Dale Shuter

EASA Brings Its Convention Home

By Mary McHugh

With more than 30 years of meeting and planning expertise, Dale Shuter is the Electrical Apparatus Service Association’s (EASA) meetings and expositions manager. She handles the organization, communication, on-site details, offsite event logistics and financial oversight of EASA’s international conventions that rotate annually throughout the United States and Canada. This year, she brought the international company’s convention home to St. Louis, where attendees converged to learn, grow and network.

The theme of Recalibrate Realign Refocus informed the five-day experience, which was held from Fri., June 24 to Tue., June 28 at America’s Center. Shuter worked closely with Explore St. Louis and area hotels and transportation companies like Destination St. Louis to lay out the welcome mat to provide the necessary space and logistics to ensure the convention was a success.

The last time EASA held its international convention in St. Louis was 2009, and the city has evolved significantly since that time with new attractions and a revitalized core. “What’s not to like about that?” said Shuter, a St. Louis native. “From the Gateway Arch National Park expansion and Ballpark Village to the Union Station Aquarium and Wheel, our planning team felt it would be a fresh St. Louis experience for our attendees, some of whom had been with us 13 years ago.”

EASA, a trade organization of more than 1,700 electromechanical sales and service firms scattered throughout 70 countries, provides members apparatus sales, service and repairs on large industrial-sized equipment within key manufacturing and utility industries. Deemed an essential business during the pandemic, Shuter said the company also provides everything from live engineering support to technical training and resources.

Kiener Plaza in downtown St. LouisThe convention, held in June, was attended by more than 1,800 participants from all over the world. Shuter said attendees and their families hailed from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Caribbean and many South American countries. The group, which initially had booked three downtown hotels for the event, eventually had to increase it to five to accommodate everyone. Renowned St. Louisan, author and podcaster John O’Leary served as guest speaker.

“Our entire city came together to make this event as successful as possible for everyone,” Shuter said. “From hotels, to the America’s Center staff, to local decorating company Heritage Exposition Services, St. Louis put forth an incredible support team. Even the exhibitors said this was a great experience. And the feedback from the attendees has been overwhelming and very enthusiastic about St. Louis and what it had to offer them. They were impressed by its affordability, its walkability and variety of entertainment.

“In addition, because many of our attendees are family-owned businesses, we were able to ensure plenty of entertainment and support for the spouses and children, especially with the new attractions,” Shuter said.

While the majority of the meetings and seminars occurred at the America’s Center Convention Complex, Shuter said offsite events included “Taste Of” tours throughout several neighborhoods, including the Delmar Loop, The Hill and Central West End, as well as family-themed bus tours to Gateway Arch National Park, the Arch, the Saint Louis Zoo, Magic Chef Mansion, Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Aquarium and The Wheel. The convention culminated with a party during the Cardinals–Miami Marlins baseball game at Busch Stadium.

“You know how excited you get when family and friends come to visit?” Shuter said. “We just had the opportunity to have over 1,800 friends come to our home city and it was an incredible experience.”

For more information on booking your meeting in St. Louis, call Stephanie Monroe at 314.992.0657 or email at smonroe@explorestlouis.com.