by Michael J. Shapiro | December 07, 2016

Brian Casey, CEM, left, president of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, will be stepping down by the end of January. The move is part of a strategic shift for the organization, announced during the annual Expo! Expo! event of CEIR's partner organization, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events.

Following two years of meetings on the subject, CEIR's board of directors concluded they should focus resources more clearly on the original mission of the organization, to produce industry-leading research. To simplify governance, fundraising and administrative responsibilities, CEIR will align more closely with IAEE to produce research in collaboration with the CEIR Research Committee, grow existing industry relationships and continue producing CEIR Predict, the annual conference.

"I am honored to have led CEIR for the last three years," said Casey. Among the organization's accomplishments during his tenure are an updated CEIR Census, which serves as the basis for the CEIR Index, by which industry performance is measured; new tools such as the Event Performance Analyzer and Economic Impact Calculator; a new blog featuring industry thought leaders, and three successful CEIR Predict conferences. CEIR's research has been instrumental in measuring and reporting on industry performance, and helping destinations justify convention-venue renovations and developments.

"Brian's background in the exhibitions and events industry and his fresh approach have brought CEIR's research to a higher level," said Aaron Bludworth, chairperson of the board of directors and CEO of Fern Exposition Services. "We will miss him in this role and we wish the best for him."

CEIR will remain a nonprofit 501(c)3 foundation, and the IAEE chairperson-elect will serve as the chairperson of the CEIR Foundation board of directors. Nancy Drapeau, CEIR's research director, will remain in that position and continue to work with the CEIR Research Committee to identify research needs and conduct research.

IAEE executive vice president and COO Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, will also become CEO of the CEIR Foundation. The newly created position of CEIR project manager will be filled, to provide assistance to Breden, Drapeau and their staff.

IAEE Expo! Expo! kicked off yesterday at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center, with 262 exhibitors on the show floor, representing 60 categories of industry suppliers. Preliminary figures reveal an attendance of 2,326, about 2.3 percent below last year; audited attendance numbers will be available in mid-January 2017.