Bob Daniels, director of field services for Philadelphia Sign Company, has been around the industry for 34 years. So when he says that he knows “everyone,” he is not that far off.

But when he attended the ISA Networking Reception for National and Custom Sign Companies one year, he asked his company leadership, “How come we don’t have a table up here?” “I was told, ‘These are people who need subcontractors.’ We need subs all the time. Next year, we’re coming.”

So in 2016, he signed up for a booth and asked his company leadership to stop by and help with booth setup. They intended to stay for just a few minutes. “The doors opened up and the place went crazy. I’ve never met so many people in 90 minutes.”

He also was able to introduce his company’s owner, Bob Mehmet, to a lot of people he knew. Mehmet had spent his career in the sign, graphics and visual communications industry, but as an engineer. As a sales professional, Mehmet saw a different side — and met more people.

“The sign business is a relationship business,” he said. “That’s what it boils down to at the end of the day.”

Networking events at ISA International Sign Expo are an important way to make those connections — or to catch up with acquaintances.

“With 34 years in this business, I have all sorts of contacts and relationships. People inside my company call me all the time and say, ‘Do you have a good sub in Houston?’ or whatever city. I’m proud to be a resource inside my company and for my friends in the industry. And I’m constantly looking to meet new people. ISA International Sign Expo is a great place to do that.”