06 Jun 2022

ECEF leading from the front in DC

Stephanie Selesnick previewed this year’s Exhibition and Conference Executives Forum (ECEF) ahead of it opening in Washington, DC, 1 June

Sam Lippman, of Lippman Connects, producers of the annual ECEF Conference said a few weeks before the 2022 edition, taking place in Washington, DC 1 June, that it was on target to match the sold out 2017-2019 editions.

ECEF attracts C-level exhibition organisers from the For-Profit and Association worlds, along with top executive suppliers to the industry. 

The day-long conference begins with 5 Points in 5 Minutes, where Lippman delivers a data-driven update/trend identification on the US exhibition industry. Freeman has partnered with ECEF for a sixth time to provide the data. 

Lippman said: “One of the more interesting tidbits is that visitors are coming back faster to exhibitions than exhibitors. What kind of ramifications does that have on future exhibit floor space purchases?”

Keynote Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal, works exclusively on LGBTQ workplace equality – and produces proprietary events. She will share her take on Diversity & Inclusion. Her partners include Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Apple, HP, Dell, GE, and Disney, so she knows how to incorporate D&I into organisations. “Looking to the future, inclusion for your organisation and at your shows is imperative,” Lippman noted. 

The SHOT Show, held this past February in Las Vegas, NV is a great example of an Association (NSSF) and a For-Profit (ConvExx) successfully partnering to produce a world-class exhibition. Chris Dolnack and Jeff Pressman will share some secrets to their success, with a focus on exhibitor education, including the famous Exhibitor Academy. (Full disclosure: I taught at one of the Academies a few years ago.)

What do our exhibitors think about the Grand Reopen? In 2019, Siemens was an anchor exhibitor in five shows with 650sqm. In 2022, they are taking 320sqm in those same expos. Jeannie Henson, director of exhibit management, Siemens Healthineers North America is to discuss thoughts from her company’s C-Suite, including the answer to the often-asked question, ‘If there are fewer attendees, why should we keep the same amount
of space?’ 

A number of US Associations are celebrating over 100 years of existence and have been running shows for at least half (or more) of that time. Debbie Holton, president of Metrix Connect LLC, an ASME company, will share how they were able to form a start-up company within a 140-year-old organisation. Lippman said: “With some older associations, change is challenging. It’s almost as if one is being forced to run in ‘concrete sneakers’. 

How can you stay innovative or pivot? This session will talk about ways to change or remove those sneakers.”

Rounding out the programming included a discussion on succession with newly minted AEM president Megan Tanel and Nicole Hallada, Senior VP of exhibitions and marketing, and the closing panel discussion is set to feature both association and for-profit organisers talking about challenges and concerns as we move out of the Covid pandemic.  

Networking is always important and ECEF 2022 begins with an opening reception on 30 May, and a full day of tech demos from 13 of the top technology providers in the industry.