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Association leaders announce All-Exhibition Industry Summit

The leaders of four exhibitions and events industry associations recently announced that an All-Exhibition Industry Summit meeting would soon take place for the purpose of creating a set of guiding principles that will define industry best practices.


John H. Graham IV, CAE, president and CEO of the ASAE, the Center for Association Leadership, Chuck Grouzard, chairman of the Exhibit Services and Contractors Association (ESCA), Vinnie Polito, chairman of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and Sean Guerre, chairman of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) jointly disclosed that they will be inviting two elected leaders from each of the associations that are active in the exhibitions and events industry in the United States to attend the Summit. According to the group, the industry-wide summit would be “a precedent-setting and long-overdue breakthrough.”

“There have been many piecemeal attempts throughout the years to define those practices that are essential to the efficient and fair conduct of business in the exhibition industry,” said Grouzard. “While we applaud all of those past attempts, the fact remains there are too many troublesome issues that demand a common and agreed to set of understandings. We believe it is now time for the entire industry to come together. Anything less than a broad and comprehensive industry effort is destined to fail.”

These association leaders also agree that economic factors are demanding that the industry change.

“The stresses of the Great Recession and the anemic economic recovery ever since make it essential for all of the segments of the exhibition industry to consider how we might adapt ourselves and our industry to the new realities that lie ahead,” Guerre added. “The pressures to do our business efficiently have never been greater. There has never been a more appropriate time to do this than now.”

Speaking for the IAEE, Vinnie Polito pointed out that the industry can achieve great things if all parties are committed.

“If all of the organizations in our industry set aside our respective organizational egos and devote our full attention to crafting real solutions that will withstand time and further economic stress, we will have contributed something very important to our members and the customers that they all serve,” said Polito.

The summit is likely to take place in October at an agreed upon location for a day and a half. An independent professional facilitator will be retained to help guide proceedings. Invitations will be issued within several days.

“A joint initiative across our sector is imperative to the future of the industry we represent,” said Graham. “Now, more than ever, we need to put our brains together to come up with guidelines to streamline our operations and ease the many processes that guide the work of our industry as we work together on today’s challenges and prepare for future opportunities.”

Among the organizations that will be invited to participate in the summit meeting are the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR); the Corporate Event Marketers Association (CEMA); the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI); the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA); the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA); the Healthcare Exhibitors Association (HCEA); the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM); the International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing (ICEEM); the International Exhibition Logistics Associates (IELA); the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); and the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA).

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