IAEE had the pleasure of sitting down with Chris Nemchek, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Member Relations with the Specialty Food Association to learn more about his tenure as an IAEE member and his perspective on the exhibitions and event industry. Chris runs the Fancy Food Shows and has been an IAEE member since 1997!
Chris has served on the IAEE Board of Directors for the past 2 years and on January 1, 2016 will begin a new 3 year term. Chris is the current Chairman of the IAEE MATSO (Major American Trade Show Organizer) Council and a member of our Certified Event Task Force. Within the past year, he began participating on the board of the IAEE NY Chapter.
How did you get your start in the exhibitions industry?
I started working at Reed Exhibitions back in 1991 as a sales executive. At the time, I was just looking to pay the bills, not thinking that I was embarking on a long career. As soon as I had the opportunity to attend my first trade show at McCormick Place in Chicago I was sold! I knew right away that I would be in this industry for a very long time. I later moved into the show operations side of the business while still at Reed. Developing a range of experience in both the sales and operations areas made me love the industry even more. For the past 19 years, I’ve been with the Specialty Food Association and the Fancy Food Shows. For me, the combination of Specialty Food and International Trade Shows is unbeatable!
What advice would you give a new IAEE member or person joining the exhibitions community?
Try to get involved in different areas of the industry. Make yourself more valuable to your current (and future) employer by developing your versatility. There is so much to learn and many ways to enjoy this industry that you will limit your opportunities by sticking to only one discipline.
What is the biggest challenge in running your show?
Staying ahead of the curve is our biggest challenge. The Specialty Food Industry is all about new products and innovation. Keeping our shows fresh with new, exciting programs each and every year can be challenging. It’s also the most rewarding part of the job. When one of our new program introductions is a big hit and really helps our members grow their businesses, the hard work and pressure you went through seems well worth it.
Tell us a fun fact or story that most people would not know about you.
I am a champion ping pong player with three tournament championships under my belt.
Any final thoughts?
I’m very big on broadening your horizons and expanding your versatility. IAEE is the best place to accomplish this. I recommend taking advantage of the many programs that IAEE produces that can educate you and connect you to everybody who is anybody in our industry across a broad spectrum of disciplines.
See you in Baltimore for the 2015 Expo! Expo!