ESCA Launches ALL IN Event Readiness Campaign Alongside New Industry Recovery Efforts

June 8, 2021

The Exhibition Services & Contractors Association has launched a new campaign to demonstrate how its members are preparing to relaunch trade shows, meetings and events with safety top-of-mind. Aptly named the ALL IN Event Readiness Campaign, the effort aims to bring a renewed level of communication and information to the industry by sharing member stories on their readiness efforts, the challenges they’ve faced and how their resiliency has made them stronger in supporting their customers.  

“ESCA and its members have an unwavering commitment, resilient confidence and a resolve to unite together for our customers as the industry roars back,” said Larry Arnaudet, ESCA’s executive director. “[The ALL IN campaign is] ESCA’s opportunity to demonstrate we are ready to bring back events safely.”  

ESCA President Neil McMullin will host a virtual panel discussion on June 15 at 12:30 p.m. CT with industry leaders representing venues, labor, contractors and suppliers, focused on tackling the unique challenges and opportunities the industry faces as it comes back to life. To register, go here.

All In

In advance of the event, ESCA asked its exhibition services and contractor members last month to submit short videos sharing how they are preparing to restart in-person events. Hot-button topics covered include the health and safety precautions they’re preparing to implement in the face of the pandemic; how their companies are staying unified and leading through the challenges; support strategies including the handling of staffing issues, flexibility and communication; and how they’re innovating in this “new normal” via new processes, technologies and solutions.

The intention of the video project is to capture the voices of as many member companies as possible for circulation online and to reference during the panel, according to ESCA officials. Check out some of the videos here.

“Millions of people who were displaced during the pandemic over the last year remain on the sidelines of the job market or have retired for a variety of reasons including extended unemployment benefits, child care burdens and fears of contracting COVID-19, and the exhibitions and events industry is not immune to these challenges,” said David DuBois, IAEE president and CEO. 

He continued, “Concerns have been expressed by IAEE’s MATSO Council as well as exhibition organizers in general on whether there would be enough qualified staffing and labor to service what will be an extremely busy and compacted Q3 and Q4. On behalf of IAEE, I commend ESCA for launching the ALL IN Event Industry Readiness Campaign.”

Go Live Together

ESCA’s effort to support the industry’s robust recovery is not an isolated one. On May 17, Freeman announced the launch of its Live Team talent community, an online networking resource for business events professionals. Open to all industry talent, the community is designed to be a forum where industry professionals can connect, share perspectives and learn new skills to prepare for the future of live events.

“Freeman has been a catalyst of connection for more than 94 years and for the past year has been working hard to support our industry through Go LIVE Together,” explained Bob Priest-Heck, Freeman’s CEO. “Going forward, giving industry professionals a safe place to gather and learn not only helps the events industry but represents the future of the talent that is needed.”

Those interested in joining can create a profile by sharing information about their background, interests and expertise. Once registered, participants have access to the Live Team community and can participate in weekly discussions, attend special training sessions, learn about opportunities and have access to a constantly updated list of resources. 

“The ‘we’re all in this together’ situation of the pandemic gave us an opportunity to create an online community of industry talent with diverse skills sets and a shared passion for learning, experimenting and engaging,” said Sherry Huss, project lead for Live Team and co-founder of Maker Faire. “Creating an environment to foster a sense of inclusiveness and empathy is exactly what we need right now, and Live Team is open to anyone in the industry who would like to join.”

National Trade Show Alliance 

Meanwhile, May 18 heralded the launch of the National Trade Show Alliance, a new nonprofit created to help industry workers “recover, reconnect and get back to doing the work they love.”

“I know from talking to people all over the globe that we are a family, and can work together to support one another, create opportunities and survive the devastation to our livelihood this pandemic caused,” said Laura Palker, founder of NTSA. “It is my total admiration of every person at every corner of this industry that caused me to take action.” 

Created to help community members find the support and resources they need to find their way back to employment, refresh their skills and advance their career goals, the organization’s goal is to build a community and central gathering point for information about programs and initiatives that can benefit all industry professionals.

“Too often, I have noticed that the people below the C-Suite are not aware of the great things like advocacy, workforce training and other support programming from the many great associations that support it,” said Kevin Carty, NTSA co-founding director. “With the formation of the National Trade Show Alliance, we can provide a platform for everyone to see and know what is happening daily in our great industry.” 

In light of its mission, the NTSA will be the sponsoring organization of the second annual Together Again Job Fair & Expo, established in summer 2020 by a group of passionate trade show industry professionals to prove that live business events can be hosted safely and responsibly. Dates are yet to be announced for the 2021 event, which will focus on getting trade show professionals back to work, sharpening skills and supporting one another during recovery. 

According to Mark Yuska, co-founding director of the National Trade Show Alliance and founder of Together Again Expo, the mission of NTSA aligns perfectly with the event, which was created to bring hope to the people of the events industry during dark times. 

“In 2021, we’re really looking forward to gathering, Together Again, to help as many trade show workers as possible get back to work and move forward successfully,” Yuska said.

 

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: