by Terence Baker | March 01, 2007

Kent Riffert
“The industry aspects of the show are there only to supplement the education, never to overshadow it.”

Kent Riffert is associate director, exposition logistics, for the Washington, D.C.-based American College of Cardiology (www.acc.org), where he is responsible, with others, for the operations and logistics for the ACC’s Annual Scientific Session. The event, with 30,000 attendees, is being held this month in New Orleans.

Has the ACC always been based in Washington? No. We recently moved offices from Bethesda, Md. The college had been on a rural campuslike area covering 13 acres since the 1970s. Now we all need to commute into an urban environment, and the change for some has been a little traumatic.

How did you get into trade shows? I did an internship at the Consumer Electronics Association and was offered a full-time position. My other option at the time was teaching English to the newly formed border patrol of the former Soviet republic of Estonia. I have since been to the country, and its capital, Tallinn, is beautiful. The ACC is my first foray into medical events. My reason for coming here was that I wanted to learn something new.

How is working for a health-related association different from your previous roles? The biggest difference I have seen is that in scientific conventions, the industry aspects of the show are there only to supplement the education, never to overshadow it. This is different from the consumer electronics shows that I worked on, where there was no such division and I was surrounded by cool gadgets all the time.