At the recent Kickoff event for The Expo Group, guest speaker Lori Lynch from Istation shares the remarkable story of Olympic champion Jesse Owens and applies it to succeeding in today's workforce through a strong commitment to ideals like perseverance, integrity and trust. 


Welcome to the March 2017 edition of the Exposure Podcast from The Expo Group produced and hosted by Dana Freker Doody and Todd Carruth. 

March marks the 2nd anniversary of the Exposure Podcast.  Thanks for listening! (and subscribing) . This month features an interview with speaker, author, trainer, and mentor Judy Hoberman as she talks about being authentic to your brand, consistent with your message and provides sales tips to industry professionals and explains the SKIRT philosophy.  Dana shares her thoughts on our KickOff HUB, Todd shares information about his alter ego, Sales Todd,  and we take a look at upcoming events in the industry.  

If you want to listen to this episode (or any previous episodes) right from your computer, click here. 

To subscribe on iTunes, please click here


Good News! The Exposure podcast is now available on STITCHER Radio

You can also subscribe using your android device, just copy and paste this link here

Please share this podcast on your social media networks by clicking on any of the social media icons below.  And we would be pleased if you could take a moment and review our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. 

Questions about the podcast? Contact us at rethink (at) theexpogroup.com.  


Community spaces at corporate and association events are ideal ways to invite in participants, highlight activities and produce some bite-sized education. Just as association booths evolve into happening hotspots, corporate event architects are thoughtfully establishing spaces where attendees can gather for structured and unstructured networking.

The HUB at our own recent annual companywide meeting was just such a place -- a large area outfitted for participants to come together for fun and learning. A few elements we added may spark an idea for your next event.

Comfy meeting space and sense of place

Be sure attendees know they can meet each other with ease in a designated space. “Meet me in The HUB” should be a common refrain for first-timers, committee members and those reuniting each event cycle face to face.

Easy access points and tactile interaction tools

Not all attendees dive right in. Latent information across printed graphics can help with messaging, provide understanding of the overall event and help with their personal achievement goals for the next couple days. Tactile interaction tools, in this case simply puzzle-forming coasters, can drive messages more deeply thanks to their tangibility and help active learners stay engaged.

Interactivity and Gamification

Make the community space a starting point for games and activities that are being deployed across the event. It can be the home base, as it was during our Kickoff+ Experience that brought out everyone’s competitive nature with a series of team-oriented challenges.


Time continues to march on for these team members celebrating birthdays and anniversaries in March!

(back: Mark Robichaud, Ray Pekowski, front: Randy Pekowski, Juanita Pettit, Linda Pekowski)

And a special congrats to HR Benefits Coordinator  and beloved employee Juanita Pettit, who is retiring after 16 years with The Expo Group.  

We'll miss you!




Last month's company-wide Kick Off meeting allowed us the opportunity to celebrate both department and individual successes over the past year.

Nominated by their peers and voted on by a select committee of past winners, these employees exemplify our company core values of integrity, compassion and excellence. 

Congratulations to the 2016 The Expo Group Award Honorees. 


   Integrity Award Honoree: Charles Langley

(Randy Pekowski, Charles Langley and Ray Pekowski)



Excellence Award Honoree: Donna McMillin

(Randy Pekowski, Donna McMillin and Ray Pekowski)


ICE Award Honoree: Robert Richardson     

(Randy Pekowski, Robert Richardson and Ray Pekowski)



Rethink Award Honoree: Mack Wintin

(Randy Pekowski, Mack Wintin and Ray Pekowski)



Rookie Of The Year Honoree:  Tina Lane

(Randy Pekowski, Tina Lane and Ray Pekowski)


Higher Level Award Honoree: Chris Maloney

(Randy Pekowski, Chris Maloney and Ray Pekowski)



Connections Award Honoree: Pat Hogan

(Ray Pekowski, Pat Hogan and Randy Pekowski)



Globetrotter Award Honoree: Jason Miller

(Ray Pekowski, Jason Miller and Randy Pekowski)




Custom Exhibits Top Gun Award Honoree: Al Herbold 

Accepting for Al are Minnie Robles and Mille Garcia

(Randy Pekowski, Minnie Robles, Millie Garcia and Ray Pekowski)



General Contracting Top Gun Award Honoree: Jason Miller

(Jason says this is a team effort so everybody posed for a pic with the award!)


Sales Growth Award Honoree: Brien Zamperetti  

(Randy Pekowski, Brien Zamperetti and Ray Pekowski)



COO Award Honorees: Corey Kelley  

(Randy Pekowski, Pia Saxena, Corey Kelley and Ray Pekowski)



CEO Award Honoree: Marliyn Ivy

(Randy Pekowski, Marilyn Ivy and Ray Pekowski)

And congratulations to Juan Perez, Chris Maloney and Terry Keenan on their 10 year anniversary at The Expo Group. 

(Randy Pekowski, Juan Perez, Chris Maloney, Terry Keenan and Ray Pekowski)

Not pictured: 
Compassion Award Honoree: Shawn Breunle

Congratulations again to all who were nominated! 


Irving, Texas – February 28, 2017 – The Expo Group has been selected as the General Services Contractor for the American Academy of Periodontology.

“The AAP Annual Meeting is the premier live-learning and networking event in periodontics, and represents the living embodiment of the AAP brand. We chose The Expo Group not only for their expertise in meeting production, but also for their innovative counsel in identifying ways the AAP can enhance attendee experience and provide expanded value to members,” says AAP Executive Director Erin O’Donnell Dotzler.

“We’re very excited to be working with such a highly respected organization,” notes Randy Pekowski, The Expo Group’s President and COO.  “Our team is excited about the opportunity to help AAP drive even deeper engagement with its members, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees through more purposeful experience design and technological innovation.”

The Expo Group will begin working with AAP for the 103rd Annual Meeting this fall in Boston.


About the American Academy of Periodontology
The American Academy of Periodontology is an over 8,000-member professional organization for periodontists — specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive three additional years of specialized training following dental school. Periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. For more information, visit www.perio.org.

About The Expo Group

The Expo Group is a trusted exhibition and events partner that helps organizations grow their attendance, exhibitor and sponsorship revenue through the design and execution of unique, compelling and memorable experiences. The company has headquarters near Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio and Washington D.C. Learn more at www.theexpogroup.com or contact Dana Freker Doody at 972.580.9000.



“Service is not just a department.”

“Everyone’s in sales.”

“We are all marketers.”

Platitudes such as these sound trite around the conference table but within them exist nuggets of truth. Today, add another truth: Creativity is everyone’s responsibility.

We can all be creatives, we all must be creatives.

As the role of event planner changes to that of experience architect and as we focus not just on meeting logistics but on the overall experience of a conference, creativity and the requisite acceptance of fresh new ideas is everyone’s job.

At the recent Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders conference, noted creative coach Scott Belsky delivered a closing keynote with a roadmap for creative thinking anyone can adopt. His formula for success?

Creativity x Organization = Impact

Is there a greater formula for creatively restructuring an event, for morphing the job of detail minded event planner into creative-minded experience architect? Belsky encouraged the audience to work diligently at overcoming creative pitfalls; here are five to avoid.

  1. Love of Idea Generation – For event planners, this could prevent you from executing one creative idea before jumping to the next. It’s also important to measure the success of your idea and it’s qualitative impact, before moving along to the next crazy thing.
  2. Operational Gravity – Yes, this is when you get stuck in FBO approvals and a seeming crisis with tablecloths at the venue. Suddenly you find yourself sucked down to tactical level unable to creatively solve problems, implement new ideas and even think strategically.
  3. Lack of Feeling Organized – This is where pretty file folders can help, or the latest organizational app. But rather than jumping into a hot new organizing method, create or adapt your own so that you become loyal to your own process. If answering emails in the morning works for you, don’t abandon that organizational method when you read a conflicting article.
  4. Lack of Accountability – Just do it, really.
  5. Lack of Leadership Capability – Your ideas need a creative leader, and that creative leader is you. Belsky urged all to keep pushing ideas forward, to break through bureaucracy by finding the boss who can make the one small decision that could bring your idea forward and pushing for that decision to be made, then the next small decision, and onward.


Belsky delivered a message for creatives, but the real message from PCMA was that we are all creatives. What’s the last thing you created? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Can AI Get Us Closer To A Truly Personalized Attendee Experience?

Special Guest Article by Michelle Bruno

Attendees don’t have time to wander around at conferences and tradeshows hoping that serendipity delivers the payoff for a week out of pocket. They want tailor-made information, connections, and experiences to come to them. Current event technologies have set the stage for a hyper-personalized attendee experience, but they’re not there yet. Artificial intelligence has the potential to take event tech to the next level.

Personalization’s State of The Art

There are mechanisms in place to give conference-goers the ability to consume an event in a way that is uniquely suited to their interests. Badges outfitted with barcodes, wearable beacons, or RFID/NFC tags, can open the door to unique gifts, access, content, or gameplay. Mobile conference apps offer up myriad opportunities for users to define their particular attendee journey. Reports and data visualizations provide event organizers with clues for delivering personalized programming.

Shortcomings of Current Event Tech

But there are limitations to the personalization strategies and technologies in use today. The majority can only organize and distribute existing information. They cannot learn, or problem solve. That is the domain of artificial intelligence (AI), an umbrella term used to describe software’s ability to simulate human intelligence and behavior. The promise of artificial intelligence is to understand context, intent, and relationships so that it can anticipate and predict rather than simply report.

The New Secret Personalization Sauce

Artificial intelligence is already beginning to impact the attendee experience. Visit Orlando is using AI in its mobile app to give recommendations to visitors who type requests into the app. It could presumably help event-goers too. The AI-enabled Concierge Eventbot answers attendee questions (where is my next breakout session or what should I have for lunch?) using Facebook Messenger and SMS text via smartphone. In both cases, the AI doesn’t just regurgitate frequently asked questions; it learns to anticipate questions and provide the best answers.

The First AI-Powered Matchmaking Engine

Another example of the emerging use of artificial intelligence in events is the Grip matchmaking engine. Grip takes inputs from registration data and an attendee’s social profile (it’s capable of processing other data too), breaks them down into keywords, and applies AI to produce peer-to-peer matches. “We use artificial intelligence to understand the relationships between people and the likelihood that two individuals are going to be interested in each other,” says Tim Groot, co-founder and CEO of Grip.

AI For Other Tech Companies

Grip is not an event-mobile app although the company built an app to showcase its AI engine. Grip is designed to integrate with other event-mobile apps and software-as-a-service providers (the company is also looking beyond live events to apply its matchmaking capabilities) through an application-programming interface (API). Thus, rather than compete with other app companies, Grip aims to fortify them with next-generation technology that they would otherwise have to develop in-house.

Tapping into Collective Intelligence

Grip learns from user behaviors. It improves its match recommendations based on actions like swiping or skipping suggested matches (to show interest or disinterest) and requesting or declining meetings. Prior connections to a proposed match or connections between the match and others in the user’s social network can also influence a suggestion. Grip’s AI engine learns not only from the user’s behaviors but the actions of other users at the same or similar events.

A Giant Leap For Tech

Like other foundational technologies—the Internet, mobile applications, and cloud computing—artificial intelligence, though still in its imperfect early stages, is poised to redefine and reimagine existing event technologies and processes. It stands alone in its ability to contextualize and predict behaviors, which, from a personalization perspective, could progress the attendee experience by light years. Very soon, AI is likely to become a baseline requirement for all event technologies.


This article originally appeared in Event Tech Brief produced by Michelle Bruno



Welcome to the February 2017 edition of the Exposure Podcast from The Expo Group produced and hosted by Dana Freker Doody and Todd Carruth. 

This month features an interview with Velvet Chainsaw'sVP of Professional Connexity, Sarah Michel as she talks about how speakers are morphing into the role of facilitators and provides some great tips on improving member and attendee experiences.   Dana shares her thoughts on PCMA Convening Leaders last month in Austin and we take a look at upcoming events in the industry.  

If you want to listen to this episode (or any previous episodes) right from your computer, click here. 

To subscribe on iTunes, please click here


Good News! The Exposure podcast is now available on STITCHER Radio

You can also subscribe using your android device, just copy and paste this link here

Please share this podcast on your social media networks by clicking on any of the social media icons below.  And we would be pleased if you could take a moment and review our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. 

Questions about the podcast? Contact us at rethink (at) theexpogroup.com.  





Time to celebrate these February birthdays and anniversaries with The Expo Group. 

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