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Ralenkotter, Patronski, Vaughn, Hardcastle and WIS Program Win Top Honors from IAEE


Houston, TX – The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) presented its annual IAEE Awards at Expo! Expo!, recognizing Las Vegas legend Rossi Ralenkotter and the Worker Identification System (WIS) as well as other industry innovators and high achievers including John Patronski, Don Vaughn and Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes.

Ralenkotter received the IAEE Pinnacle Award in recognition of his more than 40 years of involvement with the trade show industry, culminating with his current tenure as president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. The Pinnacle Award is presented annually to a leader of the trade show industry who has helped further IAEE’s mission of advancing exhibition management through the promotion of professional education and new business techniques. A detailed profile of Rossi and his Power Lunch cover story ran  in the July 2013 issue of Trade Show Executive.
The WIS program was the recipient of the “Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award.” The honor was shared by the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) for their collaboration in getting the project off the ground.
“It is very special for us to be the recipient of this award,” said Larry Arnaudet, executive director of ESCA, on YouTube:
“The MCCA was the second building that WIS went into. We are now up to 12 buildings and looking forward to continuing with the program.”
The WIS card cuts down on the juggling of paperwork and ID badges by contractor workers who often travel to trade shows in several cities. It also slashes the time it takes for large work crews to pass through security checkpoints and promptly get to work on the show floor. “To take the 60 seconds (for check-in) down to nine or 10 seconds has been tremendous from a contractor’s standpoint and from the standpoint of the facilities and the exhibitors,” said Fred Peterson, director of facility operations for the MCCA.

Other IAEE Awards presented at Expo! Expo! include:

  • Distinguished Service Award: John Patronski, executive vice president of Global Experience Specialists (GES).
  • Merit Award: Gerry Eng, national sales manager for the Georgia World Congress Center; Mel Forehand, vice president of expositions for the Texas Restaurant Association; and Mark Sussman, director, trade shows for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
  • Educator of the Year Award: Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, president of Marketing Design Group.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award: Don Vaughn, president of the Augusta Group (retired).
  • Outstanding Achievement in Marketing & Sales Award: Melissa Ooi, executive vice president of ASP, Inc.
  • Young Professional of the Year Award: Rebecca Orens, senior exhibits coordinator at the Society for Human Resources Management.

Reach IAEE President & CEO David DuBois at (972) 458-8002 or

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