With the goal to grow Exhibit Designers + Producers Association (EDPA) membership in 2014 and fulfill the organization’s mission, several members drove the creation of three new chapters.
EDPA goes into October with the revived Southern California chapter as well as new ones for the Northeast U.S. and Florida. This September, each new chapter held organizational meetings and elected board members. Now EDPA comprises of 10 chapters nationwide.
“2014 has been a very active year within EDPA as we continue to grow national membership in support of this year’s presidential platform initiative. Welcome aboard new chapters, continued success to all existing chapters as we continue to grow EDPA together!” stated Jay Burkette, president, EDPA, and vice president of sales, ExpoDisplays.
The push behind new chapter development rests majorly in the hands of EDPA members who all believe in the organization’s mission to advance the interests of those engaged in the design, production, and service of exhibits, events and experiential environments.
Since there wasn’t a Florida chapter previously, EDPA members living in the state mainly gathered for the annual EDPA ACCESS conference and showcase, which takes place this December in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Seeing the need for regular meetings among EDPA members in Florida, APG Displays’ U.S. Key Account Executive Steve LaManna along with PRG’s National Sales and Services Executive Doug Baugh and Director of Global Accounts Fred Kong spearheaded the Florida chapter’s formation shortly after ACCESS 2013.
The three men collaborated with Burkette and Chapter Development Chairman Dave Flory to get the chapter up and running. This included reading the regulations and bylaws, recruiting members and highlighting networking opportunities. The chapter also needed to be insured and have an executive board to operate.
“Everyone is welcome to join. We feel it has the potential to be the largest chapter because of the amount of people in the industry in Central Florida,” said LaManna. “It is a major meetings destination with millions. It’s comparable to Chicago and Las Vegas because of the size of the convention center and conference hotels.”
Home to the second largest convention center in the U.S. — Orange County Convention Center, Central Florida will host many of the chapter’s meetings and social events. If the chapter continues growing, LaManna said he thinks the Florida chapter could split to form two branches like the Southern and Northern California chapters.
The journey toward the revival of the Southern California chapter was also member influenced. President Michael Donovan, owner of 760 Display, offered early support for restarting the Southern California chapter after noticing the topic on the EDPA LinkedIn group.
“Our industry is changing, and I feel it is crucial to connect as a local group of passionate exhibit and design professionals to share and learn from each other,” Donovan explained. “We felt a need to educate and collaborate with the local industry, and pay it forward with scholarships for future generations. We very much like to share knowledge and meet with our peers. Our first meeting proved this, with an attendance of more than 30 industry professionals on short notice. We can’t help all but feel that the revival of this chapter is a good thing.”
The revival of the Southern California chapter not only bridges the gap between those who find it difficult to travel up north, but its location also makes it unique.
“This is SoCal, the middle of the entertainment world, with a very creative mindset, and tremendous buying power,” Donovan added.
Now the president of the Northeast chapter, Sarah Fantauzzi – vice president of human resources at RES Exhibit Services – too mentioned that she is excited to foster the advancement of companies and people in the exhibit industry. The chapter’s first meeting was held in Boston at the end of September.
Separately run, along with other differences due to their locations, all EDPA chapters are united by chapter steering committees that share their success and knowledge for the benefit of each member, according to Donovan.
In addition to the three new chapters, seven EDPA chapters serve busy U.S. tradeshow destinations in the Midwest, Upper Midwest, Las Vegas, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Northern California and Southeast.