This Just In

IAEE Expo! Expo! Shows How It is Done in Philadelphia

Andrea Doyle, Executive Editor & Patty Kelsey, Assistant Editor, Research
The Show Floor of IAEE’s Expo! Expo! in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA – The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) attracted 1,284 industry professionals from 12 countries to its Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting and Exhibition, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) in Philadelphia. There were 188 exhibitors utilizing nearly 27,000 net square feet of sold exhibit space, as well as three education theaters and live-streamed exhibitor mobile sessions.

“It was very satisfying to be able to hold an in-person Expo! Expo! this year in addition to our online experience,” IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, said. “It was important to us to meaningfully contribute to the industry’s renaissance, and the support from attendees was uplifting and inspiring.”

A celebratory environment prevailed as the industry is anxious to return to live events where business is done, connections are made and new products are launched.

“This is an incredible opportunity to address the pent-up demand of the last 20 months,” said Ron Bension, Global President and CEO of ASM Global, the organization that hosted this annual meeting. “Hosting IAEE offers PCC and ASM Global the opportunity to lead these large-scale events back to live. ASM will leverage this experience at a local level to inform and improve efforts around the world to the benefit of its vast global network. This event begins what we see as the upcoming business meeting boom in Philadelphia and worldwide.”

ASM Global’s VenueShield was in full operation during the gathering. “VenueShield is deployed at each of our convention centers, arenas, stadiums and performing arts theaters worldwide. The care and safety of our clients, guests, and staff is our top priority,” Anna Nash, Vice President Market Development ASM Global, said.

After serving as a vaccination site for the community during the height of pandemic, PCC reopened for events in April 2021 and hosted its first major trade show, Natural Products Expo East (NPE), in September, attracting approximately 15,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors.

“We are honored to be hosting the first major gathering of convention and trade show organizers in the U.S. in two years,” Kelvin Moore, CMP, Regional General Manager for ASM Global, said. “We developed the PCC Reactivation Plan that incorporated environmental hygiene-focused cleaning protocols, staff training and the COVID-informed best practices of ASM Global’s VenueShield Program.” Moore added. “We also achieved GBAC STAR accreditation and with the PCC Authority’s support completed $15 million in capital improvements for additional safety and sanitation at the center.”

As news of the omicron variant percolated during the gathering, it was reassuring to know ASM Global’s VenueShield was in full operation. In addition, masks were mandatory inside PCC, and IAEE required that all attendees and exhibitors be fully vaccinated and upload proof of vaccination into Fern Expo’s Share My Health app.

“We believe we have the proper safety measures in place to best position the industry for the highly anticipated growth of live meetings and events,” Bension said. CEIR predicts the U.S. exhibition industry will fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.

Related. 2021 ESCA Award Winners Honored

Since the pandemic, trade shows and events have had an economic impact of more than $190 million in Philadelphia. By comparison, 2019 events booked by the PHLCVB generated $388 million in direct spending and $600 million in economic impact.

“We are excited to be welcoming ‘the show for shows’ IAEE’s Expo! Expo! to Philadelphia,” Gregg Caren, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), said. “Convention business like this has a strong impact on the city, supporting our vital hospitality industry in addition to small businesses and restaurants as Philadelphia focuses on getting back to business. Thanks to our partners at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for their efforts to continue to host safe and successful trade shows.”

Caren said Philadelphia is prepared for the return of events, with at least 95% of the city’s population having received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cathy Breden, Executive Vice President & COO, IAEE, shared that although attendance would be down, IAEE felt it was important to demonstrate it could hold this event safely.

DuBois emphasized that the association’s No. 1 priority is to produce safe events. He points out that Expo! Expo! was the first event in the country to receive GBAC STAR Event Accreditation, which involves achieving 20 elements of safety measures including the venue’s GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation.

DuBois stressed the importance of in-person trade shows, saying that missing two or more planned shows can lead to a company being forced out of business. Cities can attract events with high-vaccination rates and city-wide mandates, as it is science that is driving the decisions of boards and companies, with data an integral tool.

“Our partnership with IAEE is extremely important to us. Our participation in Expo! Expo! allows us to showcase many of our venues attending in our pavilion to our valued show organizers. This year, as Expo! Expo! returned to an in-person format, it was more important than ever to support both the association and show as we get back to business. It was great to conduct business on the tradeshow floor again,” Nash said.

During the conference, a Pandemic and the Exhibitions Industry Panel moderated by Tim McGuinness, Chairman of the Sterling Advisory Group LLC, addressed concerns about the new omnicron variant. During this discussion, Patty Olinger, JM, RBP, CFO, CBFRS of GBAC, said that we are going to see other variants, and that the industry must prepare a scalable response so that a complete shutdown is never necessary again. Successful gatherings are a result of individual behavior, she said, and stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and getting tested.

Also on the panel was Rick Simon, President and CEO of United Service Companies who shared insight into the company’s role in supporting the industry during the pandemic. “Trade show executives must not only make people safe but must make them feel safe. Remember, safety is a primal instinct,” Simon said.

The City of Brotherly Love rolled out the red carpet for Expo! Expo! An opening night reception held at the historic Reading Terminal Market set the tone for the entire gathering. Attendees strolled through the market enjoying a variety of offerings from some of its most iconic merchants. A DJ and strolling Rocky look-alike added to the fun.


IAEE’s Board of Directors Revealed

Andrea Doyle – Executive Editor

At Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Board of Directors were announced. Carrie Ferenac, Co-Founder and President of CNTV, will serve as 2022 IAEE Chairperson of the Board. Ferenac and her business partner, Marcelo Zolessi, co-founded Convention News Television (CNTV) in 2007 after seeing a need for digital content and live production in the exhibitions and events industry.

“As incoming Chairperson, I encourage all members to renew their passion for the industry by getting involved and supporting IAEE’s initiatives for 2022,” Ferenac said. “We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm and optimism as our industry recovers from the pandemic. Despite new potential challenges, it is important to keep that momentum going into the coming year.”

The newest members to the 2022 IAEE Board of Directors are:

  • Director Bilal Al Barmawi, CEM, CEO, 1stArabia Company Exhibitions and Conferences Organizers
  • Director Mark Bogdansky, Vice President, Meetings & Events, Auto Care Association
  • Director Anytra Lowe, Senior Vice President, Client Services, Freeman
  • Director Brian Pagel, Executive Vice President, EmeraldX
  • Director Necoya Tyson, CEM-AP, CGMP, CCEP, Vice President, Banker Education & Events, Texas Bankers Association

The IAEE Board of Directors also approved the appointment of Brian Pagel, Executive Vice President, EmeraldX to fill the unexpired term of Jennifer Heinold, CEM, ending December 31, 2022, at which time he will be eligible for a full three-year term. Heinold resigned from the board due to two directors from the same company being on the board, which the IAEE Bylaws does not permit.)

Continuing Board of Directors members include:

  • Chairperson-Elect Dennis Smith, Senior Director, Exposition Sales & Business Development, AVIXA
  • Secretary/Treasurer Janet Sperstad, CMP, Program Director, Meeting and Event Management, Madison College
  • Immediate Past Chairperson Robert McLean, Jr., CPA, CAE, CEM, Executive Vice President, Promotional Products Association International
  • Director Mary Bender, Vice President of Sales & Operations, Taffy Event Strategies
  • Director Marie Browne, Group Vice President, Reed Exhibitions
  • Director Chuck Grouzard, Executive Vice President, Exhibition Sales, GES
  • Director Christopher Harar, President, NTP Events, National Trade Productions, Inc.
  • Director Justine L. McVaney, Senior Vice President of Event Planning & Operations, National Association of Broadcasters
  • Director KV Nagendra Prasad, CEM, Head-Operations and Leasing (Transit Oriented Development), L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited
  • Director Brian Scott, President and CIO, ClearTone Consulting

Ex-officio Directors are:

  • Xuebin Gu, CEM, Founder and CEO, WeMeet, representing the IAEE Asia Council
  • Chen Huifeng, President and CEO, DLG Convention and Exhibition Holding Limited, representing the IAEE China Council
  • Gwen Venable, CEM, Executive Vice President of Communications, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, representing the Chapter Leaders Council
  • John Rozum, Director, Ag and Utility Exhibitions & Events, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, representing the IAEE MATSO Council
  • Jacqueline Russo, President, Global Expositions, Inc., representing the Past Chairpersons’ Advisory Group
  • Michelle Metter, Partner, Fast Forward Event Productions, representing the IAEE Consumer Events Council


Honorees Celebrated at Expo! Expo! in Philadelphia

The 2021 IAEE Award Winners were revealed in a special presentation at Expo! Expo!

The IAEE Awards recognize outstanding contributions by IAEE members to the organization and to the exhibitions and events industry.

“It is a great pleasure to bestow these honors on our very deserving colleagues,” said 2021 IAEE Awards Committee Chairperson Kellie Shevlin, CEM. “These awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions IAEE members make to the advancement of the exhibitions and events industry.”

Winners are:

The Lifetime Achievement Award is an award which recognizes IAEE members who, over the course of their career, shape the industry and significantly impact how the industry operates. This year’s recipient is Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Slater’s participation record with IAEE spans 35 years. He has been a longtime advocate for the trade show industry and, under his leadership, AEM has been a tremendous supporter of IAEE, Exhibitions Mean Business and CEIR. Slater was promoted to President of AEM after vast success in overseeing its trade shows and, during his tenure, has built an outstanding corporate culture.

The Pinnacle Award is one of IAEE’s highest honors and recognizes an IAEE member who, over the years, has furthered IAEE’s objectives of advancing exhibitions and events management through the promotion of education, the dissemination of knowledge and the introduction or development of innovative techniques and who has been dedicated to the perpetuation of the highest ideals, trust and professionalism in this highly specialized field. The award was established in memory of the late Founder and Past President of IAEE (formerly NAEM) William Hunt Eisenman and is presented by IAEE in recognition of extraordinary achievement in the exhibitions and events management field over the course of the recipient’s career.

This year’s recipient of the IAEE Pinnacle Award is Jonathan “Skip” Cox whose impact on the exhibitions and events industry spans more than five decades, including four of them as an IAEE member. He devoted 55 years to Exhibit Surveys, with 25 of those at its helm. In that time, Cox has made an indisputable name for himself as a champion of ROI in the exhibitions and events industry.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an IAEE member in recognition of an individual who has rendered distinguished service to IAEE and to the exhibitions and events industry. Qualifying criteria includes extraordinary service and contributions at both the local and national levels that have furthered the growth and development of this organization. When representing IAEE, the honoree will have served as a role model for the industry. This year’s recipient is Juan Tamez, CVE, CEM, Managing Director, Expo Guadalajara.

The Woman of Achievement Award recognizes a member who has led the way in advancing women through her eadership within the industry and her community. It is presented at the annual IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum and recognized at Expo! Expo!. This year’s recipient is Rachel Wimberly, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Tarsus U.S.

The International Excellence Award recognizes exceptional performance by an IAEE member in creating, launching, managing and growing international events. This year’s recipient is the Simon Wang, Executive Vice President, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

The Chapter Merit Award recognizes IAEE members whose ideas and/or work have benefited IAEE as an organization in some special way and is generally reserved for those who have stepped forward at the chapter/local level. This year’s recipients are Russell Callahan, CEM, Director of National Operations, Quest Events; Paul Treanor, Senior Manager, Content & Community, Informa Markets Limited; Gwen Venable, CEM, Executive Vice President of Communications, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association; and Steve Walker, Executive Director, City Wide Sales, MGM Resorts International.

The Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award is presented to IAEE members who possess outstanding creativity, a positive attitude, and the ability to transfer knowledge through good communication skills and innovative teaching to promote life-long learning to exhibitions and events industry professionals. This year’s award recipient is Robyn Davis, CPTD, Trade Show Trainer/Consultant, Exhibitors WINH LLC.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes IAEE members who have dedicated their time to the progress and fulfillment of the charge of a committee or task force on which they serve. This year’s award recipient is Erika Welling, CEM, DES, Chief Experience Officer, Blendz Events.

The Innovative Business Solution Award recognizes achievement by an IAEE member or member organization in the creation of new and innovative business solutions. Criteria include product/service overview; clear presentation of objectives and fulfillment of those objectives; impact on the industry, present and/or future; clear presentation of what makes the product/service innovative; growth potential; and effective use of social media. This year’s recipient is Visit Orlando.

The Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes excellent professional performance by IAEE members 35 years of age or younger who have committed their time to advancing the standing of young professionals in our industry. This year’s award recipient is Moriah Hathaway-Casey, CEM, Manager, Exhibit Services, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).


Reach Ron Bension at (610) 729-7900; Gregg Caren at (609) 504-3101 or; David DuBois at (972) 687-9204 or; Cathy Breden at (972) 687-9201 or

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