2020 ISRI Convention Preview: ISRI2020 by the Numbers

Feb 21, 2020, 15:33 PM
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January/February 2020

ISRI2020 is shaping up to be an impressive event, but the numbers can’t capture the full picture of the value ISRI’s annual convention and exposition provides.

Convention PreviewNearly 300 exhibitors in more than 250,000 square feet of exhibit space. An estimated 5,000-plus attendees. Eight commodity spotlights, two main stage speakers, and more than two dozen other education sessions. Activities that could span from dawn to midnight, across 18 hours in a single day. Looking at the numbers, ISRI2020 has the potential to be a record-breaking convention.

But the numbers can’t capture the feeling of attending “the ISRI show,” which is what many people call ISRI’s annual convention and exposition. You have to experience that in person. You’re surrounded by thousands of people who have a focused interest in scrap recycling but who are diverse in every other measure. You’ll find newcomers who’ve heard it’s the must-attend recycling event, and industry stalwarts who have been attending the show or its predecessors for decades. Las Vegas natives, and visitors from halfway around the world. Processors and consumers of every type of scrap you can think of, and some types you’ve never considered.

The convention provides value by several measures. It’s the volume of business conducted on the expo floor and in the hallways, meeting rooms, and bars. It’s the stack of business cards—or the digital equivalent—you go home with. Harder to quantify is the value of that one idea—a processing technique, market knowledge, a safety strategy, or a legal or regulatory update—that gets you moving in an entirely new direction or helps you become an even greater asset to your company. And the numbers can’t capture the feeling of watching ISRI leaders celebrate recycling industry excellence and its future promise by recognizing members across a wide array of achievements.

While many popular convention elements return this year, there’s always something new to keep things fresh. Here are 20 things to know about ISRI2020.

1. It’s in a popular spot. ISRI returns to the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the site of its most successful conventions to date. The convention dates are April 27–30, with ISRI governance meetings April 25–27.

2. It’s going to be big. Early registration has reached record levels, with more than 1,500 people registered by mid-January. That’s more than double the number who had registered at the equivalent date for the record-breaking 2012 convention. With the draw of Las Vegas as well as these early indicators, convention organizers are confident that attendance will approach or surpass the 5,000 mark.

3. The expo hall is sold out. Nearly 300 companies are exhibiting their products and services in the world’s biggest recycling industry exposition. Expect the usual high-quality displays and demonstrations, plentiful food and drink, and seating throughout the hall. ISRI continues to refine the expo hall experience to improve traffic flow and give attendees plenty of opportunities to both browse and have substantive discussions with potential clients and business partners. Stay tuned for information about workshops that will be held on the expo floor Tuesday and Wednesday. At ISRI members’ request, the opening gala in the expo hall has been scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 27, early enough that you can plan for drinks or dinner afterwards.

4. ISRI members will have an exclusive expo hall retreat. New for 2020, the ISRI-members-only lounge inside the exhibit hall, sponsored by Sierra, will feature food and drink, including a cash bar, and semi-private meeting areas with tables and chairs that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. The main stage speakers will provide food for thought. ISRI is bringing to the main stage two innovative business leaders to address two crucial questions for any business: how to tell your message and find your market.

Gary Vaynerchuk, who also goes by GaryVee, is a marketing guru, investor, entrepreneur, chairman of media company VaynerX, CEO of ad agency VaynerMedia, and more. Vaynerchuk started working at his family’s liquor store in New Jersey at age 14. His early mastery of e-commerce, social media, and personal branding grew the company from $3 million to $60 million in annual sales and turned him into a worldwide marketing phenomenon. His five books on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, and media are all bestsellers. He continues to have a prolific online presence via podcasts, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Spotify, and more. On Tuesday, April 28, he will speak on how to tell your story in a noisy world.

Renée Mauborgne and her co-author, Chan Kim, were the No. 1 business thinkers in the world in 2019, according to Thinkers50, which the Financial Times called “the Oscars of management thinking.” A distinguished fellow and professor of strategy at graduate business school INSEAD, Mauborgne is co-author of international bestsellers Blue Ocean Strategy and Blue Ocean Shift. The basic idea is this: Most companies fight for market share in existing markets, like fish fighting over chum—that’s the red ocean. Growth comes from finding or creating uncontested market space—the blue ocean. On Thursday, April 30, she’ll speak about how to create a blue ocean strategy for your company.

6. The education sessions follow five future-oriented tracks. ISRI’s Challenges & Opportunities Committee provided input on topics that will have you thinking about what—and how—you might be recycling tomorrow. The tracks are market development and commodity trends, managing a 21st-century workforce, certification, 20/20 vision for recycling’s future, and environment, health, and safety from compliance to culture.

7. The schedule allows broad participation in selected sessions. Four sessions the morning of Wednesday, April 29, don’t have any competition on the education schedule, allowing each to draw a wide audience. The first, a briefing on ISRI’s trade mission to Southeast Asia, is for ISRI members only. Following that are a panel of recycling industry CEOs addressing how to lead in challenging times, a look at the global movement of scrap to old and new markets, and an expert on safety and health.

8. A long-missing spotlight returns. ISRI provides benchmarking on the major scrap commodities in the convention’s spotlight sessions, which typically feature the perspectives of scrap processors and consumers as well as market analysts. In addition to spotlights on plastics, paper, electronics, nickel/stainless, aluminum, copper, and ferrous, the convention will have a lead, zinc, and tin spotlight for the first time in many years.

9. ISRI Talks will let you learn from industry innovators. If you’re familiar with TED Talks, the same concept will govern the new ISRI Talks, a 90-minute program featuring several 8- to 12-minute presentations from ISRI members who want to share new and innovative ideas. The program’s producer has worked on TEDX Chicago for several years and is selecting among the applicants for the event.

10. You might want to pack your running shoes. ISRI is holding its second annual Fun Run, sponsored by Steinert, the morning of Tuesday, April 28. Participants will run from the Mandalay Bay up the Las Vegas Strip, down to a photo op at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and back.

11. Late-night networking events are in exclusive Mandalay Bay venues. Last year’s popular ISRI After Hours events are returning, and night owls won’t have to go far to participate. Tuesday’s event, for full-registration attendees, is 9 to 11:30 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Daylight Beach Club, a pool club between Shark Reef and the Four Seasons Hotel. Wednesday’s event, for full-registration ISRI members only, is 9 to 11:30 p.m. at the Foundation Room on the top floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

12. The final-night event is something entirely new. For what may be the first time in the history of ISRI’s Las Vegas conventions, the ISRI2020 final night event is not at the host venue. Instead, ISRI will provide transportation to Drai’s Nightclub on the top floor of The Cromwell Las Vegas, a luxury boutique hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. With both indoor and outdoor spaces, the club provides a view of the Bellagio fountains, and The Cromwell’s casino is just one floor below. Expect great food, an open bar, music, and surprises, convention organizers say. The event takes place 7–10 p.m. on Thursday, April 30. Note that local nightclub regulations require that attendees must be age 21 or older.

13. There will be additional programming by and for ISRI interest groups. Next issue will feature details on education sessions and networking opportunities organized by ISRI’s Women in Recycling, Young Executives, and Century Club members. (Speaking of young executives, don’t miss your opportunity to nominate a young executive for ISRI’s newest award. For details, see p. 117.)

14. ISRI governance groups give you a place to learn and get involved. Most ISRI governance meetings—those of committees, divisions, and task forces, as well as the Board of Directors—are open to all employees of ISRI member companies. You can attend as an observer, but joining a group can be as easy as making a phone call or completing an online form. (Visit isri.org/about-isri/committees-Ā­task-forces.) These meetings provide valuable insights into ISRI’s activities at the state, national, and international levels. Participants have the opportunity to shape ISRI’s direction or to voice concerns about challenges facing their facilities or the industry. ISRI’s spring governance meetings are at the Mandalay Bay starting the afternoon of Saturday, April 25, and ending before the exhibit hall opens on Monday, April 27.

15. The ISRI booth can help you get more from your membership. Are you making full use of all the products and services ISRI offers? Learn what you might be missing by visiting the ISRI member services booth in the exhibit hall. Staff members and volunteers will be happy to fill you in on the government relations, safety, environmental compliance, communications, workforce development, training, and research support ISRI provides to member companies and their employees.

16. A silent auction supports the recycling industry. Benefitting the Recycling Education and Research Foundation (formerly the Recycling Research Foundation), the annual silent auction lets you have fun and do good at the same time. The auction items will be on display in the exhibit hall, but now that the auction uses an online bidding platform, you don’t need to hover near the tables to place or increase your bids. To donate scrap artworks, hotel and vacation packages, high-quality electronic products, recycling equipment and services, or other items to the auction, contact Natasha Grant at ngrant@isri.org.

17. Just For Fun events will feature food, music, and fun. One Just For Fun event on the schedule is lunch at the Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues, featuring a speaker and a musical performance from its Music Forward Foundation. The foundation helps young people in under-represented communities work toward careers in the music industry. Additional Just For Fun events will be announced soon.

18. The Mandalay Bay takes sustainability seriously. This and all other MGM Grand properties in Las Vegas have Green Key certification at the four- or five-key level for their sustainability efforts. MGM operates its own materials recovery facility that diverts nearly 86,000 tons of material from landfills each year. Mandalay Bay donates unserved food to people in need, and all MGM Las Vegas resorts divert their food scraps to a local pig farm and compost facility. Visit isri2020.org/isri2020-sustainability-efforts/.

19. ISRI members receive significant discounts on registration.

• Full registration for an ISRI member attendee, exhibitor, or spouse/partner is $999 through March 25, $1,099 from March 26 to April 24, or $1,199 on-site. For a nonmember attendee, exhibitor, or spouse/partner, full registration is $1,699 each through March 25, $1,899 from March 26 to April 24, or $1,999 on-site.

• Trade-show-only admission (which provides access to the exhibit hall on April 28 and 29 only) for an ISRI member is $599 through March 25, $699 from March 26 to April 24, or $1,199 on-site. For nonmembers, trade-show-only badges are $899 each through March 25, $999 from March 26 to April 24, or $1,099 on site.

• Child full conference registration (ages 2 to 16) accompanying ISRI member adults is $300 each through March 25, $325 from March 26 to April 24, or $350 on site. For children accompanying nonmember adults, full conference registration is $325 each through March 25, $350 from March 26 to April 24, or $375 on site.

• Closing night party tickets for an adult guest of an ISRI member with full registration are $225 each through March 25, $250 from March 26 to April 24, or $275 on site. Closing night tickets for an adult guest of a nonmember with full registration are $275 each through March 25, $300 from March 26 to April 24, or $325 on site. Local regulations restrict attendance at the closing night party venue to those age 21 and older.

Go to isri2020.org to register online.

20. Hotel rooms are available at several price points. The average Mandalay Bay hotel room price for ISRI2020 is lower than it was at ISRI’s first Mandalay Bay convention in 2006, organizers say. Rates vary; Mandalay Bay rates range from $128 to $258 a day, plus taxes and fees; rates at The Delano, on the Mandalay Bay property, range from $158 to $280 a day, plus taxes and fees. The Luxor, connected to the Mandalay Bay, offers rooms from $65 to $195 a day, plus taxes and fees. Those rates are guaranteed when booking through isri2020.org only. No one affiliated with the ISRI convention will solicit your hotel purchase by phone or e-mail.

Here are 20 things to know about the value the ISRI2020 convention will offer when it hits Las Vegas April 27-30.
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