Weekly News & Insights: “And the Award Goes to …”

Graphic: stock.xchng / Kostya Kisleyko

Graphic: stock.xchng / Kostya Kisleyko

It’s awards season in the trade show world! Last week the 4th Annual TSNN Awards took place in Reno, Nev. Top honors went to Hart Energy’s DUG Eagle Ford for fastest-growing show in net square footage, and Surf Expo for fastest-growing in attendance. Several other shows were honored and the TSNN Industry Icon Award was presented to Henry Givray, president and CEO of SmithBucklin. The Expo Group honored five individuals with their Show Manager of the Year awards (SMOTY). For a complete recap and link to video highlights, check out this article on TSNN.

Also last week, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) announced this year’s honorees in the IAEE Awards program. Winners will be celebrated at IAEE’s annual Expo! Expo! in Houston in December. The awards include:

  • Pinnacle Award: Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Distinguished Service Award: John Patronski, executive vice president of Industry Development at Global Experience Specialists (GES)
  • Merit Award: Gerry Eng, national sales manager, Georgia World Congress Center; Mel Forehand, CEM, CMP, vice president of Expositions, Texas Restaurant Association; and Mark Sussman, director, Trade Show Sales, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Educator of the Year Award: Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM, president of the Marketing Design Group
  • Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award: Don Vaughn, president of The Augusta Group (retired)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Industry Innovation in Business Solutions Award: Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) and Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) for their collaboration in creating the Worker Identification System (WIS)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Marketing & Sales Award: Melissa Ooi, executive vice president at Asp, Inc.
  • Young Professional of the Year Award: Rebecca Orens, CEM, senior exhibits coordinator at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

You can find a more in-depth list of all the winners on the IAEE site.


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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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