Full Circle Events helps clients make a splash at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show.
by Darcy Maulsby
Want to see the future? From high-tech watches that can track your heart health to emotional-support robot puppies guided by artificial intelligence, the future was on display in Las Vegas, Nev., during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES®) in January.
With more than 20,000 product debuts from more than 4,400 companies, it’s easy to be overlooked at CES, which attracted more than 170,000 attendees. That’s why several major tech companies turned to Full Circle Events, a Las Vegas-based, full-service event company specializing in temporary tent structures and pavilions, to help capture attention and set them apart from the competition.
“Shows like CES have become bigger than ever, and clients today have larger budgets that allow for more creativity,” says Rudy LeKar, a cofounder and owner of Full Circle Events, the official vendor for outside facilities at CES for the past four years. “It’s exciting, but it’s also nerve-wracking at times.”
CES is the largest and most influential technology event on the planet, boasting more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space. The stakes were high in 2020 for Full Circle Events’ clients, including Aptiv, whose innovations include self-driving cars; NXP Semiconductors N.V., the world’s largest supplier of automotive semiconductors; and Valeo, whose innovations include an autonomous, all-electric delivery droid.
Each client had specific requirements at CES for their tents, which were based on the Losberger Palas cubic-architecture design and typically measured 80 by 80 feet or 80 by 100 feet. A number of challenges arose along the way for Full Circle Events, including:
Short timeframes. Crews had to move quickly to get everything ready for CES, which occurs shortly after the holidays. “We’ve only got about two weeks to install everything, meaning we had to fit our schedule around Christmas and New Year’s,” LeKar says. After CES, the Las Vegas Convention Center prepared to host two more major events in January 2020: the International Builders’ Show®, followed by the SHOT Show. “We only have two and a half days to remove everything when CES is over, so the convention center can prepare for those other shows,” LeKar says.
Making the temporary feel permanent. Tents for Full Circle Events’ clients at CES incorporated climate-control systems, electricity and executive restrooms. “Aptiv wanted separate meeting rooms, so we not only added drop ceilings but supplied electricity without running extension cords,” LeKar says. “When we were done, you’d think you really were in a meeting room rather than a tent.” Some clients at CES also wanted multiple levels within their tent. In one case, this involved a mezzanine set at an angle. Another client wanted a complete second story with a viewing platform and lounge area. Full Circle Events reviewed client-supplied renderings, and then an engineer went to work to make the concepts a reality. “Our goal? Never say no to a client’s request,” says LeKar, whose team includes 40 full-time employees, plus contract services.
Addressing local issues. While Full Circle Events didn’t need a contractor license in years past, that changed in February 2019 with a new Nevada state law. In addition to getting a contractor license, Full Circle Events worked with local contractors, including crane companies and other equipment suppliers. “During the recession, we could practically order equipment the day before we needed it,” LeKar says. “Now that Las Vegas is a boomtown again, you often have to plan months in advance to get telescoping forklifts and other equipment.”
Managing engineering challenges and Mother Nature. Las Vegas is one of the windiest cities in America, LeKar notes. “A 120-degree day is not a problem for us, but a 60-mile-per-hour wind creates challenges. Everything has to be built to stand up to a 100-mile-per-hour wind.” That’s just the start, LeKar adds. Valeo, which had a 35-by-50-foot structure, wanted a 16-by-24-foot LED screen on the tent’s exterior. “We added steel and made other modifications to support this,” LeKar says.
Surprises on site. Some last-minute client changes to the NXP tent pushed the structure 5 feet off the ground. After crews leveled the floor, the overall height of the tent rose to 32 feet. The Las Vegas Convention Center has a rule, however, that exterior tents can’t be taller than 30 feet. “We had to lop two feet off the structure on-site,” LeKar says. “It was a lot of aerial work with portable band saws 72 hours before show time, but we made it.”
While the condensed timeline of CES remains the biggest challenge for Full Circle Events, LeKar and his team know how to handle it. “When it’s showtime, we don’t have anymore tomorrows, and no excuses,” he says. “We make sure everything’s ready for our clients.”
Darcy Maulsby is a writer and owner of a marketing/communications company based near Lake City, Iowa. Visit her at www.darcymaulsby.com.