Chicago's Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority has launched a new service, FocusOne, to provide more efficient, cost-effective service for exhibitors at McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

FocusOne staff, called service managers, will act as intermediaries between exhibitors and trades workers providing electrical, plumbing, and telecommunications services. They will contact exhibitors in advance to make sure orders are correct, follow up on exhibitors who forget to submit forms, and manage the trades workers to ensure they meet exhibitors' needs in time and at a reasonable cost, says Harry Walder, Jr., senior director of development, FocusOne.

Wearing easily identifiable bright yellow outfits, service managers will walk the exhibitor halls and run interference for exhibitors should they encounter any problems with service.

Another goal of FocusOne, says Walder, is to change the cost structure. Instead of trades workers charging exhibitors on a cost-plus basis (supply costs plus an hourly fee), Walder aims to provide exhibitors with a flat-fee estimate, up front. If installation takes longer than planned, Focus-

One, rather than the exhibitors, will pay. The new system, says Walder, will improve his staff's efficiency. "Previously, there was no accountability in managing workers' time," he says.