The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., was the site of a weekend filled with festivities to celebrate the 2nd Annual TSNN Event Excellence Awards (T-awards), with overall winners for fastest-growing net square footage and fastest-growing attendance, as well as other awards, being revealed at a Saturday night gala filled with show organizers and suppliers to the industry.
The top overall winner for fastest-growing show for net square footage was True Value Company’s True Value Spring Market, and the fastest-growing show for attendance was IFT – Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo.
Adam Schaffer, president of Media Revenue Partners, was the emcee, and Ray Pekowski, founding sponsor of the T-awards and president and CEO of The Expo Group, presented the overall winners with their awards.
“I just wanted to say this is amazing to be honored by our peers for something we enjoy doing and we wouldn’t want to do anything else,” said Randy Smith, exhibits manager for True Value Company.
IFT also was the top fastest-growing association show in the attendance category, along with the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s Winter Fancy Food Show. Reed Exhibition’s BookExpoAmerica was the top for-profit show in the attendance category as well.
True Value Spring Market was the top fastest-growing for-profit in the net square footage category, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo was the top fastest-growing association show.
There were several other shows honored throughout the evening, including Reed Exhibitions’ AIBTM – The Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition debut show, which snagged the inaugural TSNN “Best of Show” award that was voted on by the overall industry.
“This was my first show as show manager, so I am really excited to be receiving this,” said Steve Knight, AIBTM’s project director. “I want to thank everyone who voted for us. I am glad we have some fans out there.”
Other shows that were lauded included the Abilities Expo series, which serves people with disabilities, for Best Consumer Show.
Lew Shomer runs the show series with David Korse, who accepted the award. “On behalf of Lew Shomer and the entire team who do this (show), thank you,” Korse said. “It’s way better than a real job.”
The best social/media marketing award was accepted by Margaret Core and Erin Lee, who work for the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s BIO International show. Among other social media innovations the show was recognized for, it passed out a “Get Social Notebook” that helped attendees get connected and stay connected throughout the show.
Stephen Nold, president of Tarsus Advon, presented Jason McGraw, senior vice president of expositions for InfoComm International, with the Industry Icon Honoree award.
McGraw, who has been in the nonprofit and for-profit trade show and conference management industry for 24 years, said, “You can’t be successful in this business without people and relationships. It’s about the power of face-to-face.”
Other weekend highlights included a Friday night cocktail reception, a Saturday C-level conference with sessions on international visa issues, the state of the industry with Sean Guerre, chair of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, and Vinnie Polito, chair of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, as well as a panel focusing on what’s next in social media.
Next year, Trade Show News Network will once again host the 3rd Annual TSNN Event Excellence Awards. Dates and location will be announced in spring 2012.