Interview with Christophe Lecarpentier, new head of Intermat

Published 19/4 at 10:02

“Tradeshows must also decarbonize”

A few weeks ago, PDi Magazine had the privilege of having a chat via Teams with Christophe Lecarpentier, who has been appointed as the new responsible for Comexposium’s sectors of tradeshows and conventions in agriculture and construction, of which the Intermat tradeshow is a part of.

Lecarpentier began his employment in August last year and this year’s Intermat will be the first edition of the show he is bossing over.


From the other side of the table

Lecarpentier has worked with construction machinery for 28 years, but on the other side of the table, so to speak. For ten years he worked for a manufacturer of seats that had customers such as Volvo, Dynapac, Husqvarna, Stiga, etc. During the last 18 years he worked for JCB with responsibility for the French market as well as French-speaking markets in Africa.

Lecarpentier feels great enthusiasm in his new position. “In my new role, I feel a bit like a conductor with responsibility to ensure that our shows such as Intermat respond well to the industry trends that apply today. An important part of my work is to ensure that we as organizer maintain clear and continuous communication with our show visitors and those who exhibit at our shows. As organizers, we must be first on the ball, so to speak, and highlight new and current topics and trends within the sectors our tradeshows covers. We will establish a close collaboration with all the trade associations that are connected to the industrial sectors that our shows covers. A big and important topic right now that concerns the whole world is how we can reduce emissions. We all have a great responsibility here, and especially we as organizers of tradeshows. Here, we have to gears up”, says Lecarpentier.


Stop maximizing, get delicate instead

Lecarpentier is not shy about the fact that, as a tradeshow organizer, he has been faced with greater challenges linked to first the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine and above all the fact that the general digitization has changed the image for the media in general but also public events such as tradeshows. He asks himself the question: How can Intermat regain and strengthen its position as an important meeting place for the industry? “Our actions are also related to how we as an organizer can reduce costs. It doesn’t look good if we as a show organizer work for reduced costs among exhibitors and visitors, but we as organizer continue in the same footsteps as before. Here, too, we must take our responsibility. Some practical examples are that Intermat is organized over four days instead of six. Only here can we significantly reduce emissions for ourselves, the exhibitors and the visitors. We have also reviewed our entire way of working and our organization to find effective ways to reduce emissions and thus reduce costs for all parties,” says Lecarpentier.

Lecarpentier personally believes, linked to the world’s environmental thinking, that the time of really mega-sized tradeshows is running out. Today, everything must be more delicate and subtle. “If we are to jointly reduce emissions, we may have to think in smaller units. Then I even think about the size of the stands, for example. If we are to save and cut back, we also have to think about the mega-large stands. Here, as an organizer, we must take the lead and raise these issues. Prefer smaller stands but more brands. The most important thing is that we meet,” says Lecarpentier.

Lecarpentier also points out that the people that visit Intermat have changed over the years. In the past, mainly fleet managers and technicians came to the show. But this has changed and today you see people who work with development, safety managers, those who work with health and work environment and more. It is a different type of visitor who comes to the fair today. He emphasizes that the personal meeting is still very important and digitalization has its limitations. Feeling and touching things is still important.

A development that is completely in line with Intermat’s endeavor to work to reduce emissions is the clear development towards electric vehicles. The entire industry is now converting to electric power, and in this conversion the tradeshow is a very important meeting place. How do we store the power in the workplace, how do we charge the machines and how do we train the staff?, etc.


Great hopes for Intermat 2024

Lecarpentier has a good feeling about this year's edition of Intermat. It has been six years since the tradeshow was organized and expectations are high. A lot has happened since 2018. Intermat is also the only truly international show in Europe this year and news is not shown in the same way at a local fair as at a larger international fair. It is estimated that around 65% of all visitors come from countries other than France.

When asked how he thinks Intermat will develop over the next five years, Lecarpentier thinks for a moment. “A very difficult question. There is so much happening in the industry right now that can have an impact, but for a show to survive it must first and foremost be useful for the industry it serves. Intermat must closely follow industry trends and developments. Here, the reduction of emissions and the electrification of the construction machines are the absolutely most important issues and will be for many years to come. If all construction machinery is powered by electricity, we also need to ensure that there is enough energy directly on the jobsite and personnel who can handle it. It is also a challenge. Trade shows such as Intermat have an important task to fill,” ends Lecarpentier.

Worth mentioning is that at this year’s Intermat the World of Concrete tradeshow occupies one tenth of the surface and the collaboration works very well. For four years now, Intermat has had an Indian edition of the show called Intermat India. Intermat India is developing very well and has become an important show in a market that is growing incredibly fast.

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