Institute of Food Technologists' Expo, True Value Spring Market Snag Overall TSNN Event Excellence Awards

November 6, 2011

The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., was the site of a weekend filled with festivities to celebrate the 2nd Annual TSNN Event Excellence Awards (T-awards), with overall winners for fastest-growing net square footage and fastest-growing attendance, as well as other awards, being revealed at a Saturday night gala filled with show organizers and suppliers to the industry.

The top overall winner for fastest-growing show for net square footage was True Value Company’s True Value Spring Market, and the fastest-growing show for attendance was IFT – Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo.

Adam Schaffer, president of Media Revenue Partners, was the emcee, and Ray Pekowski, founding sponsor of the T-awards and president and CEO of The Expo Group, presented the overall winners with their awards.

“I just wanted to say this is amazing to be honored by our peers for something we enjoy doing and we wouldn’t want to do anything else,” said Randy Smith, exhibits manager for True Value Company.

IFT also was the top fastest-growing association show in the attendance category, along with the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s Winter Fancy Food Show. Reed Exhibition’s BookExpoAmerica was the top for-profit show in the attendance category as well.

True Value Spring Market was the top fastest-growing for-profit in the net square footage category, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo was the top fastest-growing association show.

There were several other shows honored throughout the evening, including Reed Exhibitions’ AIBTM – The Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition debut show, which snagged the inaugural TSNN “Best of Show” award that was voted on by the overall industry.

“This was my first show as show manager, so I am really excited to be receiving this,” said Steve Knight, AIBTM’s project director. “I want to thank everyone who voted for us. I am glad we have some fans out there.”

Other shows that were lauded included the Abilities Expo series, which serves people with disabilities, for Best Consumer Show.

Lew Shomer runs the show series with David Korse, who accepted the award. “On behalf of Lew Shomer and the entire team who do this (show), thank you,” Korse said. “It’s way better than a real job.”

The best social/media marketing award was accepted by Margaret Core and Erin Lee, who work for the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s BIO International show. Among other social media innovations the show was recognized for, it passed out a “Get Social Notebook” that helped attendees get connected and stay connected throughout the show.

Stephen Nold, president of Tarsus Advon, presented Jason McGraw, senior vice president of expositions for InfoComm International, with the Industry Icon Honoree award.

McGraw, who has been in the nonprofit and for-profit trade show and conference management industry for 24 years, said, “You can’t be successful in this business without people and relationships. It’s about the power of face-to-face.”

Other weekend highlights included a Friday night cocktail reception, a Saturday C-level conference with sessions on international visa issues, the state of the industry with Sean Guerre, chair of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, and Vinnie Polito, chair of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, as well as a panel focusing on what’s next in social media.

Next year, Trade Show News Network will once again host the 3rd Annual TSNN Event Excellence Awards. Dates and location will be announced in spring 2012.

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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.