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A tent renter and client share set-up space

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Some installations are challenging just by virtue of their size. That was the case for the project Torrance, Calif.-based Classic Tents took on for its client SANY Ltd., a Chinese construction crane and heavy machinery manufacturer. The project was a two-story pavilion at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011.

The tent itself was unusual, at least from the U.S. market standpoint: a double-decker by Röder Zelt- und Veranstaltungsservice, with glass-walled offices on the mezzanine level, a center atrium with a 33-foot rise and an inflated-vinyl roof. Classic Tents was in charge of the structure, HVAC, interior build-out, furniture, audio and video, decor, electrical and project management and logistics.

“CONEXPO is a huge show in the Las Vegas Convention Center,” says Cathy Montez, vice president of sales at Classic Tents, who served as the overall project manager. “They have a lot of large machinery at the show, so they use some outdoor space. The outdoor space that we were in is the parking lot right in front of the convention center.”

But more than size made this installation challenging. Because the show represented SANY’s big push to become a significant vendor in the United States, the company brought in 21 pieces of machinery from its product lines: mining machines, cranes and asphalt machinery, to name a few. These had to be assembled in SANY’s display space as the tent was being installed—all within the allotted space. In other words, everyone needed to be in the same place at the same time.

“The border of our entire space was 49,500 square feet, which is 180 feet wide by 275 long,” Montez explains. “The tent sort of sat in the center of that property, and the tent itself was 8,844 square feet—which isn’t that big, but there were other things going on at the same time. All these tall cranes that SANY brought have a mast of over 200 feet, and they have to be assembled diagonally across the space before they can be raised. Then you twist the bottom [to square them up]. And along with us, simultaneously, are all our neighbors putting up equipment, also in a very small amount of space, and we were all confined to be within our borders.”

With much planning, the logistics were just doable. But Montez, along with senior account manager Andy Madura and operations manager Brian Leeman, had only two months to plan the project and eight days to install it. The installation was completed by more than 100 people working 16-hour days—no small feat.

Based in Georgia, Jamie Swedberg is a freelance writer specializing in the specialty fabrics industry since 1997.

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