Last week Brian Casey was named president and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).
Casey has a long history in many facets of the tradeshow industry. Currently he is vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation. In the past, Casey has been president and CEO of the High Point Authority, responsible for the High Point Market in High Point, N.C., as well as owner of Next Generation Events Group, executive vice president of SmithBucklin and managing director of tradeshows for the International Housewares Exposition.
He will take over for Doug Ducate, who has held his leadership position at CEIR since 1998, on Dec. 1.
Casey spoke with Executive Editor Michael Hart about his plans for CEIR and his thoughts about the tradeshow industry.
(Editor’s note: The complete interview with Brian Casey will appear in the Nov./Dec. issue of Expo Magazine.)
EXPO: What’s your agenda for CEIR?
Brian Casey: It’s a pretty practical approach, which is to gain an understanding, not just from those within the organization but, most importantly, from the board level, and also other industry partners.
Just like I did in High Point and Cleveland, I’ll spend the first 60 to 90 days gaining an understanding of the intimacies of the business model and then work pretty quickly to establish a strategic business plan moving forward.
Part of that, of course, is clearly what has been an issue from Day 1 and a challenge for the organization: revenue development, in association with the business.
EXPO: With that in mind, how significant was the Society of Independent Show Organizers’ (SISO) decision to make a substantial contribution to CEIR over the next several years?
Casey: It’s extremely important. One, because of what they’re doing to support the organization. Two, because of the fact that an organization like SISO continues to recognize the significance of what CEIR provides for not only its members, but the industry overall.
EXPO: What is the tradeshow industry going to look like in five or 10 years?
Casey: The idea of face-to-face meetings being challenged, I think, has not proven to be the direction the industry is going. It’s sustainable and extremely important to the business community.
What I think will continue to happen is an increase in the impact electronic media is having on shows.
EXPO: What are the biggest challenges the industry faces over the next five to 10 years?
Casey: Association events, because of the need for them to move faster than they have historically moved, will see the beginning of a shift. The for-profit sector tends to be quite nimble and to move much faster.
The other dynamic is what’s happening on the convention center side of the business. The amount of space available and the desire by planners to get space for free or with high discounts will continue to challenge the overall dynamics of the business.
t’s not sustainable. Eventually, there will need to be a bit of a tipping point in the business model and how it works in the future.
EXPO: Doug Ducate has been associated with CEIR for a long time. Will it be difficult to fill his shoes?
Casey: I’m not filling Doug Ducate’s shoes. I have the honor of taking over the reins of something he’s run so successfully for so many years.
If the organization does what it’s supposed to for the constituents of this industry, it will continue to deliver value. If I’m doing that job, recognition will come for that reason.