The Invisible Industry Tour is touted as a Live Press Kit—a collective effort across the Exhibitions and Events Industry that includes exhibition organizers, general contractors, trades/unions, experiential designers/producers, trade show suppliers, venues, and convention/visitor bureaus. 


The tour kicked off on June 1, 2022, ECA Legislative Action Day and Global Exhibitions Day. Volunteers from sponsoring organizations, the Exhibitions and Events Workforce Development Federation, Poretta & Orr, Trade Show Solutions Center, Brewco Marketing Group, Triune Specialty Trailers, and the Exhibitions and Events Industry Coalition had meetings with public officials, economic development directors, labor unions, and other groups to discuss collaboration, emphasize the importance of the Exhibitions and Events Industry to economic recovery and to inform and educate local communities about the industries workforce development initiatives. 

The DC stop paved the way to join Learning Undefeated at the Mobile Learning Lab Conference in Gaithersburg, MD where Laura Palker, President and Founder of the Exhibitions and Events Workforce Development Federation (The Federation) attended workshops to better understand the relationship between education and workforce development. The Invisible Industry Tour’s, 49-foot Triune Quad-X Trailer was on display at the showcase and educators from across the country learned about the Exhibitions and Events Industry economic impact, and career opportunities that are available for students. 

Next, the Invisible Industry Tour was invited by Philadelphia Councilmember Derek Green, Esq. to sit on the North Apron of City Hall during the Democratic Municipal Officials Annual Board Meeting. The mobile exhibit was a magnet for heavy hitters in the industry. Visitors and supporters included DMO’s Barbara Moore; Nils Robbins and Neil Deegan with Rittenhouse Political Partners; Robert Allen from Philadelphia’s Office of Special Events; Professor Ira Rosen, program director, Event Leadership Executive Certificate Program at Temple University School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management; Jaime Martorana, communications manager, Philadelphia CVB; Robert Tarby, director of Trade Shows and Special Assignments, and Anthony Squilla, Trade Show Council Representative with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters; Robert Smith, supervisor of instruction for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Training Fund; and Philadelphia Councilmember Mark Squilla. 

Building on the momentum, the next stop was made possible by Harry Kurtz, president of Triune Specialty Trailers, the Brewco Marketing Group, and IAEE. The 49-foot customizable Triune Quad-X Trailer was on the show floor at EXPO! EXPO! in Louisville, Kentucky, December 13-15, 2022, and industry leaders were able to experience first-hand how—through collaboration—we are using the Invisible Industry Tour to achieve an overarching goal of building awareness for the Exhibitions and Events Industry while promoting each organization’s individual goals and objectives.

“The United States Exhibitions and Events Industry is composed of more than 12 million workers and contributing roughly $1 trillion to the U.S. economy, was completely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the necessary shutdown of our operations,” according to the GoLive Together 2020 letter titled Request for U.S. Federal Action for the Devastated Exhibitions and Events Industry. “We are an essential but largely unrecognized part of a much bigger spectrum of interdependent industries: Travel, Tourism, Hospitality, and Food & Beverage.

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Our sector comprises a wide variety of businesses that provide event venues, planning, and design services, catering, audio-visual, entertainment, rentals, décor, tents, stages, and so much more. We also facilitate corporate meetings, trade shows, conferences, concerts, festivals, and fairs. We serve weddings, fundraisers, and holiday parties also sporting, branding, and political events.”

The Exhibitions and Events Industry
is a part of life for nearly every American. Still, almost no one knows it, and here’s why: Our primary mission is to create a positive experience for our attendees and audience members without bringing attention to ourselves.

We truly work in the background. It’s our job. It is this “invisibility,” intended as it may be, that my industry colleagues and I seek to erase today… “


The Invisible Industry Tour started when EDPA Executive Director Dasher Lowe contacted the NTSA to share a concept developed by EDPA Member Harry Kurtz, owner of Triune Mfg. and partner Brewco Marketing Group. 

After decades of work in the Exhibitions and Events Industry, Mr. Kurtz proposed a way to create a LIVE Press Kit. A visionary and authority in mobile experiential environments, he believes cultural and educational organizations need to be more aggressive in taking their message, products, programs, and services directly to their audiences in a controlled, dedicated environment. His passion for extending educational experiences directly to students is unparalleled in the industry and is also found in his team members. For instance, Jake Jacobs brings more than 30 years of experience in exhibit design to the Triune team, having worked from 1980 until last year with the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress as an exhibition designer and program manager, including his work as the lead designer for the 250,000-square-foot National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. 

Additionally, from 2009-2015, he served as the chief of the Interpretive Programs Office at the Library of Congress. The Triune team’s masterful skills and experience provide the Invisible Industry Tour with the insight and ability to produce meaningful results to advance our industry. The focus is to build awareness, provide career inspiration, and connect, support, and develop our workforce.


ndustry leaders David DuBois, CMP-F, CAE, FASAE, CTA, President and CEO along with Cathy Breden, CMP-F, CAE, CEM, EVP/COO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), validated the important role that face-to-face business events have on economies, job creation, and support or small businesses. 

Marsha Flanagan, M.Ed., CEM, senior vice president of events and Learning at IAEE, is responsible for all educational initiatives and CEM designation programs in the U.S., Asia (China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand), Brazil, Canada, MENA, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. Ms. Flanagan was instrumental in directing the The Federation to the Department of Labor to begin the process of developing an Apprenticeship Program for the Exhibitions and Events Industry 

Everyone agrees building more awareness is critical to moving advocacy efforts forward and rebuilding our industry’s workforce. “It was a no-brainer to move this project forward,” says The Federations Palker. “A mobile exhibition was a part of our initial business plan. The Federation Board of Directors knew we had a heavy lift, convention centers have some of the most significant footprints in most major cities, and the public has little knowledge of what happens in these buildings.” 


The Invisible Industry Tour visitor begins the journey with interactive presentations. We showcase exhibits and time-lapse videos created by industry associations, designers, builders, unions, and support services. 

We depict the work that goes into producing a trade show, including set-up to tear-down and behind-the-scenes in proposals and design. The tour is a Live Press Kit that brings awareness to the live events industry. Most importantly, it will help connect, support, and develop the industry’s workforce. 

The 49-foot Triune Quad-X mobile trailer is wrapped with industry statistics and graphics explaining the impact of the Exhibitions and Events Industry, images of artisans, masters, and professionals in the industry, and logos of the growing list of supporters. Housed in Kentucky, thousands of drivers see the graphics as it travels on the highways and streets en route to each activation. The tour’s social media presence, magazine, and media coverage also raises the industry’s visibility.