AEM Veteran Michelle Sanford Passes Away from Cancer

April 23, 2021
AEM Veteran Michelle Sanford Passes Away from Cancer

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 AEM team, and her infectious laugh and smile are profoundly missed,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “A large part of AEM's success in producing some of the largest trade shows in the world is due to Michelle’s tremendous management skills and leadership. We all have a heavy heart as we move forward without Michelle. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.” 

A champion of the exhibitions industry, she was an integral member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, serving on IAEE’s education committee and the CEM oversight committee that wrote the curriculum on the contract management segment. 

Sanford blended her love for travel and exhibitions, globetrotting to countries like Russia and China, where she opened trade shows on behalf of AEM. She also served on the board of the Major American Trade Show Organization and on advisory councils for Orlando and Las Vegas 

Outside of the trade show world, Sanford prided herself in contributing to the greater Milwaukee area, where she lived. She served on the board and served as a direct volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin.

For more information about the in-person and virtual funeral services, click here.


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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: