Trade Shows Provide a Crash Course in Portable Sanitation

When Patrick Léveillé decided to switch careers, he attended the WWETT Show to build relationships and learn the basics of the industry

Trade Shows Provide a Crash Course in Portable Sanitation

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When Patrick Léveillé chose to make an abrupt career switch from commercial banker to portable restroom operator in 2016, he was required to hit the ground running. He quickly scoped out all of the trade shows and industry showcase events that could help him learn more about the field and make new connections with other industry professionals and suppliers.

“I attended my first WWETT (Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport) Show in 2017, just a few months after I purchased the company,” says the owner of Groupe Star Suites, located in Boisbriand, a northern suburb of Montreal. “I’ve attended every WWETT Show since.”

Star Suites specializes in serving the province of Quebec’s motion picture and television production industry, but also serves clients in the construction and special events markets. For the film industry, those trailers include specialized wardrobe, hospitality, makeup, hairstyling and lodging trailers — in addition to a core offering of restroom and shower trailers.

Although Star Suites provides pumping service for the restroom units it supplies, it’s not the backbone of its business. It’s part of a necessary suite of services that includes trailer cleaning, as well as maintenance of anything from air conditioning to electrical systems.

The company has worked on large U.S. film productions ranging from entries in the X-Men franchise to the recent Pet Sematary remake. At times, the company fields as many as 40 trailers to a single-film production.

“There are very few companies in Québec serving the motion picture industry as we do and even fewer serving the large, blockbuster film productions,” Léveillé says. “We’re not driven to add new products or services by competitors, or even by our clients. We have to go out and search for those products ourselves and then offer them to clients to keep us on the top of our game. We’re informing our clients what the trends are.”

Léveillé attends local trade shows aimed at event organizers to promote the company’s offerings and learn about industry trends. At recent WWETT Shows, he’s ordered restroom and shower trailers from both Ameri-Can Engineering and Rich Specialty Trailers. He’s also considering an order for some specialty trailer units with another company, but he’s willing to wait until next year’s show to close the deal.

“I don’t need to go to WWETT to order a restroom trailer,” he says. “But what’s just as important as ordering new products is meeting in person to develop strong relationships with suppliers.”



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