The New Exhibit Designers and Producers Association President Speaks Out
The Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) is comprised of more than 370 companies worldwide, involved in the design, build and execution of exhibits and exhibit related products and services. The EDPA currently includes nine regional U.S. chapters. The Northeast chapter stands as the newest group, revived in 2014 in part by H&P's Matt Johnson, who took on the immediate role of Chapter Treasurer.
An EDPA Northeast chapter's term of Presidency concludes after one year, allowing for others involved within the organization to step up and play the part for continuing to advocate for and drive change. At the 2015 Fall Meeting, Matt Johnson was elected the new EDPA Northeast Chapter President.
We took the opportunity to gain perspective straight from the Hill & Partners Vice President of Accounts on his new role as the EDPA chapter President.
1) What was the turning point that you decided you wanted to be a big part of the trade show industry and the EDPA?
Almost a decade ago, I decided that this was the industry where I wanted to build my career. As I began to learn more about the trade show world, I was introduced to the EDPA through Hill & Partners since our organization had an existing membership.
I attended my first Access Annual meeting in the winter of 2013 and was hooked. I was drawn to the collaborative idealism that existed within the attendees and realized this was an outlet for me to be able to make a difference. At that same time, there were talks about reinvigorating the Northeast Chapter, that had long since been inactive. I was part of all of the initial talks to establish the chapter and was subsequently named Treasurer for the first year.
While serving as Treasurer, I developed the desire to continue to press forward and entrench our chapter as key player in the EDPA. With the talented group of board members that included Sarah Fantauzzi (former chapter President) and Dana Esposito (current chapter Vice President) we were able to have a strong first year. It was my goal to keep that momentum going and commit to further progression of the chapter.
2) What has been the most exciting part of being on the EDPA Northeast board in the last year?
There are two major parts that stand out in my mind. One is being able to meet so many talented and committed people in our industry that work in close proximity to each other. The Northeast is densely populated with industry organizations and being able to aid in putting them in the same room to work towards the betterment of the trade show world is very exciting to me.
Secondly, I really enjoyed being part of a group that was able to build a solid foundation for our chapter. My commitment towards the Northeast chapter is very strong and I am excited to have the chance to lead this group in the coming year.
3) What is your biggest lesson learned from being a part of the EDPA?
The single biggest lesson I have learned so far is that there is great power and opportunity in collaborating with my peers in the industry. There is so much knowledge and experience in the Northeast that it would be a disservice if we didnt find a way to share information and work together to improve the industry we all call home.
4) Why did you want to be the President?
I’ve always had the desire to lead in anything I’ve done and this is no different. As I mentioned before, it was a wonderful experience to work alongside Sarah and Dana this past year. Our combined effort gave me the nudge to continue to pursue building the chapter. It gives me great pride to be chosen to lead our chapter this year. I am very grateful for this opportunity. I take that very seriously and won’t let the team down.
5) What do you look forward to in the coming year?
I look forward to continuing our trend of providing informative and interesting topics for discussion in an atmosphere that promotes collaboration between all local industry companies. I also look forward to increasing our visibility and increasing our frequency of meetings. We have lofty goals this year and intend to achieve them all.
One major fundraising goal will be to host a golf tournament. It will be the biggest undertaking of the chapter to date but has the full commitment of the board. As President of the chapter, my focus will be centered around keeping the chapter on task towards achieving our goals. We had a great first year and my intention is to keep the momentum going and continue to build upon the strong foundation that our inaugural president, Sarah Fantauzzi created. I have big shoes to fill, but I am excited for the challenge.
6) Where do you see the trade show industry going in the next few years?
Great question. Looking at the industry from a project management aspect, I hope to see the gap between service providers such as exhibit houses and local unions, close in an effort to provide a better overall product for the exhibitor. It is one area that I have observed that could use some industry focus. There still seems to be a disconnect between what the collective goal should be and in the end, the product suffers. We all need each other in order to keep the industry alive and well.
As far as trends go, I see technology playing an increased role in the design of exhibits going forward. The resolution of LED video tiles is getting better by the day which allows for more versatility in artfully integrating this technology. As technology in general advances, its integration into exhibit design will have a profound affect on how we create engagement going forward. That is what gets me excited!