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Freeman Appoints Bob Priest-Heck CEO

Sandi Cain
, Senior News Editor
March 29, 2018
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DALLAS — Specialty trade show service company Freeman named industry veteran Bob Priest-Heck as its new CEO. Priest-Heck has been with Freeman for seven years, where he has led the company in its evolution to a design-driven framework, created the Freeman Design Leadership Council, and worked to create Freeman Digital Ventures. In their 90-Year History, Priest-Heck is the first CEO to come from outside the Freeman family. 

He will also serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Freeman Company, a newly created parent company that includes Freeman, Encore Event Technologies and Alford Media. Joe Popolo, a 21-year company veteran who served as Freeman’s CEO since 2008, will take over as the CEO of The Freeman Company. Popolo noted that Priest-Heck’s efforts to transform Freeman into a design-driven company and that he has a history of driving success for the company and its clients. 

Priest-Heck has spent 25 years in the industry and previously worked with Freeman during stints with MediaLive and SoftBank. He was also instrumental in developing and launching Freeman’s creative and strategic agency services.

He shared his first priorities in his new position with TSE today, saying, “As I move into this new role, I’ll be focused on a couple of key priorities. First, taking care of our Freeman people so that they are in the best position possible to deliver the experiences and service our clients have come to expect, and deserve. This is a family-run business that firmly stands behind its employees and core values. Second, I will continue to encourage and challenge our staff to drive innovation on behalf of both our customers and the industry. Take risks. Apply design thinking strategies to solve client problems in new and exciting ways. It is our responsibility as a leader in this arena to evolve and progress our industry wherever and whenever possible.”

Freeman, a family-owned company for 90 years, has evolved from its roots as a trade show service provider of audio-visual services, fabrication capabilities and in-house graphic design. Today Freeman dubs itself a leading brand experience company that includes event technology and extensive digital solutions for client needs at shows and events around the world.


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