DUG Eagle Ford, Surf Expo Take Home Overall Fastest-growing Show Awards at TSNN Awards Nov. 1-3 in Reno

November 3, 2013

The overall fastest-growing show in net square footage was awarded to Hart Energy’s DUG Eagle Ford, and the overall fastest-growing show in attendance was awarded to George Little Management’s Surf Expo at the 4th Annual TSNN Awards, held Nov. 1-3 in Reno, Nev.

Barry Haest, vice president of events for Hart Energy, took the stage in front of a room filled with show organizers, their guests, sponsors and VIPS at the Peppermill Reno to accept the award.

“This is totally unexpected,” Haest said. “It’s really a team effort.”

Other fastest-growing show winners included top nonprofit show for attendance, AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, and top nonprofit show for net square footage, Shop.org Annual Summit.

More than just fast-growing shows were feted at the three-day weekend event. Henry Givray, president and CEO of SmithBucklin, also was honored with the TSNN Industry Icon Award.

Four SmithBucklin-managed shows were among the fastest-growing, and Givray asked the winning show organizers representing each one to stand up in the audience.

“These are the ones that deserve the awards,” he said. “I am just here to pick it up. It’s a real pleasure to share this award with our 700 employees.”

The first annual TSNN Awards $5,000 student scholarship award, sponsored by Reno Tahoe USA, also was given to University of Central Florida’s Taylor Dudley.

Taking the stage to accept the scholarship check Dudley said, “This is a prime example of the amazing opportunities this industry holds and I am so thankful.”

After a fierce social media campaign, in which there were five TSNN “Best of Show” nominees in the running, AmericasMart Atlanta’s LIGHTFAIR International snagged the top award in a close contest.

TSNN also launched the “Power of Events” award to celebrate a show that has a profound impact on its community. This year’s award went to Abilities Expo, a show for people with disabilities and their caretakers.

David Korse and Lew Shomer, who run the series of shows, accepted the award. “It is so important for the industry to recognize that there are so many opportunities to make people's lives better through all sorts of products and services that just don't involve making money,” Shomer said of the award.

The Expo Group’s Show Manager of the Year awards also honored five organizers from different-sized show categories, who all took the stage to receive thei iconic SMOTY crystal obelisk trophy from the company’s President and CEO Ray Pekowski, as well as a check with a donation made to their favorite charity.

One of the five winners, Shannon Burke, CMP, director of conference and meetings, National Association of College Admission Counseling, said, “I really appreciate the opportunity, and thank you for a fantastic award.”

The awards were just one part of an overall weekend celebration in Reno.

"It was a stellar weekend. Reno Tahoe USA showed our winners great hospitality and why Reno is such a great destination,” said Adam Schaffer, the event’s emcee and vice president, Trade Shows and Exhibitions for HelmsBriscoe. “I am always proud to host this great event and spend time with all of the honorees.”

Here are some VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS by Convention News Televison of the gala awards and education sessions.

The opening night party kicked off in the private Kingpin Lounge at the National Bowling Stadium, with attendees donning bowling shoes and hitting the lanes for a fun-filled tourney.

The next morning, everyone headed over to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center for the TSNN Awards Executive Conference, which featured several insightful sessions.

The “State of the Industry Panel” opened the conference with International of Exhibitions & Events Chair Jason McGraw and Society of Independent Show Organizers Chair David Audrain in a session moderated by TSNN President Rachel Wimberly touching on several hot-button issues.

Audrain called the current cost-model on the showfloor “broken”, adding, “Wouldn't you rather exhibitors talk about the quality of attendees than the price of a trashcan or drayage?”

McGraw likened a live show to people looking forward to Christmas, adding that they’ll always want to keep meeting face-to-face. “You can’t drink a beer on the Internet,” he said of attendees meeting virtually.

Givray took the stage to talk about the “Passion of Leadership” saying, “Time will judge whether I was a leader or not. I will never call myself a leader.”

Here are just a few of Givray’s leadership lessons he spoke of:

Leadership can't be taught ... it must be learned.        


Leadership is about change: visualizing something better for the future & getting others to go on the journey.

True leaders inspire others without the promise of reward or the threat of punishment.

Cohesive teams enrich each other individually.

Dana Freker Doody, vice president of corporate communications for The Expo Group, ended the conference with a session on “The 18,250-day Show”, taking a look at making the show an experience that stretches over a 50-year career span.

She told attendees, “acquiring a new attendee cost five times more than keeping one,” so to focus on creating exciting content on and off the showfloor to keep them engaged.

After the conference, the attendees headed next door to the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa for lunch, followed by a keynote from Travelocity Founder Terry Jones, who spoke on innovation.

“We live in a time of unrelenting change,” he said.

Jones related a quote from General Eric. Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, who said, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

Jones told the attendees that “you can’t get any new ideas unless you create a culture of innovation” and encouraged them to continually take chances on something out of the box to keep evolving.

The entire weekend ended on a festive note at the Nevada Museum of Art, where attendees enjoyed the opening of the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit accompanied by Can Can dancers and a Parisian-style brunch.

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