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From the MATSO Perspective…An Interview with John Catalano, Managing Director, SME

IAEE spoke with John Catalano, Managing Director of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, to get his thoughts on the exhibitions and events industry and his member experience at IAEE. John manages the FABTECH show and has been a member of IAEE for 26 years.

How did you get your start in the exhibitions and events industry?

I started out managing a small civic center where we hosted trade shows, public show, meetings, civic events, etc. This gave me tremendous hands-on experience with logistics, general contracting and getting to know about the events business on a regional level. This gave me a taste of the events world and I was hooked. From there I wanted to get into show business on a national level and took a job running a show and convention that moved around the country.

What advice would you give a new IAEE member or person joining the exhibitions community?

It can be a great career. You have to be willing to make sacrifices with your personal time. You’ll find the people in the trade show business very professional and some will become longtime friends.


What is the biggest challenge in running your show? And Why?

Generating sufficient audience to match the growth we’ve experienced is an on-going challenge. We need to constantly expand our marketing reach to bring in new buyers and retain our core attendees.

How has IAEE membership benefited you?

For me, having access to all the CEIR data is a tremendous value. Knowing years of data is available to assist us in running shows and guiding our decision-making makes being a member worthwhile.


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