Building on the success of their initial effort last year in Charlotte, the American Jail Association (AJA) more than doubled the number of exhibitors on this year’s ECO Aisle in Austin at their annual training conference. Exhibitors of diverse sustainable products, technology and services took advantage of this annual gathering of correctional professionals to demonstrate the advantages of their particular brand to the thousands of participants who walked the spacious exhibit hall.
Location, location, location is the mantra in real estate and it certainly was true at this year’s event. Heading up the first row is not usually a prime choice given that it usually is at one end of the hall or the other, but this year’s unique location drove participants from three directions and being sandwiched between two refreshment areas didn’t hurt traffic by the booths either. It was clear some serious thought by AJA staff went into the configuration of the hall and the location of the ECO Aisle. An emerging concept among community corrections agencies, sustainability and the approaches to it, definitely benefitted from the exposure that occurred on the ECO Aisle this year.
This year’s exhibitors, more than doubled last year’s, and brought with them innovative, cost-saving items, that addressed the specific needs of jail managers from across the country. From in-vessel composting to porous pavement jailers were able to hear and see how these innovations are working in other correctional settings saving money and creating jobs and training opportunities for offenders.
Although plans are in their infancy it is hoped that the ECO Aisle will see even greater expansion and new exhibitors joining in next year. Workshop proposals on sustainable topics are now being prepared for submittal, with the hope that there will be a stronger presence of “green” topics on next year’s agenda. For more information about submitting a workshop contact AJA.