Iain Mackenzie, CEM, CMP, Director, Meetings & Events, International Sign Association (ISA)
Iain Mackenzie, CEM, CMP, Director, Meetings & Events, International Sign Association (ISA)

Working with so many different professionals in the event industry, we thought it would be interesting for event professionals to get a glimpse into the lives of some of our clients.

The following is an interview with Iain Mackenzie, CEM, CMP, Director, Meetings & Events, International Sign Association (ISA).

Recently, Heidi interviewed Iain who is responsible for managing all the meetings and events held by ISA, but his primary focus is on the execution of ISA’s annual trade show, ISA International Sign Expo. This growing event brings in close to 20,000 attendees and rotates every other year between Las Vegas and Orlando.

How long have you been at ISA?
Nine years, I started in June 2005.

How did you come to meeting planning as your profession?
I studied recreation management in college and event management was part of the curriculum. After college, I worked at a soccer and entertainment complex before coming to America to coach soccer and manage regional soccer programs. After doing that, I moved into managing medical meetings and after doing that for four years, moved to ISA. So in some way or other, managing events has always been part of my career.

ISA Sign Expo stages every year in the spring, other than the weeks leading up to the show, what’s your busiest time of year? Why?
Like most other large events, we operate very much in cycles based on when deadlines are due, travel schedules, etc., so aside from the big push before show time, the rest of the year fluctuates which is what makes the job so much fun.

What is your favorite part of the job?
That’s a tough one so I’ve opted for two – the excitement and energy of being on-site during the event and the freedom of being able to try new ideas to improve the show experience.

ISA Sign Expo does a great job of driving engagement between exhibitors and attendees on the show floor. Can you tell me a little bit about what you do and why?
This is so important because in order for the show to grow and thrive, both the attendees and exhibitors have to feel that it was a worthwhile experience and use of their time and money. Therefore we are constantly looking at new ways to facilitate this attendee/exhibitor engagement process. Interesting and engaging sponsorship opportunities are one way that we have improved this process in recent years, but we are always trying new ideas.

If you could have a magical/super power while you’re on-site what would it be?
That’s easy, it would be to clone me so I can be in more than one place at once!

Our thanks to Iain for taking the time for this interview. Good luck with ISA Sign Expo 2015 in April!