Jan 20, 2022
Former SISO Chair and retired exhibition industry icon James Bracken passed away on Jan. 18. He was 87. Bracken served as SISO’s chair in 2004, and SISO officials expressed gratitude for his service to the association and the industry over the course of his career, as well as condolences to his family and many friends and colleagues in the industry. “I was lucky enough to get to know Jim when I first became involved in SISO, and he really epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit of SISO,” said SISO CEO David Audrain. “Jim was a highly-respected industry leader and a pleasure to talk with, his… more
Jan 19, 2022
Chef Jeff Leidy is one of those lucky people who found his calling at a very young age. The consummate hospitality culinary professional began his four-decade-long career at 16, starting as a busboy in a steak and seafood house, where he quickly moved into the kitchen and fell in love with the culinary arts.   “I have been cooking professionally ever since,” Leidy said. “I like to tell people that you don’t choose to be a chef, it chooses you. I was captivated by every aspect of being a chef—having the chance to be creative and serve guests who give you immediate feedback, and the ability to… more
Jan 18, 2022
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Foundation will once again honor and celebrate the global business events industry’s exceptional stars during this year’s PCMA Visionary Awards ceremony. The foundation has announced the 2022 Lifetime Achievement honorees, Groundbreaker Award recipient and Professional Excellence finalists.  The 2022 Visionary Awards celebration will be held March 24 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., in conjunction with the inaugural Business Events Industry Week. Created by Destinations International, the … more
Jan 14, 2022
If anyone knows a thing or two about navigating through disruptive times, it’s Brad Dean. In 2018, he was tapped to helm Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s first-ever destination marketing organization, following a series of natural and public health disasters, including Zika virus and hurricanes Irma and Maria.  Coming onboard the year after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island—along with its tourism industry—Dean quickly assembled a stellar team of more than 50 people at Discover Puerto Rico, leading them in a remarkable period of recovery and growth that boosted tourism 45% in the first 18… more
Jan 12, 2022
It goes without saying that many of us in the exhibition industry are looking toward 2022 with cautious optimism. Will this be the year that trade shows and business events truly bounce back, or will 2022 be yet another bumpy, unpredictable extension of 2021? While none of us have a crystal ball to refer to, we asked a range of industry experts what they’re hoping for and setting their sights on – both professionally and personally – in the New Year. Bob Priest-Heck, CEO, Freeman: This past year has brought on so many learnings, innovation and things we can strive for in 2022. From a… more
Jan 06, 2022
On Dec. 28, Jeff Guaracino, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA, passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 48 years old.  A Philadelphia native and passionate tourism leader, Guaracino served two stints at VISIT PHILADELPHIA, first as director of communications and vice president of communications from 2001 to 2012, and then as president and CEO in 2018.  According to VISIT PHILADELPHIA officials, under Guaracino’s leadership, VISIT PHILADELPHIA continued driving leisure tourism throughout the pandemic with omni-channel marketing efforts. These included Philly Live Weekends, a… more
Jan 10, 2022
As 2022 begins, new hires and promotions continue to take place throughout the exhibitions industry. Check out who’s moving in and moving up at event-related organizations across the U.S. Smithbucklin   Association management company Smithbucklin has made some recent changes to its executive leadership team, effective Jan. 1. Don Neal, founder and CEO of 360 Live Media, an experience design, marketing and event-focused agency that was acquired by Smithbucklin in 2018, will assume the newly created role of chief strategy officer, Smithbucklin. In his new role, Neal will focus on growth… more
Dec 22, 2021
The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) chose a stellar lineup of recipients for its 2021 IAEE Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions by IAEE members to the organization and to the exhibitions and events industry. Rachel Wimberly of Tarsus Group, parent company of Trade Show News Network (TSNN) was among the 13 winners this year. Recipients were selected after careful consideration and review by the IAEE Awards Committee and approval by the IAEE Board of Directors following an open call for nominations by IAEE members earlier in the year. “It is a great… more
Dec 13, 2021
Talk to Chef Mike Mantia about how he found his way into the culinary world and he’ll tell you the story of a young teen who loved the hustle and bustle of a kitchen so much, he never looked back once he fell into the profession.  Born in the U.S. to Sicilian parents, Mantia’s culinary training started early at his grandmother’s side, learning to roll meatballs at the ripe old age of five. His burgeoning passion for food became further cemented once he discovered the wonder of cultivating herbs, greens, vegetables and fruit in grandfather’s garden, an experience that instilled in him a… more
Nov 30, 2021
Across the events spectrum, new hires and promotions are continuing to happen at a record pace as the trade show industry gears up for a busy new year ahead. Check out who’s jumping on or climbing up the industry ladder. Exhibit Concepts, Inc. Exhibit Concepts, Inc. (ECI) recently promoted Dominic Conti to vice president of production and Masten Worley to vice president of sales and account management.  In his new role, Conti will be responsible for fabrication, graphic production, prep, warehouse operations, installation, field supervision, traffic and shipping in both Dayton and Chicago… more

Partner Voices

Caesars Entertainment strode into 2022 with its sights set on making the year one of innovation and renovation for the Empire as the company announced a $400 million, Las Vegas-style makeover for its Atlantic City properties. The master plan for the company’s three East Coast properties -- Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana -- involves interior renovations, new celebrity dining concepts, and more to create the ultimate seaside conference destination.