This Just In
  • Tom Cindric joins Winsight as President, Exhibitions to oversee National Restaurant Show. Mary Pat Heftman now Vice Chairman of Winsight.
  • Emerald Expositions Events Inc. tapped former UBM exec, Sally Shankland, to serve as its President and CEO. Phil Evans continues as CFO.
  • The division of Informa PLC created by the combination of UBM and Informa has been renamed and rebranded as Informa Markets.
  • Trade Show Executive won three prestigious ASBPE “Azbee” Awards in Chicago. TSE is also a national finalist for Magazine of the Year Award.
  • Informa PLC launched Informa Ventures offering capital, access to markets, mentorship, and expertise to knowledge and information start-ups.
  • Freeman Vice Chair Carrie Freeman Parsons promoted to Chair replacing Don Freeman, who will become Chairman Emeritus in July.
  • Marketplace Events (MPE), producer of 66 consumer shows in North America, acquired the Arizona Bridal Shows from Townsquare Live Events LLC.
  • Nominations for 2019 Trailblazers Opens for Trade Show Executive’s Trailblazers program which recognizes the industry’s up-and-comers.
  • Informa Exhibitions reported a 6.7% jump in underlying revenues for 2018 even as it absorbed the blockbuster acquisition of UBM.

People in the News

Dan DiPietro

The Expo Group named Dan DiPietro its new National Sales Director. The newly created position is based in Washington, DC and includes outreach to associations seeking experiential events. DiPietro worked as Business Development Manager for Freeman during his career and was most recently Senior Director, Corporate Accounts for the Navy League of the United States. Reach Dan at (703) 383-9880 or

Shannon Burchi

ASIS International promoted Shannon Burch to the newly created position of Vice President of Events and Business Development. She had been Director of Exhibits. Burch’s expanded role puts her in overall charge of the ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits. Reach Shannon at (703) 518-1424 or

Barry Richards

First Protocol named Barry Richards president of the company’s managed services division, which serves the events industry. He will oversee account growth for clients in the U.S. and Great Britain. Richards spent the past 10 years with Grass Roots, a U.S. meetings and events services firm. Reach Barry at (212) 810 4100 or

Kelly Peacy

Kelly Peacy is leaving the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) to launch a business events consulting firm. Peacy will step down as PCMA’s Senior Vice President, Education and Events effective April 15, wrapping up a career with the association that began in 2000. Her new enterprise, Insight Event Strategy LLC, is already contracted to develop the open learning space at PCMA’s 2017 Convening Leaders conference. There was no immediate word from PCMA on who would fill the upcoming vacancy. Reach Kelly at (312) 423-7262 or 

Mark Garrison

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association created a new senior vice presidency position that will focus on keeping its events portfolio fresh and relevant to its members. Mark Garrison will head up the effort as SPI’s first Senior Vice President of Membership and Business Development. He was Vice President of Member Services for the past eight years. The SPI portfolio is led by the triennial NPE: The Plastics Show, which last year set a show record with more than 1.1 million nsf of exhibit space. Reach Mark at (202) 423-1448 or


Claude Molinari

Claude Molinari has been promoted to General Manager of Cobo Center in Detroit effective immediately. Molinari is an 18-year veteran of SMG and has been Assistant General Manager of Cobo Center since 2010. He was also concurrently the Regional Director of Operations for SMG Mideast where he managed the operations departments of 15 facilities.   Molinari will report to Thom Connors, who remains SMG Regional Vice President with oversight over the Cobo account. Reach Claude at 313) 877-8777 or; Thom at (313) 877-8777 or

Carol Wallace

Carol Wallace, former President and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corp., was named temporary Executive Administrator for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). She will handle the day-to-day operations of the association, including planning for VenueConnect2016, during the search for a permanent replacement for Vicki Hawarden. Hawarden stepped down in February. Interim CEO Steve Flamm is leaving IAVM at the end of March, the association said. Wallace retired after more than 24 years with the San Diego Convention Center and launched her own consulting firm. Reach Carol at (858) 759-2682 or; IAVM Chair Karen Totaro at (609) 449-2012 or

Cedric Turnbore

Cedric Turnbore was promoted to Director of Operations at Cobo Center. Turnbore has been with the Detroit center for six years and was most recently Senior Operations Manager. He started out as Production Services Manager. His responsibilities include production, sustainability and janitorial services. Reach Cedric at (313) 877-8777 or


Randy Pekowski

Randy Pekowski has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of The Expo Group. Founder and former President Ray Pekowski will remain CEO and Chairman of the business, currently celebrating its 25th year as a trusted exhibition and events partner. The promotion is part of the strategic succession plan the company has put in place for the next generation of leadership.

“It has become clear Randy is the right person to lead The Expo Group into the next 25 years,” says Ray Pekowski. “In his role as COO, he has been leading our day-to-day operations, gaining extensive experience and showing his great passion for this business. I am looking forward to working with him in his new role.”

Randy was named COO in 2006; he has worked in the trade show business and for The Expo Group in various roles for over 20 years. A graduate of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, Randy also studied at Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management graduate program. He is an inventor-of-record for The Expo Group’s patented business model and technology enabling Single Source® service.

“Innovative growth companies like ours create immense opportunities for our clients and for our own employees,” Randy says. “The foundation we have built in service and entrepreneurship over the past 25 years will be the platform on which I lead this company through to the next generation.”

David Gordon

David Gordon, former general manager of the Long Beach Convention Center, died in early March at the age of 73. He had suffered from stomach cancer. Gordon spent 21 years as general manager before retiring in 2010, and oversaw the center’s expansion in 1994. He also spent six years as assistant general manager of the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Reach Charles Beirne, General Manager, Long Beach Convention Center, at (562) 499-7575 or 

Enno Schummers

Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH named Enno Schummers to head up its new Digital Business Division, which will provide content-management and develop other digital services for its exhibitors and attendees. Schummers joined Reed from arvato AG, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, where he managed the launch of a similar digital communications division. Reed produces 500 trade fairs and conferences in 43 countries annually. Reach Enno at +49 211 90191-0 or

Robert J. Tracy

Robert J. Tracy has joined United Service Companies as a senior vice president in their security group, United Security Services, Inc. 

Tracy, whose 30-year career includes command positions with the New York Police Department and global crisis management at Citigroup, most recently served as the Chief of Office of Crime Control Strategies for the Chicago Police Department. In this role, he worked under the guidance and supervision of then-superintendent Garry F. McCarthy. Tracy was able to reduce overall crime by 37% and helped achieve the lowest homicide rate since 1966. As Senior Vice President, Robert Tracy will provide consulting services, assist in the company’s growth, and direct United Security’s global efforts. 

Additionally, former deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department and Chicago Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, will work exclusively with United on various industry-based projects through his new private-sector venture, GFM-Strategies.  

“Our continued ability to recruit top talent is a paramount to bringing the best service to each of our clients,” said Richard Simon. “Robert Tracy is a distinguished member of both the public law enforcement sector and the private corporate sector. His leadership, along with the ability to partner with Garry McCarthy and GFM-Strategies, gives us a significant advantage as we ramp up our next generation security at public facilities.”

Contact Robert at (800) 248-8558 or; Garry at  (312) 986-9330 or

Don Welsh

Don Welsh, President & CEO of Choose Chicago,has  accepted a new position in Washington, DC as President and CEO of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). Welsh was named to the new position two weeks prior to the DMAI’s February 9 Destinations Showcase in Washington.

Welsh will remain with Choose Chicago through March during which time the agency’s board will look for a new person to head up the Windy City’s overall convention, trade show and tourism marketing. “We appreciate the foundation that Don has laid and are confident that we will continue the trajectory,” Board Chairman Desiree Rogers said in a statement.

Among all of his accomplishments, Welsh told TSE he was most proud of the team at Choose Chicago and the outstanding results they have produced for the city and its partners over the past five years.  “I was grateful to be their biggest cheerleader and I will miss them,” Welsh said.

Welsh is an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience in the hotel industry and with the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau and Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. He left the Indianapolis CVA in 2011 to join Choose Chicago.

Welsh will replace Michael Gehrisch, who left DMAI after 15 years last Fall. COO Charles Jeffers has been interim CEO since then. “After a thorough search process that included a stellar group of candidates, we are thrilled that Don accepted the position,” said Bob Lander, Chairman of the DMAI board and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

During Welsh’s tenure, the total number of overall visitors to Chicago grew by 12.5 million. At the same time, Choose Chicago also had to lay off about 25% of its staff last year when its annual state budget allotment became stalled in the Illinois legislature. The $7.2 million was eventually approved in December; however no re-staffing has taken place.

Reach Don at (312) 567-8588 or 

Fred Peterson

Fred Peterson, Interim Executive Director at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), was named Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) last month. Peterson, the longtime Director of Facilities Operations for the MCCA, replaced Deputy Director Ken Sinkiewicz, who retired after 16 years with the organization.

The promotion was made by David Gibbons, who became the new executive director of the MCCA in December. Peterson spent the second half of 2015 as interim executive director following the departure of James Rooney.

The MCCA runs the BCEC, the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center and the MassMutual Center. Milt Herbert remains executive director of the Boston Convention Marketing Center, which carries out the long-term sales functions for the MCCA properties.

Reach Fred at (617) 954-2459 or

Heidi Voorhees

Heidi Voorhees has been named CEO of bXb Online LLC, the parent company of  - Best of Business - and will serve on bXb’s board of directors.

Voorhees will take over the duties of Tony Lorenz, who was recently named CEO of AlliedPRA, but he will remain the primary shareholder and member of the executive committee on the bXb board of directors.

Voorhees began her career with SmithBucklin where she rose to the position of Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Institute of Food Technologies (IFT). She was in charge of the annual IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo, whose 2014 show ranked 89 on TSE’s Gold 100. She also spent two years at Experient, a Maritz Travel company, as Senior Vice President.

“I have been watching Tony and his team pioneer a big idea into a market that is tough to penetrate,” said Voorhees. “The opportunity ahead for is enormous, and the ability to lead this organization is incredibly exhilarating.”

Reach Tony at (312) 239-8537 or; Heidi at (312) 239-8537 or

Michael Driscoll

Michael Driscoll joined Questex Events as one of two new vice presidents who will be focused on business development for the company.

Driscoll, whose 30-year career included positions with Miller Freeman and Reed Exhibitions, was most recently Vice President of Business Development & Sales and Event Director for the National Association of Broadcasters’ Content & Communications World Expo. He will lead the sales efforts for new events. Matt Kavney was named Vice President of Business Development for Questex Digital Media. He had been a sales executive at SmartBrief.

Both vice presidencies are newly created positions.

Reach Michael at (617)-219-8300 or; Matt at (617) 219-8300 or

Stephanie Curran

Stephanie Curran took over as general manager of the Spokane Convention Center and INB Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Spokane, WA on October 5 following the retirement of Johnna Boxley. Curran had been assistant general manager. Boxley stepped down after nearly 23 years with the City of Spokane. She became general manager of the convention center in 2000. During Boxley’s tenure, the Spokane Convention Center became an economic engine for the region, bringing millions of dollars into the local economy. She oversaw two major expansions, which tripled the size of the convention center, and the renovation of the INB PAC. She helped secure LEED Certifications and guided the implementation of green practices at the convention center. Reach Stephanie at (509) 279-7048 or

Rebecca Jennings

Rebecca Jennings was promoted to show director for the New York and San Francisco ad:tech shows produced by  dmg events USA. The company also organizes six other ad:tech shows in London, New Delhi and the Asia-Pacific region. Jennings had been sales director for the U.S. shows. Amy Allen, who previously headed up the two shows,  remains executive vice president of dmg events USA and willretain responsibility for the ad:tech shows overseas. Reach Rebecca at (214) 915-8818 or rebecca@ad-te

John Hawley

Convention Data Services (CDS) hired John Hawley as its chief technology officer. Hawley joined CDS from TJX Companies. The newly created position oversees product development and management as well as all other IT groups within CDS. Reach John at (800) 548-9299 or

Paul Cunniffe
Paul Cunniffe joined Freeman as vice president of business development for its Exposition division. His newly created position is based near Boston and has him working with Freeman’s business development teams. Cunniffe spent 10 years as vice president of national sales for Global Experience Specialists (GES) and was previously vice president of sales for Brede Exposition Services. He is an active member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, and a past chair of Expo! Expo!. Reach Paul at (617) 366-7936 or