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Associations From A-Z: A Primer

Behind The Acronyms…

Tradeshow and event industry associations are more important than ever as industry professionals gather together to resuscitate an industry that is practically on life support due to the lockdown measures and travel restrictions taken by governments all over the world. From lobbying Congress to bartering services, the tradeshow and event family joins together through their associations and their combined resources to stay afloat. This primer originally appeared in ECN’s 25th Anniversary keepsake book; for original layout, visit

by Kerstan Szczepanski

p20 Behind the AcronymsASAE- American Society of Association Executives

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 46,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. Individual and organization memberships are available. For more info, visit

AIPC – International Association of Convention Centres

AIPC represents a global network of more than 190 leading centres in 64 countries with the active involvement of more than 1,000 management-level professionals worldwide. It is committed to encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention centre management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation, and maintains a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs to achieve this. AIPC also celebrates and promotes the essential role of the international meetings industry in supporting economic, academic and professional development and enhancing global relations amongst highly diverse business and cultural interests. For more info, visit

AWE- Association for Woman in Events

AWE, the Association of Women in Events, was founded in 2015 by Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, Tamela Blalock, MBA, CAE, CMP, DES, Mas Tadesse, Mary Higham, CEM and Kiki J. Fox. Its mission is dedicated to the professional advancement of women in all facets of the events industry. AWE’s membership benefits include access to in-person events from Frankfurt, Germany, to Washington, D.C., USA, to Wellington, New Zealand, and members-only webinars, as well as an immediate coaching program, the membership directory, a Facebook group built with intentional discussion and connection, discounted rates from their sponsors and more than 40 volunteer and committee opportunities. Individual, faculty, student and lifetime memberships are available. For more info, visit

CEIR- Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Founded in 1978 as the Trade Show Bureau,the Center for Exhibition Industry Research provides industry-leading, objective research on the exhibitions and events industry.Its mission is creating awareness and the value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events.  CEIR’s company page provides timely updates on new research and reports in the following categories: Attendee/Visitor Reports, Exhibitor Reports, Performance Metrics/Economic Impact Reports, Trend Reports and Industry Insights Reports. The center is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. CEIR Chairperson of the Board Carrie Ferenac is president of CNTV. For more info, visit

CEMA–Corporate Event Marketing Association

CEMA advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals.As members of the Events Industry Council,their corporate membership continues to diversify. The focus on best practice sharing, knowledge sharing and building relationships, connections and lifelong industry friendships.CEMA members engage in educational and networking opportunities offered each month around the country. CEMA Study Tours are their most popular professional development opportunity, providing behind-the-scene knowledge sharing about industry events. For more info, visit

EACA- Exhibit Appointed Contractor Association

EACA represents and supports the interests of EACs and all other organizations that provide exhibit services. The association is currently comprised of more than 200 member companies representing more than 12,500 full-time tradeshow professionals, and more than 50,000 part-time tradeshow workers. The EACA Board is comprised of 12 EAC Directors, Executive DirectorJim Wurmand Ex-Officio Director Don Svehla.  It works openly with all other tradeshow industry stakeholders to affect positive change including HCEA, CEMA, EDPA, IAEE, SISO, ESCA, and IAVM and our union brethren.For more info, visit

EDPA- Experiential Design and Producers Association

Founded in 1954, The Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) is recognized internationally and serves thousands of professional members representing more than 300 corporations across 18 countries. EDPA’s mission is committed to driving growth within the experiential, exhibit and event industry through Advocacy, Networking, Education and Good Works.The EDPA is the network for leaders in the customer experience industry. Its members combine marketing, design and production leadership to help organizations create effective face-to face customer experiences &environments for tradeshows, events, corporate environments, museums, retailers, education and entertainment. For more info, visit

EIC- Events industry Council

Founded in 1949 as the Convention Liaison Committee, it has rebranded over the years as Convention Liaison Council, Convention Industry Council and, in 2017, as the Event Industry Council to fit its growing role as a global umbrella organization for all members and related segments. The Events Industry Council advances the events industry and the professionals who lead the business of meetings. It supports the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential. For more info, visit

CSA-LV- Convention Services Association of Las Vegas

CSA-LV is a non-profit, member-based networking organization that serves the convention, tradeshow and tourism industries in Las Vegas. The organization hosts monthly lunch & happy hour networking meetups, industry-specific updates and speaking engagements. CSA-LV members represent small business owners, hotels, restauranteurs, professional organizations and craft services. For more info, visit

ESCA- Exhibition Service Contractors Association

Founded in 1970 ESCA has provided a voice for service contractors and their partners in the exhibition industry. ESCA has more than 160 member companies throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico and promotes the entertainment industry with IAEE, TSEA and CEIR. For more info, visit

ESPA – Events Services Professional Association

Founded in 1988 as ACOM, the Association for Convention Operations Management, the association has grown to nearly 500 event service professionals from across North America. In 2012, the association changed its name to the Event Service Professionals Association. Representing events service professionals, member services include an annual webinar series, conferencing, scholarships and mentor program. For more info, visit

ESSA- Event Supplier & Service Association (UK)

Coming from a merger of BECA and AEC in 2007, ESSA is a trade body representing the suppliers of goods and services to the events industry, with a focus on health and safety, education, business development and shared best practice by providing annual independently audited accreditation. For more info, visit

HCEA- Healthcare Exhibitor Association

Founded in 1930, HCEA is a non-profit organization that works with all conventions, meetings and exhibitions of the healthcare industry with effective, quality conventions and exhibitions. Its member services include an online member directory, directory of meetings, industry expert events and webinars, and a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Membership levels include associate, corporate and industry partner. For more info, visit

IAAPA- International Association of Amusement Parks

Founded over 100 years ago, the organization represents attractions throughout the world. Hosting global events, conferences and webinars as tools and resources for members to share ideas and practices. Membership options include small and large attractions, manufacturer/supplier/consultant, individual and student. For more info, visit

IAEE- International Association Exhibitions & Events

Founded in 1928 as the National Association of Exposition Managers, IAEE represents those directly involved in the planning, management and production of exhibitions and buyer-seller events and those who provide products and services to the industry. Their membership packages include Individual, Industry, Events Facility, Student, Faculty, Educational Institution and more. For more info, visit

IAVM- International Association of Venue Managers 

Founded, as Auditorium Managers in Cleveland in 1924, its purpose is to discuss issues facing the auditorium management industry. Members now include managers and senior executives from auditorium, arenas, convention centers, exhibit halls, stadiums, performing arts centers, university complexes and amphitheaters worldwide. The IAVM is a source for all public assembly research, information, servicesand life-safety issues.  For more info, visit

IELA- International Logistics Association

Founded in 1985 by Hans R. Brauchli, Peter Kuoni, Klaus Rauch, Steve Barry, Ernest Droessaert and Philip Powell, IELA is a world-wide network of contractors who provide movement of material to and from an exhibition site, as well as for contractors providing customs clearance, lifting, handling, trucking and storage services on-site. They provide industry standards and a database of membership, global import and customs regulations, and floorplans of venues across the world. For more info, visit

IFEA- International Festivals & Event Association

IFEA establishes an industry code of professional conduct and ethics, educational webinars, the Event Management School and CFEE certification for the professionals, volunteers and sponsors who create, run and support individual festivals and events. For more info, visit

IFES- International Federation of Exhibition Services

IFES provides support and promotion of commercial and professional interests of its international members. It provides reports with information about the country you plan to exhibit in. The organization also has an exclusive international law firm for IFES members that offers consultancy on employment, tax and competition law. It provides the IFES Certified Expert and IFES Global Exchange programs. For more info, visit

ILEA- International Live Events Association

Founded as the  International Special Events Society in 1987, ILEA provides a network of creative event professionals promoting professionalism, education, webinars, speaker database, CSEP certification and the industry’s Esprit Awards. For more info, visit

IMEX- Incentive Travel, Meetings, Events Industry

IMEX’s mission is to educate, innovate and create a network for meetings industry professionals throughout the world. It holds two of the largest meetings industry tradeshows in the world, IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in Las Vegas. For more info, visit, and

JIMC- Joint Industry Meeting Council 

JMIC was established in 1978 as a link for international meetings industry associations and meets twice a year to collectively review industry conditions and strategies.  In 2003, JMIC developed the Profile and Power Program, an industry advocacy program for the overall image of the industry and the economic and professional impacts it delivers. For more info, visit

MPI- Meeting Professionals International

Founded in 1972, MPIis the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide and provides innovative and educational networking opportunities/business exchangesto promote the meetings industry. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals including its Plan Your Meetings audience. It has more than 70 chapters and clubs in 75 countries and holds the World Education Congress (WEC), European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) and the GMID live 12-hour broadcast.For more info, visit

NAME- National Association for Museum Exposition

Established in 1981, NAME is an organization for museum exhibition within the framework of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). It provides a network to promote excellence in the creation of museum exhibitions and organize workshops and seminars on design and other aspects of museum exhibition. For 31 years NAME has given the Excellence in Exhibition Awards for achievement in exhibition from all types of museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and non-commercial institutions. For more info, visit

PCMA- Professional Convention Management Association

Frmally incorporated in 1958, Chicago-based PCMA’s 7,000 membership has 17 chapters and activities for an audience of 50,000 worldwide. Its brands include the PCMA Foundation, Convene magazine, the Digital Experience Institute which supports the DES certification, the Visionary Awards, PCMA EduCon and various webinars. Its vision is to drive global and economic transformation through business events. For more info visit,

SISO- Society of Independent Show Organizers

SOS was formed in 1990 and has been dedicated to the for-profit show organizer through networking and the exchange of ideas and experiences. Members include companies, corporations and other for-profits that provide management of over 3,500 tradeshows, consumer shows, expositions, conferences and events. It includes a Best Practices Library, cross marketing partnerships and presents the annual Krakoff Award. For more info, visit

SITE- Society for Incentive Travel

Founded in 1973, SITE is the only business events association dedicated exclusively to the incentive travel industry.  SITE Foundation funds certification for mid-manager level incentive travel professionals (CITP) and the Incentive Travel Industry Index (ITII). Its events include various SITE Incentive Summits, SITE Young Leaders Conference, the SITE NITEs evenings before the two annual IMEX exhibitions, and the Global Conference. For more info, visit

UFI- the Global Association of the Exposition Industry

UFI launched in 1925 under the name “Union des FoiresInternationales (Union of International Fairs)to develop cooperation among European international trade fairs in order to revitalize international commerce after World War I. In 2003, members decided to simply go by UFI and the tagline,the global association of the exhibition industry.It has evolved to now represent, promote and support the business interests of 50,000 tradeshow organizers and exhibition operators and member organizations worldwide. Its events include the Global Congress, Global CEO Summit, regional conferences throughout the world, and its education program includes the Events Management Degree and the UFI-VMS University. For more info, visit

This story originally appeared in the Special 25th Anniversary issue of Exhibit City News, p. 20-24. For original layout, visit


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