The 2013 Business and Technology Expo moved up in the world Thursday.
This year's version of the annual expo was held entirely on the top floor of the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center. It was one of several changes from previous years brought about by the event's new organizer, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber assumed responsibility for putting together the show after it had been organized by the Bloomington office of the Indiana Small Business Development Center for three years. It was a joint effort between the Chamber and the small business development center before that.
Another change to this year's expo was the name. The word "technology" was inserted.
"It's been really neat the way we integrated technology with the expo," said Kelley Brown, the Chamber's director of marketing and public relations. "I have never seen so many laptops or people pulling up information from their websites."
The expo's business trade show consisted of about 50 booths. The event also hosted a business lunch with Fred Glass, Indiana University's athletics director.
One attendee approached the expo with her own emphasis on technology. Kathy Truelove-Barton is a Bloomington-based independent representative for Aflac, the supplemental insurer. She also owns her own firm to connect clients with providers in lines of business Aflac doesn't provide, such as automobile insurance.
Her firm is called Benefit Your Business, and she's in the process of building its website. So she was looking for website ideas at the show, she said.
"I'm trying to leave as many business cards as I can," she said. "It's a good networking opportunity."
An office equipment vendor also was happy with the weight placed on technology. Scott Helder, director of sales for Jim Gordon Inc., which has showrooms in Columbus and Bloomington, had four different multifunction scanner and copier machines to demonstrate at the company's booth.
"I like the fact that the focus is on technology," Helder said. "What we look for are people with either other vendors or people who are coming through with technology needs in the next year to year and a half."
Firms without a specific focus on technology still turned out to the show. The Bloomington Express Employment Professionals franchise had a booth at the expo for the fifth straight year, according to Tim Tucker, the franchise's owner.
As the head of a staffing agency, Tucker uses the business expo to search for employers looking for workers. But he also uses them to seek employees on the job hunt. Tucker said Express Employment Professionals runs a booth at the show for the visibility and the chance to interact with other businesses and employees.
"I probably know 75 percent of the people at the booths," he said. "But it's important for us to be here."
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