This Just In

The Fastest 50 is Right Around the Corner


Chicago, IL – The Trade Show Executive (TSE) Fastest 50 Awards & Summit is next week, and the deadline for reserving a room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago is passed, but there may be a few reservations available through TSE.

“We are holding a limited number of rooms at the Hyatt for those who have not finalized their travel plans,” said Mike McGuire, TSE’s global VP of events. “The Hyatt Regency is otherwise sold out, as are many hotels in the city due to the number of citywides taking place in Chicago during this time,” he said. Rooms may be unavailable if you delay too long so please contact Mike directly, not the hotel, at as soon as possible.  The Hyatt has offered a $159 per night rate for show managers and other attendees at the May 19-21 Fastest 50.

This is TSE’s fifth annual celebration of the trade shows that made the greatest gains in exhibit space, exhibitors and attendance during the previous year. The main event takes place on the evening of May 20 at the awards gala. Grand Awards – crystal trophies – are presented to the shows that have enjoyed the highest percentages of growth, or have demonstrated a level of innovation and skill that the entire industry can adapt for their own shows.

“The guest list is filling up fast, so we encourage everyone who is planning to join TSE and Choose Chicago this month to register now for what promises to be a productive and fun gathering of the industry’s established leaders and up-and-coming stars,” said Diane Bjorklund, vice president of events for Trade Show Executive Media Group.

Amazing Metrics
A total of 91 shows held in 2014 make up the top 50 events in each metric, with some shows appearing in more than one category. Many of these electrifying events enjoyed double-digit percentage growth in a year where the overall industry was led by a 2.6% increase in exhibit space.

All-Star Break
The middle of May is also the halfway point of the busy 2015 trade show calendar. “The industry started the year off on a high note with solid overall gains in the First Quarter,” said Darlene Gudea, president, Trade Show Executive Media Group. Will these welcome trends continue? “The Fastest 50 Awards & Summit is a sterling opportunity to compare notes with colleagues and catch up on all of the latest trends and developments with the insights of a great roster of speakers,” she said.

Super Speakers
The educational content of the Summit portion of the Fastest 50 includes panels and presentations featuring industry elite and thought leaders from the ever-evolving business world.

  • Keynotespeaker Nicholas Webb will have everyone looking ahead with the fine art of future-casting. The coming years will bring many shifts in technology and marketing, and it will require a different set of skills, tools, strategies and even beliefs. Nick should know about dynamic change in the business world:  he was in the healthcare industry for much of his career and is the author of “The Innovation Playbook” and “The Digital Innovation Playbook.” He has pioneered over 300 innovations and holds more than 35 patents.
  • Rob Mesirow is the guest of honor at the mid-day Power Lunch hour. Rob is vice president and show director of CTIA, The Wireless Association, which organizes the wireless industry’s must-attend CTIA Super Mobility Week. Mesirow points out that mobile data use doubled from 2012 to 2013 and is predicted to increase by 650% by 2018. This innovator will join TSE’s Danica Tormohlen on the stage to share his experiences at the center of one of the fastest-moving industries out there.
  • In the “Trade Show Mavericks” panel, Moderator Bill Sell, president of Advisor Communications, will lead a panel of leading show organizers who have turned traditional thinking upside down.  Panelists include  Scott Wolters, director, tradeshows & conferences of  BNP Media; David Weil, vice president of SmithBucklin; and Henry Dicker, vice president of ALM/Legal Tech. These forward-thinking show organizers are blazing new frontiers with unique floor plans, new attendee and exhibitor acquisition techniques, and new thoughts about co-location and integrated sales pitches.
  • In “Research: Driven By What Matters,” Paige Cardwell, president of CSG Creative, will talk about segmenting a target audience by attitudes, feelings and desires to identify why customers have made purchases at trade shows and how this approach might serve as a basis for brand messaging, marketing, program content or new product development.
  • In “How to be More Persuasive,” John Baker, former COO of American Express and author of “The Asking Formula,” will offer advice specific to show managers about how to speed up the sales cycle, untangle potential sticking points and better your relationships with exhibitors, board members and partners.
  • “Off the Charts: Strategies of the Fastest 50 Growth Leaders”features two organizers who know something about accelerating show growth: Tom Corcoran, president of Corcoran Expositions Inc., who organizes three Fastest 50 shows which will be honored this year, and Michelle Finn, president, Hospitality Media Group,  who is winning a handful of awards at this event, just as she did last year.  The session will be moderated by frequent F50 award recipient David Audrain, president and CEO of Exposition Development Company Inc. (ExpoDevCo), who was selected as the new management company for SISO effective January 2016.
  • In “New Dimensions:  Building a Global Brand,” two of the industry’s top international experts will focus on the latest trends in expanding the international flavor of your show.  Cherif Moujabber, president of Creative Expos & Conferences and Steve Sind, president of Global Event Strategies will lead this interactive session.
  • Wrapping up the Summit is “The Big Pitch: The Next-Generation New-Product Showcase” which will be  presented by Brian Hakan, president, Hakan & Associates; Kevin Harrington, president, The Big Pitch and a Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank;” and Caleb Sheppard, managing partner of Rio Creative. The session  will give organizers a first-hand look at adapting television’s “Shark Tank” competition to their show for publicizing new products in order to build the pre- and post-show buzz and encourage exhibitors bring their A game to the show floor. The format has been a huge success in the trade show arena. One notable show, The Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show in Las Vegas, which was recently sold to Emerald Expositions, features a “Big Pitch“ session showcasing the most intriguing new products on the show floor.

Focus on Pasta
Not all of the learning at the Fastest 50 takes place in the meeting rooms. Early arrivals will enjoy a rare opportunity to up their expertise in the kitchen with a personal pasta lesson from Chef Christian Fantoni of the landmark Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush restaurant. Chef Fantoni will demonstrate the classic technique for making pasta from scratch, and then turn teams of attendees loose to create their own unique recipes that will wow their colleagues and delight their families back home.

Then it’s off to the opening reception at Harry Caray’s at Water Tower Place, the home of the popular Chicago Sports Museum celebrating the Windy City’s legendary sports stars. The museum’s maim attraction – along with the food – are the interactive exhibits that allow attendees to test their skills on the virtual basketball court, football gridiron, or baseball diamond.

The Fastest 50 Awards & Summit promises to be a high point of the year for the exhibitions industry. The event is open to managers of shows of all sizes, but the first step is registering at and contacting Mike McGuire for room reservations at attractive rates.

Reach Mike at (760) 630-9110 or; Diane at (630) 312-8915 or

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