At the end of the Indiana Jones classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, an older man struggles to push a cart carrying a large wooden box down a warehouse hallway.

This iconic scene takes place in an enormous space filled with other large wooden boxes stacked to the sky. The expansive hallway seems to go on forever, with towers of crates surrounding him.

This is what it feels like to walk into the warehouse of the SAS’ Art and Scenic Operations team at SAS headquarters.

It’s an expansive space with corners that feel more like a woodworking shop, sections with crates piled high and equipment to do something most companies hire others to do: build event spaces (among many other things). Here, more than 500 handcrafted, custom-built panels come to life, all designed for SAS Innovate. Each panel is destined to captivate the imaginations of SAS Innovate attendees.

If you’ve attended SAS Innovate or other technology conferences, you’ve probably wondered how conference organizers transform ballrooms into a maze of stunning displays and technology hubs that grace the event. Well, buckle up because I’m about to spill the beans.

The intricacies of panel production

When you walk into the team’s workspace, you’re immediately immersed in a whirlwind of activity, with team members buzzing around, each playing a crucial role from ideation to execution. Guided by Thomas Richardson, Sr. Event Design Project Manager, this was an exciting journey through the inner workings of SAS Innovate. I immediately wanted to know more about the entire scope of the project.

“We’ll be pushing about 500 panels because it’s a large floor. There’s 55,000 square feet of demo floor,” Richardson said, describing the hand-crafted panels that create walls and dividers at the event. “These panels must be cut to the right shape [to fit].”

Meticulous crafting in action

Next is the Print Center, where graphic designers review proofs of signs and other displays so everything is on point. Here, I gained a greater appreciation for the intricate details of creating each graphic panel by watching Dina Cobb, Manager of the Print Center. From selecting the perfect colors to ensuring precise scaling and alignment, Cobb and her team carefully make every decision.

As we walked through the workshop, I was captivated by the sheer scale of the operation. Everywhere I looked, there were stacks of panels waiting to be transformed into works of art. The attention to detail was staggering, with every cut and measurement meticulously planned to ensure a perfect fit.

Then, I met Mike Weiss, Sr. Artisan and Designer, who showed us the mastery of his precision panel cutting. After the details of the panels are printed, Weiss expertly uses a computer numerical control (CNC) router to cut and slice. Watching him work was like witnessing a symphony of craftsmanship. A CNC router can cut wood, composites, plastics, glass, and foams with surgical precision, and Weiss uses it on all materials.

“This thing is heavy duty. It can cut through almost anything,” Weiss said.

A testament to dedication and professionalism

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the entire experience was the joy and passion radiating from everyone making it happen. Despite what seemed to take long hours and relentless deadlines, the creative team members approached their work with an infectious enthusiasm that was impossible to ignore.

This team is under pressure to create large, precise panels and signage and transport them safely, yet it was all smiles during the process. It’s a testament to their dedication and professionalism. I’m amazed at what they have been accomplishing.

Just a few of the faces of the Art and Scenic Operations team at SAS!

A grateful farewell

As the tour ended, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to witness the magic behind the scenes of SAS Innovate. It reminded me of the incredible talent and creativity within SAS and I’m eager to see the finished product at the event. And I’m not saying I found the Ark of the Covenant, but I’m convinced it might be in Cary, NC, somewhere in that warehouse.

Get in on all of the action at SAS Innovate!

Ginny Inman contributed to this article


About Author

Caslee Sims

I'm Caslee Sims, writer and editor for SAS Blogs. I gravitate toward spaces of creativity, collaboration and community. Whether it be in front of the camera, producing stories, writing them, sharing or retweeting them, I enjoy the art of storytelling. I share interests in sports, tech, music, pop culture among others.


  1. Calling it a MARVEL was perfect, but these heroes don't wear capes. What an incredible group of hard working individuals. Way to go Arts and Scenic team!

  2. Jeanne Evans on

    Thanks so much for providing an insiders view into the world of SAS’ Art and Scenic Operations team. I loved learning about the fabulous jobs my SAS colleagues do to make SAS Innovate and so many other SAS expos and meetings come alive! Their creativity, attention to detail, passion for getting it right, and work ethic are impressive and admirable!

  3. Ileana Fernandez on

    Amazing...I like these tours, showing us what we almost don't know when we see numbers and dates...

  4. Love seeing Kenny Batch profiled in the latest Walter Magazine. Such a great talent and all around great guy!

  5. Janice Vetter on

    Hands down, one of my favorite groups to work with. They take on the project, proceed with 'get it done attitude'. SAS is fortunate to have this group and the services they provide.

  6. Julie Muckleroy on

    It never ceases to amaze me - all of the incredible people and skill sets that reside within the SAS family! Way to go Scenics team - the ones who takee a vision into an actual reality!

  7. This is the dream team that will transform the Aria into the world of Data and AI for our customers and partners can come and experience all we have to offer.

  8. Robin Langford on

    "Unveiling the marvels" indeed!! Fascinating video, interesting close-ups with people, great summary of the work flow--thank you for giving me another reason to be impressed by my marvelous SAS colleagues. Hats off to all of you!!

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