This weekend was a 1st for me since I incorporated my business in January 2015.
I first learned of the Self-Reliance Expo http://www.selfrelianceexpo.com/coming here to Lakeland, FL in mid-August. I had reached out to them to find out what the requirements were to be a speaker at their event. I had a lengthy conversation with Taylor McClendon who then passed me on to Mr. Ron Douglas who runs the Self Reliance Expo. We in turn also had a lengthy conversation of which I was offered the opportunity to have a booth and also occupy the last speaker slot they had available at the time.
Thus began my first journey of scrambling to put a quality booth together to represent my company and myself as best as I could with a small budget, my wife’s great input and ideas and great friends who helped and whom I could have not have done it without.
The following includes my thoughts from a First Timers experience (your experiences may differ):
Thursday, September 8th started with me arriving at noon for dropping off my booth setup equipment and starting the setup. Upon arrival I met with Taylor M. and Ron D. of whom I had spoken with on the phone who directed me to my booth area and brought me up to speed on some questions I had.
After finishing my basic setup I then retrieved my exhibitor parking passes and my wristbands and was told we could arrive as early as 8am on Friday, September 9th.
I arrived early Friday just after 8am and continued with finalizing my setup for my booth with various shooting targets, information and products for UTM Non-Lethal Training Ammunition, videos and photos of training and a few other items of which I will include links to later in this article.
After our vendor meeting at 10am we then got prepped for the doors to open at 11am for the public. During this time I had some opportunities to meet with some very down to earth and like minded people who also had booths offering different goods and services related to Self – Reliance. I will be including links to those businesses of whom I spoke to and personally recommend regarding their products and services they offer.
Once the doors opened it was game on and I did my best to share my knowledge and experience with those who had any questions regarding firearms, survival, communications, bug out bags and equipment selection. I am thankful for my friend Donnie Reynolds of Weapon Manipulations & Tactics (WMT LLC) located in Bartow, FL who took time out of his Friday & Saturday to assist me with setup, speaking with people and watching the booth while I spoke @2pm on both days.
We both agreed it was a great experience to meet and share some knowledge with folks who were interested in quality training and services we offer and we sincerely hope everyone had adequate answers to any questions they had.
I will be writing a separate on my surprise guest who attended my first seminar on Friday, September 9th at 2pm of which I was very honored and honestly nervous. I can say that meeting with Mr. Massad Ayoob was a great experience and he was very cordial during the whole experience which was capped off with Mr. Ayoob shaking my hand at the end of my hour long presentation and telling me “Good Job.” I will also include the honorable mention he made of me in his blog “Massad Ayoob On Guns” in his article with BackWoods Magazine, along with a picture of me giving my presentation.
Day 1 ended and all things considered I feel it was a very productive day speaking with a steady stream of great people during the expo.
Day 2 started bright and early Saturday, September 9th @ 8am with my arrival and my friend Donnie Reynolds again of WMT LLC. We tweaked our booth with a few more items we felt we needed to help attract attention to our booth. This day was a steadier stream of a large variety of down to earth people who were interested in several of the different services, training and equipment we had to share. We had a large number of fellow Veterans stop by of whom it was great to speak with. We had kids, husbands, wives of all ages stop by and we only hope we were able to answer all of your questions and whether you come back to use in the future for training or go elsewhere we hope that you are better equipped with knowledge to find quality instructors instead of the many “fly by night” instructors that pop up everywhere.
My presentation on UTM Non-Lethal Training ammunition had a much smaller crowd then my presentation the day before, although I feel those that attended left with a better understanding of the benefits of Reality Based Training for Force on Force and Scenarios in their own self reliance. As the day before I had microphone issues again, although they were the reverse of the previous day. The previous experience was me basically getting closer then I really wanted to with the microphone, while Saturday’s experience was the reverse of me needing to have some distance for it to work effectively. In future presentations I hope to be able to demonstrate the product(s) live as opposed to just speaking about them and only being allowed to have some parts to show and not demonstrate.
Towards the end of day 2 I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Anderson of the Modern Combat & Survival Podcast about UTM Non-Lethal Training Ammunition who was very friendly even though he didn’t know me or anything about me prior to me introducing myself to him and advising him that he did not know me but I have and continue to listen to the podcasts that he offers. If you are looking for a podcast to listen to or have ever been interested in listening to any check his out.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Jeff (The Berkey Guy) Gleason of http://www.directive21.com/ who was very friendly to and brought me up to speed on working a booth at these types of events. I am also now the proud owner of my own Royal Berkey which I am happy to have added to my families own preps and daily use (it was together that evening after I got home). I have been eyeing a Berkey filtration system now for over a year and Jeff was very cooperative with getting me squared away. If you have any questions about Berkey filtration systems please feel free to reach out to him via his website link above.
I truly enjoyed speaking with Dr. Joe Alton & Mrs. Amy Alton (aka: Doom & Bloom) who had some great knowledge to share with attendees of the event and introduce those who attended their Suturing Class some great skills and knowledge. I also purchased their new book and look forward to reading it along with adding it to my own collection. They were both friendly and polite and I appreciated them taking their time to speak with me as we were all packing up to get out of there. If you are looking to further your medical library or knowledge or just hone it please check out their website https://www.doomandbloom.net/wp-content/wp_fast_cache/www.doomandbloom.net/index.html
The author of the “Going Home” series of novels was also a vendor and speaker of whom I had the pleasure to speak with and of course pick up book 6 & 7 for my collection as I had already read the previous 5. He was very friendly during our brief interaction and it was interesting to hear about how his novels came to be a product of many a late nights of writing never expecting it to become as popular as it has. Unfortunately we both gave our presentations at 2pm on Saturday so I was unable to attend his seminar but I have no doubt it was interesting. If you are looking for a new series to read feel free to check it out as either electronic or paperback or hardback.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Richard Duarte P.A and author of the book “Quick Start Guide” Surviving an Urban Disaster and “Surviving Doomsday” A Guide for Surviving an Urban Disaster http://survivingdoomsdaythebook.com/author/rickd/. He was accompanied by his good friend John Gardner of http://www.force4training.com/ who was assisting him as my friend Donnie Reynolds of WMT http://www.weaponmanipulation.com/ was.
If you are looking for any quality training in the Ocala area of Florida I can personally recommend John Gardner of “Force 4 Training Corp” of whom myself and Donnie Reynolds both had numerous opportunities to speak with as he was there supporting his friend they were our only booth neighbors. Mr. Richard Duarte was also a very friendly booth neighbor and not only an accomplished author but also a Personal Attorney out of Coral Gables, FL. If you are in need of a knowledgeable attorney I have included a link to his website also http://richardduarte.com/english/index.html
If you are looking for some great resources to speak about setting up your own networking for your groups I recommend reaching out to Tim French and his Americans Networking To Survive (A.N.T.S) http://www.americansnetworkingtosurvive.org/of whom I had the pleasure of speaking with and were also very knowledgeable in their field.
I unfortunately did not have a chance to speak with Charley Hogwood of “Personal Readiness Education Programs” although I did have an opportunity to speak with one of his cadre members “Joe.” All in all it was a great but all to brief conversation and I hope to have an opportunity to speak with them more in the future. They offer some great training and education programs in numerous areas, check out their website for further information. http://readygoprep.com/website/
I am very humbled and grateful to have been a part of this event and included in the article by Mr. Massad Ayoob in his blog “Massad Ayoob on Guns” article that he posted in
Unfortunately there were many speakers and vendors that I did not have an opportunity to speak with but hope to in the future as they were all cordial and friendly. I also look forward in the future to seeing, speaking and learning from these aforementioned individuals at future events and those that I didn’t have an opportunity to speak with.
If I forgot anyone I sincerely apologize and feel free to include your information in the comments for others to find.
I leave you with a favorite bible verse of mine and the biblical quote I use for my companies inspiration.
PROVERBS 22:3 NLT
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions, The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
Lakeland, FL 33811