Gene O'Neill, CEO, North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), discusses the organization's inspirations and intentions with programming at its annual event in Orlando, Florida
Gene O'Neill, CEO, North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), discussed how the World's Fair inspired the 2024 theme at the organization's annual Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX), in an interview with dvm360. He also addressed the balance of education and entertainment for the event's 26,000 attendees.
Gene O'Neill, CEO, North American Veterinary Community (NAVC): This year of VMX, we had the theme of the ‘Show of Shows,’ and that's sort of the tip of the cap to the World's Fairs that have happened and are still happening, where countries come together to share inventions, innovations, cultural differences, and celebrate. That's what we're trying to accomplish here this week. Namely, it's a show of shows. Right now, our attendance is a little over 26,000 attendees. And we have [more than] 82 countries represented at VMX.
We offer, this week, over 1200 continuing education hours of content. That's a lot of content to be absorbed, and it really wears down the attendees at times. So, to counterbalance that, we offer a great slate of entertainment. And the things that we do here, I think, rival some Broadway productions. So, we open up with guest speakers, entertainers, and concerts, which really gives the attendees a chance to really have some downtime, relax, [and] refresh their brain before they get back into it the next day.
The expo floor is by far one of the largest that I've seen for the industry. We have over 700 booths that take over 140,000 square footage of space. But some of the activations that these exhibitors come in with are pretty cool. It's not just showing you their products. It's how they show you their products. You're getting involved with them, you're interacting with them. So that makes it sort of like this carnival atmosphere [in which] the Show of Shows theme really comes out.