As Aluvision Continues to Expand in the U.S., Industry Veteran Robert Laarhoven Joins the Company as Corporate Strategy Advisor

November 2, 2023

Aluvision, a Belgium-based company that provides modular framing solutions for exhibits and events, has appointed Robert Laarhoven, an industry veteran with nearly 40 years of experience, as its corporate strategy advisor. His extensive industry background, including serving as president of beMatrix USA for eight years, will bring invaluable insights to Aluvision as it continues to expand its production and operations in the U.S. 

Co-owned by Ann Vancoillie and Dirk Deleu, the duo have worked tirelessly to cultivate a customer-oriented team as they expanded the company's physical footprint. Founded in 2003, Aluvision has experienced substantial global growth since investing in an additional production facility in the U.S. in 2013, when it opened near Atlanta. 

Recently, Aluvision tripled its production and warehousing capacity when it expanded its Georgia facility from 29,000 to 83,000 square feet. The U.S. facility now offers an expanded 6,000-sq.-ft. showroom, featuring the latest technology for customers and prospects to gain inspiration and witness Aluvision's solutions in action.

Aluvision is continuing its U.S. expansion with the upcoming grand opening of a new parts depot and showroom in Las Vegas to support customers participating in events in the area. The new facility is located about 25 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, making it convenient for exhibitors to source parts immediately while in the city for trade shows and conventions. 

Back story

"Aluvision's level of innovation, quality and commitment to customer success is unique and unmatched," said Laarhoven, who served as president of Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), where he played a pivotal role in establishing the systems division of the association. "I am excited about working with Ann, Dirk and the management team on strategies to grow the company."

Vancoillie expressed her enthusiasm about this new collaboration, stating, "We are delighted to join forces with Robert. With shared passion and values, we look forward to joining our expertise to better serve our customers."

In his new advisory role, Laarhoven will champion the focus on the finishing touches that distinguish Aluvision.

Looking ahead

Aluvision booth in 2023

Aluvision’s innovative approach to trade show booths and event displays combines creativity, engineering expertise and manufacturing excellence to provide elegant, efficient, cost-effective and durable solutions. Aluvision employs more than 170 individuals and serves more than 3,500 partners worldwide. 

Aluvision, which became a member of UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry in June, will participate in these upcoming events:

  • Wonder Festival, Oct. 19-Nov. 5, Kortrijk, Belgium 
  • Heavent, Nov. 14-16, Paris
  • EDPA Access, Nov. 28-30, Bonita Springs, Fla.
  • LDI, Dec. 3-5, Las Vegas 
  • ISE, Jan 30-Feb 2, Barcelona
  • Confex, Feb. 28-29, London

People News: Exhibit Partners, Exhibitus and Freeman Announce New Hires And Promotions, Three Consultants Share Their Next Moves

October 9, 2023
people oct 2023

The trade show industry continues to ramp up, and many exhibitor-related organizations are hiring and expanding. Check out these event professionals who are assuming senior and leadership roles at exhibit-related organizations across the country. 

Exhibit Partners 

Exhibit Partners (EP), a live brand engagement agency, hired Travis Stanton as director of strategy. In this role, Stanton will lead internal marketing and brand positioning while also working directly with EP clients on strategies to help them define brand stories, optimize marketing investments and exceed corporate objectives. 

Previously, Stanton led content strategy at Exhibitor, where he served as managing editor, editor and editor-in-chief. 

"We are thrilled to welcome Travis and put his superpowers to work for us and our clients," said Exhibit Partners CEO Matt Williams. "Travis and his strategic impact will play a big role in our continuing evolution from EP's exhibit-house roots to its future as a brand storytelling agency."

Stanton has also worked as an associate producer for the Miss Universe Organization and editor of both Corporate EVENT magazine and Lavender Magazine.

“Having spent two decades researching exhibit- and event-marketing strategy — and spoken extensively on experiential design, global exhibiting trends and elevated brand experiences — I am excited to put that expertise to work for EP and its clients,” said Stanton. “I have witnessed the evolution of Exhibit Partners over the years, seen the organization’s exciting vision for the future and bonded with the incredible and experienced members of the senior leadership team. And every step along the way has made me more enthused about joining the EP team.”


Exhibitus, an experiential marketing agency headquartered in Atlanta, has appointed Martin Knott as chief financial officer. As CFO, Knott will guide the company’s business strategy and financial performance.

In addition to his financial role, Knott will be responsible for the implementation and integration of technology infrastructure and financial reporting systems essential for the company’s next phase of growth.

“We are excited to have Martin join Exhibitus’ executive team,” said Exhibitus President Brad Falberg. “Currently, our company is positioned to enjoy significant growth as the industry shifts from traditional marketing methods to creating experiences that build relationships between a business and its customers. Martin’s financial acumen, as well as his wealth of knowledge about the people, processes and particularly the goals of industry-leading brands, will be instrumental in our overall success going forward.”

Knott’s experience spans more than 35 years. He served in executive roles for two major exhibit firms, first at Czarnowski Exhibit Services for 25 years and then at MC2 Exhibit Environments for seven years. During his tenure at both firms, he helped drive operational excellence, improved business performance and supported strategic growth. 

Exhibitus also appointed experiential marketing veteran Rodrigo Espinosa as its chief strategist, responsible for developing and executing strategies to expand the company’s experiential focus and create brand initiatives to support client growth nationally and internationally.  

Bringing more than 25 years of experience in experiential marketing, brand positioning, business development and net-new revenue generation, sponsorship, communications strategy, integrated marketing communications, global leadership and digital activations to his new role, Rodrigo has worked extensively in the technology, automotive and consumer goods sectors, building innovative brand experiences for industry-leading companies. 

Exhibitus’ clients include Acuity, AGCO, ConvaTec, Georgia Pacific, Delta TechOps, Kawneer, LaVazza, Lexus, Mimaki, Sandvik, Snowflake, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions and Unifi.


Freeman has promoted Tamara Lelyk to senior director, labor and employee relations. Previously, she served as director, labor and employee relations. Lelyk joined Freeman in 2019. Prior to that, she held positions in human resources, as well as employee and labor relations, with ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, Bellagio and GES.


Dax Callner announced he will be leaving his position as strategy director for Smyle, an experiential creative agency based in London, at the end of October. He is launching his own consulting company, with Smyle as one of his clients. Prior to joining Smyle in 2019, Callner served as chief strategy officer for GES and Sparks. Callner serves as board president of the Experiential Marketing Measurement Coalition. 

Pat Alacqua, the founder of Nth Degree, and Jane Gentry, principal of Jane Gentry & Company, have joined forces to offer consulting services to the trade show industry. Leveraging more than two decades of consulting experience within and outside the industry, the duo plan to empower trade show businesses to not only navigate the current challenges but also strategically position themselves for future success. Setting themselves apart from conventional consultancy models, Alacqua and Gentry said they adopt a more hands-on, collaborative approach. 

For his groundbreaking work in labor management, Alacqua earned a place of honor in the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association Hall of Fame in 2006. Beyond the trade show arena, Alacqua's Entrepreneur to Enterprise Program and "3Cs Process to Faster Results" underscore his dedication to business growth and leadership mentoring.

Since 1999, Gentry has managed companies and provided consulting services to enhance growth, profitability, client retention, employee retention and leadership capabilities. As a CEO advisor and management consultant, she assists entrepreneurs and senior leaders in identifying and addressing gaps in strategy, processes, culture and personnel.  

Have some exhibitor-related people news to share? Please send announcements and high-resolution professional headshots to ENN’s Danica Tormohlen.

Women at the Helm: Clarion Events CEO Lisa Hannant on Female Empowerment, Speaking Up and Being Authentic

October 5, 2023
Lisa hannant

It’s a familiar story within the events industry: Like many trade show professionals, Lisa Hannant fell into the industry by chance, realized she loved it and never looked back. 

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, only that I didn’t want to go into the city and finance, which is a path many of my peers pursued,” Hannant said. “I was fortunate to land a job with a family-owned U.K. exhibition organizer called Brintex. I started to work on their B2B fashion shows, and I loved it from day one.” 

She continued, “I’ll never forget seeing my first show come together. The culmination of so much work, so many different teams and, of course, the live experience was memorable. I love the variety of what we do. The influence you can have on a business, a product and, of course, the people in the industry, make it very special.”

Since then, Hannant has inarguably earned her place in the C-suite. With more than three decades of industry experience working across a broad range of sectors and international markets, she acquired extensive experience building market-leading brands, both organically and through acquisition, and also across a wide range of customer-driven formats, including large-scale live events and digital products.

Upon joining U.K.-based event organizer Clarion Events in 2008, Hannant worked her way up the corporate ladder, becoming part of its senior management team that led and delivered a strategy of expansive growth, later serving as group managing director and board member, and most recently, taking the helm as CEO in October 2022, a role she calls a privilege as Clarion continues its next stage of post-pandemic growth and evolution. Besides signifying the fulfillment of a long-held ambition, the promotion earned Hannant bragging rights as one of a small handful of female CEOs at top trade show organizers throughout the world. 

Exhibit News Now had a chance to catch up with this much-respected, dynamic industry leader to get her thoughts about being Clarion’s first female CEO, why being authentic and speaking up is so important for women event professionals and which industry veterans have been her biggest role models throughout her career.


You’ve been CEO of Clarion Events for almost a year now. How does it feel to be the company’s first female leader and what have been your biggest focuses during your first 11 months on the job?

Firstly, I can’t believe it is nearly a year, and time is moving so quickly. Being CEO is a huge responsibility but one I relish. Yes, I am female, but I would rather not be known or remembered for that. I have used this first year to focus on bringing to life Clarion’s vision that every one of our products be a market leader in customer satisfaction and delight and to realize that vision: that our brands and products must deliver exceptional customer outcomes and experiences. I am, therefore, very focused on how we design and develop our products and shows, ensuring they have a strong purpose and that customer needs and value are placed at the forefront of everything we do.   

Of course, none of that is possible without a focus on our people, too. Attracting and retaining the best, most diverse talent for Clarion is clearly a priority, and it is an area we are investing time and money in at every level of the business.


What have been your most important lessons and biggest successes since taking the helm of Clarion Events?

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is the importance of listening and communication. In my experience, the best CEOs I have worked with ask many questions and listen to the answers! As a new CEO, I am conscious that my words matter both internally and externally. I have always tried to communicate openly, honestly and directly. I hope my communication style has helped me this past year and is appreciated.    

Then there is, of course, the business performance globally. I am delighted with the progress we are making on all fronts. So many of our shows and brands are delivering extremely high levels of growth but just as importantly, are delivering high levels of customer satisfaction and net promoter score results. We are also pushing hard on innovation across the business, whether that be in digital or new event formats. It’s an important next phase for Clarion and for me personally.   


While gender diversity in executive roles within the events industry has been shifting in a more equitable direction, what are the biggest challenges of being a women leader in a historically male-dominated industry?

I agree that gender diversity in our industry has been shifting, which is good to see, but I also think this is just as much a generational shift as a diversity shift. Historically, senior leaders in our industry typically came up through sales or finance, but increasingly we see different pathways to the top – content, marketing and from outside our industry. In my view, this is a very positive trend and will help drive greater diversity. 

As for the challenges, I would say it can be hard to be heard at times as a female leader, so it’s important to speak up. Many of us have incredibly valuable contributions to make and offer a different perspective, so finding a way to voice that with confidence is so important. There is also the challenge of entering established networks of senior leaders. All I will say is go for it! Most will find, as I did, that you are welcomed with open arms, and the only thing holding you back is yourself. 


Have you always had top leadership aspirations since you got into the industry, and was it your goal to work your way into a CEO position? 

I have always been ambitious, and through the two startups I was involved in, including The Energy Exchange, I had an unusual amount of responsibility and ownership early on. That, coupled with being part of the leadership team at Clarion that grew the business 10-fold, meant that assuming the CEO role was the next natural step for me. It’s a business I love and one that continues to offer huge opportunities going forward, so yes, becoming CEO of Clarion was the goal.


What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in the events industry and how can more women support their fellow aspiring female leaders along their pathways to the C-suite?

I am sure I am not the first to say this, but be authentic when pursuing any leadership ambition. If you are not true to that, others will quickly work that out, and creating trust and buy-in will become very difficult.    

Put your hand up for new opportunities and take on challenging projects that push you outside of your comfort zone. Without this, you won’t grow in experience and develop real leadership skills. It will also help get you noticed, and along with that will come respect and recognition of what you are really capable of.

I also advise anyone who wishes to pursue leadership to find themselves an internal sponsor. I have been very fortunate, both at Clarion and before that, to have had very supportive sponsors, which has been a game-changer to my development and motivation.  


What female role models in the industry have inspired you the most in your career, what kind of a role model do you hope to be for other female event professionals and why are role models important for women in our industry?

Going back 10 years, there were not many female role models in our industry for me to be inspired by, so I took inspiration from leaders I admired, which is something I encourage others to do. While diversity is hugely important, it doesn’t have to be defining. I was very fortunate to work with Russell Wilcox and Simon Kimble for 15 years. Those who know them will understand how very different they are, but they both played a significant role in shaping my future.

In recent years there have been some notable achievements by female leaders such as Mary Larkin, Monica Lee Muller, Cassandra Farringdon and Carina Bauer, assuming chairs of our industry associations and their own businesses. They are most definitely role models for the younger generation in our industry, and rightly so. In addition, I also can’t help but admire the tenacity and spirit of Joanne Kellaway. She demonstrated that she could build and create a business herself, which went global.  

So I guess having said the above, and seeing how times have changed and recognizing there are now a number of senior female leaders in our industry, I hope that we are able to bring a different voice to our industry that inspires a new wave of future leaders.   

Know of a dynamic woman leader in the meetings and events industry who deserves recognition? Reach out to


IAEE Taps Cathy Breden to Serve as Interim CEO As the Search for A Permanent Replacement Continues

September 26, 2023
Cathy Breden

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) has appointed Cathy Breden, current IAEE executive vice president and COO, as the interim CEO for the organization, effective Oct. 1. She assumes the helm following the departure of IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, for whom the organization is currently searching for a permanent successor. 

“With 28 years of service to IAEE, there was no question in the minds of the Board of Directors who the best person would be to lead the association as we continue the search for a new president and CEO,” said 2023 IAEE Chairperson Dennis Smith, vice president of business development for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). “Cathy not only possesses vast knowledge about the organization, but is a highly regarded authority of our industry.” 

Once IAEE appoints a new president and CEO, Breden will resume her current position with the organization until her planned retirement in June 2024, according to IAEE officials.

“In this role, I will be the bridge to continue the good work of IAEE and to help the new CEO during this transition,” Breden said. “The association has made great strides in advancing its mission and strategic vision and I look forward to the future.”

Breden, who also serves as the CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), embarked upon her association management career in 1984 and has served in a variety of positions, including board member, key staff contact, chief staff executive, volunteer leader and consultant. Additionally, she serves as the immediate past chairperson of the Events Industry Council board of directors and is a frequent presenter on industry topics including exhibition industry trends and the impact of face-to-face marketing through exhibitions.

Breden earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 1990, became a CMP Fellow in 2019, acquired the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 1995 and was granted the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation in 2019. She holds a Business Administration degree from Florida State University with an emphasis in Association Management.

“Cathy’s career has been an example to all of us in the exhibitions and events industry,” said Julie Smith, senior vice president, business development at GES. “Her unwavering leadership, commitment, diplomacy and experience make her the perfect choice to help shepherd IAEE into the next chapter.”

To find the organization’s next president and CEO, the IAEE Board of Directors has retained SearchWide Global, a full-service executive search firm that specializes in C-level positions in the event, convention, travel, tourism, hospitality, trade association, venue management and experiential marketing industries.

Established in 1928, IAEE represents suppliers and trade show organizers of more than 20,000 exhibitions and buyer-seller events worldwide, advocating for and promoting face-to-face exhibitions and events as the primary platform for business development and growth. 


OVG Hires Events DC EVP And COO Samuel Thomas Jr. To Oversee Chicago’s McCormick Place Campus

August 4, 2023
Samuel Thomas

Oak View Group (OVG), which takes over venue management for Chicago’s McCormick Place on Oct. 1, named veteran convention and hospitality executive Samuel Thomas Jr. as senior vice president and general manager of the campus, which includes McCormick Place, featuring 2.6 million square feet of exhibition space, the 10,000-seat Wintrust Arena and the 4,249-seat Arie Crown Theater. 

Thomas, who will relocate to Chicago from Washington, D.C., where he was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Events DC, will begin his new role the first week of September.

McCormick Place hosts some of the largest annual U.S. trade shows, including the National Restaurant Association Show, the Inspired Home Show and the Radiological Society of North America Show, to name a few.

OVG360 and OVG Hospitality, divisions of global sports and entertainment company OVG, were recently awarded the contracts for private management and food and beverage services, respectively, for the McCormick Place campus by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) Board. 

Related: McCormick Place Taps Oak View Group As Its New Private Management And Food Service Partner

“We will have one of the best operators in the industry managing one of the most iconic convention centers in the world,” said Greg O’Dell, president of venue management, OVG360. “With Samuel’s extensive experience in leading both venue management and food and beverage operations for several first-tier convention centers throughout his career, there is no one better to execute our vision to optimize McCormick Place and help the MPEA and its stakeholders solidify Chicago as an ultimate destination for meeting planners and conventions. We are so thrilled to welcome Samuel to our team.”

At Events DC, Thomas managed daily operations for Washington, D.C.’s convention and sports authority, which includes the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Entertainment & Sports Arena, RFK Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, the DC Armory and several community assets. His responsibilities included oversight of all aspects of facility operations, event management, sales and marketing, public safety, labor relations, organizational development and other venue competencies. 

O’Dell and Thomas worked together at Events DC before O’Dell left the authority to join OVG360 in April 2022. 

McCormick Place west
The West Building at McCormick Place in Chicago

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I’m excited to join the first-class team at McCormick Place,” Thomas said. “We will partner with MPEA to continue to deliver a high level of customer service to our clients and guests while finding innovative ways to elevate each event experience.”

He continued, “This is a people business, so I am elated to reunite with Greg in addition to working with my new team members. I can’t wait to get started.” 

Prior to joining Events DC, Thomas held multiple sales and convention management positions with Marriott Corp. In addition, he served as regional vice president and general manager at Centerplate/NBSE for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. He also served in several executive leadership roles with the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia and Greater Columbus Convention Center for the Aramark Corp.

 Don’t miss any exhibitor-related news: Sign up for ENN’s weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!


Cal Poly Pomona Student Receives Inaugural Exhibitus Design Scholarship, Applications For 2024 Open Aug. 1

July 21, 2023

Exhibitus, an experiential marketing agency headquartered in Atlanta, has named Raneem Awad, an architectural student at Cal Poly Pomona, as the recipient of the inaugural Exhibitus Design Scholarship for 2023. She was selected from a group of nearly 200 applicants and will receive $1,000 towards her education.

“The tremendous response to our inaugural Design Scholarship program attests to the talent and dedication of students pursuing careers that rely on the principles of design,” said Matt Beck, Creative Director for Exhibitus, which provides exhibit design and fabrication, innovative engagements and event measurement programs to clients, including Acuity, Georgia Pacific, Jet Aviation, Lexus, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions and Unifi — to name a few.

Awad moved to the U.S. with her family from Syria when she was 19 years old and recently became a U.S. citizen. In addition to working to help support her family, she returned to the study of architecture she had begun in Syria and is enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona. 

Raneem Awad moved to the U.S. with her family from Syria when she was 19 years old and recently became a U.S. citizen.

She is participating in a study abroad exchange program at Biberach University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Her academic achievements include the President’s Honor List and Dean’s List. She credits the resilience she gained as an immigrant — as well insights from experiential learning — for her current success.

“Even with the many great designs and personal essays we reviewed, Raneem’s work and the story of her journey that led to the study of architecture stood out,” Beck said. “We are proud to support her awe-inspiring efforts and look forward to celebrating her future accomplishments.”

Back Story

Since the pandemic, Exhibitus has taken an active leadership role in advocating for the industry, both from an exhibit and event provider, as well as the marketer’s perspective. 

“One of the challenges the industry faces is the talent pipeline,” Beck said. “Exhibitus is active with the EDPA Future Workforce Committees, and this initiative is one way to inform students about the industry and the opportunities it offers.”

He continued, “Exhibitus has a charitable-giving arm, BeyondUs, which supports causes of interest to our employees. The scholarship program falls under this initiative. Our employees love the industry and want to see it continue to thrive with fresh talent in the future.”

The award criteria includes: 

  • Design talent and ability 
  • Story of the applicant’s personal journey and financial need, and their ambition for future use of design skills in their professional life  
  • Proven academic achievement in their general courses as well as design-focused courses.

“As the industry continues to evolve, it is critical to support the next generation of talented creatives,” Beck said. “To that end, Exhibitus will again offer a Design Scholarship for $1,000 in 2024.” 

What’s Next

Entries will be accepted Aug. 1, 2023-May 1, 2024. The 2024 award winner will be announced in July 2024. For more information, apply here starting Aug. 1. 

“A majority of the entries were received in the spring when students were thinking about their financial responsibilities for the fall 2023 semester,” Beck said.

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Pinnacle Live Hires Two Former Freeman VPs to Launch Event Production Division

April 11, 2023
Dan Sherman and Dave Arendes

Pinnacle Live, an event experience and technology company launched in 2021 for the hospitality and event industry, has hired two industry veterans – Dan Sherman and Dave Arendes – to launch its new Event Production Division, created to provide best-in-class, single-source solutions for high-profile, complex live events including international summits, conferences, business meetings, brand activations, festivals, sporting and special events. Former Freeman CEO Joe Popolo serves as chairman of the board for Pinnacle Live and as CEO at Charles & Potomac Capital LLC, a private firm that has an investment in Pinnacle Live.

Joining Pinnacle Live as executive vice president of business development, Sherman worked for Freeman for six years and most recently served as the company’s vice president, strategic business development. Bringing 21 years of industry experience to his new role, he has supported hundreds of North America’s leading event organizers, including Major League Baseball, U.S. Department of State, The White House, Society for Human Resource Management, NACS, Specialty Food Association, American Chemical Society and U.S. Green Building Council.

"It's an honor to be a part of this dynamic organization where higher standards, focus and change are the foundation of everything we do at Pinnacle Live," said Sherman. "The expertise and knowledge of our leadership team and dedicated board of directors gives us a competitive edge. I am eager to use this strength to deliver the world's most complex event requirements with confidence and integrity, at scale."

In 2008, Sherman founded HIP NETWORK, a B2B digital media company for the hospitality industry. He launched the Market in a Minute newsletter in 2017 and the Traveling podcast in 2020.

Dave Arendes, who joins Pinnacle Live as senior vice president of sales operations, worked for Freeman for 25 years and most recently served as senior vice president, client solutions, for the Northeast region. 

He began his career at Freeman in 1997 and worked in sales and operations roles at the company.  In 2014, he was selected to participate in iLEAD, a year-long developmental leadership program designed to build future, value-based leaders within Freeman. He left Freeman in February.

"This new division brings energy and excitement to Pinnacle Live, and I can't wait to see the impact on the event industry," said Eddy Eisenberg, CEO of Pinnacle Live, which expanded in March with a multiyear agreement to be the audiovisual and event technology services partner for Omni Hotels & Resorts. "Dan and Dave's expertise will be an invaluable asset to our team as we deliver exceptional experiences to our clients." 

Don’t miss any exhibitor-related news: Sign up for ENN’s weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

IAEE Offers New CEM Course for Exhibitors Debuting March 28

March 8, 2023

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) will debut its first exhibitor education course, Exhibitor Strategies and Tactics, as part of its CEM Learning Program, which has traditionally focused on the needs of the trade show organizer. The new course, which will be taught by Richard Erschik and held virtually on March 28 and June 22, is specifically suited for trade show exhibitors, as well as for exhibition organizers. Erschik, who has more than 50 years of trade show industry experience, has been a featured speaker and presenter at the EXHIBITOR Show for 18 years.

“For more than two decades, my company provided the unique service of sales lead response management that I now teach exhibitors as a process that they can implement themselves,” Erschik said. “I’m excited to be working with IAEE as an exclusive partner.”

Exhibitor Strategies and Tactics is geared toward new and experienced exhibit managers interested in learning the dos and don’ts of cost-effective pre-, during and post-show exhibiting. The active learning experience will provide step-by-step implementation details on lead follow-up after a trade show to increase sales and earn a positive Return on Investment (ROI) from exhibiting.

Why is IAEE expanding its CEM content for exhibitors? 

“The Exhibitor Strategies and Tactics course certainly has the exhibitor in mind, however, our overall goal for the CEM Learning Program is to provide holistic education,” said IAEE Senior Vice President of Events and Learning Experiences Marsha Flanagan. “Exhibitors are a part of the exhibition ecosystem, and we want to acknowledge their contributions to it.”

She continued, “To be a successful show organizer (or supplier), one should be aware of all facets of their ecosystem, including their exhibitor members and what defines their success. We are not considering a certification program for exhibitors as there already is the CTSM, but the information contained within this new Exhibitor Strategies and Tactics CEM course is valuable to all industry professionals.”

Flanagan added that as the industry resets itself from the pandemic, IAEE is looking at industry focus points in a new light.

“Now is the perfect time to improve how we run our shows and evolving our understanding of exhibitors, and what they want from a show, is an integral way to do that,” she said. “IAEE continually evaluates our offerings and when we see an area that increases the well-rounded, comprehensive nature of the CEM Learning Program we address it accordingly.”

Click here for the complete 2023 CEM calendar of events.

“We have known of Richard’s passion to help exhibitors prove the value of trade shows for years,” said IAEE senior CEM program manager Jennifer Potter. “We look forward to our partnership with him.”

Must-Attend Industry Events for Exhibit Managers & Event Marketers in 2023

March 15, 2023

Are you searching for U.S. trade shows and events for industry professionals? Where do you need to be in 2023 to meet the industry’s movers and shakers, gain insight into the latest trade show trends and source products and services for your business? Look no further. 

We’ve got the skinny on some of the most inspiring industry events for exhibit managers and event marketers in 2023. There are dozens of industry events across the country to choose from each year, so this is not a comprehensive list of all that’s available. 

We’ve put together a curated list with the vital details to help you select the events that best fit your professional and business needs in 2023. Here’s our list in chronological order. 




Connect Spring Marketplace

When: April 11-13

Where: The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Producer: Tarsus/Informa

connect spring

Who attends: The event includes tracks for associations, business travel, citywide, corporate, diversity, eTourism, incentive, receptive tour operators (RTOs) and sports. The organizer is expecting 800 hosted buyers and 2,000 attendees.

Featured speakers/topics: The program features 35 speakers, including Sony’s Jordy Freed, who will present 1+1=3: How Partnerships and Sponsorships are Not Mutually Exclusive, and Airlines Reporting Corporation’s Dan Swain, who will share the 2023 Air Travel Outlook. The full agenda can be found here.

Know before you go: The experience-heavy event will feature Connect's signature one-on-one appointments, top-of-the-line educational content, exciting networking opportunities and a vibrant trade show floor overflowing with new business opportunities. This year’s opening night reception will be held at Drai’s (pictured).

Why it matters: The trade show will feature 190 exhibitors, including destinations, convention centers, hotels, venues, event tech companies, event experience companies and other suppliers. 

“Connect is a must-attend for anyone in the event or hospitality industry. The opportunities and continued success stories are endless,” said Athletx Sports Group Director of Events and Operations Chelsea Ancona.

Flashback: Watch a video recap from the 2022 Spring Connect Marketplace in Puerto Rico here.



Dates:  4-7 p.m. ET on Sun., April 23

Location: Copper & Kings Distillery in Louisville, Ky. 

Producer: Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA)

edpa engage CopperKingsWho attends: Leaders in the customer experience industry. EDPA members combine marketing, design and production leadership to help organizations create effective face-to-face customer experiences and environments for trade shows, events, corporate environments, museums, retailers, education and entertainment.

Featured speakers/topics: The event will feature a welcome address by Dan Serebin, president of EDPA and chief financial officer of Derse. This event is all about networking, connecting and having fun with other EDPA members. There will not be any programming.

Know before you go: The event includes transportation to and from the Marriott. Attendees can participate in educational distillery tours that begin every 20 minutes. The networking reception includes drinks and appetizers.

Why it matters: EDPA’s annual mid-year event, ENGAGE2023, takes place prior to the opening of EXHIBITORLIVE.

Flashback: Watch a video recap from last year’s event here.



When: April 23-26

Where: Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) in Louisville, Ky. 

Producer: Exhibitor Group

ExhibitorLive KY

Who attends: Exhibit and event managers, as well as marketing and communications experts. Organizers are expecting 5,000 total attendees.

Featured speakers/topics: The program includes 100 professional development sessions from 75 practitioners and four days of interactive learning and networking. View all 100 sessions at

Know before you go: EXHIBITORLIVE is moving from Las Vegas to Louisvillefor the first time in the event’s 30-year history. EXHIBITORLIVE will take place the week prior to the Kentucky Derby, which runs on May 6. The Thunder Over Louisville air show and fireworks show will be held on April 22, the day before the show opens.

Why it matters: 100-plus exhibiting companies will display state-of-the-art innovation, emerging technology, customer engagement, creative solutions and experiential exhibits, according to the show website. A current exhibitor list is available here.

Flashback: Last year, the show, which covered 220,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, drew about 130 companies and 6,000 attendees to Las Vegas. 


EACA 25th Anniversary Celebration

When: 3:30-5 p.m. ET on Tues., April 25 

Where: Room L013 at KICC 

Producer: Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association (EACA)

Who attends: The EACA represents and supports the interests of exhibitor appointed contractors (EACs) and all other organizations that provide exhibit services. All EACA members are invited to attend.

Featured speakers/topics: The association will recognize its past presidents and all companies that have been members for 25 years.

Know before you go: Held in conjunction with EXHIBITORLIVE, EACA will be distributing its 25th Anniversary Directory to all in attendance to chronicle the initiatives and accomplishments of the past 25 years and to celebrate its members.

Why it matters: The EACA will be honoring 21 companies that have been members in good standing since the association launched in 1998. A list of the 21 companies can be found here.


Women in Exhibitions Breakfast

When: 8–9:30 a.m. ET, Tues., April 25

Where: EXHIBITORLIVE Connection Zone, located in the KICC Exhibit Hall 

Producer: Women in Exhibitions
women in exhibitions breakfast 2022

Who attends: Open to all women who work in the exhibition and event industry.

Featured speakers/topics: The guest speaker is Lisa Brown, author of Girl Talk, Money Talk II: Financially Fit and Fabulous in Your 40s and 50s. Enjoy a continental breakfast while networking with peers, as well as breakout sessions with opportunities to share.

Know before you go: Every registrant is entered to win an all-access pass to EXHIBITORLIVE 2024. The winner will be announced at breakfast.

Why it matters: Women in Exhibitions is back for its 5th Annual Breakfast Event at EXHIBITORLIVE.

“It was empowering to be sitting in a room full of women who were actively pursuing their careers in the exhibit industry,” said Jessica Diers, president of Diers Exhibit. “There’s nothing quite like being with a group of career-oriented women who want to see each other succeed.” 

Flashback: Last year’s event (pictured) drew about 150 women. The breakfast featured a panel discussion, Five Key Skill Sets to Know and Hone Now.


Event Tech LiveETL

When: April 26-27

Where: The Expo at World Market Center in Las Vegas 

Event producer: Event Industry News

Who attends: Event Tech Live (ETL) Las Vegas  is aimed at the North American events market but will also attract business from around the world and showcase the latest technology suppliers helping events to innovate and evolve.

Featured speakers/topics: The event will feature 60-plus sessions featuring speakers from companies like SXSW, Google, Bloomberg, Hard Rock International and more.

Know before you go: Touted as the only event dedicated to event technology that showcases digital, in-person and hybrid events, ETL started in London and is now heading into its 10th anniversary year with the launch of ETL Las Vegas. Organizers will be hosting a networking event, Event Tech Live After Hours, in Downtown Las Vegas on the evening of April 26. A current list of exhibitors can be found here.

Why it matters: "Event Tech Live Las Vegas will be the ultimate platform in the U.S. for exhibit managers and event marketers to discover the latest event technology and software, enabling them to enhance the attendee experience, increase revenue and improve profit margins,” said Adam Parry, co-founder of Event Industry News.“By leveraging the power of innovative technology solutions, they can embrace the future of events and remain ahead of the game."

Flashback: Watch a video recap from day one at last year’s ETL in London here.





Experiential Marketing Summit

Dates: May 9-11 

Location: Caesars Forum in Las Vegas

Producer: Access Intelligence

Who attends: B-to-B and B-to-C brand-side marketers, executives from leading event agencies, meeting planners, trade show organizers, event strategists, experience designers, event technology gurus and more.

Featured speakers/topics: The speaker lineup includes a wide array of leading companies, including Workday, Activision, Google, AT&T, Southwest, Taco Bell and so many more. A current list of speakers can be found here.

Know before you go: From workshops offering deep dives, to provocative keynotes, to breakouts led by brand-side marketers, to peer-to-peer huddles, there are more than 50 opportunities to connect, learn and grow woven throughout this year’s event.

Why it matters: The Experiential Marketing Summit marks its 21st year with a three-day agenda designed to educate creators of the brand experience on what they can do now to prepare for what’s next.

A look back: Here’s a video recap from the 2022 event.




Legislative Action Day

When: June 1

Where: Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

Producer: Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA)
legislative action day

Who attends: Advocates and leaders from across the face-to-face business events industry.

Featured speakers/topics: Meet with members of Congress about the ECA’s federal policy priorities and the vital role that the industry plays in helping to spur economic growth, support job creation and empower small businesses across the U.S.

Know before you go: Legislative Action Day was last held in person in 2019, and the Capitol did not fully reopen for visitors until Jan. 3 after 973 days — nearly three years — of pandemic restrictions.

Why it matters: “After four long years, I can’t wait to finally welcome the industry back to Washington, D.C., for ECA Legislative Action Day,” said Vinnie Polito, co-president of ECA. “Nothing beats meeting face-to-face, and that goes for advocacy, too. That’s why it is so important for us to be in Washington, D.C., on June 1 to meet with our elected officials about the policy issues that matter.” 

Flashback: In 2019, the in-person event (pictured) drew more than 120 industry professionals who took part in 100-plus meetings with congressional members and their legislative staff.


ESCA Summer Educational Conference

When: June 25-28

Where: Hotel Effie in Sandestin, Fla.

Producer: Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA)

Who attends: Service contractors and their partners in the exhibition industry. ESCA has 185 member companies throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Featured speakers/topics: The program is designed to give industry professionals the opportunity to learn the latest trends in the industry, network with peers, make new contacts and have an impact on the future of the exhibition industry.

Know before you go: Hotel Effie is located on the banks of the Choctawhatchee Bay, nestled inside the gates of the world-famous Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and adjacent to the Village at Baytowne Wharf (pictured). A coastline of pristine white sand beaches carved from quartz carried from the Appalachian mountains 20,000 years ago, the Emerald coast is a forest by the sea, flanked by towering oaks and pines.

Why it matters: Contractors will tell you ESCA is the “BESCA.” ESCA’s Summer Educational Conference offers industry-specific educational opportunities, interactive panels, exhibits and social events, nationally recognized speakers and networking opportunities in a relaxing environment.

Flashback: Watch a video recap of the 2022 event here.




CEMA Summit

When: Aug. 6-8

Where:Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City

Producer: Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), powered by PCMA


Who attends: Corporate event marketers

Featured speakers/topics: Stay tuned. Registration to open in spring 2023.

Know before you go: One of the fastest-growing urban hubs in the country, Salt Lake City is surrounded by the beauty of the snow-capped Wasatch Mountains. Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City, which opened in 2022 and is conveniently connected to the Salt Palace Convention Center, offers 700 rooms and suites, an array of dining options and a rooftop terrace with an outdoor pool and cabanas.

Why it matters: The event’s differentiator is its non-selling, peer-to-peer environment. Conversations among participants at CEMA Summit events focuses on best practices and knowledge sharing. Relationships are first and foremost. Professionals do business with other professionals they trust. CEMA facilitates those connections and lifelong industry friendships.


Connect Marketplace 2023

When: Aug. 22-24

Where:Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC)

Producer: Tarsus/Informa

Connect MarketplaceWho attends: Meeting and event professionals in the association, corporate, specialty and sports sectors. The event is expected to draw 1,100 hosted buyers and 3,000 attendees.

Featured speakers/topics: The program will include 35 speakers. Stay tuned for details. Last year’s special guest was Gwyneth Paltrow.

Know before you go: The MCC is the largest meeting and convention facility in Minnesota, with more than 480,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 28,000-sq.-ft.ballroom, a 3,400-fixed-seat auditorium and 90 meeting rooms, all connected to the skyway system. The event schedule can be found here.

Why it matters: The event will feature valuable one-on-one networking appointments, immersive trade show booths, forward-thinking education sessions and keynote speakers.

Flashback:  Read a recap and see photos from the 2022 event in Detroit here.





IMEX America

When: Oct. 17-19

Where: Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas

Producer: IMEX Group

IMEX AmeicaWho attends: Suppliers and buyers from every sector of the meetings industry. It’s free to attend. In 2022, 4,339 total buyers (all hosted buyers and buyer attendees) came to the show from 69 countries. Hosted buyers receive a VIP experience with free flights and accommodations. Apply here.

Featured speakers/topics: The extensive education program includes four tracks: Respect for People and Planet (97 sessions), Future Self (73 sessions), Event Planner Toolkit (71 sessions) and Innovation and Creativity (53 sessions). For example, Google’s Megan Henshall and Storycraft LAB’s Naomi Clare Crellin will present AVoice4All: The Google Experience Institute (Xi), Why We Became Champions for Inclusion and Belonging. The full education program can be found here

Know before you go: The four-day program offers specialist education, networking and much more on and off the trade show floor, which featured 3,331 exhibitors from more than 180 countries in 2022. Last year, 12,068 total participants, including exhibitors, attended the event.

Why it matters: Business meetings form the bedrock of the show, and there were 62,000 appointments between buyers and suppliers over three days in 2022. These comprised individual and group appointments, and open-to-all booth presentations.

Flashback: Read the 2022 post-show release and view the 2022 photo gallery.




TSNN Awards

When and where: Stay tuned.

Producer: Tarsus/Informa

TSNNWho attends: Trade show organizers and suppliers

Featured speakers/topics: The event includes a day of education with top industry leaders as speakers. This year’s program will feature timely and relevant topics, and it’s still being finalized. Last year’s event featured a variety of sessions — from Creating a Marketing Program that Delivers Results to What Does It Take to Put Together an Impactful DEI Program?

Know before you go: In 2022, the event celebrated award winners (pictured) in the following categories: Comeback Shows, Innovation, Outstanding Show Pro, Industry Icon, Industry Support, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Sustainability. Nominations for the 2023 awards will open soon.

Why it matters: “Trade Show News Network will celebrate achievement, innovation and leadership in trade shows with the 13th Annual TSNN Awards and education conference,” said Rachel Wimberly, executive vice president of Tarsus.

Flashback: Watch the video recap of the 2022 event here.




When: Nov. 28-30

Where:Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Producer: EDPA

EDPAWho attends: Leaders in the customer experience industry. EDPA members combine marketing, design and production leadership to help organizations create effective face-to face customer experiences and environments for trade shows, events, corporate environments, museums, retailers, education and entertainment.

Featured speakers/topics: The program is still taking shape. Stay tuned.

Know before you go: In 2022, the event drew 273 EDPA members and non-members to La Cantera Resort in San Antonio. The event typically features two days of content and a gala with an awards presentation of the Eddies, Chapters of the Year, Future Leaders and individual awards for the Designer of the Year, EDPA Ambassador and the Hazel Hays award. The results of the EDPA Economic Survey were released.

Why it matters: “EDPA's ACCESS event is a must-attend event for leaders in the live event industry. The annual event is known for its critical industry-specific educational content, as well as its unmatched networking opportunities with design and production leaders who help organizations create effective face-to face customer experiences,” said Dasher Lowe, executive director of EDPA.

Flashback:  Watch a video recap from last year’s event here.






ESCA Winter Celebration & Awards (pic from 2022)

When: 6-10 p.m. CT, Dec. 4

Where: House of Blues in Dallas

Producer: ESCA

ESCA WinterWho attends: Service contractors and their partners in the exhibition industry. ESCA has 185 member companies throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Featured speakers/topics: ESCA’s annual awards program recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding service and performance.

Know before you go: Celebrate industry pioneers and leaders at the reception, which is held the night before IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Expo!Expo!

Why it matters: Nominations are being accepted currently through Nov. 1. Links to the nomination forms can be found here. Winners will be recognized at the event.

Flashback: Watch a video recap from the 2022 event here.



AEE Annual Meeting & Expo!Expo! (image from the show floor 2022)

When: Dec. 5-7

Where: Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas

Producer: International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE)
Who attends: Owners, executives and managers from companies and associations that organize a wide variety of events, including many of the largest in North America. The audience includes decision makers for the $101 billion B-to-B exhibitions industry, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

Featured speakers/topics: The program is still being finalized, but attendees will learn lessons from fellow organizers and content provided from speakers both inside and outside the industry.

Know before you go: Learn about the latest industry trends and technology, as well as network with like-minded professionals.

Why it matters: In 2022, the event attracted 1,700-plus attendees and 230-plus exhibitors to Louisville.

It’s the ideal place for any exhibitor to showcase new products, meet new customers and network with the leading experts in the exhibitions and events industry,” said David DuBois, president of IAEE.

Flashback: Watch a video recap from the 2022 event here.


U.S. Exhibitions Industry Touts Recent Hires, Promotions, Board Positions and More


Michael Kelly joins Coburn Technologies as digital marketing and trade show specialist. In this role, Kelly will develop and implement marketing campaigns and strategies to promote the Coburn Technologies Inc. brand through the planning, logistics and support of all North American trade shows, as well as digital marketing efforts through various media platforms.


Previously, he served multimedia designer/global corporate marketing specialist for Mirion Technologies, Inc. Kelly joins Coburn, a frequent exhibitor at many U.S. and global trade shows, with experience executing B2B and B2C trade show and expo events for industrial and medical brands, and he has managed the full cycle of many marketing and advertising campaigns for various industries.

Fun facts or Get to know Michael Kelly:

First trade show in his new position: He will be at the Coburn Technologies booth F2435 at Vision Expo East, held March 17-19 at the Javits Center in New York.

First trade show he attended and worked on: NIRSA 2016: The NIRSA Annual Conference and Expo, which was held at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla. The  conference is for higher education professionals and students, and the trade show features recreation equipment manufacturers and the recreational facility design and management industry. 


ChrisChris Schimek was promoted to chief operating officer of event & exhibit services for Freeman Company. He joined the company in 2005 and most recently served as executive vice president, delivery and brand experience. As COO, Schimek provides strategic direction for regional warehouse operations, local event logistics, fabrication, graphics production and custom exhibits across North America. He has served on various industry and non-profit boards throughout his tenure and is immediate past president of ESCA.




Dana Larson was promoted to head of keynote event programs for AWS Global Events. She joined the company in 2022 as head of event content. Prior to joining AWS, she served as vice president, experiential content, for Freeman Co. Larson is a member of CHIEF, a network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders.



Devin Cleary

Devin Cleary has joined Vimeo, a video platform company, as head of global events. Most recently, he served as vice president of global events for Bizzabo. Since starting as an intern at Rafanelli Events in 2006, Cleary has worked in events at a variety of organizations, including the American Red Cross, Hubspot and PTC. He was recognized as a 40 Under 40 in 2021 by Connect and Top 25 Event Innovators to Follow on Twitter by BizBash.



Marlys Arnold

Marlys Arnold, an exhibit marketing strategist, author, speaker and consultant, published a new edition of Build a Better Trade Show Image, a book for exhibit managers. First published in 2002, the updated version includes new examples of creative exhibit designs, promotions, attractions and beyond. “When I wrote the book, my goal was to create the how-to manual I wish I’d had as a new exhibitor. Now, after more than two decades in the trade show industry, I have so much more experience to share,” she said.



Chris NassettaChris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton, was elected to serve as national chair of U.S. Travel Association. In this role, Nassetta may serve up to two consecutive one-year terms. Nassetta succeeds Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, whose term as national chair of U.S. Travel has concluded. Nassetta, who will lead the association’s executive board and board of delegates, will work closely with U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman and the executive leadership team to advance its mission to increase travel to and within the U.S. and establish travel as an essential contributor to the nation’s economy.



Dave Brown

Dave Brown joined beMatrix USA as national sales manager in its St. Louis office. In this new role, Brown will sell beMatrix’s 360-degree solution to designers and builders of exhibits, events, activations and temporary installations. He has worked in exhibits since 2000, most recently as account executive for Tive.




Partner Voices
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