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First-ever Exhibitions Day a success; AEM co-chaired Capitol Hill initiative

Monday, June 23, 2014

Promoted business value of face-to-face events; policies to help bring qualified buyers

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) joined 100 fellow trade show organizers and exhibitions industry leaders on Capitol Hill June 16-17 to promote the economic and business value of face-to face events. They also pushed for policies that allow qualified international visitors as well as government employees to more easily attend trade shows and meetings.

On the AEM agenda were meetings with Congressional representatives, U.S. Commerce Dept. officials and university educators.

The International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) organized Exhibitions Day with allied associations as part of its advocacy outreach. AEM Vice President Exhibitions & Events Megan Tanel was event co-chair.

“The exhibitions industry is large but we have not been vocal enough in explaining our value; this isn’t leisure travel – it’s business to business, helping our exhibitors and attendees achieve their business goals to make a positive contribution,” Tanel stated. “This has been a great start, and we will continue our grass-roots advocacy efforts.”

AEM representatives at Exhibitions Day, in addition to Tanel, were President Dennis Slater, Vice President Government & Industry Relations Nick Yaksich and Senior Director Exhibitions Melissa Magestro. AEM trade shows include CONEXPO-CON/AGG, ICUEE-The Demo Expo and CONEXPO Latin America.

Streamline visa approvals for qualified global visitors; Lift U.S. government travel restrictions
In its Capitol Hill meetings, AEM advocated for policies that increase international participation in exhibitions and meetings. AEM has long promoted streamlined visa-approval processes for qualified business people, and it has been active in the Commerce Dept.’s International Buyers Program to help bring global customers stateside.

“Our members and exhibitors rely on being able to reach the international audience at U.S.-based exhibitions to showcase products and capabilities,” Slater said. “They tell us customers still face visa-related problems, and we continue to work cooperatively with DOC officials for more business-friendly approval procedures.”

AEM also discussed the value of government employee participation in trade shows and events. “Many of our members and exhibitors sell to the government and public sector; trade shows are a very cost-effective way for these buyers to see the technologies and best practices that will help them make best use of taxpayer dollars,” stated Slater.

During discussions with legislators, AEM also stressed the need for speedy passage of a comprehensive federal highway bill, and the value of the manufacturing sector to U.S. economic prosperity and job creation.

Educating the educators on value of exhibitions industry
And, AEM took part in an Exhibitions Day educators forum that included IAEE staff, industry practitioners and faculty from top universities in the Washington, DC area.

“Part of the IAEE advocacy initiative is to engage with schools on the value of exhibitions – to integrate them within the curriculum of marketing and business programs as key marketing/sales tools and to promote the exhibitions and events industry as a rewarding career choice,” Tanel said.

For more information on AEM exhibition opportunities, visit www.aem.org in the Trade Shows section.

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