by Michael J. Shapiro | November 29, 2017

The Professional Convention Management Association Education Foundation has named three industry professionals who will receive Lifetime Achievement honors at the organization's 2018 Visionary Awards - Ray Kopcinski, CMP; Carrie Freeman Parsons; and Godwin Charles Ogbeide, Ph.D, MBA. The ceremony will take place on May 2, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

The 2018 Meeting Professional Honoree will be Ray Kopcinski, CMP, left, currently president of Peak Global Consulting. Kopcinski spent nearly 30 years as director of meeting services for the financial-services trade association, Million Dollar Round Table, followed by four and a half years as senior director, during which he helped develop and implement cultural, physical, strategic and structural changes throughout the organization. He has volunteered with PCMA for decades and served as the association's chair in 2015.
 
During Kopcinski's PCMA chairmanship, he launched the future-visioning methodology and discovery, and he helped to guide the association toward its current global strategy. According to a PCMA press release, Kopcinski "taught both the board and staff the importance of celebrating the gifts of each individual and the importance of making each member feel valued and special. Kopcinski is a respected and seasoned meeting professional, but more importantly he is an extraordinary human being."
 

The 2018 Supplier Honoree will be Carrie Freeman Parsons, the vice chair of Freeman. She began working for the family company immediately after college, in a branch office, and learned the business from the bottom up. She is reputed to be the "heart" of Freeman, and its moral compass. She was on M&C's list of the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry for 2017.
 
Freeman Parsons served on the board for the Center for Exhibition Industry Research from 2009 to 2012, and was its chair from 2010-2011. She collaborated with the president of CEIR to create Predict, the first event to provide a forward-looking, data-based view of the exhibition industry. She also has served in volunteer leadership positions for PCMA, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Meeting Professionals International, Visit Dallas and Winit. In Dallas she also serves on the boards of the Dallas Women's Foundation, Women for Girls and the Senior Source.
 
The 2018 Educator Honoree will be Godwin Charles Ogbeide, PhD, MBA, currently a faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Ogbeide is a renowned tourism, convention and event-management professor, colleague, researcher and mentor. A prolific researcher, Ogbeide has provided important empirical data for the business-events industry, as well as other aspects of the hospitality industry. Among his research topics have been the economic impact of events and tourism, destination-marketing management and consumer loyalty.

 
Ogbeide is an active member of the PCMA Faculty Task Force, which he chaired in 2014. He has served in a volunteer leadership capacity with the organization since 2012, and contributed to the sixth edition of PCMA's Professional Meeting Management. Since 2006, he has volunteered with both the International and Regional Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education. As an educator, Ogbeide has his students plan events, interacting with the real world and the industry.
 
The 2018 Visionary Awards will bring together more than 1,000 industry professionals for an Oscars-like evening, complete with a red-carpet arrival, the awards show and an after party. It will be hosted by the PCMA Education Foundation and presented in partnership with Visit Austin and the Austin Convention Center. "We are thrilled to celebrate these three remarkable individuals who have given so much to the business-events industry," said Phillip J. Jones, president and CEO of Visit Dallas and chair of PCMA's board of trustees.