The International Association of Exhibitions and Events honored the Go LIVE Together coalition (GLT) with its Chairman’s Award during the opening general session of Virtual Expo! Expo!, held December 8-10. The 2020 IAEE Chairman, Robert McLean, CPA, CAE, CEM, who will retain his position with IAEE through 2021, said of the organization’s choice, “It was so hard to pick just one person because we are fighting COVID, high unemployment, a shrinking economy, and the shutdown of our industry.” McLean also is Executive Vice President of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).
He added that GLT has “brought a more cohesive voice to Capitol Hill to fight for our interests.” Accepting the award on GLT’s behalf was Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck, who was instrumental in leading the GLT’s efforts.
“I am humbled to accept this award on behalf of Go LIVE together,” said Priest-Heck. “The past nine months have been among the most difficult times in living memory.” While every business has felt the impact of the pandemic, the events industry was one of the hardest hit. “It was clear to me that events are important to our businesses, and beyond that, they are essential for our global economy to thrive,” he said when accepting the award. “As the largest live producer of events, we were inspired to take action. We felt it was our duty to unite leaders from across the events ecosystem, including IAEE and many IAEE members, to protect our industry and thus Go LIVE Together was born.
“Receiving the Chairpersons award from IAEE demonstrates the impact that we’ve been able to have with Go LIVE Together as a symbol of how we can bring our industry together for positive change.”
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GLT is a coalition of 2,700 members, including associations across the industry, which has come together to advocate for the protection of the events industry and support legislative actions that will aid in the industry’s recovery from COVID-19. The coalition has focused on four key areas, he added: safety, impact, communications, and legislation.
“We’ve made tremendous progress, including meeting with over two dozen members of Congress to educate them about the impacts of the events business on our economy,” said Priest-Heck. “We’ve talked to him about liability, protection, the extension of PPP, a cleaning tax credit, and testing and vaccination. We’ve written a Business Recovery Act that addresses how we do freight costs for exhibitors and encourage attendance at our events. We’re ready to jump-start the event business when it is safe to resume and get everyone back to work.”
Part of that effort is an advocacy toolkit that more than 1,500 participants are using to deliver over 6,500 messages to Congress, he added. “None of this would be possible without the accomplishments and the power of this strong coalition, including the efforts of our fearless leader, Sue Sung,” Freeman’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy.
While he acknowledged that there is still much work to be done, he said, “We are honored to accept this award and celebrate how our community has come together to advocate for the return of business events.”
Reach Bob Priest-Heck at (214) 445-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob McLean at (972) 258-3085 or email@example.com.