May 29, 2024 9:11 PM
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by Chris Kappes

In an era when the tradeshow industry was still finding its voice, Don Svehla was already shaping its narrative. Three decades later, Svehla’s creation, Exhibit City News, continues to be the paramount print and digital news resource since its inception in 1994. 

“My vision was always to celebrate the people and companies behind the scenes,” explains Svehla, Founder & Publisher of ECN. “We are ‘True to the Trade,’ capturing stories about news makers from various sectors like labor, general contracting, shipping, exhibit-event agencies, talent, hospitality, and beyond. It’s a vast network of independent and interdependent specializations that converge to bring events to life.” 

Exhibit City News has transformed from its modest origins as an eight-page newsletter, born from Svehla’s insights gained while working as an I&D worker at McCormick Place, Chicago. With the encouragement of industry peers, Svehla embarked on a journalistic journey, and by June 1994, the newsletter was a reality. Svehla summarizes this journey. 

“We’ve grown with the tradeshow industry,” Svehla emphasizes. “From a regional newspaper to a national publication, and now a full-color magazine and dynamic digital site that churns out fresh content. Tradeshows are content producers, and we take pride in sharing the latest news with our community.” 

Fueling Exhibit City News’ expansion is not just its compelling content but also its steadfast advertising community, consisting of hundreds of tradeshow service organizations that have remained loyal for decades. One advertiser remarks, “Exhibit City News is a vital channel for us to tell our story and promote our brand. It’s the premier platform to connect with our buyers.” 

In honor of its 30th anniversary, Exhibit City News is crafting a glossy commemorative magazine. This milestone publication will showcase top industry events, noteworthy news, influential figures, and more. Svehla adds, “Our commemorative magazines, previously published after 20 and 25 years, offer high-value content and serve as a tremendous advertising platform for our community. We are thrilled to announce this special edition at the Exhibit Designers & Producers Association Conference (EDPA), November 28-November 30 and the International Association of Exhibition Executives (IAEE), Expo-Expo! 23 Tradeshow, taking place from December 5-7 in Dallas, TX.” 

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