by Michael C. Lowe | December 15, 2011

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events held its annual convention, Expo! Expo!, Dec 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year's event saw more than 2,200 attendees and 266 exhibitors;. last year's show saw 2,068 attendees and 272 exhibitors. The conference included 11 educational tracks with more than 130 speakers and 50 sessions.

The program's opening general session honored the 208 graduates of the 2011 CEM Learning Program. The next day during the Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, Doreen Biela, CEM accepted the gavel and began her tenure as 2012 IAEE Chair. President Steven Hacker, who plans to leave his current position in September 2012, received special recognition for his service to the association and the industry as a whole.

The third annual "Humanity Rocks: A Celebration with a Cause" was held at the Hard Rock Café on Wed., Dec. 7. The event brought in more than 400 attendees and raised $15,000 for the Las Vegas-based Iverson Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with disabilities.

Next year's Expo! Expo! will be held Dec. 4-6 in Orlando.

Industry Update
During Expo! Expo!, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research released fact sheets sharing key findings from the Changing Environment of Exhibitions Study. "The overall findings from this study indicate that business-to-business exhibitions are an integral part of a company's marketing mix today and will continue to be so in the near term," said CEIR research director Nancy Drapeau in a statement. "We hope organizers use the results from this study to help in planning efforts aimed at assuring exhibitions are in line with what exhibitors are striving to achieve." The fact sheets are available online for purchase at

Anaheim announced a new $20 million project called the Anaheim Convention Center Grand Plaza. The 100,000-square-foot pedestrian area has been approved and is expected to be completed by January 2013. The outdoor event space in front of the Anaheim Convention Center will include landscaping, walkways, water features and street furniture.

Plans for a major renovation are underway at Chicago's Navy Pier in celebration of its centennial in 2016. The 95-year-old space recently received approval for $155 million in improvements. The official plans have not been finalized yet, though representatives at IAEE said they expect the park to have much more green space.