In 2014, my wife, Amy Kohn, and I started SOHO Events and Rentals in our garage, renting tables and chairs, with no experience in tenting. As SOHO grew, we began adding tents and trying to learn as much about safety, installation and training techniques as possible. In late 2018, Joe Langehaug with Losberger De Boer suggested that we should attend the 2019 Tent Expo at Shingle Creek. I registered and was soon on my way to Orlando, Fla.
When I first arrived at Tent Expo, I saw several tents installed–a green garden tent, a tent with glass walls with an outdoor covered porch, an awesome sailcloth tent. I remember being eager to discover new products and attend the education seminars, hoping to bring back valuable, usable information to our team and clients. I was not disappointed. During the education seminars I attended a job costing class by Alex Renaud with Fiesta Tents and later learned about ballasting tents safely with Nick Deninno of B&R Innovations.
I learned so much about tenting during the Expo and had so much fun at the Welcome Reception, Party on the Pad and vendor tents. But the biggest thing that I discovered was the tent community itself and the networking aspect of this industry. I was fortunate to connect with Michael Holland of Chattanooga Tent, who introduced me to countless people during the Expo. That’s when I really began to understand the closeness and connectedness of this industry.
On the drive home I contemplated all that I had learned and been given by so many complete strangers. So much valuable information is shared at Tent Expo, but what I was most impressed by was the incredible sense of community that exists in the tent industry, and the selfless nature of its members who volunteer to give back through relationship building as well as offering the wisdom of their experience to anyone who is interested.
Feeling inspired, I made the decision to get more involved and share my experiences running a young, new company in this great industry. Shortly thereafter, I joined committees within the Tent Rental Division (TRD) and later joined the TRD Advisory board. I was given the opportunity to present at Tent Expo 2022 with Steven Eisenstein of Classic Tents & Events, and again at the 2023 Tent Conference with Darren Randle of Houston Tents & Events. Although nerve-wracking and intimidating, these have been some of my favorite moments during my time
I attend TRD events like Tent Expo to network and build relationships with other industry leaders and learn from the brightest and most experienced minds in our field. I also enjoy connecting with new and young tent professionals, sharing stories about the trials and tribulations of building a brand, building a team, or how to have a work-life balance (a must!). Throughout the rest of the year, I make an effort to connect and follow other tent professionals online, mostly through Instagram (@joshuajkohn).
I’m excited for Tent Expo 2024 and look forward to meeting both the new tent professionals (NextGen) and the OGs. See you in Daytona!
ATA Tent Expo will be January 9-11, 2024, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. For more information or to register, visit tent.textiles.org/tentexpo.