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Game On at SISO CEO Summit


Kiawah Island, SC –  A large and high-ranking group of participants, coupled with strong content, made for a powerful CEO Summit staged by the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), April 13-16, at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, a 30-mile drive from Charleston, SC. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, the SISO CEO Summit drew 250 attendees. The three-day event featured high-end networking functions and sessions that focused on the event’s theme, Game On. Last year, the summit drew 175 to Las Vegas.

During the event, Charles McCurdy, CEO, Apprise Media, officially took over as SISO chairman. Rick McConnell, president, Informa Exhibitions U.S., Construction and Real Estate, will serve on the SISO board as immediate past chairman. The big news, however, was when McCurdy announced the unanimous vote of the SISO board:  that Exposition Development Company Inc. (ExpoDevCo) was selected as the new management company for SISO, and David Audrain, CEO of ExpoDevCo, would become SISO’s next executive director. Shomer is stepping down at the end of the year (see story at Audrain officially takes the helm of SISO on January 1, 2016, but he will spend the next eight months working with Shomer to make the transition as seamless as possible, he told Trade Show Executive.

McCurdy noted that SISO is in great shape with a very diverse and robust membership that spans the globe.  “It’s a great organization with lots of upside still to come,” he said.  He lauded Shomex Productions and Lew Shomer for their success in bringing SISO to the level it has reached as the premier organization serving the for-profit show organizer.”

During the SISO Annual Business Meeting luncheon on April 14, McCurdy reported the association has 177 member organizations – nearly double the number since Shomer began managing SISO in 2009.

Also during the luncheon, Bob Harar, chairman and CEO of National Trade Productions, was presented with the Robert L. Krakoff SISO Leadership Award, which is awarded annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the face-to-face industry throughout his career.

“The Robert L. Krakoff SISO Leadership Award applauds experience, ethics, advocacy, vision, drive and excellence,” said Lew Shomer, SISO Executive Director. “With nearly 40 years in the business, Bob has consistently embodied these traits — and more — while building a legacy of success launching, producing and managing proprietary events, as well as trade shows for clients across diverse market segments. His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to innovation have propelled him to the pinnacle of success within our industry.”

Harar told Trade Show Executive: “Receiving the Robert L. Krakoff SISO Leadership Award was such a surprise and a huge honor. SISO has been an outstanding catalyst for growth and excellence, and it is truly humbling to be singled out and included among such an esteemed group of award recipients. I’ve always believed that face-to-face events are the most powerful marketing medium for growing your business, and it’s been exciting to have been a part of this ever-changing industry for nearly 40 years.”

TSE will provide of recap of sessions in a future issue.

Reach Lew Shomer at (310) 450-8831, ext. 2, or

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