The disco ball spun, and the music pumped, with winners enthusiastically dancing up to the stage to accept their awards at the 2018 TSNN Awards gala celebration held Aug. 11 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.  

The overall fastest-growing award for attendance went to UBM/Informa’s CPhI North America & Informex, a show that launched in the last few years and has grown in leaps and bounds.

“This is an embarrassment of riches,” said Brand Director Joseph Marks. Earlier in the evening he also had accepted the award for fastest-growing for-profit show for attendance.

“Thank you, Louisville, for really rolling out the red carpet,” he added. “We’ve had a great couple of days!

MJBizCon had snagged the award for fastest-growing for-profit show for net square footage also earlier in the evening, as well as the overall fastest-growing show for net square footage.

“We really are blessed to be working in an incredibly industry and be in 30 states that have made (marijuana) legalized,” MJBizCon’s Chris Day said.

Other awards presented at the gala emceed by local Louisville broadcasting personality Joe Arnold included the TSNN “Best of Show” award that, in a heated social media contest, was given to Informa’s WasteExpo and E.J. Krause/Tarsus Group’s Expomanufactura.

Expomanufactura’s Jose Navarro said, “Doing shows in Mexico is a challenge, but we have tequila!”

Also awarded was the 2018 TSNN Awards “Best of Tech Innovation Award” that was accepted on behalf of ASCRS-ASOA (The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery) by onPeak’s Bev Hill and Beth McEntee-Rome

The 2018 TSNN Industry Icon Award honoree, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Megan Tanel, also took the stage after a video was played in which her co-workers and family congratulated her.

Tanel’s two youngest daughters joined her onstage as she thanked her team and her family for their support.

“I work with amazing people,” Tanel said. “I have just a great team, a great boss, a great family. I think all of those things came together and enabled me to just do what I do and be what I am!”

An overall video of the 2018 TSNN Awards from CNTV and sponsored by Louisville Tourism can be found HERE.

The 2018 TSNN Awards kicked off Friday night with an incredible opening party at the four-story, brand new Old Forester Distillery in Whiskey Row.

The night was filled with live music, distillery tours and bourbon tastings, followed by an after-party at the Marriott.

The next morning was the breakfast, education conference and lunch with keynote at the newly opened Kentucky International Convention Center.

With the transformation of Louisville, marked by not only the re-opening of KICC and new distilleries, but also new hotels, restaurants and other entertainment options, the 2018 TSNN Awards adopted the transformation theme and focused on how organizers could evolve their own events.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed the packed room and remined everyone that with all the people they see at events they have the opportunity to actively practice something he said everyone needs more of right now – compassion.

The first session was led by well-known horse track commentator Nancy Ury-Holthus, along with Pat Day, the most winning jockey at Churchill Downs, and Tom Van Berg, a veteran horse trainer.

They talked about how thousands of foals are born every year, but only a handful will ever make it to the Kentucky Derby.

“Every day we transform (these horses) to be the best they can possibly be,” Van Berg said.

The Expo Group’s Michael McCauley was up next and told the story of going to an over-the-top kid’s birthday party that had all the bells and whistles, but no heart.

The message was, that events need to tell a ‘story’ that connects with their audiences and not be held just for the sake of it. Without that connection, they risk falling flat.

Carrie Lannon followed McCauley and talked about the importance of transforming someone’s own personal brand.

She gave several great examples of personal brands that worked and those that didn’t, encouraging people as a small first step to at least make sure they have a professional headshot on their LinkedIn profile.

Lannon also advised that people don’t just post ‘Look at me!’ posts on social media. “Tell me something you can’t see in the picture,” she added.

The hot topic of influencer marketing was discussed next by digital strategist Jason Falls.

“There is a big difference between influencer popularity and influencer marketing,” Falls said.

Lastly, Bear Analytics’ Joe Colangelo and the National Association of Home Builders’ Denise Miller talked about the secrets hidden in the International Builders’ Show event data.

“The data is there to tell you the story,” Miller said. “Working with Bear Analytics helps us identify (what the story was).”

An amazing lunch from Levy Restaurants was served afterward, followed by an electrifying keynote given by Dr. Nat Irvin II.

“What Happens When The Spirit of Transformation begins to change Everything—including how we live, work, think, believe, manage and lead in a world that is very different from the one we live in today?” Irvin said.

He added, “Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years. When the spirit of innovation and transformation offers you a chance to recreate the future, what will you do with your opportunity?”

The three-day weekend ended with a fun brunch at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.

Next year’s TSNN Awards’ location and dates will be announced soon!

We could never have held the 2018 TSNN Awards without the amazing support of our SPONSORS.

2018 TSNN Awards Will Celebrate in a “Transformed” Louisville, Ky.

The 9th Annual 2018 TSNN Awards: Celebrating Trade Show Excellence will head Aug. 10-12 to Louisville, Ky., to celebrate the top U.S. fastest-growing trade shows in net square footage and attendance just days after the massive transformation of the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville is unveiled.

The completely renovated center is just one piece of an extensive development project that includes several new hotels and renovations to existing ones, such as the Marriott Louisville Downtown, the host hotel for award attendees, as well as a bevy of new distilleries and other attractions.

“Louisville is honored to host this exclusive industry event once again in 2018. We are truly excited to welcome the trade show industry’s ‘best of the best’ to Louisville alongside our great colleagues at the Trade Show News Network,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She added, “As one of the first events in our newly expanded convention center, I can think of no better premium showcase for our convention product to the industry. In partnership with Kentucky Venues, I assure you we’ll be rolling out the red carpet.”

This is the second time the TSNN Awards weekend will be held in Louisville. The first time, in 2012, was one of the highest-rated cities in which the awards were hosted.

“The 2018 TSNN Awards attendees are going to be absolutely blown away by the ‘new’ downtown Louisville and everything it has to offer trade shows coming to town,” said Rachel Wimberly, president of Tarsus Media.

She added, “The new KICC venue has not only added exhibit and meeting space, but also the entire venue is transformed on the interior and exterior to a gorgeous, light-filled place. We are excited for 2018 TSNN Awards attendees to see everything that has transformed in downtown Louisville!”

The awards weekend will kick off on Friday night with an opening reception at an exciting venue and a post-party at the Marriott to keep the networking going, followed by a breakfast and education conference at the center the next morning at which the focus will be on how show organizers can ‘transform’ their own shows.

After the conference will be lunch at the center with a keynote by a prominent person sponsored by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Saturday night will be the 2018 TSNN Awards Gala in the Marriott ballroom at which the top overall fastest-growing association and for-profit shows in net square footage and attendance will be unveiled, along with the overall winner of TSNN’s “Best of Show” award.

In addition, the 2018 TSNN Industry Icon Award honoree will be feted, as well as The Expo Group’s Show Manager of the Year (SMOTY) Awards, at which four people from different-sized shows will be awarded.

The Afterglow will be at the Marriott following the awards, and the three-day weekend will wrap up with a Sunday Brunch in a special location.

The fastest-growing shows can be found HERE

The shows are ranked in fastest-growing net square footage and attendance by averaging show organizer-submitted data from the years 2015-2017.

This weekend-long celebration is where the best and the brightest in the business gather to network, connect and celebrate working in an industry like no other – and acknowledging and embracing the success that they have mutually achieved. Last year’s list of 50 winners can be found HERE.

The 2018 TSNN Awards would not be possible without the amazing support of our sponsors every year. Please check them out HERE.

For sponsorship information, please contact John Rice, (617) 207-7088. For more information on the overall awards, visit


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