Six Trade Show Industry Organizations Team Up to Launch the Exhibitions Industry Collective

January 29, 2024

A group of six trade show industry associations have joined forces to form the Exhibitions Industry Collective, a coalition created to drive awareness on crucial, top-of-mind issues within the exhibitions ecosystem such as workforce development, sustainability and health and safety.

The new Collective comprises key organizations including the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), Experiential Designers & Producers Association (EDPA), International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).   

How it came together

Each organization in the Collective has previously worked together on industry advocacy under ECA’s leadership and are now growing and uniting this effort to address key issues facing the industry. 

IAEE President & CEO Marsha Flanagan

According to IAEE officials, by leveraging the strengths in their respective fields, the Collective will better serve the larger exhibitions and events community by bringing more awareness to key stakeholders and a clearly established path of success for each organization’s member community.

“In 2014, IAEE worked with the U.S. Department of Labor and established a competency model for exhibitions as a standalone industry sector,” explained Marsha Flanagan, IAEE president and CEO. “This paved the way for us to create a more defined path in exhibitions management with our expanded certification journey and work with the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.”

She continued, “Momentum has built since the pandemic to bring our shared knowledge together to create a visible, meaningful and lasting foothold on careers in the exhibitions ecosystem. Coming together and recognizing the individual strengths of each organization will allow us to be faster, stronger and better at tackling issues affecting the exhibitions ecosystem.” 

What’s next 

Julie Kagy, ESCA executive director

To start the Collective off on the right foot in 2024, IAEE will host a virtual Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week, which will be held Feb. 20-23 and feature each of the Collective’s six organizations.

Designed to promote the exhibitions industry as a career path opportunity to students, faculty, those interested in a career change and all association members in each industry sector, the event will provide attendees with sector-specific information, including available job opportunities, salary information, skill requirements and necessary training. Registration for Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week will open at the end of January.

Meanwhile, the Collective intends to roll out a new website in the next few weeks that will feature a defined roadmap for the group’s initiatives, house top-level information on each participating organization and serve as a launch point for more exhibitions industry sector details.

“ESCA takes great pride in being a driving force behind the formation of the Exhibitions Industry Collective,” said Julie Kagy, ESCA executive director. “Our commitment to workforce development, sustainability and health and safety is unwavering. As a key contributor to bringing this influential group together, ESCA is dedicated to shaping a future that ensures a thriving and resilient exhibitions ecosystem.”

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