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CEO DATELINE – Associations form group to lobby for business events industry

Feb. 18, 2021
By Walt Williams

Eight groups have launched a new 501(c)(6) organization to advocate for the business events industry, which has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance “is dedicated to the recovery and advancement of the face-to-face business events industry,” the group said on its website. “Our mission is to help government officials understand the important role these events have on economies and job creation.”

The Trade Show News Network reported that ECA will oversee two existing but previously separate advocacy efforts to prop up the live events industry, Exhibitions Mean Business and Go LIVE Together.  ECA has not made any staff announcements but was advertising for a vice president of government affairs late last year.

ECA’s founding organizations are the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Foundation, Destinations International, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association, Exhibit Designers + Producers Association, Exhibition Services & Contractors Association, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, International Association of Venue Managers and Society of Independent Show Organizers.

David Audrain, executive director of SISO, and David DuBois, CEO of IAEE, are co-presidents of the new organization and will report to a board comprised of representatives from alliance partner organizations. Among the board members is Megan Tanel, senior vice president of construction and utility sector, for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

 “AEM is committed to continuing its efforts to support initiatives advocating for the importance of in-person exhibitions and conferences,” Tanel said in a statement. “Whatever form they come in – trade shows, dealer meetings, industry networking opportunities – face-to-face exhibitions and conferences are critical to the long-term success of our economy, our industries, and the customers they serve.”

The other board members are:

  • Cathy Breden, CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research
  • Melissa Cherry, COO, Destinations International
  • Jim Wurm, executive director, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association
  • Chris Griffin, CEO of Crew XP, representing Experiential Designers + Producers Association
  • Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, representing Exhibition Services & Contractors Association
  • Clifford “Rip” Rippitoe, CEO of San Diego Convention Center, representing International Association of Venue Managers
  • Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group
  • Hervé Sedky, CEO of EmeraldX
  • Nancy Walsh, president, Americas of Informa Markets
  • Yancy Weinrich, chief growth officer, Americas of Reed Exhibitions, representing Society of Independent Show Organizers