News and Updates

The ESCA Digest — January 2024

Dear ESCA Members,

As we welcome a new year at ESCA, I want to share with you our ambitious roadmap for the year ahead. Our commitment to you—our valued members—is stronger than ever, and we’re poised to deliver on promises and exceed expectations.

Here are some key goals we’ve set for ourselves, categorized to focus our efforts and maximize our impact:

1. Membership Value Proposition:

  • We will be enhancing our membership directory to facilitate better connectivity and business opportunities among our members.
  • Expect cutting-edge educational resources tailored to the evolving needs of our industry.
  • We’ll continue to advocate for our members, driving alignment and setting standards that matter.
  • Our commitment to workforce development, safety, and sustainability will shape the future of our industry.

2. Meetings, Events, and Education:

  • We’re dedicated to enriching our meetings and events portfolio, offering you experiences that are both valuable and memorable.
  • Education will take center stage, ensuring we provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary for growth and success.

3. ESCA Badge Program:

  • We’re on a mission to refine the ESCA Badge Program, prioritizing ease of use, security, and widespread adoption. Our goal is to set the industry standard for excellence.

Together, we can make 2024 a landmark year for ESCA and our industry. Stay tuned for more updates as we progress through the quarters.

With gratitude,

Taylor Vriens

President, ESCA

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Six Leading Industry Organizations Unite to Form Exhibitions Industry Collective Priorities Centered Around Workforce Development, Sustainability, and Health and Safety

10 JANUARY 2024 – DALLAS, TX – Today the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association announces its participation in creating the Exhibitions Industry Collective to drive awareness on essential issues within the exhibitions ecosystem.

The Exhibitions Industry Collective is comprised of six key industry organizations, including Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), Experiential Designers & Producers Association (EDPA), International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).

Each organization has previously worked together on industry advocacy with ECA and is now expanding this effort to address workforce development, sustainability, and health and safety as a unified effort.  By leveraging the strengths in their respective fields, the Collective will better serve the larger exhibitions and events community by bringing more awareness to key stakeholders and a defined path of success for each member base.

“ESCA takes great pride in being a driving force behind the formation of the Exhibitions Industry Collective. Our commitment to workforce development, sustainability, and health and safety is unwavering. As a key contributor to bringing this influential group together, ESCA is dedicated to shaping a future that ensures a thriving and resilient exhibitions ecosystem.” – Julie Kagy, Executive Director, ESCA.

To kick off 2024, IAEE will host a virtual Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week from February 20-23 and will feature each of the six organizations in the Collective.

Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week aims to promote the exhibitions industry as a career path opportunity for students, faculty, those looking for a career change, and all members in each industry sector. Attendees will learn about sector-specific information, including jobs available to those considering a career, salary information, skill requirements, and training needed.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks for a new website for the Exhibitions Industry Collective that will feature a defined roadmap for the Collective’s initiatives and house top-level information on each organization in the Collective. The site will serve as a launch point for more exhibitions and industry sector details depending on the user’s interest.

Registration for Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week will open at the end of January.


Established in 1970, the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) serves as a unified voice for service contractors and their partners in the exhibition industry. ESCA is committed to advancing the exhibition, meeting, and special event industries. Through education, information exchange, and shared professionalism among members and their customers, ESCA fosters collaboration across all aspects of the exhibition industry.

Julie Kagy
Executive Director, ESCA

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Freeman Announces CEO Succession Plan

November 28, 2023

Janet Dell, President and Chief Operating Officer, to be Appointed CEO in July 2024

Bob Priest-Heck to Retire at Mid-Year and remain as a Freeman Board Member

Dallas, TX (November 28, 2023) – Freeman, the global leader in events, announced today that Janet Dell, Freeman’s President, will succeed Bob Priest-Heck as Chief Executive Officer of Freeman on July 1, 2024. At that time, Priest-Heck will step down as CEO and retire, concluding a distinguished 15 years of service at the company. He will continue as a member of Freeman’s Board of Directors.

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IAEE Announces New President and CEO

We are thrilled to share in the excitement of Marsha Flanagan’s well-deserved appointment as the new President and CEO of IAEE. Her wealth of experience and dedicated service within the industry make her an exemplary choice for this esteemed position.

IAEE’s decision to promote from within, choosing a leader familiar with the association’s core values and initiatives, speaks volumes of their commitment to continuity and growth. We commend IAEE for making such a strategic selection.

As Marsha takes on this pivotal role, we at ESCA extend our heartfelt congratulations and unwavering support. We anticipate a very bright future for IAEE under her leadership, and we look forward to deepening our partnerships and pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve together in service to our industry.

Please join us in congratulating Marsha on this significant achievement.

IAEE Announces New President and CEO

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