The business events industry will be represented under a unified voice with the formation of the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), an advocacy group that will champion the common interests of U.S. exhibitions and conferences with legislators.
This new coalition of eight industry associations will promote the impact of the sector, drive general industry awareness, initiate legislation on behalf of business events and work with partners globally as needed to maintain a favorable operating environment within the United States.
Existing advocacy initiatives, Go LIVE Together and Exhibitions Mean Business, will continue under ECA and carry out their respective mission – Go LIVE Together in advocating for federal COVID-19 recovery funding and Exhibitions Mean Business in promoting the value of face-to-face and the economic impact of exhibitions at the local, state and national levels.
Sue Sung, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Freeman will continue to serve as executive director of Go LIVE Together. ECA’s organizational structure also will allow for the development of new advocacy campaigns as specific needs arise in the future.
“Through lessons learned with Go LIVE Together, Exhibitions Mean Business and other efforts, we know that advocacy is an ongoing process, and not one that can be easily impacted by jumping in only when there is a crisis,” said David Audrain, executive director of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and co-president of ECA.
He added, “ECA will enable us to develop and maintain a long-term strategy to raise our industry’s profile among policymakers, ultimately helping to move us forward.”
The initial ECA board is comprised of:
· Cathy Breden, CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
· Melissa Cherry, COO, Destinations International
· Jim Wurm, Executive Director, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association (EACA)
· Chris Griffin, CEO of Crew XP, representing Experiential Designers + Producers Association (EDPA)
· Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, representing Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA)
· Megan Tanel, SVP of Association of Equipment Manufacturers, representing International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)
· Clifford “Rip” Rippitoe, CEO of San Diego Convention Center, representing International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)
· Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group; Hervé Sedky, CEO of EmeraldX; Nancy Walsh, President, Americas of Informa Markets; and Yancy Weinrich CGO, Americas of Reed Exhibitions, representing Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).
“We are grateful for the generous support of ECA’s alliance partners and their board representatives,” said David DuBois, president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and co-president of ECA.
He added, “We’re confident that combining our resources will strengthen our advocacy influence for exhibitions and conferences, effectively ensuring that our voices are heard, to generate positive outcomes for our industry on Capitol Hill as well as at the state and local level.”