US tradeshow sector forms new advocacy alliance

A coalition of eight US event industry associations has formed a new advocacy group, the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), to lobby the interests of the US exhibitions and conference sector with legislators.

ECA describes its role as being, “to help government officials understand the important role events have on economies and job creation. We promote the impact of the sector, drive general industry awareness, monitor legislative issues, advocate for the industry’s common interests, and work with partners globally as needed, to maintain a favorable operating environment within the US.

“ECA provides a long-term strategy focused on creating substantive relationships with policymakers and ensuring priority matters are heard”.

Existing initiatives targeted on lobbying for recovery funding and promoting the industry’s economic impact, Go LIVE Together and Exhibitions Mean Business, will continue under the broad ECA banner.

ECA, which is predominantly made up of exhibition side organisations, will also look to develop new advocacy campaigns as specific needs arise.

David Audrain, executive director of the Society of Independent Show Organisers (SISO) and David DuBois, president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE), are the ECA co-presidents and will report to a board comprised of representatives from the alliance partner organisations. 

ECA is registered as a 501(c)6 non-profit organisation and is funded through existing industry associations.

“Through lessons learned with Go LIVE Together, Exhibitions Mean Business and other efforts, we know that advocacy is an ongoing process, and not one that can be easily impacted by jumping in only when there is a crisis,” said David Audrain.

He added, “ECA will enable us to develop and maintain a long-term strategy to raise our industry’s profile among policymakers, ultimately helping to move us forward.”

The ECA board comprises:

  • Cathy Breden, CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
  • Melissa Cherry, COO, Destinations International
  • Jim Wurm, executive director, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association (EACA)
  • Chris Griffin, CEO of Crew XP, representing Experiential Designers + Producers Association (EDPA)
  • Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, representing Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA)
  • Megan Tanel, SVP of Association of Equipment Manufacturers, representing International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)
  • Clifford ‘Rip’ Rippitoe, CEO of San Diego Convention Center, representing International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)
  • Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group; Hervé Sedky, CEO of EmeraldX; Nancy Walsh, president, Americas of Informa Markets; and Yancy Weinrich CGO, Americas of Reed Exhibitions, representing Society of Independent Show Organisers (SISO).

“We are grateful for the generous support of ECA’s alliance partners and their board representatives,” said David DuBois.

“We’re confident that combining our resources will strengthen our advocacy influence for exhibitions and conferences, effectively ensuring that our voices are heard, to generate positive outcomes for our industry on Capitol Hill as well as at the state and local level.”