Meet the Professionals

Kevin Bird

Kevin Bird
Vice President of Sales, Shepard

Kevin joined Shepard Exposition Services in 2009 from Nielsen Business Media (now Emerald Expositions) where he was Group Show Director for their healthcare portfolio, which included two tradeshow Top 200 events.  Brought in to add to company’s nationally-known consultative approach, Kevin now strategically manages the national sales efforts for Shepard, the nation’s third largest national contractor.


Laura Larson

Laura Larson, CEM
Senior Exhibits Specialist, SHRM

Laura Larson has extensive experience in the convention, association and trade show industry. She began her career at the American Board of Periodontology in Baltimore, Maryland and later joined the Convention Team at the American Urological Association. In the Washington, DC area, she’s held positions at the American Pharmacists Association, the Council on Foundations and the Radio-Television News Directors Association. She is currently Senior Exhibits Specialist at the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria.

She obtained her CEM in 1999.

Laura has been an active member of IAEE and the DC Chapter, serving at the national and local level. For more than 5 years she served as an adjunct faculty at Northern Virginia Community College where she taught Introduction to Expositions.

Laura lives in Northern Virginia but spends most of her spare time on the Delaware shore. She is married and has 10 nieces and nephews and two great nieces.


 

Vicki Lepore

Vicki Lepore, CEM
Account Executive, SmartSource Computer & AV Rentals

Vicki joined SmartSource Computer & AV Rentals in May 2014 and is based in their Chicago office. Her primary focus is presenting the company’s broad offerings to and working with associations, show organizers and event owners to continue building SmartSource’s trade show business and adding new partners to SmartSource Alliance program. Lepore is a 21 year trade show and meeting industry sales veteran with extensive knowledge of the meeting industry’s technology and logistical needs, as well as in-depth strategic planning, organization design and project management experience. She holds a Certification in Exhibition Management (CEM) through the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). Lepore is an active member of the exhibition and meeting industry. Her professional affiliations include the IAEE for which she currently serves on the Midwestern Chapter Board of Directors, the CEM Commission and Membership Engagement Committee and also has served as a member of its Education Committee for three years. She is also an active member of the Professional Convention Management Association and is completing her certification to earn the C.A.S.E. designation.


 

Ann Loayza, CMP
Manager of Conferences, International Facility Management Association (IFMA)

Ann Loayza is a native Houstonian. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Houston main campus and participated in the Program for Excellence in Selling. Ann serves as the Manager of Conferences for the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and is responsible for overseeing all of the logistics for the international association’s conferences and events. Her 10+ years of event management experience include project management, international endeavors, budgeting, contracting and vendor sourcing.


 

Derek Lotfi
National Sales Director
The Expo Group

Derek Lotfi joined The Expo Group in 2017 as a National Sales Director. Having previously worked in sales and marketing for event firms over the past dozen years, including roles with organizers National Conference Services Inc. and EJ Krause, and most recently in general contracting sales with GES. His consultative approach to sales consistently results in positive gains for all stakeholders. He holds a Communications Degree from Towson University and currently resides in Annapolis, MD. Derek is a member of IAEE and currently on the National Chapter for Membership Engagement.


 

T.J. Mendieta

T.J. Mendieta, CEM
Expo Manager , International Facility Management Association (IFMA)

T.J. has 20 years association management experience in various capacities ranging from member services to bookstore management to sales.

T.J. has held the position of Expo Manager since 2006, with full responsibility for exhibit/sponsorship sales and total expo logistics for IFMA’s World Workplace Conference & Expo. In this role, T.J.’s duties include building the expo floor plan, development of the expo marketing campaign, coordinating vendor relationships, managing the expo’s expenses, development of sponsorship opportunities, revenue generation (exhibit and sponsorship sales), exhibitor/sponsor communications/customer service, and on-site execution of all activities on the expo floor.


 

Rich Ryan

Rich Ryan, CEM
President, RGR Services

Since 2011, Rich has owned RGR Services, an Independent Sales Firm that specializes in exhibit sales, exhibit floor management and sponsorship sales. The firm has expertise in both B-B and B-C events specializing in the distribution, electrical and travel industries. Rich is also a partner in  the Philadelphia Inquirer Travel and Culinary Expo.

He has been intimately involved in the trade show industry since 1988, first as an exhibitor and since 2001 in his present role. He is a Sandler Selling President Club Member and obtained his CEM in 2006.


 

Cheryl Witt, CEM
Senior Sales Manager, GES

Cheryl Witt joined Global Experience Specialists, GES, as an experienced sales manager in annual association events, and corporate events. With over 19 years’ experience in trade show sales and event management, Cheryl has been an asset to our internal team and clients. She currently manages a preferred vendor relationship and manages to increase sales year over year. Cheryl Witt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Management. She is a member of IAEE and continues to grow her knowledge of global events.