People News: The Expo Group, UBM Americas, SMG, Shepard All Make New Hires

August 29, 2017

August was a busy month for hiring and promotions in the trade show industry, with venues, show organizers and general service contractors all adding to their ranks.

The Expo Group has brought on Toby Purdy as Chief Sales Officer.

“Growth at The Expo Group is a constant. We are accelerating at a fast pace as the market moves to overcome the status quo and understands we can solve their challenges with compelling experiences and investment in growing client revenues,” said The Expo Group President and COO Randy Pekowski. 

He added, “Toby is the right leader for our growth and customer strategies. I am excited about what we will achieve together in the years to come.”

Purdy’s experience ranges across family-owned firms and Fortune 100 companies. He brings a mix of expertise in trade shows and events, including a significant tenure at Freeman, along with proven leadership performance at brands such as Frito-Lay, Greyhound Bus Line and Borden Dairy.

UBM Americas named Felicia Hamerman as the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer. In this newly created position, Hamerman will provide direction and leadership to our marketing teams across all brands by strengthening our focus and further developing UBM Americas’ marketing strategy and capabilities at UBM’s market-leading events: trade shows, exhibitions and conferences. 

Hamerman will report to Scott Schulman, CEO of UBM Americas.
“Marketing is an increasingly critical part of our growth, both in attracting quality attendees and quality exhibitors,” said Scott Schulman, CEO, UBM Americas. 

He added, “Felicia is an adept marketer and innovative strategist who will help strengthen that focus and extend our marketing capabilities for continued growth.”
Prior to being appointed CMO, Hamerman was the vice president of marketing for the Catering, Chemical and Cruise [3Cs] portfolio under UBM Americas where she was responsible for overseeing marketing operations and all activities involving communications, branding and promotion strategies, public relations and business development for the group and the brands behind it.

Prior to joining the 3Cs, Hamerman was the vice president of marketing at UBM Americas Tech where she led the marketing team for the group’s electronics brands across its events and media portfolio. Felicia’s experience also spans e-marketing in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry for companies such as Sanofi-Aventis and Medizine.  
SMG, the convention center and facility management firm hired by the Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corporation (CCCFDC) to manage operations for the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and the Global Center for Health Innovation, has named Ron King as the new general manager, effective Sept. 13. 
“Ron has been an outstanding leader of multiple large convention center complexes in Dallas and San Diego, as well as leading SMG’s efforts in Salt Lake City and San Juan,” said Gregg Caren, executive vice president, SMG. 

He added, “Ron brings more than three decades of experience, including opening two separate convention facilities, into a tremendous facility in Cleveland that is a major part of the city’s reemergence as a convention destination.”
King comes to Cleveland after leading the two-million square-foot Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas for the past six years, working directly with the City of Dallas and the Dallas City Council as the Executive Director for the Convention and Event Services Department for the City of Dallas. 

King also served as contract administrator for other city-owned facilities and organizations, including the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 1,001-room Omni Convention Center Hotel, American Airlines Center (18,500 seat arena, home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and NHL’s Dallas Stars), and Union Station, the city’s transportation hub.

Shepard hired Kevin Felton as general manager of their Los Angeles branch. In this role, Felton will oversee all operational and production functions of this full-service facility. 

“This is an exciting new chapter in my career—one I’ve been working towards for a long time. Having worked in the industry for the past twelve years, I’ve grown familiar with Shepard and its culture, so when the opportunity presented itself, I was confident it was a great move for me,” Felton said.      

 Felton joins Shepard with more than 30 years of operational management, most recently serving as Director of Operations for a large, global event production company. 

Before that, Felton held positions as Director of Western Operations at Elliott Power systems and General Manager at GE Energy Rentals. 

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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: