Record-breaking 112 Trade Show Professionals Take Part in #ExhibitionsDay on Capitol Hill

June 10, 2017

For the fourth year in a row, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events spearheaded #ExhibitionsDay, held June 6-7 in Washington, D.C., at which 112 trade show professionals had more than 100 face-to-face meetings with congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.

"The 4th Annual Exhibitions Day was a tremendous success, as we realized a 30-percent increase in participation of IAEE members who joined us in Washington, D.C., to make important calls on Congressional staff,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, CTA, FASAE

He added, “This year's issues were very bi-partisan in scope and we know that support was garnered by many Congressional leaders as they continue to deliberate during the current sessions. Global Exhibitions Day was also very successful as advocacy events took place in 75 countries.”

Highlights of the day captured by CNTV can be found HERE.

Here were some of the issues discussed:

·       Support for the continuation of Brand USA (targeted for elimination in the President's proposed budget)

·       Infrastructure support, including H.R. 1265 (Rebuilding America's Airport Infrastructure Act)

·       Stop online booking scams (H.R. 2495 and S. 1164)

·       Industry security initiative (the alignment of EMSSI with the Department of Homeland Security), and the need for necessary resources for the DHS SAFETY Act Office.

Here were just a handful of the people who visited Capitol Hill:

Carrie Ferenac, Chair of #ExhibitionsDay and Owner/President of CNTV

Who she met with: Fla. Rep. Stephanie Brown, and Fla. aides with Rep. Val Demings, Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio. 

Quote from Ferenac on her experience: “This year's Exhibitions Day energized me to continue advocating for our industry.   The attendees made a real difference, and gained traction on key issues.  Now, the work continues into the future.   I would encourage all members of our industry to get involved, talk with their legislators, and promote fair and free trade in any way possible. I was so excited to hear members of Congress talk about our industry, ask intelligent questions, and tell us they would consider our requests. I would like to thank IAEE for all the hard work to make this year's Exhibitions Day a huge success!”

Kiki Fox, Core-Apps, Senior Manager, National Sales

Who she met with:  N.Y. Sen. Gillibrand's office, Sen. Schumer's office Rep. Yvette Clarke and Rep. Rice.

Quote from Fox on her experience: "It was my first Exhibitions Day, and I am planning on continuing to take part in it next year and beyond. It was an amazing opportunity to support my clients who feel the direct impact in New York, and know that I was also benefitting all of the suppliers including our company who are also affected when a show is not able to bring in international and domestic attendees due to restrictions or a feeling that they are not safe. Being able to share the hard numbers of the economic impact our industry has on the GDP is incredibly compelling and definitely made the staffers take notice."

Julie Smith, GES Senior Vice President of National Sales

Who she met with: Calif. Rep. Ami Bera, and with staff members in the offices of Representatives Maxine Waters, Ed Royce, Alan Lowenthal, and Senator Dianne Feinstein.  

Quote from Smith on her experience: “This was my third Exhibitions Day, and my sense was that the participants were very encouraged by the interest in the issues we discussed. There were close to 120 exhibition and events professionals participating, and each one of them brought their unique experiences and knowledge to the meetings. Carrie Ferenac of CNTV, chairperson of the IAEE Exhibitions Day committee, called it "an adult field trip," and it really is exciting for those of us who don't normally engage in lobbying activities. In fact, during the prep session held on Tuesday, Carrie shared a video designed to show children how a bill becomes a law, and I think there were a lot of us who appreciated the civics refresher course! It is a lot of fun to find your way around Capitol Hill, moving between office buildings through the tunnels, or people-watching in the Longworth cafeteria. Most importantly, it is gratifying to feel that you can make a real impact on the industry we love by sharing important insights with lawmakers.”

John “Jack” Patronski, GES Executive Vice President of Industry Development

Who he met with: Ill. Reps Danny Davis, Jan Schakowsky and Dan Lipinski, as well as Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

Quote from Patronski on his experience: “The biggest takeaway is that every office was familiar with our issues and understood our “ASKs”.  Brand USA was the most “no-brainer” to each of the offices we met.   More familiarity with the Stop on-line booking scams over last year’s meetings, with Bills now sitting in both houses. All agreed on need for infrastructure and all (Representatives) agreed to look into the current Bill sitting in the House.   Only concern Jan S. had was to make sure that if the cap is lifted and a new cap set, the money is appropriated to the actual need and not used in other places.  Did not want the consumer to pay more and not see the benefits. We opened each discussion with the contribution to the GNP both nationally and for the State of Illinois. We also had additional information on Illinois which we used at the appropriate time. Number of visitors, spend per international visitor/attendee, ROI on investment for promotion of travel, etc.”

For more information on how to advocate on behalf of the trade show industry and take part in next year's #ExhibitionsDay, please visit

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: