New Business Contracts: Stetson, CDS, eventPower and CompuSystems

September 23, 2020

While there has been an understandable drop in new and renewed business deals in the trade show industry lately, there have been some bright spots, particularly in the virtual space. Here are a few companies continuing to forge ahead as they prepare for a post-COVID-19 business future.

Stetson Convention Services 

Pittsburgh-based Stetson Convention Services has been tapped by Jamie Belkin Productions, Cleveland Clinic and The Commission on Presidential Debates to help produce the 2020 Presidential Debate, set for Sept. 29 at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. 

According to Stetson President Bill Sandherr, the 56-year-old full-service contractor and decorating company will be a specialty contractor for the event. It will work closely with all parties, including approximately 150 media outlets, to provide event management services and online material and equipment ordering storefronts. Additionally, Stetson will provide IT sourcing, marketing and special events departments for Cleveland Clinic.

“This means so much to our company,” Sandherr said. “It means that we can get back to work and do the things we love to do: planning, collaborating, creating, producing [and] working with a team of professional event planners in a safe and enjoyable way.”

Convention Data Services

Convention Data Services signed a new four-year contract with LightFair International, the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference. Between 2021-24, the Freeman Company-owned partner will provide registration, lead management and integrations for the event, set for May 16-20, 2021, at Javits Center in New York City. 

According to LightFair Show Director Dan Darby, CDS’s customizable registration system, which also allows the show to access real-time data analytics, was the deciding factor in continuing its partnership with the company. 

“We are excited to once again join forces with LightFair International,” said David Lawton, chief sales officer at CDS. “We plan to implement new technologies and best practices to simplify the registration process for [LightFair] attendees and exhibitors.”


Conference management services and software tools provider eventPower has signed 11 new corporate and association clients that will use its new Virtual Event Experience, an all-in-one digital tool for hybrid events. They include: 

  • Arkansas Speech Language Hearing Association
  • BioOhio
  • First Three Years
  • Healthcare Businesswomen's Association
  • Khoros
  • Metro Public Adjustment
  • National Association of State Retirement Administrators
  • National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • Technology Services Industry Association
  • The Missouri School Boards Association
  • Tito’s Handmade Vodka

 “When COVID-19 hit the industry, our team knew that we had to quickly shift gears in coming up with a solution that allows eventPower to continue to host events in some capacity,” said Laurie Powell, the company’s vice president of business development. “We’re proud to separate ourselves from other virtual platforms by designing a tool that was built by meeting planners, for meeting planners.”


Event software company CompuSystems has been tapped to provide registration, data analytics and call center services for the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s SEMA360 eMarketplace, a new e-commerce solution that will taking place Nov. 2-6 in lieu of the annual live SEMA Show in Las Vegas. 

“Since 2009, CompuSystems has serviced the in-person SEMA Show,” explained Chris Williams, president of CompuSystems. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to deliver our best-in-class registration solutions to help them make their online SEMA360 the best it can be.”

The company also signed multi-year renewal deals with several association clients recently, including National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), The Association for Talent Development (ATD) and Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA).

CompuSystems will provide registration, data analytics and lead retrieval services for each of the organization’s annual shows, including Total Store Expo through 2023, NACDS Annual Meetings through 2023, ATD International Conference & Expo through 2022 and SGIA’s PRINTING United through 2023.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.