Exhibition Leaders Meet for All-Industry Summit

Early this month, 27 representatives of 16 trade associations — including the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) — met at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas, for an "unprecedented all-exhibition industry summit," participants announced this week.

The summit, which took place on Oct. 6, had several objectives, including: bringing volunteer leaders of key industry organizations together in order to promote long-lasting and meaningful inter-organizational communications; exploring current business processes so that all parties clearly understand each other's internal practices in an attempt to dispel incorrect assumptions; seeking new opportunities for joint action to address issues that can enhance the exhibition experience for exhibitors and attendees; and laying a foundation for continuing dialogue.

"It looks like we accomplished important progress on each of our objectives based upon the comments that I heard at the end of the day," said ESCA President Chuck Grouzard, senior vice president of national sales at Global Experience Specialists (GES). "When asked to describe the experience using only one word what we heard was 'collaborative, intriguing, consensus, dynamic, interesting, enlightening, exploring and bold,' to share just a few."

The group identified five key actions that were thought essential to improving and growing the exhibition industry through their collaboration:

• Continue the dialogue and commitment;
• Advocate on behalf of the industry;
• Build industry understanding;
• Explore and develop recommended industry standards; and
• Establish vision.

"The real value of this event is to recognize that all of us, no matter whether we are event organizers, facility management, general service contractors, exhibit designers and producers, organized labor, event marketers or exhibitor appointed contractors, live in the same very connected eco-system," said SISO Chairman Sean Guerre, president and CEO of Access Intelligence LLC. "We owe each other the obligation of support and cooperation. This summit opens new doors in that regard and that is very exciting and promising for the entire exhibition industry."

The group — which also included representatives from American Business Media (ABM), the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the Computer Event Marketers Association (CEMA), the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA), the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA), the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), the International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing (ICEEM), the International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA), Major American Tradeshow Organizers (MATSO), the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS) and the Tradeshow Exhibitors Association (TSEA) — has agreed to meet again to continue its work, although a date and location have not yet been decided.