DALLAS – The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) celebrates a highly successful Expo! Expo! IAEE's Annual Meeting & Exhibition, held 4-6 December 2012 in Orlando, Fla. This year's event attracted nearly 2,000 attendees (pending independent audit) and 255 exhibitors to the Orange County Convention Center.
Opening Reception IAEE's annual conference kicked off on Tuesday, 4 December with a full day of education sessions from the nearly 80 sessions offered throughout the meeting. That evening, attendees were mesmerized at the Opening Reception held at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Unlimited, private access to Orlando's hottest new theme park kept attendees flying high as they networked in a world of fantasy.
The Opening General Session and CEM Presentation on Wednesday, 5 December included a recap of IAEE's accomplishments throughout the year by 2012 IAEE Chair Doreen Biela, CEM and the official passing of the gavel to 2013 IAEE Chairman Jason McGraw, CTS, CAE. The 187 graduates of the 2012 CEM Learning Program were recognized as they joined the ranks of the more than 1,800 CEMs worldwide who have earned and maintained their designation.
Expo ExpoKeynote speakers Eric Ly (LinkedIn co-founder and president of Presdo) and Rick Calvert, CEM (CEO and president of BlogWorld) discussed the integration of technology with the face-to-face value of exhibitions and events, and how to make the most of this symbiotic relationship. A surprise performance by Rock Demarco, the world's fastest painter, wowed the audience as he transformed black canvas into works of art within minutes. One piece was auctioned later that day to raise funds for the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Foundation.
The General Session concluded with steel drums leading the way to the Expo! Expo! show hall, featuring 36,000 net square feet of exhibit space. For the first time, Expo! Expo! was available online through IAEE's partnership with both Convention News Television (CNTV) and bxb Online. The one-hour live stream featured a town hall meeting format, where viewers could experience the show floor and interviews with key industry figures in real time.
That evening, The Groove at Universal Orlando was the site of the fourth annual Humanity Rocks: A Celebration with a Cause. With more than 320 attendees, the event raised a record-breaking $17,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida.
The Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Thursday opened with a warm welcome from Greg Ortale, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. IAEE recognized its individual award honorees, as well as Platinum Circle inductees, graduates of the IAEE Robert L. Krakoff Leadership Institute, this year's Best of Show winners from IAEE's Art of the Show Competition, the 2012 Top Public Events, the Exhibition Industry Foundation's Helen Brett Scholarship recipients and participants of IAEE's 20 Under 30 program. IAEE President David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA closed the program by sharing his vision for the upcoming year and inviting attendees to return to Expo! Expo! IAEE's Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2013 in Houston.
"This was my first Expo! Expo! as IAEE president and I could not be more pleased with the feedback I have received," notes DuBois. "We have a busy and exciting year ahead as we pursue results-driven strategies to continue engaging our members, growing our education offerings and communicating the value of face-to-face interaction that can only be achieved through exhibitions and events."
Expociety, the closing event for Expo! Expo! provided attendees the perfect platform to further develop connections made at this year's event, as well as create new ones that will flourish and reconnect next year in Houston.
Expo! Expo! IAEE's Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2013 will be held 10-12 December in Houston, Texas at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Approximately 70 percent of the space available for next year's exhibition will be reserved in an online space draw on 12-13 February 2013.