by Jeanne Brei
Classic Exhibits’ Mel White posted on Linkedin in late August that “If you haven’t heard, Tom Beard is officially retiring after 143 years in the exhibit industry. Over the years, he’s been much more than a colleague. He’s been a friend to me and to the Classic Distributor Network. Thankfully Tom has a son who lives in Portland so we will see him from time to time. Please wish him well and a bon voyage!”
Tom’s Farewell Letter
As many of you have heard, I’m retiring and calling it a career. It’s been a fantastic 27-year run working in the tradeshow and events industry for some great companies including Eco-Systems Sustainable and Classic Exhibits. I’m leaving with many great memories and with more friendships than I can count. Our industry has some of the hardest working, creative and caring people I’ve encountered in my 45-year working career, and I feel blessed to have stumbled into this crazy industry! The past 18 months have been difficult for all of us, but it has brought to light the true collaboration and culture of Classic and Classic Distributor Partners. It was pretty amazing to witness!
Having traveled extensively over the years, I’ve seen the United States through the lens of airports, hotels, convention centers and businesses, and it’s time to hit the road and see what the country looks like outside of these areas. You never know… I might stop by and regale you with stories about a giant ball of twine or other amazing sights in the U.S.
Your friendship and support over the years made my decision to retire very difficult, but I will stay involved with the Midwest EDPA Chapter and hopefully attend future EXHIBITORLIVE shows, so I look forward to connecting down the road. I’ll say goodbye for now and leave you in the capable hands of Jen, Harold and Mel.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
— Tom Beard
This Linkedin post garnered nearly 50 colleagues congratulating Tom on his retirement as well as calling into question the hyperbole of 143 years of Tom’s exhibit industry involvement. Mel’s reply to those doubters, “It’s actually more than that, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was exaggerating. It’s even more amazing when you consider the guy’s running marathons and half-marathons at that age.”
Those who wished him well in his retirement on Linkedin read like a Who’s Who of the tradeshow industry, including congratulations from Gwen Hill (ExhibitForce), Julie McKernin (Stevens Exhibits), Norm Friedrich (Octanorm), David Holladay (ExpoDisplays), Chris Dunn (BlueHive Exhibits), Jeannine K. Swan, Moshe Kaufman (Purple Exhibits), Rob Majerowski (Exhibitus), Lou Crescenti (Exhibits 2.0 Inc.), Jamie Zavoral-Brown (Bray Leino Events), Max Maxwell (EDE Corp.), Jill Kinduell (Total Graphic Source), Alex Tucker (LAB Exhibits), Sharon Kendrew (High Road Inc.), Brennan W. Curtis (Mostre Exhibits), Lisa Barshay (BRANDTastik Promotional Marketing), Alex Tucker (LAB Exhibits), Rachel Skweres (Moderna Products), Lori Magnacca (Your Event Manager.Net), John DeNobile (DisplayEZ Trade Show Event Marketing Solutions) and colleagues Kevin Carty and Jim Shelman (Classic Rental Solutions) and more. To sum it all up, Tom, best wishes in your retirement, from everyone at Exhibit City News and the rest of the tradeshow industry!
This story originally appeared in the Nov./Dec. 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 53. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_nov-dec_2021