The opening general session at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Houston on Tuesday featured a myriad of noted speakers, musicians, dancers and a keynote address from the “Pitbull of Personal Development,” Larry Winget.
“It took you long enough to get back, but we’re damn glad you’re here,” Greg Ortale, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the crowd.
Held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the location has undergone major changes over the past few years and will make more with plans to add a Marriott Marquis hotel directly connected to the convention center and tripling the light rail travel capacity.
“Houston has recommitted itself to the tradeshow industry,” Ortale said. “I’m proud to reintroduce IAEE to Houston.”
IAEE presented the CEM Class of 2013 to the audience. New CEM designations were given to 174 individuals from Portugal, Canada, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico and the United States, helping push the total number of certification holders past 2,000 individuals across the globe.
Two members of the Major American Trade Show Organizers (MATSO) board, Chairman Chris Nemcheck, NASFT Fancy Food Show, and Director Jim Pittas, Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute/PPMI, made their way on stage to sign contracts to make the MATSO Council of IAEE a reality.
“It’s a culmination of a two-year process,” Nemcheck told the audience. “Your interests are now represented by the MATSO council and the IAEE board.”
Doug Ducate, outgoing president and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), was awarded special recognition for career achievement and given a standing ovation upon taking the stage. Ducate, who took over leadership of CEIR in 1998, left the center earlier this month.
The general session’s keynote speaker was Larry Winget, whose talk was anything but motivational, but grounded in common sense values he feels the service industry has long forgotten.
“Who cares if you’re happy?” Winget asked. “You aren’t paid to be happy. You’re paid to do your job.”
That sort of no-nonsense talk punctuated a morning focused on moving forward.
“Passion is not the key to success,” Winget said. “Hard work and excellence are the keys to success. It’s the combination of those two things that matters.”