TSNN Podcast: Trade Show Talk

Trade show TalkTrade Show News Network is excited to share our ‘Trade Show Talk’ podcast which features two episodes each month focusing on hot-button topics. Each episode kicks off with a news round up before host Danica Tormohlen leads discussions with trade show and events industry leaders. If you'd like to be a guest or you have a topic to suggest that we cover, please let us know by emailing podcast@tsnn.com. If you would like to sponsor a podcast series, please contact jrice@tsnn.com 

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Ep. 45 – SEMA's Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso: In the Driver’s Seat

With a 12-year track record at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), Tom Gattuso shared his experience as VP of Events for SEMA Show, the annual trade show for the automotive aftermarket industry. Held Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center — right before Formula 1 debuted on the Las Vegas Strip — SEMA Show attracted 2,200 exhibitors and more than 150,000 attendees — that’s more attendees than CES in January (115,000) or CONEXPO/CON-AGG in March (139,000+). 

We talked about:

  • The size of market: $51.8 billion in 2022, according to the 2023 SEMA market report. The industry is expected to grow 4-5% annually in 2024 and beyond.

  • Economic impact: Last year’s SEMA Show generated $256 million, which is expected to go higher in 2023. 

  • For the first time ever, SEMA Show, the annual trade show in Las Vegas, opened to the public on its last day in 2023. 

  • Established in 1963, SEMA has 7,000+ member companies in the business of customizing cars and trucks. The association added a new membership category for consumers who are car-crazy fanatics, rugged overlanders, vintage car restorers, adrenaline-fueled racers,  grease-monkey gearheads, "cars and coffee" connoisseurs, or weekend warriors looking for automotive adventures.

  • The launch of SEMA Fest, a consumer event held Nov. 3-4 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. 

  • 16,000 tickets were sold to see a star-studded roster of musical talent, featuring performances by Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Wiz Khalifa, AJR, Third Eye Blind, Bush, Walk the Moon and more. The event featured immersive automotive lifestyle events, a consumer marketplace, foods and drinks, world-class drifting, motorsports competitions and freestyle motocross.

  • How SEMA show attracts 3,000+ media

  • How he’s already preparing for the 2024 show while the Las Vegas Convention Center is under construction

  • SEMA is one of the few associations that has acquired a show — and been successful with these impressive stats in 2022: 1,000 companies and 3400 booths — up 10% YOY. Purchased from the founder in 2012, Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show runs it annually in Indianapolis.

  • To close out the year, PRI Show rolls into Indianapolis from Dec. 7 to 9. For the first time, the show will have a go-kart track and competition at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Podcast host Danica Tormohlen also shared the top five new stories from Trade Show News Network, Exhibit News Now and Corporate Event News.

Our guest

Tom Gattuso has been involved in producing automotive events for more than 25 years and currently serves as SEMA's Vice President of Events. With a background in both trade and consumer shows, Gattuso brings a unique perspective to building the optimal environments to connect people within the automotive industry. 

Throughout his career, Gattuso has had a role in every aspect of event production from sales to marketing to operations to management and has lead teams that turn show concepts into reality. A consummate student of shows and events, he also serves on volunteer Boards for the Trade Show industry on both the regional and national level.

Gattuso holds a bachelor's degree in Marketing and English from James Madison University.

Connect with him on LinkedIn here.


Podcast Host: Danica Tormohlen

danicaAn award-winning journalist who has covered the trade show industry since 1994, Danica Tormohlen is VP of Content for Tarsus Group, which was recently acquired by Informa for $940 million. In her role, she oversees content for Trade Show News Network, Corporate Event News and Exhibit News Now. These leading media brands publish websites, newsletters, social media channels, video, podcasts and online and in-person programming for the trade show, corporate event and exhibition industries.

Tormohlen currently serves as a board member for Women in Exhibitions Network North America chapter. She has been a speaker and moderator at major industry events, including the TSNN Awards, IMEX, IAEE, SISO, UFI, ESCA and Large Show Roundtable — to name a few.


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