AFTAC exhibit ranked ‘best’ at American Chemical Society Expo
By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs
/ Published May 20, 2019
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Four members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center were recognized for their interactive booth at the American Chemical Society’s National Spring Meeting and Expo recently at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
Rose Day, Diana Velosa, Michael Ball and Melissa Holder made up the recruiting team that traveled from the Space Coast to Central Florida to seek out potential job candidates for critical positions at the Department of Defense’s sole nuclear treat monitoring center.
ACS hosts national meetings for chemistry professionals to share ideas and advance scientific and technical knowledge, while the expo provides opportunities for participants to network and showcase their technology to the participants. AFTAC’s exhibit focused on filling technical vacancies at the center.
AFTAC’s booth focused on recruiting chemists for the Air Force Radiochemistry Laboratory (also known as the Ciambrone Lab) and marketing the Air Force Palace Acquire and SMART Intern programs that help fund advanced degrees and offer guaranteed employment upon graduation.
Each year, the expo attracts thousands of attendees from around the world in academia, industry and government and boasts more than 225 exhibiting companies and corporations. Day, AFTAC’s chief of civilian recruiting, realized the attendees represented a wealth of employment candidates for critical STEM-related jobs at the center and jumped at the chance to set up an interactive display.
“We wanted to attract as many people as we could to our booth, so we developed a game we thought would grab the attention of passers-by,” said Day. “Our ‘Plinko’ board, similar to the game played on ‘The Price is Right’ television show, was a big draw and crowd pleaser. Visitors to our booth could play the game by dropping the disk down the board to win a prize. We also offered a second chance to win a prize if the visitors could identify the chemical elements associated with atomic numbers listed in each slot on the Plinko board.”
The innovative game display was the brain child of members of AFTAC’s multimedia office, Innovation Lab, prototype shop and depot-maintenance flight.
“It was a collaborative effort by extremely talented individuals,” said Day.
For recognition and branding purposes, the recruiting team sported T-shirts that matched the booth’s backdrop and table covering.
Betsy Earl, a consultant with Event Driven Solutions, analyzed every exhibit in the convention center to provide constructive feedback to the exhibitors. When she saw AFTAC’s booth, she was impressed.
“Betsy told us ours was the best one she’d seen in the entire expo,” Day said. “She thought our branding was phenomenal, our interactive display was engaging and interactive, and our team looked professional and put together with our matching shirts, table coverings and banners. We also had related ‘swag’ for the prize winners. It was humbling to be recognized as ‘the best’ when there were so many larger, more well-known corporations in the same expo hall.”
“Attendees were drawn to our marketing materials as well,” said Velosa. “Many visitors to our booth said our logo drew them in and motivated them to come over and learn more about AFTAC. We even caught the eye of Professor Molenium and Professor Meg A. Mole, the ACS mascots. They couldn’t wait to play Plinko and apply for a job at AFTAC!”
Karen Miller, the Assistant Director of Exhibits and Sponsorships for the American Chemical Society, informed Day and her team that their booth was recognized as one of the “30 Standout Exhibits” out of hundreds that were on display at the convention center.
The AFTAC team members were noted for their “enthusiasm, fantastic energy, attendee engagement and being on their A-game.”
“While conducting evaluations, we looked for exhibits throughout the show that displayed imaginative, creative and effective ideas and practices,” Miller’s message stated. “We want to congratulate (AFTAC) and hope all exhibitors look to these ideas as examples of how to make your exhibit even more effective.”