project is out the door. He shares his top-five tips on how to make a mobile display concept a reality.

Reality check

The first question you always need to ask is, “will the design or vision work in the real world?” Once the vision is defined, JHE’s creative team begins to bring the vision to life. From there, our team talks through the design and determines how we can physically make it work in the world of engineering with the number one priority being safety. 

Make it mobile

If a project has to tour, then it must be mobile. With this comes a new set of challenges as we try to figure out how we can fit the cool elements of the footprint inside a truck. Some of our clients own their assets so we often work backwards trying to figure out how we can fit the show elements inside a set number of trucks as opposed to deciding how many trucks we need based on the size of the display. Another thing to consider is the size of the venue the display is traveling to. A massive trade show or large venue can accommodate a 53-foot semitrailer while a small street fair or festival may not.

Living within the vision

When building the display, you can’t let tip number one and two change what the client is expecting to see. Whatever you produce needs to capture the scope of the vision and, at times, requires the ability to reach into new territory to “make it work.” Be prepared to offer up new suggestions to update the vision as you build the structure remembering everyone involved.

Maintain flexibility

The rendering and initial concept are often thought of as the final product. However, it’s important to remember in reality you need to remain flexible to accommodate real-world situations as they arise. Many times a client may also have a change of heart in the middle of the project and chose to change all or a portion of the vision but still need to maintain the timeline. I believe this is where our team excels in so many projects.

The right people for the job

Once the build is finished, manning the display with the correct people is critical. Without the team on-site, the display is only nuts and bolts. You also need to think about the team on-site during the build, operation and strike; would it be easier for the guys to use a couple of pins or 500 bolts? Keeping the on-site work in mind during the build stage will make for a quick, easy setup and strike as well as a happy crew.

About the Expert: Greg Smith, senior manager of product development, has been a part of the JHE team since 2007. In his current role, he handles new construction for events and tours. He has previously worked as an independent rigging specialist and sound and light technician. Smith also served in the Navy for 22 years. During his service he deployed 10 different times overseas, was assigned as staff on two naval deployments overseeing Naval special warfare and anti-terrorism operations,  supervised the initial install of the theatre ballistic missile defense systems onboard U.S. Naval ships and trial evaluated the next generation of shipboard electronic warfare systems.

Greg Smith, operations, product development,