By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Patricia Dwyer retired as Senior Manager, Event Services, for SmithBucklin in 2017. Although she joined SmithBucklin in 1996, she has been working in the exhibition industry since 1972. She started her career at Martin C. Dwyer, Inc., a show management firm owned by her father that was later sold to Clapp & Poliak (now part of Reed Exhibitions). Patricia also worked on trade shows for the National Office Products Association and the International Dairy Food Association
Over her 45-year career, she has inspired many of her colleagues as a mentor and advisor. Patricia has earned the reputation as the colleague you can always turn to for guidance and advice to maximize working relationships, presenting herself as always approachable to help and lend advice.
An IAEE member since 1978, Patricia has served on the Awards Committee, Industry & Government Affairs Committee as well as chaired the MATSO Council. Her contributions and dedication to the industry over the course of her career earned her the 2017 Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award.
Here, Patricia shares with IAEE what she has learned from her time in the industry, the value of face-to-face and why communication is one of the best skills anyone can have.
IAEE: You came to the industry in a unique way in the sense that most people typically “fall into” exhibitions and events, but you actually had an insider’s perspective. How did having a greater understanding of the industry shape your career path?
Patricia: I learned very early on that this business is all about relationships and integrity. I was raised by a very entrepreneurial father and loved his enthusiasm for the work. There were many long days and lots of detail, but the end result was always rewarding.
IAEE: You have been commended by your colleagues for your generous mentorship. What do you find most satisfying about guiding others and what was the best advice given to you by your mentor(s)?
Patricia: Being able to stand aside and watch them soar in their careers was very rewarding. The best advice was to be my own individual but always open to advice, both positive and negative.
IAEE: You have watched the face-to-face business environment grow and develop alongside the changing technologies and general atmospheres it has experienced over four decades. What changes in the industry impress you the most? On the other hand, what aspects have withstood the test of time?
Patricia: I’m probably most impressed by the creativity that people are bringing to solving problems. Never would I have imagined when I was starting out how the new technology would change the way we do our jobs. Good people skills and the art of communication will always stand the test of time.
IAEE: As someone who has worked closely with the MATSO Council, what would you say is a challenge that the major trade show organizer must face versus show organizers who work with less than 200,000 NSF? And/or, what do you think would surprise non-major trade show organizers about the process?
Patricia: It was amazingly helpful to hear from other MATSO members how they solved common issues (marketing, security, etc.). The discussions were always lively! Some might be surprised to hear us in open dialogue with industry peers and (sometimes) competitors.
IAEE: In addition to contributing to the industry’s evolution, you have been active in IAEE for four decades as well. What has been the most gratifying aspect of your involvement with IAEE?
Patricia: Through the various opportunities IAEE afforded me (networking, education, serving on committees), I was able to turn business associates into lifelong friends.
IAEE: As a successful industry veteran, what advice do you offer those who are either new to this industry – or perhaps even mid-career – and feel they are in it for the long haul?
Patricia: Never lose sight of the value of integrity and one-on-one communication. If you can’t sit down face-to-face to resolve a disagreement or negotiate a fair contract, then this career will not provide you with satisfaction in the long haul.
IAEE is now accepting nominations for the 2018 IAEE Awards! Get complete details, including award criteria and deadline information here!