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Previous Intrepid Winners
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Sue Huff, Medtronic

A four time nominee for the Intrepid Award, Sue finally received her recognition as Intrepid Award winner in 2013.    So how does an exhibit manager, a customer of our industry, get nominated for an award for customer service?     Sue does it by being the model customer.     She is the ultimate professional who continues to seek the information she needs to make the most informed buying decisions as a customer.   But Sue doesn’t only create great benefit for her own company in the way she expects and demands superior customer service, she has become an advocate for that cause for all exhibit managers as a member of the Exhibit Industry Council (EIC).    Sue’s input and guidance with this group is invaluable as it seeks to develop and advocate for exhibitor-focused Best Practices for the trade show industry.    



Amanda Helgemoe, Nuvista

A three time nominee for the Intrepid Award, Amanda received her recognition as Intrepid Award winner in 2012.    Amanda is President of Nuvista, an I&D labor company and AV provider headquartered in Dallas, TX, and current Secretary on the EACA Board. Also nominated in 2010 and 2011, Amanda continues to take a strong leadership role in the promotion of the Exhibit Industry Council (EIC) initiative. Assuming this important role puts Amanda out in front of our industry, and exposes her company to possible reprisals and retributions. In spite of this she marches on undaunted in pursuit of improved customer service for exhibitors everywhere. For the great courage she displays daily in this mission, Amanda is a most deserving nominee for the Intrepid Award in 2012.




Bob Lessin, IUPAT

A six time nominee for the Intrepid Award, Bob Lessin, Business Representative of Local 831 received his long overdue recognition for being one of the most outstanding contributors to customer service in our industry in 2011.    Bob received the 2011 Intrepid Award at the EACA Annual Meeting in conjunction with the TSEA Red Diamond Congress in Orlando, in July of 2011.

Bob has facilitated the development of a tradeshow installers training program that has made Southern California one of the most popular places for I&D companies to provide services for their exhibitor clients.  Bob trains and develops top quality showfloor workers with a customer service approach that is second to none.   Bob's program has been so successful that he has been recognized nationally by the IUPAT, and has been officially designated the International Representative of the IUPAT.



10 Causton solo.jpgDavid Causton, MPEA.

David is the General Manager for McCormick Place in Chicago, a job that no one in our industry would envy this past year. In spite of the challenges he faces in response to the very public departure of two major shows from Chicago, David continues to deliver the highest level of customer service for shows that utilize McCormick Place. In addition, he is willing to revolutionize the way that shows are produced there by working with the MPEA Board and the legislature of the state of Illinois to gain greater control over the costs associated with exhibiting by re-defining labor rules and labor costs there.

For his tireless efforts to improve value to exhibitors at McCormick Place, Dave is a most deserving winner of the Intrepid Award in 2010 .

Dave Mihalik.jpg

Dave Mihalik / EliteXPO Cargo Systems

Dave is the President of EliteXPO, a freight forwarding company that services exhibitors nationally.  He could easily have been a nominee for this award in any year, but this year's nomination comes in recognition for his many generous years of volunteer service to several trade show industry associations including TSEA, HCEA, EACA, and EDPA.

In addition, Dave almost single-handedly authored the Carrier Standards of Performance an EACA sponsored document which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all parties to the freight forwarding end of our industry.  This document, endorsed by both the EACA and ESCA, has established a common sense approach to resolving the conflicts that can arise from time to time among all freight forwarding companies.  For all his efforts to improve freight forwarding specifically, and our entire industry in general, Dave is a highly regarded winner of the 2009 Intrepid.


08Intrepid Mondelli solo.jpgJoe Mondelli / The TERM Group

In addition to his position with The TERM Group, Joe is the EACA Chicago Chapter President who has spearheaded EACA’s efforts to develop the EACA Customer Service training program. Through Joe’s vision, energy and careful guidance, the EACA Customer Service Training program has been delivered in Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Washington DC. Joe has personally shepherded our industry’s first formal customer service training program into existence helping to develop the curriculum, and finding sponsors necessary to launch the first program. For his tireless efforts to improve Chicago area customer servicing, Joe is a most deserving recipient of the Intrepid Award in 2008.


07Viscovich.jpgKen Viscovich, International Representative / United Brotherhood of Carpenters

A constant supporter of the EACA's efforts to innovate improvements in trade show customer service, Ken has also been front and center at the initiative to develop drug and alcohol testing in all carpenter jurisdiction convention areas.   Another significant feather in Ken's cap, and list of achievements, is the development of the Exhibit Industry Task Force.  While on the Board of the EACA, Ken suggested the development of an industry task force that could take on huge projects such as drug testing, and the development of the Universal Photo ID protocol.   Ken has succeeded in helping to facilitate Drug Testing in Washington DC, and now has his sights set on several other trade show cities.  For all his tireless efforts to improve exhibitor servicing and to make the trade show floor a safer place to work, Ken is a well deserving recipient of the 2007 Intrepid Award.


2006 paul maugeri23.jpgPaul Maugeri /  Berm Studios.   

Paul has been a fixture at Berm Studios in their exhibit transportation department for more than 25 years.     His ability to find the best exhibit transportation solutions for clients of Berm Studios is legendary, and Paul is highly regarded throughout the industry as an authority in exhibit transportation.  He is also widely known for organizing and moderating a series of "Great Freight Debates” at TS2 over the past ten years which brought to light a number of serious concerns and problems in exhibit transportation.   Paul is also highly dedicated to our industry and has volunteered countless hours to support industry associations like EDPA, HCEA and TSEA.   

For a lifetime of effort at improving exhibitor servicing, Paul is an outstanding recipient of the 2006 Intrepid Award.



Mobley_Intrepid_2005A.jpgTom Mobley, Gen’l Mgr./CEO /  Washington Convention Center.

Tom is the first building manager that opened his door to the EACA more than 15 years ago during the formation of the Illinois EACA.   He is the innovator of the TEAM - WE approach to resolving issues that come up on the showfloor, and was successful in getting all parties involved in trade shows in Chicago to work together.
Now in Washington, DC, Tom continues to innovate and build new coalitions in the interest of excellence in trade show customer service.   Earlier this year the Washington Convention Center was the US trade show industry’s first center that instituted random drug and alcohol testing for showfloor workers – a move that is sure to improve customer servicing and reduce accidents and lost time injuries on the trade show floor.


R_peterson_-T._Johnson.jpgTed Peterson,  Rich Johnson / Co-Founders of the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic

This dynamic team has shown great dedication to the Foundation they started more than a decade ago.  Annually they bring together hundreds of industry professionals to take part in a charity golf tournament that benefits deserving industry workers and their families.

Inspired by the untimely death of their friend and colleague Randy Smith, Rich and Ted have worked tirelessly to let all in this industry know that we are one big family.  When some unfortunate event happens to any of us, it effects all of us.  Their energy, committment and generosity is made up of the very best that the tradeshow industry has to offer.  They make us all proud and are richly deserving of the Intrepid Award for 2004.



Don Svehla, Founder, Publisher / Exhibit City News    

Don has worked in the industry since he was 15 yrs. old, working with his father at McCormick Display later purchased by Osgood Display Company.   His experience on the show floor made Don recognize the need for an industry news source.  He founded and published the first issue of ECN in June of 1994.  Since that time the Exhibit City News has evolved into a monthly tabloid bearing the tagline "Uniting the Nation's Tradeshow Community".   His efforts in providing a resource for industry news and information, as  well as, his contributions in the formation and continued growth of the EACA make him a deserving recipient of the Intrepid Award for 2003.


HolmesIntrepid.jpgChuck Holmes / Convention Carpet Services, Orlando, FL.

Chuck Holmes, Convention Carpet Services, was voted the 2002 Intrepid Award winner by the EACA membership.    Holmes was nominated for his singular efforts to invigorate world-class exhibitor servicing in Orlando as the President of the Orlando EACA Chapter.   "When the EACA's Orlando Chapter was first formed, there were many aspects of exhibitor servicing there that were in disarray," said Jim Wurm, Executive Director of the EACA.    "Union relations, contractor relations, and a solid relationship between EACs and the facilities did not exist.   Three years after the formation of the chapter,  EACs in Orlando now enjoy a terrific environment for servicing exhibitors at shows there.   From the customer to the EAC to the general contractor to senior management at the Convention Center,  Chuck is forever getting involved to help grow and better the  quality of the tradeshow industry  in Orlando," Wurm concluded.


Ackert2.jpg Tom Ackert, Executive Director / Orange County Convention Center

Thomas Ackert, Orange County Convention Center, was voted the 2001 Intrepid Award winner by the EACA membership.  Ackert was nominated for his efforts to build a world class trade show work force in Orlando, among his other accomplishments.   While presiding over an expansion of facilities in Orlando that effectively doubled  the amount of prime exposition space at the Orange County Convention Center,  Ackert quickly recognized that exhibit servicing capabilities would need to grow at least at the same pace.  To answer this challenge, Ackert has been a true innovator in the development of a Training Internship Program (TIP) in Orlando.  TIP is a joint effort between the Center, the County, the contractors, and the Stagehands Local to develop skilled professionals to work in the trade show industry.   



Tom Cassell / Convention All Services

For many years, Tom has worked tirelessly to promote the causes of the EACs, both in Chicago and nationally. His efforts resulted in the formation of the Illinois Exhibitor Appointed Contractor's Association (IEACA), and the resolution of a number of contentious issues that had confounded EACs, and show organizers alike for years in Chicago. Tom accomplished this with a very simple message.

If our industry is to get past the issues that divide us, and solve the problems associated with their smooth move-in and move-out, we must do it as a TEAM.   For his tireless efforts in creating a new culture of teamwork in the trade show industry Tom was voted the 2000 Intrepid winner by the EACA membership.


42.jpgThe first Intrepid Award was won by a city.  The Award went to Chicago, Inc., Mayor Richard Daley accepted on the city's behalf.

'Chicago, Inc.', the name given to the consortium in Chicago that brought together government, labor, facility and other industry representatives, was given the award for the way these parties worked together to develop solutions to the issues that threatened its position as a leading trade show city.   

To prevent shows from leaving the city and to encourage others to return, the consortium agreed upon a number of initiatives.   These included a unified labor force of carpenters and decorators, relaxation of some of the electrical work rules, a decrease in electrical rates, a new parking facility at McCormick Place, a dedicated bus lane running between McCormick Place and the downtown hotels and an additional 4,000 to 5,000 commitable hotel rooms.

For its unique accomplishments in keeping Chicago as one of our nations leading trade show venues, the EACA membership voted "Chicago, Inc"  its first Intrepid winner in 1999.

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