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IAEE Announces 2019 Award Winners

October 22, 2019

Honorees to be Recognized at Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE) proudly announces this year’s recipients of its awards program, which recognizes outstanding contributions by IAEE members and member companies. Along with the Woman of Achievement and International Excellence award winners, which were announced earlier this year, these award recipients will be honored at the Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition to be held 3-5 December 2019 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

The 2019 IAEE Award Winners were selected after careful consideration and review by the IAEE Awards Committee and approval by the IAEE Board of Directors following an open call for nominations by IAEE members earlier in the year.

“Each year, the Awards Committee has the privilege of recognizing IAEE members who shine their talent and commitment on the organization and the industry,” noted 2019 IAEE Awards Committee Chairperson Kellie Shevlin, CEM. “It is an honor for us to bestow these distinctions upon our very deserving colleagues.”

The Pinnacle Award recognizes an IAEE member who, over the years, has furthered IAEE’s objectives of advancing exhibitions and events management through the promotion of education, the dissemination of knowledge, and the introduction or development of innovative techniques, and who has been dedicated to the perpetuation of the highest ideals, trust and professionalism in this highly specialized field. The award was established in memory of the late Founder and Past President of IAEE (formerly NAEM) William Hunt Eisenman and is presented by IAEE in recognition of extraordinary achievement in the exhibitions and events management field.

This year’s recipient of the IAEE Pinnacle Award is David Adler, CEO, BizBash Media. Adler is a veteran media, marketing and event industry entrepreneur. He believes that event organizers of all types need to be “high performance collaboration artists,” and he founded BizBash in 2000 to further that cause. The company’s magazines, newsletters, web sites, trade shows and bespoke events are all designed to allow event planners and producers to share new approaches and best practices as well as great venues and suppliers to inspire smarter gatherings of all types. Adler is also a sought-after industry speaker and has graced the stages of industry events throughout North America.

This year IAEE unveils its newest award category, the IAEE Humanitarian Award, which recognizes an IAEE member company or an IAEE member representative who demonstrates commitment to equality and social responsibility, and exemplifies unselfish giving to the well-being of humanity through aiding those less fortunate and eliminating/reducing the pain and suffering of others.

Nominees are considered based on examples of having a strong commitment to participating in or promoting activities that emphasize year-around social responsibility in responding to domestic and/or global issues and participating in community activities addressing a need outside of the exhibitions and events industry. Nominees are also considered based on notable contributions to charitable organizations and special recognitions received.

The inaugural recipient of the IAEE Humanitarian Award is Aaron Bludworth, President & CEO, Fern. “Aaron’s reputation for his commitment to aiding his fellow human beings stretches far and wide across the exhibitions and events industry,” noted 2019 IAEE Chairperson Tom Cindric, Jr., CEM. “Aaron never misses an opportunity to provide a helping hand, and he truly represents the spirit of this award.”

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an IAEE member in recognition of an individual who has rendered distinguished service to IAEE and to the exhibition industry. Qualifying criteria includes extraordinary service and contributions at both the local and national levels that have furthered the growth and development of this organization. When representing IAEE, the honoree will have served as a role model for the industry. This year’s recipient is Ryan Strowger, CEM, Chief Events and Industry Officer, The Optical Society.

The Chapter Merit Award recognizes IAEE members whose ideas and/or work have benefited IAEE as an organization in some special way and is generally reserved for those who have stepped forward at the chapter/local level. This year’s recipients are Michael Cox, Executive Vice President, Fern; John Tisdale, President, nvytes, a division of Marcord, Inc.; and Erika Welling, CEM, General Manager, PRA.

The Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award is presented to IAEE members who possess outstanding creativity, a positive attitude, and the ability to transfer knowledge through good communication skills and innovative teaching to promote life-long learning to exhibitions and events industry professionals. This year’s award recipient is KV Nagendra Prasad, CEM, COO, Hyderabad International Trade Exhibition Centre (HITEX Exhibition Centre) and President, Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA).

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes IAEE members who have dedicated their time to the progress and fulfillment of the charge of a committee or task force on which they serve. This year’s award recipient is James “Jim” Letchworth, CEM, Senior Sales Manager, GES.

The Innovative Business Solution Award recognizes achievement by an IAEE member or member organization in the creation of new and innovative business solutions. Criteria include: product/service overview; clear presentation of objectives and fulfillment of those objectives; impact on the industry, present and/or future; clear presentation of what makes the product/service innovative; growth potential; and effective use of social media. This year’s recipient is The Deondo Company for its Nook Event Pods.

The Outstanding Marketing & Sales Award recognizes an IAEE member’s outstanding achievement in marketing and sales activities including outstanding performance in total event revenue/profit, advertising revenue, attendance, sponsorship revenue, exhibit space sales and customer service. This year’s award recipient is the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) for its Customer Service/Exhibitor Engagement Department.

The Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes excellent professional performance by IAEE members 35 years of age or younger who have committed their time to advancing the standing of young professionals in our industry. This year’s award recipient is Kimberly Zonca, CEM, Client Manager, AGS Exposition Services.

Click here to learn more about this year’s winners and click here for more details about Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2019.

About IAEE
Trusted since 1928, IAEE provides quality and value to its members through leadership, service, education and strong relationships. IAEE is the largest association of the exhibitions and events industry in the world, with a membership of show organizers, exhibitors and exhibition suppliers. Organizers of more than 20,000 exhibitions and buyer-seller events around the world are members of IAEE, and the organization advocates and promotes the awareness of face-to-face exhibitions and events as the primary medium for business development and growth. IAEE provides relevant, timely, and innovative education to its members and the industry. IAEE recognizes its strategic partners: 4imprint, BearCom, Buttine Exhibition Insurance, Convention News Television (CNTV), Delta Airlines, New Orleans & Company, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Orange County Convention Center, Personify – A2Z Events, Streampoint Solutions and Synchronicities (Visit Anaheim, Visit Baltimore and Visit San Antonio). Visit for more information.


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