This Just In

World Shoe Association Kicks in a Cool $1 Million for CEIR


Encino, CA – An unexpected $1 million donation from the World Shoe Association (WSA) has opened the door for an expansion of the CEIR Exhibition Industry Index, published by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) for the past three years. The donation was made specifically for the annual CEIR Index, which WSA CEO Skip Farber said had become a key planning tool for the WSA and the entire exhibition industry. CEIR was the only exhibition industry association among the seven groups that received a part of the WSA’s $38 million grant.

“CEIR has been an underfunded organization for most of its lifetime,” said Skip Farber, CEO of the WSA. “I feel strongly that The CEIR Exhibition Index is a very important part of the forecasting capability of our industry. It is something we all need,” he added.

Farber, whose nearly 30 year-background in the trade show business includes senior management positions with  Reed Exhibitions and Advanstar Inc., said the CEIR metrics were vital to the industry regardless of a company’s specialty or industry sector.  The California-based World Shoe Association produces the WSA Show and The Collections at WSA. The association’s August show was its largest event ever, with 1.2 million square feet of exhibits; 35,000+ attendees, which was a 7.6% increase; and 1,503 exhibitors, a 15% increase.

Expanding the Reach and Frequency of the CEIR Index

The WSA grant to CEIR is earmarked for what is expected to be an increase in the number of events surveyed and an updating of the outlooks for key industrial sectors from once a year to quarterly. “Statistics are aggregated and averaged,  and cannot be traced back to any single show,” said Doug Ducate, president and CEO of CEIR. “But we need to enrich that database and we are continuously looking for a way to do that.” The answer to that quest appeared suddenly in late October as part of WSA’s  $38 million package of grants and donations given to CEIR and a half-dozen footwear industry trade groups and charities.

Since CEIR had not solicited the gift, it came as a particularly pleasant surprise. Ducate said the Dallas organization would now determine  the tax implications of the seven-figure bonanza as well as any requirements attached to the gift by the donor.

Besides increasing the number of events surveyed and the frequency of analysis, CEIR will consider retaining additional economists for research and possibly embark on a project to help show organizers and service providers use the findings during  their business planning. “For example, the index could be used to help organizers determine how much floor space their  trade show will require five years down the road by referring to the predictions of how that particular sector will be faring in the future,” said Ducate.

An Overview of Findings from the Last Index

The CEIR Index, now entering its fourth year,  objectively measures the performance of the exhibition industry as a whole and broken down into 11 sectors using four metrics: net square feet (NSF), exhibiting companies, attendance and revenue. Additionally, a fifth metric, total, represents the average of the others. In 2005, all metrics for the overall exhibition industry increased over 2004, with revenue rising above 2000 levels, the base year for the analysis, for the first time.

The third edition of the index, which was published in April and released at SISO, the Society of Independent Show Organizers, contains data from more than 200 shows that was collected by Veris Consulting and analyzed by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., the title sponsor,  and  Trade Show Executive magazine,  in its role as publishing sponsor. Additional sponsors include ABM, the Exhibition Industry Foundation (EIF), the International Association for Exhibition Management (IAEM), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and SISO.

For more information on the CEIR Index or to order a copy, see the ad on p. 11 of this issue of Trade Show Executive magazine or go to

Other Recipients of WSA’s Generosity

The other recipients of the WSA largesse were shoe industry associations and charities that provide footwear for the needy. The contributions ranged from $350,000 donated to Operation Bootstrap in Tubac, AZ to the $20.3 million given to Souls4Souls, a Nashville charity that has provided more than 1 million pairs of shoes to underprivileged people, including victims of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that struck Indonesia.

WSA to Sell Assets to New, Privately Held Company Headed by Skip Farber

The grants for CEIR and the five  organizations were possible due to WSA’s decision to sell its assets to WSA Global Holdings, LLC, a new, privately held company under CEO Skip Farber who, along with COO Diane Stone, has directed WSA’s efforts for the past three years.

WSA, founded in 1947, has operated as both a for-profit and not-for-profit organization. WSA’s distributions of assets are consistent with the requirements of tax-exempt entities. Once these distributions have been completed, the nonprofit organization will dissolve.

“The WSA board of directors has demonstrated great vision, leadership and courage to effect the kinds of dramatic changes that the organization has needed,” Farber added. “This change should be seamless as far as our customers, employees, and business associates are concerned. The only difference will be on paper,” Farber stated. “We took this step out of the recognition of what would allow us to best serve our customers, the marketplace and the business long term. We now have the right structure to make decisions, move quickly, and pursue the kinds of programs, services and alliances that provide increased value to manufacturers and retailers,” he said.

WSA Global Holdings, LLC like its predecessor, will be based in Encino (suburban Los Angeles). The company currently operates several divisions including show operations, publishing, and retail relations. Last year, WSA established a separate membership organization, the WSTA, to provide better benefits and services to independent shoe representatives.

Reach Skip Farber at (818) 379-9400 or; Doug Ducate at (972) 687-9242 or

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