by Terence Baker | May 01, 2005

David E. Eckberg, CMP"The letters CMP behind other people’s names intimidated me, and I did not want to be intimidated in this industry."

David E. Eckberg, CMP, is a conference planner at A-S-K Conference Management Group (www.askusa.com) in Lawrence, Kan. Last year, at age 24, he earned the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional designation, one of the youngest to do so.

Why did you want your CMP so early in life? I knew I enjoyed planning, and I wanted to learn more. The application sat on my desk for three years, the minimum amount of planning experience one needs before applying. The letters CMP behind other people’s names intimidated me, and I did not want to be intimidated in this industry. Having a CMP definitely helps in terms of knowledge, respect and pay.

When did you decide to become a planner? I studied theater design at the University of Kansas but changed my major to business communications, as it seemed more relevant to the Kansas job market. As part of my course, I organized student orientation programs and interned with A-S-K. When I graduated, the company offered me a job.

For how long has A-S-K existed? As long as I have. In fact, in February, both A-S-K and I shared our 25th birthdays. We had a party to celebrate both.

What do you do at A-S-K? l look after one association and about 10 government accounts. I was most stressed when I was organizing three domestic and two international events within four months for a client in the Air Force. Also, I am on the board of directors of the Society of Government Meeting Professional’s Heart of America Chapter.