New Business Deals: AUVSI, ASM Global, Fireplay and More Announce New Partnerships, Acquisitions 

May 2, 2022

As the trade show industry moves full speed ahead into a busier and more robust season, event-related companies and organizations across North America and beyond are busily forming new business partnerships, opening new offices and strengthening their market share via strategic acquisitions. Check them out!


The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has partnered with Messe Düsseldorf North America Inc. (MDNA) to co-host XPONENTIAL, the world’s leading trade show for uncrewed systems and autonomy, to broaden its reach to user communities and new market entrants via a more robust and thoughtful trade show experience. The partnership will take full effect for XPONENTIAL 2023 and onward.

“With our know-how as one of the world’s largest organizers of international trade shows, we will work together with AUVSI to make XPONENTIAL an even bigger and better show for all participants…by offering an even broader range of topics and new target groups,” said Tom Mitchell, MDNA president. 

The most recent XPONENTIAL took place April 25-28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. 

ASM Global/ Huntington Place 

Following a thorough review process, ASM Global selected Freeman to be the exclusive electric service provider for Detroit’s Huntington Place. As of April 1, the leading event services company assumed all prior orders for electric service and is abiding by the Huntington Place Efficiency Memorandum for labor services. 

“We have an opportunity to look at our services and processes and fine-tune all those aspects that can make a positive impact for our clients,” explained Karen Totaro, general manager of Huntington Place. “This new contract is one more step in our efforts to be bold and provide the highest level of customer service in the industry.”

To create a smooth transition for customers, the Freeman crew worked with Conti Hi-Tech, the facility’s former electric provider, to relay event orders and transfer on-site equipment. FreemanOnline, the proprietary online ordering portal or customer support center, has replaced the Conti Electric order links in the online ordering page on the facility’s website.  

Huntington Place exhibitors can now order electrical services, labor and equipment and access order history from Freeman through any web-enabled device 24/7, and on-site customer service assistance can be requested with no log-in required.  

Additionally, ASM Global recently added the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn. to its extensive management portfolio, marking the fourth Minnesota venue under its stewardship and management alongside The Target Center and U.S. Bank Stadium, both in Minneapolis, and The Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.  

Besides its 4,373-seat hockey arena, home to the Bemidji State University (BSU) men’s and women’s hockey teams, the venue includes the 14,000-square-foot George W. Nielsen Convention Center, opened in October of 2010.


Fireplay, a creative agency and event production company based out of Nashville and known for its roster of music artist clients, is officially expanding its national footprint with the opening of a new office in Los Angeles. The West Coast location will be headed up by award-winning event producer Carrie Sims, who brings more than 20 years of experience in the event industry to her new role, including roles at BizBash Media and AFR Event Furnishings, among others. 

“I am focused on increasing both our West Coast and global profile, using my years building a portfolio and contacts throughout the events industry to make it a reality,” Sims said. “I am excited to join a passionate team of visionaries and storytellers that transport audiences into inspiring and memorable, human-centered experiences.” 

Fireplay has produced everything from Super Bowl performances to private events, boasting a client roster of top names in music and entertainment, including Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Coldplay, Aerosmith, Billie Eilish, Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Jurassic World Tour, Dan + Shay, Jason Aldean, The Killers and Thomas Rhett.

Arc/ The Channel Company

Two EagleTree Capital-backed companies recently acquired London, U.K.-based Incisive Media, an award-winning B2B digital media and events company in the financial services, enterprise technology and business sustainability markets.  

Arc, a global events, data and media platform, acquired Incisive’s financial services and business sustainability portfolios. The move expands Arc’s sector diversity across the U.K. market with the addition of leading financial services and business sustainability brands such as Investment Week, Professional Pensions, Professional Adviser and BusinessGreen.  

Meanwhile, The Channel Company, an IT-channel focused B2B marketing company, acquired Incisive’s technology portfolio, reuniting its media brands CRN and CRN UK under the same company. The technology portfolio also includes the Computing and Channel Partner Insight brands.  

“This acquisition gives us the opportunity to link Incisive’s Computing brand with our Midsize Enterprise Services brand in a powerful, connected, global end-user community,” said Blaine Raddon, CEO of The Channel Company. “Altogether, the acquisition results in a leading position for The Channel Company in content and events in both the US and EMEA.”  

According to Arc officials, the platform has welcomed Incisive Media CEO Jonathon Whiteley and the financial services and business sustainability teams to Arc as it works to grow and develop these portfolios and network. 

“The global platforms of Arc and The Channel Company offer natural homes for Incisive Media’s brands and people,” Whiteley said. “This split allows us to support that growth in a relevant and focused way. I am excited about the future and look forward to working with Simon and his team at Arc to take Incisive Media into this next and exciting chapter.”   

Convention Data Services

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), selected event registration, business intelligence and lead management provider Convention Data Services (CDS), a Freeman Company, to provide registration, integrations and lead management for the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo, the world’s largest human resources event. The agreement, which extends through 2024, also includes services for other events within the association’s portfolio, including the Workplace Policy Conference, the Employment Law & Compliance Conference, the Talent Conference & Expo and Inclusion.

“We selected CDS because their innovation, customer service and dynamic reporting tools are well-suited to address SHRM’s strategic goals,” said Jamie Bosley, SHRM vice president of event strategy and experience. “We are excited to see what the next three years will bring with this excellent new partnership.”


Exhibition industry technology leader 3e/EXPOCAD by ACT, Inc. has acquired long-time business partner ExpoCharger International, an event and conference management software provider. Together, the united companies will be able to provide a greater breadth of products and services for customers, according to Rich Stone, CEO of 3e/EXPOCAD.

“We are looking forward to having the expertise and trade show experience that ExpoCharger can bring as a part of our new 3e platform roll-out," Stone said. “Working together closely for over 20 years, it was clear that working as one would accelerate innovation and product growth.” 

All ExpoCharger staff will continue with 3e/EXPOCAD in similar positions.   


Association management company Smithbucklin has welcomed three new organizations to its management portfolio: National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Society of Vascular & Interventional Neurology(SVIN) and Railway Supply Institute (RSI). 

By partnering with Smithbucklin, NACAC intends to leverage expertise of the company and its event strategy, marketing and design agency, 360 Live Media, to expand its capacity and augment its team to drive value and best serve its members, while SVIN seeks to enable growth through operational excellence, expertise and scalable resources, and RSI plans to elevate its advocacy and regulatory strategies. 

“Through our work, we are fortunate to see the far-reaching impact of associations, societies and professional communities every day,” said Matt Sanderson, president and CEO, Smithbucklin. “The blend of talent and passion among our people and the volunteer leaders of these organizations is special and we are looking forward to growing together.”

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.