Douglas L. Ducate, president and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, announced today at the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association’s Annual Summer Educational Conference that he will step down at the end of this year.
Ducate, a 45-year industry veteran who has held the CEIR post for 15 years, explained he believed CEIR deserves "younger and stronger legs to carry some of the new initiatives to success."
CEIR Chairman and Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Greg Ortale said, "The respect and presence that our industry has nationally and globally can be attributed in large part to the passion, knowledge and determination of Doug Ducate. The science of trade shows has been helped tremendously by his commitment to absolute accuracy. Our industry has been blessed by many leadership giants and a few legends. Doug is both. We will miss him greatly but fortunately we know where he lives and we have his phone number."
A replacement has not been named at this time.
Ducate has been at the top post for CEIR since 1998 and spearheaded research, including the CEIR Index, a quarterly report tracking the overall health of the trade show industry.
He also was instrumental in creating the industry’s first economic outlook conference, Predict, which has been held in New York for the past two years and is on tap again Sept. 12.
Besides the CEIR Index, he also helped release the CEIR Census, two publications that the organization said helps “guide exhibition organizers in their planning and purchasing decisions.”
Ducate began his trade show industry career in 1968 at the Society of Petroleum Engineers, where the first the first Offshore Technology Conference was launched the following year.
"I was most fortunate to be in the right place at the right time working for an organization with an enlightened leadership that understood the risks that can lead to rewards and were generous in allowing us to pursue new opportunities as long as our proposals contained ‘dry hole’ economics," Ducate said.
In 1995, Ducate left SPE to join Production Group International (PGI). His role was to create an exhibition division, and after several acquisitions, that division became the largest in the company generating some $35 million in revenue.
Ducate has served as chairman of the Convention Liaison Council, president of the Trade Show Bureau (now CEIR) and was chairman of the National Association of Exposition Managers, Inc. (now International Association of Exhibitions and Events).
He also has been a frequent author and presenter for the American Society of Association Executives and the Professional Convention Management Association, where he served on their board of directors and then served as a member of the PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees.
Ducate may be stepping down, but he's not going away. "As a good Texan, I fully expect to die in the saddle headed to the next show," he said. "Being idle just isn’t in my blood."