Stepping down by the end of this year from Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) is President and CEO Douglas L. Ducate, who has held the position for the last 15 years.
A 45-year industry veteran, Ducate explained he believes CEIR, a provider of research on the exhibitions industry, deserves “younger and stronger legs to carry some of the new initiatives to success.”
Ducate announced his leaving at the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association’s Annual Summer Educational Conference, held from June 23-26.
Since he is not retiring, Ducate expects to stay active in the exhibition industry. “As a good Texan, I fully expect to die in the saddle headed to the next show. Being idle just isn’t in my blood,” he explained.
At the helm of CEIR since 1998, Ducate has served as the face of research for the exhibition industry. Instrumental in establishing the vision for the exhibition industry’s first outlook conference, Predict, Ducate has also worked to release the CEIR Index Report and the CEIR Census, two publications that guide exhibition organizers in their planning and purchasing decisions.
“The respect and presence that our industry has nationally and globally can be attributed in large part to the passion, knowledge and determination of Doug Ducate. The science of tradeshows has been helped tremendously by his commitment to absolute accuracy,” said Greg Ortale, chairman of the Board of Directors, CEIR, and president and CEO, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our industry has been blessed by many leadership giants and a few legends. Doug is both. We will miss him greatly, but fortunately we know where he lives, and we have his phone number.”
Ducate began his industry career in 1968 when he joined the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), a technical society that serves the upstream, drilling, exploration and production segments of the oil and gas industry. He was responsible for planning and management of the SPE annual meeting and exhibition.
In April 1969, SPE along with 11 other scientific and engineering societies launched the first Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, for which Ducate planned and managed. He helped drive, launch and produce events in oil-producing provinces around the world, and under his direction, the first U.S.-based, private exhibition was held in Beijing, China, in March 1982. He was tasked to establish a European office in 1990. After London was chosen, Ducate lived there for two years and brought on staff.
In 1995, Ducate left SPE to join Production Group International (PGI). His role was to create an exhibition division, and after several acquisitions, that division became the largest in the company, generating some $35 million in revenue.
A recognized leader and innovator within the meetings and exhibitions industry, Ducate achieved both the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designations. His memberships in industry associations and organizations have put him on the forefront of industry innovation and have been recognized with senior positions.
Ducate has served as chairman of the Convention Liaison Council, president of the Trade Show Bureau (now CEIR) and was chairman of the National Association of Exposition Managers, Inc. (now IAEE). He has been a frequent author and presenter for the American Society of Association Executives and the Professional Convention Management Association where he served on their board of directors and then served as a member of the PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees.
He received the International Association for Exhibition Management Distinguished Service Award and their highest honor, the William Hunt Eisenman Award. Ducate also received the TSEA Distinguished Service award and the EDPA Hazel Hayes award. He was inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders and was named a Fellow of the Sloan School International Research Institute at the University of South Carolina in 2009.