Chicago Auto Show
By Lance Cpl. Bradley Carrier
| 9th Marine Corps District | February 28, 2014
Feb. 28, 2014 --
Marines with the 9th Marine Corps District and recruiters from Recruiting Sub-Stations in the Chicago area attended the Chicago Auto Show Feb 8-17 to build community awareness and to find the next generation of Marines.
The event is one of the best opportunities for recruiters in the Chicago Metropolitan area to talk to a large amount of young men and women about the Corps.
During the course of the two-week event, more than 2,500 young men and women entered information in order to be contacted about a prospective career in the United States Marine Corps.
“Getting area canvassing leads like at the auto show is a good way to tell how serious the kid is about joining the Marine Corps,” said Staff Sgt. Victor Mojica, staff noncommissioned officer in charge at RSS Oak Park. “You can read their body language to gauge their interest in making an appointment at the office to actually sit down and talk about joining.”
Pull-up bars at the event allowed aspiring high school men and women to show their strength, and have a chance to earn Marine Corps gear and incentive items.
Throughout the auto show, recruiters from RSS' around the Chicago area were present to answer questions about the Marine Corps enlistment process, speak to veterans and to help provide young men and women knowledge about the military.
“We focus on area canvassing when we set up at big events and we utilize the event marketing vehicles to bring in those young kids,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Smith, EMV program coordinator for the 9th MCD. “We also have a 1984 hummer (Humvee), military style; all decked out and we bring that in to get their attention.”
Aside from being a good opportunity for recruiting, the show also gives the Marines in attendance an opportunity to build community awareness about the Marine Corps.
Since last year’s show, 11 contracts have been written from leads generated in 2013.
“The main reason these enhanced area canvassing events help us so much is because it allows us to meet people on a face to face basis,” said Staff Sgt. Isidro Gonzalez, a recruiter with RSS Fox Valley. “Then when they come in to speak with us they feel comfortable knowing that we’ve met face to face before.”
EAC events help Marines to get out, build a reputation and public presence to engage the public in a way that tells the Marine Corps story.
“It’s a good place for kids to be around their peers and motivate them to jump on the pull-up bars or talk to one of us (recruiters),” said Sgt. Kevin Harris, a recruiter with RSS Du Page South. “They’re a lot more likely to jump on the pull up bar than to jump into a recruiter’s office.”
According to the McCormick Place website, this is the largest auto show in the nation with more than one million square feet of exhibit space showcasing 1000 vehicles from numerous manufacturers.
The EMV team will also be present at the Kansas City Auto Show March 5-9 which will feature more than 500 vehicles, have guests like Jay Leno, and will also bring in money for the Children’s Mercy benefit.