Thursday, March 27, 2008

Association membership has plenty to offer

Recently we made the decision to increase our networking capability by joining two of the industry’s top associations.

With all the trade show, meeting, destination and exhibit associations to choose from, we felt that TSEA and IAEE had plenty to offer us and would provide great opportunities to meet trade show and exhibit industry professionals. It is the members of both organizations that we want to meet and do business with. This is not to say that we are not interested in joining other associations, but the Trade Show Exhibitors Association and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, just felt right for us right now.

My thanks go out to Stephen Schuldenfrei, president of TSEA for welcoming us into the association. I have always been interested in TSEA since attending my first TS2 during the summer of 2001 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. I have since been to Chicago twice for TS2 and this summer we hope to make a trip to Philadelphia for the next "Total Solutions Marketing for the Exhibit and Event Professional." Registration is now open. Here is a link to a TS2 page where a PDF can be downloaded. Registration can also be completed online.

The show has been growing since National Trade Productions took over and this year should provide more education and network opportunities. Attendees can take classes to put toward his or her goal to become a Certified Manager of Exhibits (CME).

Meanwhile, IAEE offers professionals to become Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM).

Last December I attended my first Expo! Expo! The show was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas so I did not have to travel far. I was very impressed with this show and it was great how so many people went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I attended the first-timers luncheon and learned a lot about the show and "IA double E."

I had the opportunity to meet IAEE President Steven Hacker, CAE; Jeff Price, IAEE 2007 chairman; and Randy Bauler, CEM, IAEE 2008 chairman.

It was Jim Letchworth, CEM, with GES, who introduced me to the Southwest Chapter, which includes Las Vegas and Southern California. As the chairman, he invited me to the chapter's reception later that night and it was there where I met many IAEE members who had nothing but optimism and praise for the association. That night a new board of directors was installed and I was able to meet Yolanda Stephens who took over as the chapter chair.

I knew I wanted to join IAEM and become involved with the association. The entire show was just tremendous.

The next Expo! Expo! is December 9-11 2008 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Fla.

I am looking forward to more networking opportunities. With membership into two quality associations, I doubt I will have any trouble finding my way around the industry. I hope to be involved in any way possible. Meanwhile, let me know what Trade Show Expo can do for you.