May 04, 2021
Detroit’s TCF Center has landed a new general manager. On April 19, Larry Alexander, board chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced that Karen Totaro has been tapped by ASM Global to lead the convention center. In her new role, Totaro will be responsible for the overall management, promotion and operation of the facility, leading its team of professionals, building on key industry partnerships in the community and supporting the overall mission of the TCF Center and the DRCFA.  “Karen Totaro is the right person at the right time to take the TCF Center back to… more
Trade Show Journalist, Editor-in-chief Michael Hart Passes Away
Mar 30, 2021
Michael Hart, best known as the editor-in-chief for Tradeshow Week, died on March 12 at age 67, after a valiant, but tragic battle with cancer. "I am very sorry to hear of Michael's passing," said Rachel Wimberly, TSNN President and Tarsus, US, EVP of Business Development. "Michael was a passionate advocate of the trade show industry overall. He also was a meticulous editor, who I learned a tremendous amount from during our time working together at Tradeshow Week magazine."  Michael attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., graduating from Raymond College, and as a… more
AEM Veteran Michelle Sanford Passes Away from Cancer
Apr 23, 2021
Michelle Sanford, a mainstay with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers for more than 27 years, passed away on April 19 from cancer. She was 52 years old. Sanford rose the ranks from administrative assistant in 1993 to her most recent role of director of contract and vendor management, in which oversaw operations for AEM’s many trade shows, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG, The Utility Expo, AG Connect and World of Asphalt. Fittingly, Sanford became engaged at CONEXPO-CON/AGG — one of the largest trade shows in the world — in 2005. “For more than 20 years, Michelle was a bright asset to the… more
Tech Giants: Aventri CEO Jim Sharpe Shares Four Keys to Hybrid Events
Apr 21, 2021
One of the driving factors that led Jim Sharpe to become CEO of leading events platform Aventri was that he saw a chance to work within an industry about to undergo a technological revolution. That was in January 2020. “I didn’t appreciate what that meant,” said Sharpe, who had a grand total of six weeks to become acclimated with events before COVID-19 turned the world on its head. A newbie to the MICE industry, Sharpe was previously responsible for tech-enabled services at companies like Gerson Lehrman Group and Standard Purification. “More than anything, I leveraged my experience as a CEO… more
Apr 15, 2021
As hope returns to the event industry in the form of smaller trade shows and conventions beginning to resume, event-related organizations are making new hires, promoting team members and creating new positions as they prepare to expand their business. Take a look: Worldwide venue management and services company ASM Global has appointed live events and leisure industry veteran Ron Bension as its president and CEO. Bension brings more than four decades of experience to his new role, including at Live Nation as president of House of Blues Entertainment, as well as president and CEO roles across… more
Apr 06, 2021
As manager of engineering services at Detroit’s TCF Center, Al Vasquez is typically responsible for directing and managing the maintenance of the venue’s buildings, grounds, equipment and utilities. He works to keep the facility compliant with local building codes and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations while assisting customers with their facilities requirements. But in the spring of last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was first hitting cities throughout the U.S., his role at the downtown venue took on a whole new level of importance and urgency. On March 30, 2020,… more
8 Important Questions With Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck
Mar 31, 2021
Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, knows — or should we say “nose?” — what triggers his mind back to a memorable business trip to China. All it takes is the simple waft of a traditional custard dessert to send him away. “If you can smell something, it will bring back a memory,” he explained. That natural human reaction is why there will always be a place for in-person meetings. Virtual experiences, while important, aren’t able to pass the smell test — at least not yet. (It’s worth noting that it took Priest-Heck years to find those same pastries outside of China to recreate that experience.) … more
Live Group CEO Toby Lewis on the "Uber" Moment for Events
Mar 26, 2021
Toby Lewis, CEO of the UK-based Live Group, used to be fearful for the future of the MICE industry. That was well before March 2020 sent us all into a panic. Lewis’ concerns grew over the course of the last decade while reading yearly analysis reports in which little changed besides dates and venues. The stagnation was equally perplexing and infuriating for someone who always looks ahead. “Live group was unashamedly geeky before [COVID-19] in terms of the way we adopted technologies across the board,” he said. “We were finding our clients were kind of resisting and we didn't really know why… more
Mar 24, 2021
Right out of college, Paul Treanor landed a temporary gig fulfilling exhibitor promotional material requests at the World Floor Covering Association, the previous owner of Surfaces (now The International Surface Event – TISE). That temp job soon morphed into a permanent position as the only staff member completely dedicated to the trade show. When the association sold Surfaces to Hanley Wood Exhibitions, Treanor followed.  More than two decades later, this dedicated exhibitions professional has worked with some of the largest and fastest-growing trade and consumer shows in the nation, with a… more
Tech Giants: 6 Big Predictions From Splash CEO Ben Hindman
Mar 17, 2021
 You have about six minutes to read this article before your attention may wane, according Ben Hindman, CEO and founder of the event marking platform Splash. It’s not personal, but the reality is that digital content needs to be cut into shorter time periods to remain effective. “I think many formats are still stuck in the past,” said Hindman, who was an event planner at Thrillist before creating Splash, which counts several Fortune 500 companies as clients. “The shorter and more concise you get, the better.” There’s wiggle room to about 10 minutes for a solid chunk of content, he explained… more

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