People News: Core-Apps, Surf Expo, Hargrove, Fern and More Make Hires, Promotions

March 13, 2017

The positive overall jobs report last week seems to be reflected in the trade show industry as well, with more companies bringing on new hires and promoting from within.

Core-apps hired association and events veteran Christine Davis as sales manager and promoted long-time employee Megan Pierce to director of Account Management.

Davis comes to Core-apps from roles at SmithBucklin, PCMA and in association management.

Pierce has been with Core-apps for five years and now will lead the account management team as second in command for that division.

Core-apps CEO Jay Tokosch said both women offer unique expertise that positions the sales and account teams for growth.

“Our value proposition to the marketplace is our industry expertise and technical leadership,” he added, “Christine Davis and Megan Pierce bring to the table strong skills in both areas. We are also dedicated to adding diversity to our team and are pleased to welcome both women to the management ranks of the company.”

Surf Expo, a boardsports, paddle and beach/resort lifestyle trade show, has brought on Kenneth Andres as sales manager for the SUP, Wake, Wind, Kayak & Canoe sections of the show.

Andres brings more than 16 years of industry experience and a deep background in B2B sales, trade show management and association management which will be an asset to the show and his role.

Roy Turner, Surf Expo senior vice president and show director, said, “In this role, Kenneth will be a strategic partner with the associations who represent the industries we serve and will ensure that Surf Expo meets and exceeds their needs, and ultimately build upon the value that Surf Expo delivers to retail buyers and the industry.”

Prior to joining the Surf Expo team, Andres was show director for ICAST, produced by The American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

Hargrove, the creator of environments for events, experiential marketing activations, custom exhibits and trade shows, made some strategic changes to its Creative Services department.

Jorge Mijares has been promoted to the position of director of Creative Services. His new responsibilities include managing the company’s creative directors and design team and interfacing with the extensive sales force to bring creative vision to reality for Hargrove's clients.

Jayna Champeau has been promoted to Visual Communications and Experience Design strategist.

This is a new position that enhances Hargrove’s abilities to offer clients higher-level strategy consultation, better understanding and to incorporate consumer journey mapping into Hargrove’s design solutions.

David Cusack also joins the growing events team at Hargrove as a senior sales executive. Cusack most recently served as a Director of Operations at The White House responsible for the daily operations and finances of the White House and the Executive Office of the President.

Prior to this role, he served as a commissioned officer to President Obama as his Director of Advance and produced summits at the State Department.

Fern, a provider of exhibition, event and marketing support services, hired Matthew Witt as a national sales manager. Witt will be based in Washington, D.C.

Witt brings an extensive background in exhibition sales and marketing.

Prior to joining Fern, he worked as senior manager, Exhibition Sales for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

He also spent time with Washington Sports and Entertainment as an Account Executive for the Washington Wizards.

“Matthew’s many years in this industry make him a tremendous addition to the Fern team,” said Jeffrey Hoffend, vice president of National Sales. “With creative insights and a relationship-building attitude, he understands the value of working as a team to achieve great results.” 

IMN Solutions, a global leader in the full-service association, meeting and event management industry, has promoted Mariana Gallo to executive vice president.

As executive vice president, Gallo will have overall responsibility for IMN’s growing account management team with a commitment to strong service delivery, innovative thinking and enhancements for clients while maintaining account management responsibilities for key accounts.

"This organizational change supports our clients’ growth,” said Barbara Myers, CAE, CEO, IMN. “Mariana is an accomplished veteran in our industry with a successful track record of client development. Her outstanding leadership is instrumental in continuously aligning IMN with the needs of our association, meeting and event management clients.”

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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.