The Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum, held in Washington, D.C., May 30, offered seven sessions and two networking events—one the evening before the main event, and a closing reception that, new for 2018, offered the opportunity to take 10 event industry technology solutions for a test drive. Opening keynote speaker John Barrett, executive director of ISSA—The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, engagingly detailed how he, with just a couple of years in this industry under his belt, is driving rapid expansion by keeping the focus on ISSA's mission to make the world a better place for cleaning professionals. “John’s learning experiences and ultimate success reminded us that strong, yet flexible leadership is critical to both associations and independent organizers,” says Sam Lippman, president of ECEF producer Lippman Connects.
At the end of the day, futurist Mickey McManus, visiting research fellow at Autodesk and senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group, took the audience on a wild ride as he explained his vision of how attendee interactions will evolve as machine learning algorithms mature. Sandwiched in between were presentations by Mark Baum, senior vice president and chief collaboration officer, Food Marketing Institute; Michael Clapperton, chief technology officer, Informa Global Exhibitions (part of MeetingsNet's parent company, Informa); Margaret Core, vice president, marketing and industry events, Food Marketing Institute; Macy Fecto, executive vice president, HR and administration, Access Intelligence; Sam Lippman; Peter J. O'Neil, CEO, ASIS International; Nicole Peck, executive vice president, BizBash; and Greg Topalian, CEO, Clarion UX.