People News: CampfireSocial, PCMA, Cadmium, jwc and More Tap New Leaders, Build Teams

May 13, 2021

The hiring craze continues across the trade show and events industry, as organizations appoint new leadership, make promotions and grow their workforces. Could this be a sign of boom times ahead? 


Social network and ecommerce SaaS platform CampfireSocial has appointed 25-year industry veteran Steve Gebhart as Chief Information Officer. Gebhart will spearhead the company’s product strategy, technology development and innovation pipeline, and work closely with customers, end users and other members of the leadership team.

Gebhart comes to CampfireSocial after consulting on the launch of TalkTemperament, a telehealth counseling service, as well as other analytics and event-based companies. Prior to that, he spent three years at Western Veterinary Conference (now Viticus Group), managing technology, marketing and sales as CTO and CIO, and as its interim CEO. He also served as vice president of digital product development for worldwide operations at GES in Las Vegas. 


PCMA has appointed tourism and business events industry leader Meghan Risch as vice president of strategic and corporate communications, effective May 20. Bringing more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality, economic development and travel and tourism industries to her new role, she will be responsible for developing, leading and implementing an integrated strategic communications plan that promotes PCMA’s mission and goals, strengthens its brand and deepens the impact of its work. 

Most recently, Risch was founder and principal of R4 Communications Strategies, Inc., a strategic communications firm focused on media relations, crisis management and advocacy. In early 2021, Risch orchestrated the launch of Tourism Diversity Matters, the collaborative leader of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and concepts, an initiative she will continue to support on behalf of PCMA. 

Prior to R4, Risch spent 12 years developing communications strategy for Choose Chicago.


Symphony Technology Group has added two software industry veterans to an executive leadership team created to combine the recent acquisitions of CadmiumCD, EthosCE, Warpwire, and CommPartners into a new unified software company called Cadmium. 

As CEO and CFO, respectively, Jim Obsitnik and Mike Dunn will lead the unification of the individual divisions to create a single organization with a broad, strategic vision designed to help customers to evolve with the digital transformation taking place in the events and education worlds.   

Obsitnik brings more than 25 years of experience creating and building organizations focused on providing B2B SaaS solutions that deliver strong customer ROI while tapping into platform-based ecosystems and capitalizing on emerging technology trends. 

With more than 15 years of experience managing finance, HR and legal functions and integrated multiple strategic acquisitions for growing software, technology and professional services companies, Dunn will oversee Cadmium’s strategic growth and resources as it continues expanding into the events and professional education markets. 


Sonia Thomas has joined global exhibition and conference industry consulting firm jwc GmbH as a senior consultant. She previously served as COO of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, which she joined in 2006.

A certified executive coach, Thomas has an honor’s degree in hospitality management. She is also a part-time teacher at the Dauphine University in Paris, and a team coach for the Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the HEC Business School in Paris. 

National Safety Council 

The National Safety Council recently appointed seasoned strategist and event planner Pam Nutting as conference program manager. She joins an award-winning team that organizes and executes the largest annual safety conference in the world, the NSC Congress & Expo.

With more than 16 years of experience in education, project management/process improvement and hospitality industries, Nutting previously worked with Maritz Global Events, Cygnus Business Media, OnPeak and the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association.


Virtual and hybrid event platform Glisser has appointed two new board members and a new senior hire in the U.S.: Steve Pedrick as chief revenue officer, David Hose as board director and Bill Portelli as chair. 

As a CEO advisor, board director, and private equity/venture CEO, Portelli has helped create billions of dollars of incremental enterprise value and tech company revenues through the creation of breakout strategies and business models, the building of award-winning products and the coaching of high-impact CEOs and their teams. 

Hose is a seasoned technology executive and serial entrepreneur, with more than 35 years as founder, CEO, investor, board member and advisor for more than 40 companies over the course of his career. He was the founder and CEO of Signalsoft, served as CEO Of Napster/Rhapsody from 2014 and CEO of AirMap from 2018-2020. 

Prior to Glisser, Pedrick was an operating partner at Downing Ventures. He has spent his career building and scaling B2B technology companies and has worked across a range of stages and categories, focusing on building successful sales organizations, growing strategic partnerships and developing revenue-driving commercial initiatives. 

LeftField Media 

Contemporary culture events company LeftField Media has hired MK Goodwin as its new portfolio director. Goodwin brings more than 10 years of industry experience working with ReedPop to grow events like New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, C2E2 and Star Wars Celebration. In her new role, she will be responsible for LeftField’s comic portfolio of events, which includes Awesome Con and Rose City Comic Con, as well as new business development. 


Furniture rental and transition services provider CORT has tapped Mike Davis as its new president and COO. In this dual role, Davis will be responsible for overseeing all operations and sales for CORT Furniture Rental; CORT Trade Show & Events; CORT Party Rental; 4SITE by CORT and Roomservice by CORT in the U.K.

Davis began his career with CORT in 1997 at CORT Furniture Rental in San Francisco. Over the years he has held executive leadership roles in both sales and operations, including executive vice president for CORT Furniture Rental and the Trade Show and Events Divisions. In 2016, he was promoted to COO.


Swiss-based contactless global event technology company Konduko appointed marketing, PR and brand development expert Mathew James as its new vice president of marketing and communications. In his new role, James will further the company’s global marketing strategy that includes communicating the safety and commercial benefits of the company’s contactless technology for in-person and hybrid events.

Up until the end of 2020, James served as the head of brand at UK-based Southawater Event Group, where he was an operational and strategic lead for brand marketing and communications across the Group’s five businesses, including the Telford International Centre. 

World Pet Association 

The World Pet Association, producers of the SuperZoo pet industry trade show, has added event marketing and pet retail industry veterans Mike Karsting and Pete Risano to its executive leadership team as senior vice president of events and vice president of membership and partnerships, respectively. 

Karsting’s 25 years of experience includes event marketing and management of numerous trade and ticketed events, including 18 years with TEN: The Enthusiast Network. Most recently, he served as marketing director at MotoAmerica. He also served on the WPA leadership team in 2018.

With three decades of pet retail experience, Risano served as a consultant to WPA during the past year and from 2010-2018 was a board member, where he most recently served as second executive vice chair. He founded his own consulting practice in 2018 and in 2020 was hired by WPA to design and establish a new member services division.


Display industry steel truss systems provider Trussworks appointed 12-year industry veteran Joe Guerrero as national sales manager. He is responsible for coordinating regional sales teams and customer service, working closely with the marketing team and advancing product development. 

In 2017, Guerrero joined Aluvision as a regional sales manager for the Midwest region and prior to that, served as an account executive for Nimlok Chicago. In 2011, he started his trade show career at Orbus Exhibit and Display Group, where he was a part of the inside sales and business development teams. 

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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.