It was embarrassing.
The cavernous hall at the Palmetto Expo Center in Greenville, S.C., was set up with about 400 seats, but only a few dozen were filled. Of those, many were occupied by friends of the organizers -- folks who had been comped to beef up the body count, or retirees who saw that something was going on and wandered in for a cup of coffee.
That was more than seven years ago. It's still painful to remember.
The SOUTH-TEC Greenville Advanced Productivity Exposition was put on by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, though it was particularly uncomfortable for me because Automotive News was a junior sponsor, and we're not accustomed to empty houses.
Neither are big-time auto execs, especially in their own back yard.
Yet there was BMW's Norbert Reithofer, on the dais, waiting to speak.