On March 27, 2012, in Schaumburg, Ill., the Midwest Exhibit & Events Professionals (MEEP) held their inaugural meeting. The new association, which was formed from a previously disbanded chapter of the Trade Show and Exhibitors Association (TSEA), brought together 28 industry professionals to represent the Midwest area.
“The significance and importance of this chapter has been built on Chicago’s significance to the tradeshow industry,” said Michael Seymour, senior vice president of 3D Exhibits and spearhead for MEEP. “Some of the biggest, brightest and best are here.”
The Chicago chapter of TSEA chose to dissolve back in February, when the TSEA initially made an announcement that it would be merging with another industry association.
MEEP intends to focus on the Chicago/Midwest area for its core operation, but also plans to reach outlying areas for resources and participants.
At the most recent meeting, Pat Friedlander from Word Up! was the featured speaker, presenting an educational session on brand management and social media.
As for future speakers, Seymour says he’s already received several calls.
“Doug Ducate said if we need a speaker to just let him know,” he said. “It’s amazing that the main guy at CEIR is ready to fly up here and talk to our group. Everybody wants to be involved.”
And with such a central location, it’s easy for industry professionals to be involved and participate. Nicole Klein, for example, has already expressed interest in creating a similar event professionals community in Colorado.
“It’s an opportunity to share,” said Klien, who works for Nuance International based out of Denver, Colo. “I definitely think there’s a need to affiliate, and there’s definitely a need to collaborate and create a community among industry professionals.”
As for the big picture, the goal of the association is to provide education and networking opportunities to not only its members, but the tradeshow community as a whole.
“We’re very fortunate to be located where we are in this great convention city,” said Seymour. “Because we’re independent and new, it offers us more opportunities. And in my over 25 years of chapter involvement, never have I seen this industry respond so positively to a new group.”
The next meeting for MEEP will be May 8, 2012. Jeff Dougherty of Blue Pony will present a program about new technology in the industry.