Nation's Largest Trade Shows Re-Organize as Association Council

The Major American Trade Show Organizers (MATSO) — founded in 1985 — is now a council of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), IAEE announced last week.

MATSO’s 30 members produce and manage 52 of the largest trade shows in North America, including both association-owned and for-profit events that occupy an average of 29 million net square feet of exhibit space and produce more than $500 million in combined revenue annually. According to MATSO leadership, being a council of IAEE, rather than an independent organization, will help the group operate more efficiently and amplify its voice as part of a broader industry coalition.

“MATSO and IAEE share an aligned vision that complements one another,” current MATSO Chairman Chris Nemchek, senior vice president of sales and exhibitions for the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc., said in a statement. “Since 1985, MATSO has provided a place for the organizers of the largest shows in the U.S., and we are proud to extend our reach as an IAEE council and confident the IAEE board of directors will help members make further progress.”

According to IAEE, the MATSO Council — comprised of not-for-profit association and for-profit exhibition organizers whose shows are at least 200,000 net square feet of exhibit space — will focus on all functional aspects of large show production, including marketing and sales, legislation, labor, international challenges and operations, and will provide a forum to support “in-depth problem solving in a competition-free environment based on a foundation of confidentiality and trust.”

The council will develop best practices unique to large-scale events and release position statements on issues that impact them.

“This year presented many new opportunities, and I am excited to have had the opportunity of working with the MATSO board in creating a new IAEE MATSO Council,” said IAEE Chairman Jason McGraw. “Our missions are aligned and I am thrilled MATSO will now have a dedicated position in our governance structure for these major shows. This reinforces the value that IAEE offers to organizations operating major trade shows and helps these organizations operate more efficiently through a unified voice in the exhibitions and events industry.”