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The New Exhibitions Industry Collective: Six Industry Organizations Join Forces

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — There’s power in numbers, which was the thinking behind the creation of the Exhibitions Industry Collective — a powerhouse collaboration of six exhibition industry associations with the goal of driving awareness around key issues in the trade show and events industry. Each has contributed to industry advocacy efforts in the past, led by the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA).

The participating organizations include the Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA), Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), along with ECA.

A new Exhibitions Industry Collective website under development will feature a roadmap for upcoming initiatives and house top-level information on each member organization.  

In conjunction, IAEE will host a virtual Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week from February 20-23, which will feature each of the six organizations in the Exhibitions Industry Collective. The mission will be to promote the exhibitions industry to interested students and individuals looking for a career change. Attendees will learn about available jobs, skill requirements and training opportunities. Registration will open at the end of January.

The industry’s live advocacy opportunity, Legislative Action Day, will take place on May 30 in Washington, D.C., with registration opening soon.

Related. ECA Outlines 2024 Agenda, Announces Date for Legislative Action Day

Exhibitions Industry Collective members are enthusiastic about the development. 

Marsha Flanagan“While these key initiatives all impact the larger exhibitions industry, workforce development has been part of IAEE’s strategy for years,” Marsha Flanagan, M.Ed, CEM, President and CEO of IAEE and ECA Co-President, said. “The programs we have started in exhibitions and events management have created an environment that enhances lifelong learning. This is an industry of choice, and IAEE set the stage and foundation for strides in workforce development beginning in 2011 with our first job analysis survey. This work has continued with our partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor in 2014 by establishing competency models and NAICS codes for exhibitions. We have set the stage for larger gains in workforce development programs, and we are excited to pool resources for a more unified effort across industry verticals.”

Photo of Julie Kagy, ESCA's new executive director“ESCA decided to formalize collaboration within the Exhibitions Industry Collective to address crucial aspects of our industry — workforce development, sustainability, and health and safety. These pillars are the foundation of a resilient and thriving exhibitions ecosystem,” Julie Kagy, CEM, Executive Director of ESCA, said. “We believe that a unified effort will amplify our impact, raise awareness among key stakeholders and chart a path to success for each member base. Our commitment to these initiatives is unwavering, and ESCA takes great pride in being a driving force behind the Collective’s formation.”

“Workforce needs are prevalent across every organization and every size of organization, and our collective efforts will allow us to have a greater reach at all levels — university, high schools, trade schools and even in the career redirection area,” Vincent Polito, CEO of SISO, said. “This is what is most important to me. All the organizations in the collective communicate frequently, so we thought it would be effective to essentially formalize what has been ongoing all along.” 

Reach Marsha Flanagan at; Julie Kagy at; Vincent Polito at


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