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TSE Announces Trailblazers Award Winners

Jamie Bartosch
, News Editor
April 25, 2018
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CHICAGO — Trade Show Executive will honor four innovative up-and-comers in the industry’s nonexecutive ranks during its inaugural Trailblazers awards program this summer.

Created by Trade Show Executive and sponsored by TSE partner Freeman, Trailblazers will be part of the TSE’s Fastest 50 and Awards Summit June 13-15 in Chicago. The Trailblazers award was created to recognize people in the trade show industry who are trying new or unique approaches and delivering impressive results.

“We wanted to recognize our industry’s rising stars. These are people that have created something new which garnered strong results at their show — essentially, they have blazed a new trail for their show and team,” TSE Publisher and Editor Gabrielle Weiss said. “We felt that it was a perfect complement to our Fastest 50 brand and are thrilled to have Freeman’s support for this new program.”

The 2018 TSE Trailblazers awards will be given to: 

  • Douglas Lugo, Director of Global Exhibitions at Informa

  • Russell Coronel, Marketing Specialist at UBM Americas, Licensing Expo

  • Melissa Schilling, Director of Exhibitions & Conferences at National Shooting Sports Foundation

  • Alexander Duering, Senior Project Man-ager at Messe Dusseldorf North America


“Freeman is honored to partner with Trade Show Executive on the inaugural Trailblazer Awards. These talented innovators are creating true experiences and bringing together communities against the backdrop of shared purpose.  With this next generation of leaders, the future of our industry is bright. Congratulations to today’s winners,” Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck said.

Each recipient pioneered new or different ways of doing things for their shows.

Lugo was chosen for his work in building up the Latin American audience for his events. He used a creative vision to help foster audience growth by developing a Spanish education track. Lugo also facilitated a co-location partnership with a local show organizer to expand into Mexico, resulting in a tremendous Latin American audience boost in that region.

UBM’s Coronel will be honored for his efforts in creating and building Licensing Week as part of his work on Licensing Expo. He helped strategize the direction and demographic criteria, managed pro motions and handled the RSVP logistics to increase registration. His work also improved NPS scores and attendance.

Schilling, of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, will be recognized for her work on the SHOT Show. Schilling led participation in the International Buyer Program and Caliber Club VIP program, in which 250 members upgraded their registrations. The program sold out in a month-and-a-half, marking a 54% increase in participation over 2017. She has also demonstrated a talent for streamlining the ConvExx and Experient registration process, which led to a record 5% increase in registration satisfaction ratings.

Duering, of Messe Dusseldorf North America, was selected because of his operations know-how and his establishment of a structure that led to extreme growth in the Valve World Expo Americas show. Beyond the numbers, Duering ensured that customers were treated with the same care and attention as when the show was much smaller.  

Each of the Trailblazers award recipients will speak on a panel moderated by Priest-Heck.

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