2011 TSNN Event Excellence Awards Lines Up Stellar Speakers: Announces Industry Icon Award Honoree

October 8, 2011

The 2011 TSNN Event Excellence Awards, Nov. 4-6 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., promises to be a stand-out event with thought-provoking keynotes, valuable educational sessions and the naming this year’s Industry Icon Award Honoree, Jason McGraw.

McGraw is the senior vice president of expositions for InfoComm International and a 24-year veteran of the trade show industry. Besides InfoComm, he also has worked on some of the biggest shows, such as CONEXPO-CON/AGG and the International Builders Show. He also has managed international shows held in China, Europe, Japan, Mexico and Singapore.

At InfoComm, McGraw is responsible for the annual TSNN Top 250 professional audiovisual industry exposition held each June in the U.S. In addition, he is a board member of IAEE and a member of ASAE, MATSO and PCMA.

For these achievements and more, TSNN is proud to name Jason McGraw this year’s Industry Icon Award Honoree.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be selected as TSNN’s Industry Icon Award Honoree,” McGraw said. “Thank you to everyone at TSNN and Tarsus Advon for recognizing my years of effort and service in the exposition management industry.”

Keynotes will include one given after lunch by Sekou Andrews, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed spoken word artist, actor and musician who inspires the business world one poem at a time with The Sekou Effect.

"What if you could leave a tradeshow but have the tradeshow never leave you? What if you could experience a tradeshow once and remember it forever? What if the reason you rushed off to the airport after the final presentation was not because the tradeshow had ended but because the ideas it inspired had just begun?,” Sekou said.

Sekou thrives on transforming "What ifs" into reality. His unique and captivating keynote will be unlike any you’ve experienced at a tradeshow. The keynote will help you both retain and apply the information, strategies and insight that will have filled your mind by sealing them into your heart and soul. “Expect not to expect what you expect to come next,” Sekou said.

His work has been featured on such diverse national media outlets as ABC, MSNBC, HBO, Showtime, MTV and BET. Companies and organizations that have experienced “The Sekou Effect” include Kraft, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, Medco, Time Warner, eBay and Microsoft. For more on Sekou, visit www.TheSekouEffect.com.

The morning keynote will be given by Thom Singer, who is a professional speaker, sales trainer and the author of seven books on the power of business relationships and networking, and a eighth on presentation skills. He has spent over 20 years in sales, marketing, and business development roles with major corporations and AM LAW 100 law firms.

He regularly consults with corporations, law firms and individuals on how to cultivate their personal brands and establish professional connections that will lead to more referral business.

His speaking includes impactful keynotes, break-outs sessions, training programs and the "Conference Catalyst" program, which is quickly becoming a "meeting planner's favorite". In this role he sets the tone for a meeting to be a place where people embrace the opportunity to create real and meaningful connections. For more on Thom Singer, please visit www.ThomSinger.com.

T-awards educational highlights feature a “State of the Industry” session Saturday morning with Vinnie Polito, chair of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, and Sean Guerre, chair of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, discussing the state of the trade show industry with moderator Stephen Nold, president of Tarsus Advon, a division of U.K.-based Tarsus Group (owner of TSNN).

The C-level executive conference also will include a panel on the latest in social media with show managers talking about what they are doing on their show, as well a session talking a look a Visa issues with Patricia Rojas, U.S. Travel Association vice president of government relations, and what the industry is doing to ease international visitation to trade shows.

The Saturday night gala awards evening will celebrate not only the 40 fastest-growing shows in attendance and net square footage, but also the show with the best social media outreach and marketing, the special Industry Icon Award Honoree and TSNN’s very first “Best of Show” award.

The award presentation is hosted by Adam Schaffer, former Publisher of Tradeshow Week, and President of Media Revenue Partners. To register, please go to www.T-awards.com.

Sponsors for this year’s event include Presenting Sponsors Freeman and Ungerboeck Software International; Founding Sponsor The Expo Group; Gold Sponsors SmartSource, Trade Show Internet, a2z Inc., Experient, etouches, asp and MarketArt; Silver Sponsors presdo, T3Expo, OnPeak, IndustryConnect, AllianceTech, LA Inc. and Convention Data Services; Hotel Sponsor Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.; Media Sponsors include Convention News Television and H+A International; Photography Sponsor The Photo Group.

For sponsorship information please contact: Chris Anderson – canderson@tsnn.com– 512 992 6297.

Add new comment

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.