Originally published by Trade Show Executive October 2016 Edition
One of the greatest advantages to being a part of the exhibitions and events industry is witnessing the direct effect that face-to-face interaction has on the overall business paradigm. The ability for buyers and sellers to engage in dialogue and hands-on demonstrations, as well as build and expand their professional networks is a unique experience that continually stands the test of time.
Decades after entering this industry, it still brings me immense satisfaction to look across a crowded venue and see people connecting in such a thriving business environment. I have seen our industry grow and change, and like many of you, one of the issues at the forefront of my mind these days is that of the security and safety of our meetings. We have all been witness to the detrimental effect terrorism is having on our society, and as exhibitions and events professionals we cannot ignore the effect it could potentially have on our industry.
For many years, we have dealt in emergency preparedness and contingency plans for our events should we experience an attack. Show organizers have worked closely with venues to ensure there is a plan of action in place should such a tragedy occur. For example, IAEE’s CEM Learning Program includes the Security, Risk & Crisis Management module which provides professionals who attain their CEM certification with the skill to evaluate the security needs for their events and develop a preparedness plan accordingly.
However, the time has come to take this approach a step further. The time has come to offer a national standard that the entire industry can implement so that we can work together as an industry to ensure the safety of our attendees. Therefore IAEE, IAVM (International Association of Venue Managers), ESCA (Exhibition Services and Contractors Association) and The Keyway Group have joined forces to work toward industry-wide standards to submit to the Safety Act Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This initiative will bring convention centers, show organizers, event planners and service providers together to share best practices and implement the latest security protocols and procedures in a proactive collaboration.
Our goal is to examine individual best practices currently used by members of our industry around the country, and work with experts in the safety and security industry to produce a comprehensive benchmark for security that also aligns with the Department of Homeland Security’s SAFETY Act. This benchmark will not only help venues continue to operate with security as a top priority, but it will also give show organizers and meeting planners more leeway to align the needs of their events and meetings with the appropriate venue.
This is a work in progress, but the exhibitions and events industry is no stranger to what it takes to make things happen! Our industry is built on the ability to look into the future and plan accordingly – it is what we do every day. We are now looking into the future and seeing that there is a need for a stronger plan of action for what is an unfortunate reality of the world we live in. In order to do that, our main priority at this point is to gather as much information as we can about the security and safety management tactics currently in place.
If you are interested in becoming a part of this very important initiative, I would love to hear from you. You can find out more information on IAEE’s website at http://www.iaee.com/resources/security-initiative/.
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO