SANDESTIN, Fla. — The 2023 ESCA (Exhibition Services & Contractors Association) Summer Educational Conference took place at the Effie Hotel in Sandestin, Fla., June 25-28, and provided members with a vigorous education program that covered topics from the economy to security culture to the impacts of AI on service providers.
Members gathered in the hotel’s 13,000-square-foot Juniper ballroom each day to hear from industry leaders and experts about the topics that are top of mind for exhibition service providers and contractors. Kicking off the program was TEDx programmer, author and corporate executive Joshua Evans, who explored the importance of helping employees find purpose within their careers to keep them engaged, productive and happy.
Staffing and creating an employee-driven culture were also key topics throughout the conference, with many panels dedicated to discussing DEI initiatives and programs, recruitment and retention, and the power of fostering a sense of community not only within organizations but with clients and customers.
Another panel covered the ongoing points of advocacy for the trade show industry and exploring how new legislation being introduced across the country will impact the industry, such as California’s push to no longer allow the production or selling of large spark-ignition forklifts by 2026.
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s (CEIR) CEO Cathy Breden, CMP Fellow, CAE, CEM, gave a presentation on the organization’s ongoing research, which included the industry’s $138 billion in business sales and $78 billion contribution to the U.S. GDP in 2022. Breden said CEIR expects a full recovery for the industry in 2024.
Attendees of the conference also had a plethora of networking activities to choose from, including a deep-sea fishing experience, cruise, karaoke night, golf tournament and more. At the closing reception, awards were given to those who won the golf tournament and hit the longest drive, along with those who gave standout performances during the karaoke event.
The retirement of Larry Arnaudet, ESCA Executive Director, was also announced during the conference. Arnaudet is set to retire at the end of 2023 and a celebration will be held in his honor at the ESCA 2023 Winter Awards Celebration and Reception, which will take place at the House of Blues in Dallas during IAEE’s annual Expo! Expo!
“Each year, we strive to provide our members with the most relevant and impactful information and education at the Summer Educational Conference,” ESCA Director of Operations Julie Kagy said. “This year we had an impressive lineup of leaders and experts covering topics that are currently affecting and will affect the industry, and we want to be sure we’re preparing for changes ahead and sharing best practices and effective approaches.”
Reach Julie Kagy at email@example.com