by Terence Baker | November 01, 2003
Kelly E. Kilga, CEM

"We have set up car washes, jewelry and food displays, dry-cleaning apparatus... Our members are very inventive."

Kelly E. Kilga, CEM, is director of meetings and conventions for the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of Convenience Stores. The association’s annual convention, which rotates between Las Vegas, New Orleans and, this year, Chicago, attracts 23,000 attendees. Kilga also plans a technology show for NACS each spring.How did you get to NACS? I started working for a German firm here in the United States. The largest show at which I exhibited asked me if I wanted to sell trade show space for them in other words, go over to the other side. I did that for five years before running the whole show. After that, NACS came along with a show three times as large.What about your convention excites you? It is amazing to see what is in convenience stores nowadays. At the convention, we have set up car washes, jewelry and food displays, dry-cleaning apparatus a whole range of things that perhaps you would not associate with convenience stores. Our members are very inventive.Are your education days over? No. In July, I completed the certification in exhibition management. Some of the course was done via distance learning. We were required to respond to each others’ e-mail postings, so there was contact between students, and I also could work around my own schedule.Any vacations planned? My husband, Mike Shupp, is a musician and has had some radio play and success in Spain, so we might go there next year for a tour.