Driving through blizzards, working around the clock and muscling 60,000 pounds of equipment around. Sound like fun? Welcome to the life of Steve Cegielski, owner of Wolf River Expo Services, who manages booths, show decorations, signage and more for the All-Canada Show.
After working as an operations manager for the All-Canada Show for 12 years, Steve Cegielski decided to form his own exhibit design company, Wolf River Expo Services, LLC, which has handled the All-Canada Show for the last three years. In addition, Wolf River Expo manages all kinds of venues such as career expos, bridal shows, job fairs, and home shows, handling around 50 different events each year.
Steve says the most challenging part of working the All-Canada Show is the grueling schedule. Between each of the first five shows Wolf River Expo has to take down, load their trucks, travel, and set up for each show overnight. All-nighters come with the territory, and though Steve tries to provide some extra time for error, flat tires, weather, and tricky loading obstacles can make for some nail-biting moments. He recalls one trip where his group hit a foot of snow outside Des Moines on the way to Omaha at two in the morning. He counted 60 cars in the ditch, and the top speed for his three truck convoy was limited to 25 miles an hour. “You don’t have to run, but you’ve got to keep moving to get it done,” Steve says, and despite the unforeseeable complications of his job, he’s established a streak of ‘getting it done” for 150 All-Canada Show events without one postponement or delay.
Over the years, Steve says that besides making sure all the facilities at an All-Canada Show run smoothly, he’s at times found himself doing everything from cleaning walleyes in the back of a truck at 4 a.m. for a morning TV Show to grooming a mounted Musk Ox. However, it sounds like the All-Canada Show is as much a labor of love for Steve as they are his business. He estimates he’s seen about 150 different Canadian camps and spent over 43 weeks over the last 15 years in Canada, harvesting every big game animal and just about every fish species Canada has to offer. Steve also writes articles for the All-Canada magazine, All-Canada Adventures and the direct mailer, the All-Canada Guide and has been a presenter himself on the main stage at All-Canada Show.
As owners of Wolf River Expo Services, LLC, Steve and his wife Jessica say their business is all about service. Though the All-Canada Show is obviously special to them, they try to make each show they manage enjoyable for both the exhibitor and the visitors, and they are looking forward to being "on the road" with the All-Canada Show in 2014.