San Juan Capistrano, CA – Liz Crawford, longtime executive with various independent organizers, was named Senior Vice President of Exhibitions & Events for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) effective August 22.
The newly created position places Crawford in charge of the entire RVIA show portfolio, which includes a major consumer show in Pomona, CA and the association’s flagship event, the massive Annual National RV Trade Show, held in Louisville.
“The RVIA is a healthy organization with a healthy show,” Crawford told Trade Show Executive (TSE). “I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of the association, along with a new challenge, and to help grow engagement with their shows and events.” Crawford will step down from Emerald, where she is currently Vice President & Group Show Director, Licensing Division. There was no immediate word on a replacement.
Crawford, who was featured on the July 2015 cover of TSE, has compiled an impressive resume in nearly 30 years in the exhibitions industry. She worked in executive positions with Advanstar Communications and Questex Media before arriving in 2011 at Emerald. She is also active in the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, and the Society of Independent Show Organizers.
Crawford’s career includes management of motorcycle shows and, most recently, marketing for Outdoor Retailer, both of which she said helped prepare her for her pending entry into the RV lifestyle and enthusiast arena.
“I’ve worked a lot with associations and their shows,” Crawford said. “We will be identifying opportunities where we can improve our operations as well as outside opportunities where we can leverage the brand.”
RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer, who spent 14 years as head of the Outdoor Industry Association, said Crawford “has the right skills to take the events forward.”
“We created this position to help the organization not just sustain the events, but to work with our team and industry members to create ‘must-attend’ events. We will also identify strategic alliances that will deliver increased value to both dealers and manufacturers,” he said.
The RVIA, with offices in California and Northern Virginia, has enjoyed an upward swing for the entire RV industry in recent years. Increased vehicle shipments have bolstered the metrics of the trade show. Last year’s show in Louisville spanned 757,542 net square feet (nsf) of exhibit space, a 0.3% increase over the 2014 show, which was ranked 14th on the TSE Gold 100. Attendance in 2015 grew 1.1% to 7,725 while the number of exhibitors increased 3.8% to 297. This year’s show runs November 29-December 1.
The RVIA did not announce any changes in the current show management staff.