The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) has reported record attendance at its trade exhibition for the locksmithing and physical security industry. The bi-annual event, which was staged earlier this month in Halls 1 & 2 of the International Centre in Telford, had a footfall of 2,309 visitors – 50.3% up on the previous expo in 2015.
In addition, 393 staff from 106 exhibitors from all over the world, including China, Russia and New Zealand were also at the event to showcase the latest security products and services, as well as having a chance to discuss industry trends and take part in training courses.
The attendance figures, provided by third party visitor registration company QRS, show that MLA Expo, which was being held for the 19th time, was not only the biggest and most successful MLA Expo since it was first held 35 years ago, but, according to some visitors is now the largest trade exhibition for the locksmithing industry in the world.
MLA Managing Director Dr Steffan George said: “We were expecting Expo to be big; having taken the step of expanding in to 2 halls we were delighted with the number of exhibitors who signed up seeing the show completely sold out. The key however is of course getting visitors there, and with 700 visitors walking through the doors within the first 3 hours of the show being open, we were ecstatic to get excellent feedback from exhibitors who couldn’t believe how busy the show was.
“Joining up with our colleagues at the Auto Locksmiths Association (ALA) and creating “The Garage”; the area dedicated to auto locksmithing where all auto related suppliers were based seemed to work really well.
“Class leading training continued to be available at the show and will no doubt have attracted a lot of people to visit. Training at this year’s event included safe lock picking, lock decoding and picking, social media marketing, “how to think like a burglar” (to improve surveying skills), vehicle locks & cloning, electronics, access control and abrasive wheel certification to name but a few.
“MLA Expo is a truly global exhibition involving people from across the wider locksmithing industry, and that was proved once again. Total overseas visitor numbers almost doubled, splitting this down further, just over 90% more visitors came from Europe as did in 2015.
It provides a fantastic opportunity for locksmith and security companies and professionals from around the world to come together, network and find out about the latest innovations in the industry. It is the perfect occasion for manufacturers and suppliers to showcase their products and services, network, share knowledge and make new contacts.
“Feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike was phenomenal, with a number commenting on how it had been their best show ever. This sort of feedback makes all the hard work involved in putting the show together worthwhile. We’d like to thank all the exhibitors, Expo sponsors Brisant Secure, Garage Sponsors Silca, our friends and colleagues at the ALA, all the tutors and most of all everyone who visited. We look forward to announcing details for MLA Expo ’19 shortly.”
3 awards were given out at the MLA Expo; Best Stand was won by APECS, Most Creative Stand was won by Burg Wachter whilst Best Product was won by Sashstop, as judged by MLA board members who are working locksmiths. Our heartfelt congratulations go to them all on their well-deserved win.
The event also saw a Gala Dinner arranged by MLA Board Member Terry Watts on the Saturday night, with a mix of a pre-dinner drinks reception, excellent food and entertainment with a great time being had by all.
The MLA’s charity raffle also took place with prizes very kindly donated by Brisant Secure, Aldridge Security, ABUS, Abloy, Burton Safes and Keyprint. Thanks to them and the generosity of those in attendance £3100 was raised for the charity of choice of the event which was Cancer Research.
Numerous Industry awards were also given out at the dinner. Firstly the ALA gave a special award to Tim Hart in recognition for all the work he put in to help with the event. Ron Cliff was next up being awarded honorary membership of the MLA thanks to his significant contribution to the association over the years. Sid Owen was then announced as the winner of the Nigel Rose Bowl due to him having had the best BLI Exam results during the previous year.
The final award was the Chubb Award; this most prestigious and well recognised award within the industry is bestowed by the board of directors of the MLA on the person they feel has done the most to further the locksmithing profession in the previous year.
The recipient in 2017 was John Harding (pictured), somebody who has not only served as a board director of both the MLA and Sold Secure, but is current secretary of MLA London Region and has toured the country training on the vital H&S aspects of working with abrasive wheels.
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