by H. K. Wilson
The pandemic may have slowed business in 2020, but it certainly has not quashed the momentum of EDPA and its members. Approximately 85 people, primarily from the C-suite, attended EDPA ACCESS 2020 at the La Cantera Resort San Antonio Texas, Dec. 1-2. The content was at once enlightening and sobering, as data showed the devastation to the live events industry caused by COVID-19.
According to Dasher Lowe (pictured right), EDPA executive director, the meeting followed strict safety measures, but there was an intimacy that fostered great conversations about the state of the industry—and about the new rules of engagement.
Derse Chairman Bill Haney (pictured left) described the meeting as “the most valuable EDPA conference that I have attended as it pertains to my business and related decision making…picking up valuable content during trying times made it a great ROI. This info could only have been maximized thru a face-to-face setting.”
Reflecting on the meeting, EDPA president Amy Sondrup (pictured right) said, “I’m honored to continue to serve as EDPA President in 2021. Our annual meeting last week undoubtedly showcased that live events can safely happen in our current environment. Perhaps more importantly, it highlighted that there are no true replacements for face to face conversations. The conference offered a unique opportunity for leaders in trade show marketing to discuss their business challenges, the state of the industry marketplace and strategies for business recovery as well as the return of live events. The conversations that happen at EDPA don’t happen anywhere else, and ACCESS 2020 was no exception.”
EDPA Looks to 2021
The State of the Association Address was unusual in that it described EDPA’s activities throughout the year in service of the plight of live events—and the people who make them happen—to government and the rest of the world. The chapters’ work in keeping the conversations going was critical, and the association is instituting new measures to help members pay their dues for 2021. Socially distanced, both the annual Gala and the Chapter Challenge allowed attendees to celebrate the end of a daunting year. At the Gala, Lowe handed awards to the winners in several categories:
EDPA AWARDS PRESENTED AT ACCESS 2020
Matthew R. Beck, creative director, Exhibitus
Luke Brown, managing director, Bray Leino Events
Ashley Campbell, director of sales, Apple Rock NY/NJ
Sarah Mainhart, strategic account manager, CORT Events
Katie McTammany, creative director, MSM Inc.
Kyle Miguel, Sr. project manager, Hamilton Exhibits
Katina Rigall Zipay, creative director, Classic Exhibits
Sarah Simon, executive producer, Live Marketing
Michael Vallone, asst. creative dir./sr. exhibit designer, Hill & Partners
Noelle Webster, account manager, Willwork, Inc.
Small Chapter of the Year: EDPA Northeast
Large Chapter of the Year: EDPA Midwest
Eddie Award, Best Multimedia Campaign: Deckel & Moneypenny
Eddie Award, Best Pivot: beMatrix
International Collaboration Award: Idea International and Group Delphi: 15 years of Medtronic
Designer of the Year: Katina Rigall Zipay, creative director, Classic Exhibits
Ambassador of the Year: Chris Griffin, Crew XP
Hazel Hays Award: Dan Cantor, CEO/owner, Hamilton Exhibits
At a most extraordinary meeting in a most extraordinary year, EDPA members left San Antonio committed to industry advocacy and a belief in the future of live events.
EDPA Great Lakes
EDPA members in the Great Lakes region continue to band together, providing support to one another as the pandemic’s impact spans the new year. The chapter is hosting a three-part Zoom series on three Tuesdays in January/February featuring the theme: Personal Survival During Pandemic.
Session 1, January 12 at 3 p.m.: Financial Strategies
Session 2, January 26 at 3 p.m.: Job Transition Resources
Session 3, February 9 at 3 p.m.: Mental Wellness & Health Support
Contact Chapter President Kevin Sacharski for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital & Live Show Production was the theme of EDPA California’s December Zoom educational event on December 17. Steff Jones (pictured left) from Production Zync presented examples of work his company has produced in the digital online space and demonstrated how his company approaches the conversion of live shows to digital. He include examples of Production Zync’s digital and live shows along with some cutting-edge technologies he has seen recently in the marketplace, demonstrating how conventional production utilization and strategies are being used heading into 2021.
The big news in the Midwest is receiving the honor of this year’s “Chapter of the Year” award at ACCESS, yet again. “When we sat down to discuss what we had done in 2020, we were pleasantly surprised at all we had accomplished in such a devastating year,” says Chapter President Jackie Hake. “Our board, sponsors and members are passionate and hardworking, and that really came through in our review of the past year. 2020 was a very reactionary year for us and, as we head in to 2021, we feel more prepared to face and overcome the challenges ahead. We plan to offer both virtual and live events when possible in order to engage as many members as we can.”
EDPA Midwest enjoyed a festive holiday season with its charity drive, Exhibit 4 Smiles. This year, the chapter shipped gifts directly to the doors of needy children. On December 10, the chapter shared some holiday cheer with its “Tis the Season for Sippin’ Zoom Holiday Social.” Stephen Bossu from Chicago’s Hopewell Brewing Co. talked about crafting unique flavors and the overall brewing process. Members were encouraged to visit a local store ahead of time and pick up some brews to enjoy during the event.
The Midwest chapter is hosting a tiki-themed virtual party on January 14 at 4 p.m. CST. In February, the chapter is making plans to bring back David Causton, general manager of McCormick Place, and in March, it will sponsor its annual Design Challenge featuring students from the University of Illinois.
EDPA Texas made a great showing at ACCESS 2020 in San Antonio. “With this being regional for most of us, we were able to take advantage of the location and participate in the conversations about our industry,” says Texas Chapter President Matthew Little. “My take away from the event was that even though we have much to overcome in the near future, there are a lot of companies who are fighting the good fight to get us back in the game. Even if attendance was down with many people not able to travel, getting to spend time with our peers was good for my soul. It was so good to get to hang out and have conversations with people who are all in the same struggle that we all are.”
In 2021, the Texas chapter will continue to stay connected through its weekly Wednesday Happy Hour and, in January, the chapter will host another conversation about mental health. Little invites everyone to participate. “We are going to make this a series of events to provide resources to the industry who may be struggling with their mental health through the pandemic. We would like everyone to know they are all welcome to Zoom with us weekly, even if they belong to another chapter. Also, if they live in a state where there is no chapter, we will welcome them to ours, and they can participate through Zoom.” For event information, visit: https://www.texasedpa.com/events.
This holiday season, EDPA Northeast sponsored Project New Hope, an initiative that helps Northeast veterans and their families. It’s not too late to donate, visit edpanortheast.com/blog/projectnewhope2020 for the donate button.
EDPA Las Vegas
This year, the Las Vegas chapter continued its tradition of supporting the children at Whitney Elementary school by dropping off much-needed clothing donations at the school. The clothing was donated by various industry companies and individuals at the chapter’s annual Tim Provo Blood Drive.
This story originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. 2020 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 40. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_jan-feb_2021