CHICAGO — After more than 50 years in the trade show and exhibition industry, Larry Arnaudet is retiring at the end of 2023. Arnaudet had an illustrious career in the industry, working for powerhouse general service contractors, associations and establishing The Arnaudet Group, LLC.
Most recently, Arnaudet served as Executive Director of ESCA (Exhibition Services & Contractors Association), taking on the role when the division Arnaudet founded, Augusta Group Management (AGM), assumed association management of ESCA. Arnaudet dedicated years of passion and hard work to the trade show and exhibition industry, and in 2014 was recognized for those contributions with the ESCA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Arnaudet began his career in the exhibition industry in 1970 at Manncraft Exhibitors Services in New Orleans, which was then acquired by the Dial Corporation. After the acquisition, the new Greyhound Exposition Services (GES) division was formed. Arnaudet worked in a variety of roles including warehouse operations, show site operations, sales, drafting and design, and executive management with GES, and was named Regional Vice President Southwest Region.
In 1981, Freeman Decorating Company acquired the eastern half of GES, and Arnaudet was appointed General Manager of the New Orleans office. He rose through the ranks at Freeman, being promoted to Regional Vice President in 1982, to Vice President, Sales Administration in 1983, and then to Vice President of Sales Administration for The Freeman Companies in 1987.
The latter role saw Arnaudet move to the company’s corporate office in Dallas, and in 2001 he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Sales, overseeing the activity of 26 North American sales operations and managing a team of more than 250.
Arnaudet retired from Freeman in 2004 and established The Arnaudet Group, LLC. He then went on to found AGM, which began managing ESCA in 2006.
“Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, I’m there now and can see that fork ahead. After 53 wonderful years in this incredible industry, it’s time to hang up the coat and tie, let the hair grow, and put on that leather Harley Davidson vest. It’s always difficult saying goodbye to literally hundreds of friends, so let’s make it short and sweet. I sincerely hope that I have made a positive impact on this industry, as that was certainly my ambition from the start. Thank you all very much for making my professional life a true pleasure beyond my greatest expectations. Be well!”
ESCA will be honoring and celebrating Arnaudet officially on December 4th from 6-10 pm at the House of Blues in Dallas the week of IAEE’s Expo Expo.