Event, Exhibit and Airline Companies Do Their Part to Help Those in Need

November 9, 2017

This article is the first in a series that we will be running throughout the holiday season shining a bright, well-deserved spotlight on companies that are #GivingBack.

Is your company #GivingBack? Tweet us using the #GivingBack hashtag to @TSNN_com_us and we’ll feature what your company is doing to help make the world a better place!

Several event, exhibit and airline companies are doing their part to give of their time and energy in an effort to help build a kinder and more equitable world.

Last month, representatives from three SMG-managed convention centers teamed up with a dozen Experient – A Maritz Global Events Company team members to volunteer at the Akron/Canton Regional Foodbank in Akron, Ohio.

SMG team members Jacob Hamman, director of sales and marketing at the Century Center of South Bend in Indiana; Suzanne Turgeon, assistant director of sales at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, and Craig Thompson, assistant director of sales at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland drove in to Akron to meet the Experient Twinsburg team members to work together during one of Experient’s “Days of Caring.”

“Volunteering at the Akron/Canton Regional Foodbank was a great opportunity for our company to give back to the community and to assist in feeding people in need,” said Michael Guerriero, Experient division president.

In a clean room at the foodbank, the 18 volunteers worked for four hours scooping, bagging, sealing and packing more than 1,200 two-pound packages of Cocoa Krispies cereal, providing 2,307 meals for needy families in the Akron/Canton area.

Each team member was paired off into a separate station, beginning with the scooping team that broke down 900-pound bulk bags of cereal into 2 lb. bags, after which the bags moved on to three weighing stations to ensure that each bag weighed exactly 2 lbs. The bags were then sealed and boxed up to be shipped throughout the region.

During the four-hour shift, the Experient and SMG team learned to work as a unit with a common goal, something that the two organizations have paired up to do within the convention industry for more than a decade.

For the entire month of November, Delta Air Lines is honoring veterans, active service members and their families by matching customer-donated miles to Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program and Luke’s Wings up to a total of 10 million miles through SkyWish, the charitable arm of Delta’s SkyMiles loyalty program.

Using miles donated through SkyWish, Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program and Luke’s Wings can connect members of the military and their loved ones while they undergo treatment and recovery by providing air travel to injured, ill or wounded service members and veterans, along with their families.

Over the past three years, Delta and its customers have donated more than 138 million miles to these charitable organizations.

“We are extremely grateful to the men and women who currently serve and have served our country,” said Tad Hutcheson, managing director of community engagement for Delta Air Lines.

He continued, “This November and throughout the year, Delta is proud to support members of the military and their families. The need is great when it comes to travel assistance for these heroes and their families. Through our partnerships with Fisher House Foundation and Luke’s Wings, and working alongside our customers, we are able to connect injured service members and veterans with their families as they undergo medical treatment.”

As an organization that has served more than 28,000 families in 2016 alone, Fisher House Foundation provides “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers by hosting them at no cost at one of the 72 Fisher Houses throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Delta also has supported the construction of the VA Long Beach Fisher House in Long Beach, Calif., and a second Fisher House facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Seattle.

Additionally, Delta employees volunteer at Fisher Houses across the country, working to bring cheer to the families staying there.

Since its inception in 2008, Luke’s Wings has enabled families to travel to be with their loved ones during hospitalization and treatment of post-9/11 combat wounded service members, both domestically and internationally.

In 2017, Luke’s Wings expanded its mission to service the loved ones of wounded, ill and injured service members recovering at military medical centers, as well as combat injured veterans who need travel to treatment facilities for follow-on care.

To date, Luke’s Wings has booked one-third of its flights using miles donated through Delta’s SkyWish program.

With supporting active military and veterans a key pillar of Delta’s community engagement, the airline also supports the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation; Marine Toys for Tots; Serving Our Troops; the USO and airport military lounges, including the Freedom Center in Detroit and the Minnesota Armed Forces Service Center.

Alongside other volunteer opportunities, Delta employees can volunteer as a part of the Honor Guard, a group that meets incoming flights and pays respect to those who have sacrificed their lives for their country.

In addition, about 3,000 Delta employees are members of the U.S. Armed Forces and approximately 10,000 veterans are employed at Delta.

To learn more about the SkyWish program and to donate miles, go HERE.

Throughout this past year, Orbus Exhibit & Display Group, suppliers of portable modular and custom modular exhibit and display products, graphics and solutions, has been busy contributing to several local and nationwide organizations.

Most recently, Orbus fundraised for The Andrew Grene Foundation (AGF), founded in 2010 by one of Orbus’ Board Chairmen, Tim Perutz.

Dedicated in the honor of Perutz’s childhood friend, Andrew Grene, the foundation provides educational services and financial aid to those living in Haiti.

Since its founding, more than 300 students have received a full-time education and more than 1,600 women have received assistance in developing their own businesses.

Last August, Orbus held a nacho bar fundraiser to raise money for AGF, during which employees were encouraged to spend their lunch hour in Orbus’ cafeteria and purchase nachos.

All proceeds went to AGF and the company raised more than $400, funds that were used to sponsor school children in Haiti by providing them with lunches, school supplies and uniforms.

Orbus also raised funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation through the sale of Shamrock Grams in the first half of March. As a way to send a smile to coworkers, the Shamrock Grams were distributed on St. Patrick’s Day and helped the company raise more than $1,300.

In addition, Orbus contributed to the St. Joseph Carpenter Society, a non-profit organization focused on creating safe neighborhoods and successful ownership in New Jersey, and the Peabody Elementary School in St. Louis.

Orbus partnered with FASTSIGNS International Inc. to donate funds and supplies to build Back to School backpacks, which were given to Peabody students at the beginning of the fall semester.

“We place emphasis on the importance of community,” said Giles Douglas, Orbus president and CEO. “We are always willing to take part in an opportunity to help those in the community around us and in causes close to our hearts.”

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.