SEMA Brings Show Management In-House

DANICA TORMOHLEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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Diamond Bar, CA – After more than three-plus decades of outsourcing show management services, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) will bring management and operations for its 2014 SEMA Show in-house, effective immediately. “We have been working on this for more than three years,” Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA, told Trade Show Executive.

The show, which ranked No. 5 on the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 in 2012, was previously managed by ConvExx, an independent show management company headquartered in Las Vegas. SEMA paid more than $1.4 million to ConvExx for show management services in 2011, according to SEMA’s IRS 990 form.

“The association has grown dramatically – from 3,200 member companies to 6,500 in the last 10 years,” said Kersting, who has been with the association since 1989 and served as its president since 2002. “The association has evolved, and we are internalizing more of our operations to provide year-round contact with our members. Each SEMA member will now have a single, dedicated point of contact.”

The 2013 SEMA Show, held Nov. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, drew 155,000 attendees, compared with 135,000 in 2012. “This year’s SEMA Show was a record-breaking show,” said Kersting. “We are back to pre-recession levels in terms of exhibiting companies and net square footage.” In 2013, the show featured 2,381 exhibiting companies covering 1.6 million nsf, compared with 2,250 exhibiting companies covering 1 million nsf in 2012.

“We will be increasing our staff by about 10%,” said Kersting. “Our internal team has been highly involved with the show, and we have the management and operations team in place already.” Peter MacGillivray, who joined the association in 2001, currently serves as vice president of events and communications.

“Chuck Schwartz and his team at ConvExx have done an outstanding job helping us produce the SEMA Show,” said Kersting. “They have been a valued partner and helped us to achieve the success that we have today.”

ConvExx also manages the Las Vegas BikeFest. In July, the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced that ConvExx would manage its SHOT Show – the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show. The SHOT Show, which ranked No. 20 on the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 in 2012, had been managed by Reed Exhibitions.

Founded in 1967, the next SEMA Show will be held Nov. 4-7, 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Reach Chris Kersting at (909) 978-6670 or ChrisK@sema.org

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