EAGAN, Minn. — The MechanicalXChange (MX) 2020 event was held from Sept. 27-30.

 “We got together as a leadership team and took a hard look at everything we do,” said Nick Sattler, executive director of MX and a partner at parent company VerticalXchange. “When we broke it down, it turned out that because of our process that engages executives in significant pre-MX work to prepare and match them for meetings, 90 percent of what we do could still stay the same. If we had to pivot to virtual face-to-face meetings, we could do that, and everything else would remain the same.”

“MechanicalXchange is a unique type of conference, in a very good way, because it’s not a mass gathering in one room,” said Rick Yelley, operations manager, ABM. “It’s all about private meetings where you sit down with executives from vendors in a private room. The way the MX team preps everyone makes it work even with some meetings virtual, and that’s why ABM has been coming for 15 years and will continue to do so every year.”

“I got a lot value out of the experience,” said Evan Shriver, CEO, Atlantic Construction Inc. (ACI). “I was able to devote a whole hour with each executive, and didn’t have the travel and downtime, so I thought it was a very efficient way to pull this off. I mean, sure, we missed out on some of the networking at meals, but the whole experience was so valuable for us, particularly for our needs this year, that we were very pleased.”

The MX model works through a multi-step process that engages and matches executives from design-build firms and solution providers to ensure that they are prepared for every meeting. Design-build executives participate in a thorough profile process, which is then used to match them to solution providers with solutions relevant to their needs. Prior to the meetings, the executives from both sides participate in pre-MX phone calls, as well.

“The pre-MX calls are very important,” said Rick Gopffarth, vice president of marketing and business development, Dynamic Systems, Inc. “I use that time to create an agenda we want to cover when we get face to face. You would be surprised how quickly a 45-50-minute meeting goes by, and that helps you make your meeting a lot more effective.”

“The meetings where a couple of us were in the room and two or three people joined virtually—when everyone came in, they were just so happy. Their faces lit up,” said Michael Kirby, director, JSS mechanical trades. “The energy level was ten times what it’s been in the past. I think people might have taken it for granted, the chance to just get face-to-face.”

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