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Leo McDonald, visionary giant in the industry, passes away

It is with deep regret to inform you that Leo McDonald passed away February 1, 2012, at his home in Sanibel, Fla.

Leo and Ann McDonald

Leo and his wife, Ann McDonald.

He was truly a leader in the exhibit industry to which many were influenced by his actions and philosophies that served to help many go on to achieve successful careers.

McDonald began by starting a company called Award Exhibits in Chicago, which later merged with the original 3D Exhibits to then form Exhibitgroup.

3D Exhibits was re-created years later by Bill Dixon, a former Exhibitgroup vice president, who selected the name in respect for McDonald and his achievements.

McDonald was the first to create a network of exhibit design and manufacturing locations in the U.S. with associate Charlie Zimmerman.

The first and original Exhibitgroup locations were Chicago, Ill., New York, NY. Cincinnati, Ohio, Los Angeles, Calif., Dallas, Texas, San Francisco, Calif., and Atlanta, Ga.

Exhibitgroup was then purchased by the Greyhound Corporation, which McDonald helped to merge Manncraft and Las Vegas Convention Services to form GES.

From 1977-1980, he was selected to serve as president and chairman of both GES and Exhibitgroup, now both Greyhound companies.

McDonald retired from management in 1986 and stayed on to serve as a consultant and AE for Exhibitgroup for a few more years.

He was awarded the EDPA Hazel Hays award in 1995 and honored for his vision and leadership to create a network of facilities and a national rental program, both firsts for the exhibit industry.

McDonald was a strong leader and a dedicated family man. He spent his winters in Captiva, Fla., where he recently celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with Ann McDonald and his children and grandchildren.  

Leo McDonald will be missed by many. He mentored and influenced many in the exhibit industry and left his mark for all to remember him.

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