Orlando, FL – The socializing and networking buzz was heavy leading up to Expo! Expo! in Orlando last month, and the educational component was meatier than ever and started a trend the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) plans to continue at future annual meetings.
The crowd of approximately 2,000 attendees from the depth and breadth of the trade show industry took over Orlando in early December where they found a heftier schedule of sessions and seminars to further their professional development.
“This year, the number of educational offerings doubled to more than 80 different sessions,” said David DuBois, who presided over his first Expo! Expo! as IAEE president. “Attendees told us it was a tough decision to decide which sessions to attend.”
Incoming IAEE Chairman Jason McGraw concurred with DuBois and said that beefing up IAEE’s overall educational program would still be a top priority in 2013. “I have had the pleasure of serving on IAEE’s board of directors since 2008 and look forward to a very productive year as its chair,” said McGraw, senior vice president of InfoComm International, who departed Orlando early to oversee one of his association’s shows. “In the coming year, we will be updating IAEE’s strategic plan and further expanding our educational offerings. I am also eager to work with David in increasing the association’s reach within the U.S. and abroad.”
The makeup of the IAEE board for 2013 also included new members Christopher McCabe, senior vice president of Nielsen Expositions; Martin Moggre, executive vice president of sales and exposition services at Freeman; and Manolita Moore, who is the annual conference director for the Western Veterinary Conference.
Among the other notables on stage during the December 4-6 conference were 187 graduates of the Certified Event Manager (CEM) course; Pinnacle Award winner Patricia Farias-Barlow, CEO of Farias Global Expos and CEO of the Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center; Merit Award recipient Jenn Hoff, general manager of VP International; and Greg Ortale, president and CEO of Visit Houston, the city that will host Expo! Expo! in 2013.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Gary Sain, an IAEE fixture and long-time president and CEO of Visit Orlando whose contributions to the exposition industry spanned several decades. Gary died unexpectedly earlier in the year.
The Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony also announced the Platinum Circle inductees, graduates of the IAEE Robert L. Krakoff Leadership Institute, this year’s Best of Show winners from IAEE’s Art of the Show competition, the 2012 Top Public Events, the Exhibition Industry Foundation’s Helen Brett Scholarship recipients and participants of IAEE’s 20 Under 30 program.
Education and Exhibits
The thrust toward professional development got off on the right foot in Orlando. As usual, the sessions brought a bevy of industry leaders to share their expertise. Keynote speakers Eric Ly, co-founder LinkedIn and president of Presdo, and Rick Calvert, CEM, CEO and president of BlogWorld, discussed the integration of technology with the face-to-face value of exhibitions and events, and how to make the most of this symbiotic relationship. Trade Show Executive Contributing Editor Danica Tormohlen moderated panels for the sessions Growth Strategies for 2013 and Trade Show Tech Trends to Watch, which is summarized in the January issue of Trade Show Executive in the Tech Trek feature.
Once again, technology was a prominent feature on the Expo! Expo! floor. Several vendors unveiled new products during the show and the product line covered virtually any type of technology show organizers might need to make their events efficient and profitable.
The exhibits at Expo! Expo! spanned 36,000 net square feet and included a mix of 255 vendors. Destinations displayed the latest features of their convention centers and security providers explained how well-trained officers can head-off problems ranging from cargo thieves and industrial spies to crowd bottlenecks.
The award for the best booth of the show went to Global Experience Specialists (GES) for its “Change Your Perspective” booth featuring furniture and booth items hanging upside down from the ceiling of the booth. GES also made its mark on Orlando by hosting its annual Humanity Rocks concert, which raised $17,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Florida.
For the first time, Expo! Expo! was available online through IAEE’s partnership with both Convention News Television (CNTV) and bxb Online. The one-hour live stream featured a town hall meeting format, where viewers could experience the show floor and interviews with key industry figures in real time.
Mix of Work and Relaxation
Humanity Rocks was one of a number of networking events held at Expo! Expo!. The opening reception was magical in more ways than one. The annual reconnection party took place at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios. The closing reception at the Hilton Orlando provided a sendoff for attendees who will be looking ahead to a new year that will be driven by innovative ideas and then a Texas-sized wrap-up in Houston.
“We have a busy and exciting year ahead as we pursue results-driven strategies to continue engaging our members, growing our education offerings and communicating the value of face-to-face interaction,” said DuBois.
Reach David DuBois at (972) 458-8002 or firstname.lastname@example.org