This Just In
  • Messe Frankfurt acquired the Thailand Lighting Fair and Thailand Building Fair. Messe has been with the shows since they launched in 2015.
  • JW Marriott will open the 4,000-room Drew Las Vegas in 2020 at the site of the stalled Fontainebleau hotel project on Las Vegas Blvd.
  • Denver OK’d contracts for a $233-million expansion featuring an 80,000-sf rooftop ballroom and terrace at the Colorado Convention Center.
  • The latest numbers rank NAMM’s 2018 show the largest in its 117-year history with more than 115,000 attendees and nearly 2,000 exhibitors.
  • The deadline for nominations for Trade Show Executive’s Trailblazers Awards has been extended to March 16. Got to TSE Events for info.
  • International Assoc. of Amusement Parks and Attractions President and CEO Paul Noland has resigned. CFO Hal McEvoy steps in temporarily.
  • The Aria Resort & Casino $170-million expansion in Las Vegas adds 200,000 sf of flex meeting space, raising total space to 500,000 sf.
  • Gary Musich announced his retirement as Vice President of Sales for Meet AC effective March 2 after 25 years representing Atlantic City.
  • The San Diego Convention Center named ON Site, a GES company, its exclusive sound and rigging vendor and preferred audio visual provider.
  • Board members of UK-based UBM have accepted an offer from Informa for a reported 3.8 billion pounds ($5.3 billion).

People on the Move

Al Dyess

Former PRG executive Al Dyess was named President & Chief Operating Officer of Quest Events effective Feb. 1. He had been CEO of PRG’s Corporate and Events Division and is a member of the board of directors of the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association. Reach Al at (214) 436-4161 or

Matthew Carson

Matthew Carson has been promoted to CEO of PRG’s Corporate and Events Division. Previously, he had been Vice President, Agency Channel Sales. Reach Matthew at (407) 996-4160 or

Jenn Ellek

Taffy Event Strategies hired Jenn Ellek as its Senior Director of Marketing. Her duties will include developing strategies show organizers can use to drive attendance. Ellek was previously in charge of show marketing for the Sweets & Snacks Expo and PACK Expo.

Reach Jenn at (571) 313-5801 or

Jean Foster

The Consumer Technology Association promoted Jean Foster to Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications. She had been Vice President of Marketing. The newly created position gives Foster oversight of the CTA communications department as well as the marketing team. Reach Jean at (703) 907-7600 or

Sandi Harvey

Sandi Harvey is taking over as Vice President of Sales for Meet AC. Harvey, previously Senior Director of Sales, joined Meet AC in 1995 when it was known as the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority. She replaces Gary Musich who is retiring March 2. Reach Sandi at (609) 449-7148 or

Gary Musich

Gary Musich willretire March 2 as Vice President of Sales for Meet AC. Musich spent 25 years with the agency and was a frequent attendee at industry events. He will be replaced by Sandi Harvey, previously Senior Director of Sales. Reach Gary at (609) 289-9156 or

Steve Hill

Steve Hill was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. He was most recently Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and remains as Chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority. Hill’s appointment capped a two-year reorganization of the LVCVA executive leadership. Reach Steve at (702) 892-0711 or

Nancy Walsh

AMR International hired consultant Nancy Walsh to assist with the production of its annual Transform USA conference. Walsh is a former President of Reed Exhibitions U.S. and last year launched her consulting firm, Nancy P. Walsh Xpert Consulting LLC. Transform USA focuses on digital technology and analytics for the trade show and events industry. It will take place July 19 in Washington, D.C. Reach Nancy at; Denzil Rankine, Executive Chairman of AMR International, at +44 20 7534 3601 or

Jay Burress

Visit Anaheim President and CEO Jay Burress was named to the Orange County Business Journal People of the Year list for 2018, representing the county’s hospitality industry. Burress has been in his current position for the past five years and helped push Anaheim’s recent surge in hotel development, and four consecutive years of record tourist visitation. Reach Jay at (714) 765-2800 or

Michael Sawaya

Michael Sawaya was named President and General Manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, replacing Bob Johnson, who retired in September. Sawaya was previously Executive Director of the Convention and Sports Facilities Department for the City of San Antonio, a position that includes oversight over the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The Morial Convention Center is tied for sixth on the Trade Show Executive Convention Centers rankings. Reach Michael at (504) 582-3000 or

Fernando Gorbarán

Fernando Gorbarán, President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt Argentina, was elected President of the Argentine Association of Organizers and Suppliers of Trade Fairs, Congresses and Events (AOCA) through 2019. It’s the third separate term that Gorbarán has served as AOCA President. His career in Argentina’s exhibitions industry spans more than 20 years. Reach Fernando at +54 11 4514 1400 or

Howard Gelb

UBM has expanded the responsibilities of Howard Gelb, Vice President of Sales for the Global Licensing Group, to include oversight over both event and media sales. Reach Howard at (310) 857-7687 or

Steven Ekstract

UBM expanded Steven Ekstract’s duties to include the newly created position of Brand Director of its Global Licensing Group. The group’s portfolio includes the Licensing Expo events and the NYC Licensing Summit. Ekstract had been Group Publisher of UBM’s License Global magazine. He will continue to oversee the publication. Reach Steven at (212) 600-3254 or

Jennifer Kingen Kush

Jennifer Kingen Kush was promoted to Vice President of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). She joined PCMA 12 years ago and has been Director of Experience Marketing and Director of Member Relations. Her responsibilities include leadership of the PCMA Digital Experience Institute. Reach Jennifer at (312) 423-7273 or

Alison Milgram

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) promoted Alison Milgram to Director of Events. She is in charge of logistics for Convening Leaders and PCMA’s entire events portfolio. Milgram joined the PCMA events department in 2014. Her resume includes experience with SmithBucklin and as Associate Director of Events for Conrad Chicago. Reach Alison at (312) 423-7262 or

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton will enter the consulting business after stepping down as President and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in January. Sexton spent more than 12 years in the position. Her duties also included serving as President of the PCMA Education Foundation and publisher of PCMA’s Convene magazine. Her new consulting venture is based in Chicago and called DLS & Associates. Reach Deborah at (312) 399-5855 or

Sherrif Karamat

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) named Sherrif Karamat President and CEO effective Jan. 19. He had been Chief Operating Officer of the organization since 2008 and replaces Deborah Sexton. His new role includes expanding PCMA’s overseas presence and adapting the association’s educational content to new delivery technologies. Reach Sherrif at (312) 423-7262 or

Eric Zito

Eric Zito was promoted to the position of Vice President of Exposition and Member services by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), one of the associations that owns the International Production & Processing Expo, a Gold 100 show for the poultry, egg, and meat processing industries. Zito joined the NAMI in 2006 and was most recently Senior Director of Exposition and Member services. Reach Eric at (202) 587-4223 or

Bob Lozier

Former Freeman executive Bob Lozier died Dec. 7 after a long illness. His family planned to hold a memorial sometime after the holidays. Lozier joined The Freeman Company in 1967 and returned for a second tenure in 1984. He retired in 2010 as Executive Vice President of Sales. Reach Freeman CEO Joe Popolo at (214) 445-1000 or

Dan Lincoln

Dan Lincoln will retire as President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau at the end of the year. He spent 11 years on the job. COO Mike Laatsch will be interim CEO while a nationwide search for Lincoln’s successor takes place.