Floor show: IAEM’s recent Expo!
In an atmosphere of hope and some confusion, on
Dec. 1, 2005, the boards of the International Association for
Exhibition Management and the Center for Exhibition Industry
Research proposed a “consolidation” of the two organizations.
“It has been discussed on and off for a while,” said Steven
Hacker, CAE, president of IAEM. “The two organizations are pretty
close and have done a lot of work together,” he noted, citing their
joint ownership of the Exhibition Industry Foundation. “It’s a
But the announcement of the consolidation, made by outgoing
IAEM chairman Chris Brown at the association’s annual Expo! Expo!
meeting, caused a measure of bafflement.
Because of a broken Teleprompter, many in attendance at
Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center were given the impression
that the two groups were completely merging in what sounded like a
done deal. In fact, CEIR is to remain a separate entity with its
own board of directors under the proposal, which has yet to be
“When the [notion of a] merger came up, it was purely an
accident,” said a CEIR spokesperson. “Chris Brown was told that if
the Teleprompter goes down, talk to what you’re most comfortable
about. And that’s what happened. It went down, and he said it was a
‘merger.’ But it’s not it’s a potential consolidation.”
The upshot, according to the spokesperson: “We have agreed to
The announcement came as a separate controversy erupted
concerning IAEM’s identity. By a show of hands, Brown asked
attendees at a luncheon to approve a name change to the
International Association for Exhibitions and Events. But many in
the audience had been unaware that such a change was even under
consideration, and the vote showed deep division over the new name.
Ballots were then cast. But later, at the Chairman’s Gala, it was
announced that the results were null and void, since too few votes
had been submitted.
“We invalidated the vote because questions arose regarding the
presence or absence of quorum,” said Hacker. “I believe 413 votes
were turned in, and that falls far short of our quorum requirement.
A lot of people didn’t vote. Rather than risk a failed outcome, we
chose to invalidate the process and recommit it for the members’
vote at a later time.”
As for members’ apparent lack of familiarity with the proposal
to give the association a new name, Hacker suggested that some
attendees “don’t read” or “forget” materials sent to them in the
mail. “This was communicated, he said, “but not effectively