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The specialist


Trade fair stand production is a wonderful fusion of artistic design and precise construction. Although this can be a difficult balance to find, A&A Expo International makes hard work look effortless by bringing this concept to life through the striking productions it fashions for its clients.

The company’s Managing Director of Operations, Cees Onink, succinctly sums up what it takes to be in the business: “Stand building runs in your blood like poison. You either think it is all there is, or you hate it, but there is nothing in between.”

Mr. Onink leaves no doubt that he is in the right business, as his passion and talent is evidenced by his consistently remarkable output. In 2012, Mr. Onink joined A&A Expo, which had already established itself by that point as one of the premier stand builders in the Netherlands.

As part of the lead management team, he oversees the assignment of roles for each project, as well as managing some projects on his own. “This is important,” Mr. Onink points out, “as goodwill is created in the field.”

It was also during 2012 that the company’s current owner, Martin Schimpf, came on board. A&A Expo was already known for its excellent work in the automotive sector, specializing in buildings for events as well as stands, but Mr. Schimpf wanted to take advantage of the firm’s existing strong reputation by propelling it to the next level.

“For our current owner, high quality was key, along with flexibility and the fast transfer of ideas into designs and products. That way, you can be a reliable supplier at a very high level. We succeeded in achieving this, and the name A&A Expo continues to have a very good reputation. And that opens doors for other kinds of assignments,” Mr. Onink explains.

This dedication has since been rewarded, for example, when A&A Expo was awarded with building the Audi booth in Geneva 2015.

“It’s great fun to walk up the road that brings you to the top – and it takes a great deal of energy to stay at the top,” Mr. Onink cautions. There are not many competitors at the level that A&A Expo operates, but the work is very intense and involves many complex issues.

“You need to continually generate high turnover in order to supply high quality products,” Mr. Onink adds. A&A Expo does exactly that by sticking to its hallmarks of service. The company is known for its flexibility and is traditionally more open to changes mid-project than competing companies.

Additionally, the production firm maintains a high level of productivity, which its clients value immensely. Perhaps an overlooked yet equally important quality of A&A Expo is the ability of its employees to have fun on the job. “We enjoy our work and are pleasant to work with, and that is beneficial for the entire project,” says Mr. Onink with a grin.

A&A Expo offers its clients a full range of services in what Mr. Onink refers to as a “creative transfer from concept to end result.” The firm provides a wide spectrum of services while focusing on some key aspects.

First and foremost, A&A Expo is a production company that is highly skilled in transforming ideas into solutions and products. The company aids this process through a state-of-the-art production facility, excellent project management, assembly and dismantling of stands, stand storage and transport. These services enable A&A Expo to operate at maximum efficiency.

Cost effectiveness is also a priority, which can be attained as long as projects demand a high volume. This is why the firm typically concentrates on larger projects, so as not to hold up production.

Mr. Onink remains quite optimistic about A&A Expo’s future, choosing to focus on stable growth rather than quick increases in turnover. The company intends to achieve this growth by capitalizing on several strategies. A&A Expo wants to expand upon its proven success in the automotive sector by turning its attention to other industries, such as electronics, aviation, pharmaceuticals and luxury goods.

One way A&A Expo plans to approach customers in these industries is through a noticeable online presence, including the company website, a Facebook page and YouTube videos. Moreover, A&A Expo would like to further develop its overseas operations, which include a fully owned subsidiary in Beijing, China and a joint venture in São Paulo, Brazil.

Currently, 80% of production is completed at the company headquarters in Wijk bij Duurstede, with a smaller percentage being carried out overseas. In the meantime, Mr. Onink continues to enjoy “the variety, adrenalin rush, and creating and building beautiful things, even though everything is temporary.” He knows the value of his temporary creations, assuredly underlining, “we are proud of what we do but we also remain Dutch!”

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