First-ever Global Exhibitions Day, U.S.-based Exhibitions Day Both Raise Awareness of Industry

June 10, 2016

The first-ever Global Exhibitions Day, which included the third annual U.S.-based Exhibitions Day, was a smashing success and not only included more than 60 countries taking part worldwide, but also 100-plus event professionals, who took meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to discuss the value of exhibitions.

“For a long time, many people in the exhibitions industry felt that it would be great to have a day where the exhibition industry celebrates itself and sends a joint message about the importance and the strength of the industry not just in one country but worldwide,” said UFI President Sergey Alexeev.

He added, “I am stunned how massive the global support of Global Exhibitions Day was and still is. It was about time to celebrate our industry and everyone working in it “I am very happy to have encouraged this initiative throughout my year as UFI President and I promise to support Global Exhibitions Day in the years to come.”

Globally, countries from the Far east to the Americas took part, as well as thousands of tweets were shared, hundreds of GED selfies were published and dozens of events were held, where exhibition professionals raised awareness and celebrated the global industry.

“No matter what role you play in the industry, it is critical to stay informed on issues that can have real impact on the health of our industry,” said IAEE Chairperson Julie Smith.

She added, “Being a part of the political process means that we play a role in controlling our own destiny. We are a part of a vibrant and important industry, and it is vital that we speak up when we have threats or opportunities.  The media coverage also plays a role in educating a broader audience, and creates enthusiasm.”

Smith said that she was part of the California group and called on the offices of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Reps. Scott Peters, Xavier Becerra, Loretta Sanchez, Darrell Issa and Alan Lowenthal.

Topics discussed, she added, included H.R. 4526, which is the Stop Online Booking Scams Act; and S.2707 and H.R. 4773, Protecting Workplace Advancement & Opportunity Act (Overtime Regulations). 

“More generally, we discussed the overall financial contribution of the exhibitions industry to the US GDP, as well as providing some state-specific impact information,” Smith said.

Here is a sampling of some other meetings that took place in the U.S., as well as VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS from CNTV of the day:

Jenn Heinhold from Access Intelligence was with the Maryland delegation and met with Matthew Spikes from Sen. Ben Cardin’s office and staff from Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Delaney, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards and Elijah Cummings offices. 

“I was pleasantly surprised as to how much time and attention we received during our meetings. It was also refreshing to hear that the Congressional staffers knew about the exhibitions industry. Most didn’t understand the scope and economic impact, but they were at least aware of what an exhibition was, and many had attended shows with their member. I participated in IAEE’s first Exhibitions Day three years ago, and I think overall awareness has increased.” – Heinhold said.

Vinnie Polito and Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes from mdg met with Legislative Director Daniel Zawitoski from Congressman Scott Peters’ office, who serves in the district their company is headquartered, as well as Dina Titus, a representative from Las Vegas.

“With Rep. Titus, we focused on the new Overtime Regulations, explaining how, in the events industry, work doesn’t always fit neatly into 8 hour days. The work is often cyclical and concentrated and the proposed overtime rule doesn’t allow for exceptions. We voiced our concern that young people who are trying to learn the business will likely miss out on opportunities that require travel and work on show site because it’s no longer economically feasible to facilitate them.” – Hardcastle-Geddes said.

Mike Pietraszek, senior director of Client Solutions, Freeman/ secretary, NY Area Chapter, IAEE, and several others in the New York group met with the following:

Chris Gorund, senior legislative assistant (Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 12th District, N.Y.)

Dana Miller Acton, legislative director (Rep. Nita M. Lowey, 17th District, N.Y.)

Beatrice R. Pollard, legislative correspondent (Sen. Charles E. Schumer, N.Y.)

“This year was my first year participating, but it was thrilling to be part of the NY team’s efforts to raise awareness about the impact that our work has on the lives of so many New Yorkers, and on customers and businesses from around the world. Considering that our point was to talk about the value of face-to-face experiences, it was inspiring to see just how many different groups from across the country were there in Congress to meet with their Senators and Representatives.  Clearly, there’s no better way to get things done than getting together in person!” – Pietraszek said.

The Global Exhibitions Day effort is a collaboration driven by IAEE and UFI, said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois.

“Between IAEE's Exhibitions Day and the Global Exhibitions Day efforts ... our overall activities generated a very high level of social media activity that promoted our industry and supported our advocacy strategic plan focus,” he added.

The UFI team in Paris led the global effort as project office. A network of the following 34 associations jointly worked to achieve this, which are: UFI (Global), AAXO and EXSA (South Africa), AEFI and CFI (Italy), AEO (UK), AFE (Spain), AFECA (Asia), AFIDA (Central & South America), AMPROFEC (Mexico), AOCA (Argentina), AUMA (Germany), Fairlink (Sweden), FAMAB (Germany), CAEM (Canada), CEFA and CENTREX (Central Europe), EEAA (Australasia), EEIA (EU), HKECIA (Hong-Kong), IAEE and SISO (USA), IECA (Indonesia), IEIA (India), IELA (Global), IFES (Global), LECA (Lebanon), (Malaysia), MFTA (Macao), PCEI (Poland), RUEF (Russia), TEA (Thailand), UBRAFE (Brazil) and UNIMEV (France).

“After this huge initial success, GED will be back in 2017 - on the first Wednesday in June. Please mark your diaries for #GED17 on June 7, 2017,” said UFI Managing Director and CEO Kai Hattendorf.

To see all the photos from this year’s events check out #GED16 and #ExhibitionsDay. 

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