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Cousins takes over as iHobby general manager

By Nick Bullock
Published: November 21, 2013
Changes to the 2014 iHobby Expo have already begun — and they start at the top.

Longtime hobby-industry member Gale Cousins will assume the position of general manager of industry shows for Hobby Show Promotions and Train Show Incorporated.
Randy Bachmann, president of Hobby Show Promotions and Train Show Incorporated, made the announcement Nov. 20 via a press release.

In his new role, Cousins will have many responsibilities for both the iHobby Expo and World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour shows, Bachmann said, including marketing, operations and customer satisfaction. For iHobby Expo, much of Cousins’ job will be focused on improving the trade portion of the show, where Bachmann expects Cousins’ previous hobby industry experience to prove valuable.

“I selected Gale to provide a stronger industry and retailer focus to iHobby Expo, which is clearly needed,” Bachmann said. “Gale has over 10 years of experience working with retailers as director of sales and customer service at Woodland Scenics, which will help to enhance our trade attendance and exhibitor participation at iHobby Expo.”

Bachmann’s business partner Dave Swanson, past WGH and iHobby Expo chairman, will continue to work extensively on the consumer portion of the iHobby Expo. Swanson is the president of Competitive Intelligence Advertising, the advertising agency for both shows.

Cousins will also be involved in the consumer portion of the iHobby Expo, as he will take over much of the responsibility for both shows from both Bachmann and Swanson.

“I am thrilled to be joining a successful team in producing some of the industry’s leading shows,” Cousins said in the release. “I plan to make a positive contribution to the industry by helping bring the retailer’s perspective and an exhibitor’s experience to the shows.”

The decision to create a general manager position for both shows was something Bachmann and Swanson had talked about for some time. But Bachmann said he began to consider it more seriously following the 2013 iHobby Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill.

“Clearly there were some things that need some work,” Bachmann said. Last year's iHobby Expo emphasized the need to bring in help from outside Hobby Show Promotions, someone with hobby industry experience and skills, he said.

Still, the decision of whether to hire a general manager was up in the air until the opportunity to hire Cousins presented itself, Bachmann said.

“Gale, I think, was the right fit,” he said, in part because of Cousins’ ties to the industry.
In addition to his recent work at Woodland Scenics, Cousins serves as the treasurer of the Hobby Manufacturers Association Model Railroad Industry Division and recently served as chairman of the HMA Show Committee.

“I’ve always felt like we’re kind of on the fringe,” Bachmann said of his position in the hobby industry. “I can’t sit down at a meeting with everybody and talk intelligently about manufacturing processes or distribution issues or things like that. Gale could. And has.

“It’ll be a different perspective. I think Gale will be somebody who [industry members] can relate to. And he will relate to them. He’ll understand what their goals are, what they want to get out of the shows.”

The 2014 iHobby Expo is scheduled for Oct. 1–4, again at the Schaumburg Convention Center.

For a schedule of World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour shows, which introduce the general public to model railroading, visit www.wghshow.com.
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