Although the annual Chapter of the Year (COTY) brings out a strong sense of competition and loyalty among Exhibit Designers + Producers Association (EDPA) chapters, members of the organization are continually supportive of each other as well as the national and regional chapters.
From March 1-5 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, EXHIBITORLIVE 2015 demonstrated many examples of this firsthand due to a boost of EDPA activity spearheaded by three chapters –Northern California (NorCal), Northeast (NE) and Las Vegas.
When national President Robert Campbell spoke at the Las Vegas chapter’s annual breakfast meeting on March 4, he explained that he wanted to see a strong EDPA with more members.
“I’d really like for everyone to make a referral. It would be great if everyone could think of a company to become a member of EDPA rather it’s a competitor or supplier,” he added.
He underscored that rivalries and competition needed to take a backseat. From his experience at EXHIBITORLIVE, he said he didn’t see any rivalries at all.
In fact, the Las Vegas chapter breakfast brought together members from different EDPA chapters. Campbell wasn’t the only one to notice this trend.
EDPA NE’s chapter meeting on March 2 illustrated that all of the association’s chapters could learn from each other.
EXHIBITORLIVE allowed the NE chapter to gather and brainstorm fundraising and volunteer opportunities and growth strategies. Many members sought to learn from other chapters that successfully grew their events and members, such as Las Vegas and Midwest.
Chapter member and Exposures Principal Gary Michael Prochorchik cited how Las Vegas raised money for the national chapter with its golf tournaments and gathered sponsors. He also added that Las Vegas raised money to benefit its local community with blood drives.
This led to a discussion about how NE members could engage with their local communities. Members suggested everything from working with military veterans to animal shelters.
Supporting exhibit designers of the future is also on the chapter’s agenda. Many members had already been working with student designers through their day jobs.
Chapter Secretary Dana Esposito explained how her company, Elevation Exhibits and Events, had been mentoring Fashion Institute of Technology and Bemidji State University students for eight years, corresponding with 30 students at least twice a month.
Several chapter members then suggested getting all the Northeastern design schools and students together to provide an overall networking opportunity. It’s never too early to start!
The NE chapter also wanted to be unique. Prochorchik suggested creating a website focused only on the chapter and its events.
Speaking of events – EDPA NorCal ended a day on the show floor on March 3 with a relaxing meet-up at Burger Bar at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place.
Many chapter members pitched in to make the networking opportunity a success. This included helping to foot the bill!
“The NorCal team is always thinking of ways of bringing industry members together no matter where we are. Katie Zanardi of Astound had the terrific idea of hosting a meet-up for a fun social during EXHIBITORLIVE! With the idea firmly in mind, Mary Ann Furnish of ProExhibits put it all together for us at the Burger Bar. Knowing that we had never done this before, we were rolling the dice. Based on our turnout, the meet-up was a success! Be sure and join NorCal for next year’s meet-up during EXHIBITORLIVE!” stated Rossana Quezada-Clune, president, EDPA NorCal.
If these three chapters are representative of what becoming an EDPA member entails, then it’s no wonder membership continues to grow.
As Campbell explained, “[EDPA] is in much better shape. We have a better retention rate than in 2014 and gained 50 new members since ACCESS [in December 2014]. EDPA is also in a better financial situation.”