EDspaces Is a “Go”


After more than a year of canceled tradeshows and rejiggered virtual formats, we are all anxious to make face-to-face connections with others in our industry. At last, our opportunity to get together is just a few months away, when EDSpaces convenes in Pittsburgh.

by Tina Manzer

As the go-to resource for professionals involved in school building, and school furniture and equipment, EDspaces delivers a live show infused with a sense of discovery. In the signature EDmarketplace, for instance, exhibitors and specialty spaces combine to create a future-forward display of school pieces and parts. It showcases vibrant, creative, and connected solutions designed to address the needs of the built environment, preK-12 through higher education.

Then there’s the conference. The curated, multi-track, educational and professional development series contains more than 50 sessions. They’re conducted in classrooms designed by visionary A+D firms; companies that competed to share their innovative ideas on the future of learning.

Last year, when remote learning dominated the educational scene, virtual lessons multiplied out of sheer necessity. They illuminated the building blocks of effective instruction and revealed that sitting in standard classrooms isn’t the only path to student achievement. It placed education delivery and school buildings firmly at a turning point in terms of facilities design. Today, echoing the qualities of revamped workplaces, schools need to build and equip flexible next-generation spaces for teachers and students; multi-faceted places that celebrate collaboration and inclusivity as much as multimedia developments. Long gone are the days of uniform chalkboards and orderly rows of desks. Instead, a variety of imaginative spatial layouts are challenging the status quo. They incorporate priorities such as sustainability, and demonstrate how time spent outdoors is critical to a student’s growth and creativity.


Who will be there?

 EDspaces is a community of visionaries that includes more than 200 exhibitors, a keynote speaker, and thought leaders who are determined to improve and transcend educational design norms. As an incubator of progressive ideas and a knowledge-sharing playground, EDspaces unites forward-thinking architects, designers, administrators, and facilities managers with the manufacturers, distributors, and service providers who offer thoughtful products and solutions.

 Throughout the conference, participants gain inspiration and knowledge during hands-on, small-group workshops; and pre-conference, deep-dive, quick-fire learning, and snack-size sessions in specialty spaces throughout the exhibit hall. The EDspaces Education Advisory Group reviews sessions from hundreds of speakers to develop programming that serves the professional development needs of those who plan, design, and manage facilities for students in preK-12 through higher-education learning environments.

EDfacilities Tours offer expeditionary learning opportunities at standout educational facilities in Pittsburgh, led by their design and facilities teams.


Specifically for distributors

The Educational Distribution Symposium on November 2 from 1 to 5 p.m. combines education market training and networking savvy to encourage top management and sales professionals to chart service goals, explore new ideas, and embrace strategies for success. Among the sessions scheduled are these.


“Know Your Worth.”

presented by Casey Brown, president of Boost Profits

“Most companies with exceptional products and services chronically underprice because they believe customers and competitors limit their pricing power,” says Casey Brown. “The truth is you have much more say in your pricing than you may believe.”

She’s a “pricing geek,” and her firm helps companies generate more sales at higher prices for improved profits. Casey began her career as an engineer at General Electric, where she worked in both R&D and manufacturing, and developed technology for which she holds a U.S. patent. She went on to lead cross-functional teams and projects at GE and later at other Global Fortune 500 companies.

In her fast-paced EDspaces session, Casey will teach you how to earn what you’re worth in the market. She’ll clearly demonstrate the impact of price changes in your business, point you to areas where you are underpriced, and equip you with confidence to execute a value-based pricing strategy. Interwoven with her talk will be interactive exercises that allow you to brainstorm with your peers to cement the learning in a fun and engaging way.


Innovation was born here

With more than 30 colleges and universities, Pittsburgh has earned a reputation as a global leader in education.

Educational and technological advances brought forth by its universities are at the forefront of the manufacturing rebirth there and around the country. Students learn and work alongside renowned professors, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs. Those who desire a career in the arts will find rigorous theater and drama programs in respected academic establishments.

Pittsburgh is home to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, where researchers have demonstrated cutting-edge brain science, launched innovative startups, and led the robotics and computer science industries. On Pittsburgh’s campuses – where emoticons and driverless cars originated – students and their mentors are creating the future of the world.

Corporations, businesses, healthcare systems and nonprofit organizations recognize the quality of Pittsburgh’s higher educational systems and frequently seek students for internships and jobs. Students that move on to jobs in Pittsburgh have given the city’s population a relatively young median age of just 34 years old. Many of the university campuses are located in Pittsburgh’s Downtown and Oakland neighborhoods, adding vibrancy and cultural diversity to a city recognized for its livability and wide array of career paths.



“Elevating the Role of the Dealer”

An architect and designer panel moderated by Rhonda Ellington, vice president of sales, Lone Star Furnishings

The foundation for success in today’s marketplace is built upon the ability to initiate and maintain relationships over time. A key is learning how to partner with the architects and designers in the education space. Nurturing connections opens doors at optimal times during specification and buying cycles.

In this session, an expert panel of architects specializing in education needs will discuss what they seek in distributors and vendors. You’ll gain insights about positioning your firm as a resource for the design community to create and furnish the best spaces for learning. From this informative panel discussion, you’ll walk away with tools for success.

Panelists include Wendy Watts, IIDA, a Principal, Education Design, at Wight & Company; Anna Kowalczyk, BAAID, ARIDO, IDC, LEED® AP ID+C, president and founding principal of Daedal Design; and Sylvia Kowalk, Associate AIA, LEED AP ID+C, a principal and director of interior design who leads Legat’s interior design practice.


Off the clock

The EDfest All Industry Party, always beloved by attendees, is scheduled for Thursday, November 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s the premier networking night of EDspaces and guaranteed to be a celebration in a year in which human connections are prized above all else.

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