Trade Show Industry Hiring Kicks Into High Gear

October 30, 2012

Companies related to the trade show industry have been busy as of late with a spate of new hire announcements and promotions, signaling optimism about the future.

Choose Chicago, the city’s CVB, named D. Bradley Kent senior vice president of sales and services.

Kent most recently served as the vice president of industry relations for Freeman and he will join Choose Chicago Dec. 3.

"Brad is an influential leader with tremendous respect throughout the industry,” said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago’s president and CEO. 

He added, “Choose Chicago has an aggressive annual goal of securing 2.3 million hotel room nights and 50 new pieces of meetings and convention business. His ability to drive business growth through sales initiatives that deliver revenue, market share and market penetration is exactly what our organization needs to achieve these goals.”

In his new role, Kent will lead the 32-person sales and services team to ensure the bureau’s hotel room night and convention business goals are met.

Kent returns to Chicago, where he spent 26 years in the hotel industry in senior leadership roles with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Hotels Corporation, including the Chicago-based national sales office and Hilton Chicago.

He started his hospitality career as a desk clerk at the Chicago-based Hilton O’Hare.

“I am excited to join what I truly believe is the country’s most dynamic destination marketing organization and to sell the most customer-friendly business destination,” Kent said. 

He added, “Our customers are challenged to create engaging experiences for their attendees, and to connect the education and market opportunities between those attendees and exhibitors.”

The Expo Group also recently made a key hire, naming Rob Brice as vice president, account management.

Brice began his trade show career working at The Expo Group in customer service and as a project manager when the company was first formed more than 20 years ago.  

He now returns to lead the project management team after more than 15 years in show management with companies such as Dallas Market Center Expositions, the Atlanta Market Center and Cygnus Expositions.

Brice also was The Expo Group Show Manager of the Year in 2008 for his work on Cygnus' Firehouse Expo.

“We are excited to have Rob in this role, where he can actively work with our external-facing teams, harnessing his show manager background to improve the client experience at each touchpoint and use his extensive leadership skills to help improve workflow internally,” said Randy Pekowski, the company’s vice president and COO.

Brice will play a large role in project manager recruitment and training as The Expo Group continues to grow and diversify its portfolio.

There were several other recent trade show hires and promotions:

Derse hired Russ Fowler as executive creator director. Fowler has more than 25 years in the face-to-face marketing industry and has been with Derse since 1994.

International Association of Exhibitions and Events named Marsha Flanagan the new vice president of learning experiences.

SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas promoted two staff members: Amie Gilmore, former show manager of SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, has been promoted to associate show director; and Kerry Cree, former account executive, has been promoted to senior account Executive.

New York International Gift Fair made a few staff changes: Randi Mohr, a veteran member of the NYIGF staff, has been promoted to sales director for NYIGF Home Divisions.; Scott Kramer, a gift and home industry veteran and former member of the NYIGF team, has returned to GLM to serve as sales director for NYIGF Lifestyle Divisions.

Experient hired four new people for its Experient Sales Network: Lynn Armstrong, Bryan Earley, Ron Owens and Bob Wentworth.

Nicole O’Leary has joined The Expo Group as creative director.

Smart Source Rentals promoted Mark Duffy to general manager, event data services, and Jeffrey Byrne to vice president of sales.

Ungerboeck Software International promoted Bruce Higgins to vice president – sales, The Americas, and Matthew Harris has joined Ungerboeck as vice president – global marketing.

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