|The future of TSEA is uncertain|
|Written by Aleta Walther|
|Thursday, February 23 2012 14:46|
Over the last few days, Exhibit City News has heard circling comments from several industry sources regarding the welfare of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA). Although ECN has tried to verify this information with TSEA’s president as well as the marketing director, there was no response from either.
Even officials at McCormick Place and MPEA have not been able to contact anyone from the association.
According to the sources, the TSEA has steadily been losing income and incurring debts.
Membership has been another declining factor for the TSEA. Despite the TSEA losing a number of its active members throughout the last few years, the association chose to push on with daily operations. Because of this, suggestions have surfaced of the association’s decision to close its doors.
One of the main facets of the TSEA is its Certified Manager of Exhibits (CME) program. Through the CME course, exhibit managers earn certification into an elite group of industry professionals. Based on real, on-the-job experience, the CME certification lends credibility to anyone in the tradeshow industry.
However, if/when the TSEA decides to shut its doors, the CME program will have to be taken over by an affiliate program or another separate entity. The fate of current CME members and certified professionals will also have to be decided, as each certification is only valid for five years.
Interestingly enough, the TSEA LinkedIn group was recently host to a conversation about what members “expect from associations.”
“Associations have come under fire as of late in validating their value and importance,” wrote David Mihalik, CEO of ELITeXPO and TSEA’s allied director. “While researching this week, I am reminded that TSEA was formed in 1966. The business climate back then when TSEA was formed is much different from the world we live in today. I still feverishly believe that TSEA is important and needs to remain vital in our industry… There is strength in numbers and TSEA needs more support from everyday exhibitors. So for your valuable budget dollars spent, what do you expect from TSEA? What makes you a member or WILL make you a member?”
Comments on the LinkedIn thread were all positive narrations of why the TSEA matters and how it has helped businesses throughout the industry.
“I can't stress enough how important TSEA is to the exhibitor community,” commented one industry professional. “Not only do they provide outstanding educational resources through webinars and articles, they also provide networking opportunities.”
The TSEA started in October 1966, when a group of manufacturers met in Ohio. Originally, the group formed to help voice concerns about companies marketing themselves at tradeshows.
To get a feel for what the industry wanted, the group sent out a survey to 2,000 companies. This questionnaire asked whether there was a need for improvement and if the industry felt the need for an association to resolve these issues. The TSEA received over 400 responses, which revealed that many companies were interested in an association regulating the tradeshow medium.
Since then, the TSEA has helped maintain a standard of knowledge and advocacy throughout exhibiting and marketing professionals in the tradeshow industry.
Stay tuned to Exhibit City News to see how this story will unfold in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: TSEA's Board of Directors has issued an official statement on behalf of the association:
“Board discussions are underway as to the future of TSEA. We are considering a change in management and membership structure to provide long term viability to the Association. We are sure rumors may abound but there are no truths to what you are hearing, and until the Board issues its official statement we have nothing more to add.”