An entertaining ‘Gotcha’ moment at InnoTrans

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Last week, Trains magazine Editor Jim Wrinn was in Germany covering InnoTrans 2010.

Now I’m not one of those journalists who live for the “gotcha” moment that so many people crave. Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure when you find the president of Heinz foods using Hunts ketchup or catch the head of Boeing riding on an Airbus. I don’t know, there’s just not enough there intellectually in my thinking to really make me think that’s much in the way of true journalism: I’d rather debate policy, or talk about new locomotives or double track. Nevertheless, I did experience one of those “gotcha” moments Wednesday afternoon at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin. It was strangely satisfying.

Earlier in the day, the two big North American locomotive builders, General Electric and EMD, put on their best efforts at public relations with formal press conferences. GE had scheduled its press event long in advance; EMD set up its press conference at the last minute, notifying the media with a handout on the press table. As it was starting, one of their representatives actually came and found me to invite me back for lunch and the briefing, even though I’d just ordered lunch at the press café. I finished my ham Panini and a coke, and then went to the event. After it was over (see News Wire of Wednesday, Sept. 21) I thought about the different approaches these two made with regards to the trade show: GE brought a new export unit and set up a flashy exhibit. In the same hall, EMD set up a cool exhibit of its own, but didn’t bring along a locomotive. Both held receptions Wednesday afternoon with food, drink, and live music. GE had printed invitations for its party. EMD … well, I don’t know what EMD did. It was just going on as I was heading to GE’s party, I didn’t know about it, so I took the liberty of stopping in and visited with President Billy Ainsworth a few minutes, looked around, and headed over to GE’s booth. 

I was sipping on a beer when I was surprised to see Ainsworth and an entourage stride right up to the GE exhibit and walked through it and into another hall. At first, I figured maybe he was making a courtesy call on his competitor, but he kept going. I estimated he was just “playing through” and that was the last I’d see of him. Well, moments later, Ainsworth and his crew came back the other way, and this time he stopped in front of an exhibit touting GE’s support for both GE and EMD parts. He spoke with GE folks a few minutes, and I just had to smile as he acknowledged my presence, and headed back to his own party. I told Ainsworth that I was sorry I didn’t have time to get out my camera. I’m pretty sure he’s grateful that I didn’t have it by my side. It would have been one of those “gotcha” moments for sure!


How green is my railroad, by Jim Wrinn (September 23, 2010)
At InnoTrans, it’s fun doing business with you, by Jim Wrinn (September 22, 2010)
Grocery shopping by rail on a Sunday night in Berlin, by Jim Wrinn (September 21, 2010)
Timing is everything, by Jim Wrinn (September 20, 2010) 


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