EDPA Takes Action to Reopen the Exhibitions Industry
by H. K. Wilson
Amid the global pandemic, EDPA is leading the charge to reopen the industry and allying with partner organizations to achieve this common goal. EDPA president Amy Sondrup says, “Reopening the exhibitions industry is not a passive activity. I am so proud of the way our members have stepped up to be proactive in many different areas, which will help to make reopening happen sooner rather than later.” She adds, “I think we were all excited and happy to see that CES plans to be a live show in January 2021.”
On June 3, Global Exhibitions Day, EDPA members affirmed their commitment to advocacy for the exhibitions industry. For them, advocacy means direct action, contacting legislators to bring the cause of the exhibitions industry to the forefront.
EDPA supports these two bills before the House of Representatives:
HR6697: The local chamber, tourism, and 501(c)(6) protection act, which modifies the Paycheck Protection Program implemented by the Small Business Administration in response to COVID-19. The bill expands the program to encompass organizations with 300 or fewer employees that (1) operate under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code (other than a professional football league), or (2) are a destination marketing organization engaged in promoting communities and facilities to businesses and leisure travelers.
HR6800: The Heroes Act, responds to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.
EDPA also endorses GBAC STAR, the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities. GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. Its 20-part GBAC STAR Accreditation Program helps facilities establish a comprehensive system of cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. Most major US convention centers enrolled in this program as soon as it was announced.
EDPA and the EDPA Foundation have contributed $25,000 to the GoLIVETogether initiative, which has raised more than a half-million dollars to date. GoLIVETogether provides advocacy, statistics and tools, such as this infographic, to demonstrate the contributions the exhibitions industry makes to the economy.
According to Chris Griffin, EDPA vice president, Industry Advocacy and Future Workforce Initiative, “There is nothing like ‘community’ to lift people up and remind us what we can do when we rally around common goals. The tradeshow and event industry is nothing if not a community. We deal with crisis, obstacles and challenges in our day jobs. And when the stakes are as high, as they are right now, there is no more impressive group of people to be working with.”
EDPA Chapter Highlights
Chapter by chapter, EDPA demonstrates the efficacy of grass roots action through webinars, virtual happy hours and peer-to-peer outreach. Many chapter presidents answered this question: What one proactive thing people can do right now to promote the industry and/or keep their skills sharp so as to be prepared for new opportunities?
Upper Midwest: Virtual Happy Hour Tuesday, June 16
“One way in which to promote unity of our industry is to send our legislators continually communication of how events and tradeshows feed local economies and employ millions of people throughout the U.S. Also, stay positive on social media by sharing and promoting posts for our vendor partners and competitors alike. Tradeshows and events will bounce back as we all crave face-to-face interaction.” — Jennifer Hermanson
Midwest (Chicago): Virtual Happy Hour Thursday, June 25
“The best thing we can do right now is keep our minds sharp. Our clients, bosses, sales people, designers, crew and everyone else in the industry depend on our mental preparedness to jump back in when face to face interactions come back. We need to stay creative and inspired however we can. For those who want to get involved with the industry advocacy, please reach out to your local EDPA chapter or Dasher at EDPA national for some direction. There are several things you can do to ensure our industry comes back strong!” — Jacqueline Hake
Northern California: Social Media Upskill Workshop Thursday, April 23
Virtual Happy Hour Thursday, June 11: Presented with cohosts EDPA SoCal and EDPA Las Vegas and organized with smaller breakout groups designed to create more personal connection.
Mental Health Workshop Thursday, July 30
Southeast: “Staying connected during this time of change is important not only at work, but also personally. And, during this time of physical distancing, I am finding opportunities to connect via LinkedIn and industry groups (EACA, Exhibitor Magazine, your local EDPA group, WIE, etc.) and sharpen my skills via online training. I’m also taking this time to check in with my customer base to provide them with support and ideas on how to adapt to this ever changing environment. From a personal standpoint, I’m taking advantage of virtual workouts and bonding with my family.” — Sandra Braun
Northeast: Virtual Happy Hour Thursday, June 11: Tim Heffernan, CDO of T3 Expo gives a crash course on the changes in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that were recently signed into law.
“Stay connected! It is the one thing that is critical to our industry right now. We must stay connected over social media or by phone, zoom, email or whatever want we can to continue the dialogue of how to move our industry forward. I strive to remain proactive within our exhibit and events community, whether that is reading articles or participating in podcasts. To me this means going beyond my organization, to stay connected to our industry on what others are doing, what are the best practices, what are the issues being discussed. … Creating partnerships and sharing information on a global level are important. The quicker we come together, the quicker we can find out footing for our new normal.” — Marisa Pacheco
Southern California: Virtual State of the Industry Address, Thursday, May 14: Cathy Breden, CEO of International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), provides updates about COVID-19’s impact on meetings worldwide. See it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObWB0pjx-Ig&t=3s.
Virtual Happy Hour Thursday, June 11: Presented via EDPA SoCal, NorCal and Vegas coalition.
Virtual Education Wednesday, June 24: Sue Sung, SVP of Corporate Strategy at Freeman, talks about the GoLIVETogether initiative.
“Write to your elected officials! IAEE has made this activity so easy as they have provided templates for email messages, infographics to send along, and a page that directs you to your elected officials’ websites. You can find all of this on IAEE’s website and have all your messages sent in a matter of minutes.” — Antonia Nuzzolo
Texas: Virtual Happy Hour weekly on Wednesdays
Fun and educational Zoom meetings are in planning for the summer. Chapter President Matthew Little has the challenge of building a fledgling chapter as industry workers are scattered. He has this message for his region: “We have our LinkedIn and Facebook pages up now, and our website should go live in the next two weeks. We are trying to drive up membership and get the word out that we are a new chapter and a community resource for the Texas Tradeshow family. If you could please tell anyone who is interested to email us at TexasEDPA@gmail.com. We are currently not charging a membership fee, as we want participation and having to pay at this crazy time is not important to us –- participation is!”
Parts of this story originally appeared in the July/August issue of Exhibit City News, p. 44. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_july-august_2020