by Morton D. Rosenbaum | July 01, 2004

Henry Givray of SmithBucklinHenry Givray of SmithBucklin

Chicago-based management firm SmithBucklin is gaining favor among hospitality industry associations. In the last two months, the management firm has snapped up contracts with both ICPAAn Association of Insurance and Financial Services Conference Planners, and the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.
     Robert Sivek, a former president of the International Special Events Society, which signed with SmithBucklin in 2000, said the recent swell of management outsourcing was no surprise. “Probably every organization thinks they can self-manage, or wants to, until they realize they’ve actually got to do it,” said Sivek.
     ICPA had been self-managing for years in its Vancouver office until April, when the association transferred management to SmithBucklin. According to ICPA board member Steve Clark, the association’s decision was difficult but crucial.
     “We’ve barely kept up with attrition,” said Clark, who added that without the move to SmithBucklin, “we could have ceased to exist within five to 10 years.”
     Chicago-based Douglas Ducate, president and CEO of CEIR, described similar struggles. “After fighting  through the lean years,” he said, “this leaves us much freer to do serious work on strategy and our overall vision now.”
     Commenting on the rush of recent signings, Henry Givray, president and CEO of SmithBucklin, said, “It’s true our success in this industry has been striking over the past several months, but there’s no connection among the groups in regard to their decision.”