Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with J. Michael Springmann
Q: What was the justification for wanting to keep these trade centers open?
SPRINGMANN: Because it was good for the program. If you started closing trade centers, you couldn't justify your existence.
Q: I take it then the main problem...the way the system worked was, you have a trade center, but essentially you have to attract American firms to go in there, pay their money to set up exhibits. And that was obviously the major problem, wasn't it?
Q: Were you getting, either peripherally, or directly, any feel for how American business...I think you alluded to this before, but how they felt about a lot of these trade centers?
SPRINGMANN: They didn't like it. They liked the idea of getting exposure, but they didn't like paying money because not only did you have fees for the trade center, which increased with each successive year. You had to pay to ship the stuff over, then you had to pull guys off the jobs in the States and send them over, and keep them in the trade center for a couple of months before the show, and after the show, and during the show to get things set up, to follow up on leads generated, that sort of thing. They increasingly balked at this idea.
Q: Were there any trade centers that, again from your view and what you were getting from people, that were particularly useful, and ones that were duds?
SPRINGMANN: It's a toss up because the ones in Europe where people did most of their business were in a region where firms needed the least amount of help. Europe wasn't terra incognita. Milan's center got a special rate from the Italian fair authorities, so in a sense it was cost effective. It was easier a lot of times to get people there. But in the Far East presumably where you would need more help in getting into the market, they had fewer centers, and there were always discussions about how peripheral these things were.
Q: In other words we're talking about the early '70s period more or less?