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2017 Board of Directors


Dan Darby, CEM

Dan Darby, CEM, is a 27-year tradeshow veteran.  He is group fair director for U.S. Antique Shows, a division of GLM.  U.S. Antique Shows produces nine shows annually in the Miami, Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles markets.  Most notably the division produces the largest indoor antique show in the world, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show. Prior to joining U.S. Antique Shows, Darby was director of marketing for Surf Expo.

He lives in Marietta with his wife and their three children.

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Deborah Ferbrache, CEM
Vice Chair

Deb excels in listening and observing and has a talent for identifying client needs and opportunities, often before the client does. She skillfully alleviates her clients’ stress by mitigating situations and proactively developing solutions that result in highly productive events. Her goal is to provide a seamless experience for her clients and their exhibitors.

A Freeman team member since 1998, Deb has worked closely with a wide range of clients, including Microsoft, the Southeastern Conference Championship, Association for Cancer Research, and the Southern Baptist Convention. She has earned her CEM designation and serves on the board of directors for the Southeast Chapter of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. In her free time, Deb supports the efforts of Georgia English Bulldog Rescue


Jim Wulfekuhle

Jim Wulfekuhle is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the International Woodworking Fair. Jim has been involved in the industry since 1992. IWF is the largest woodworking show in the Americas.


Brian Pagel

Brian Pagel is a Vice President at Emerald Exposition where he runs The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Since re-joining Nielsen in 2001, he has also served as a Vice President in the Decorated Apparel Group. A 15-year veteran of the publishing, convention and exhibition industries, Pagel has also held senior account executive positions with Leader Publishing, Bill Communications and Shore-Varrone. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he holds a degree in Organizational Communications and held a number of positions at the University Daily Kansan. He has also as served as a speaker at a number of industry events, is a guest blogger for Expo Magazine and has been quoted in multiple industry publications.


Sue McCart
Immediate Past Chair

Sue McCart is President of HFI, LLC, a company that provides Management, Marketing & Operational Event Based Solutions for trade and professional associations as well as independent show organizers.

HFI has been in business since 1997 and Sue has also successfully owned and sold a trade show during that time. Her past includes close to 15 years with the Atlanta Market Center, now AmericasMart, the last five of those serving as Vice President / General Manager of the Trade Show Division. Prior to the Mart, she was with several Hyatt Hotels.


Kristin Barranger, CEM

Kristin is Manager of Expositions & Communications with ASME International Gas Turbine Institute.  She is responsible for the coordination of staff, volunteers and vendors in the sales, planning, promotion, and staging for the annual Turbo Expo exposition as well as other ASME expositions.  She also manages ASME IGTI member service programs and the honors and awards programs along with the marketing of all ASME IGTI events and services.  She has been with ASME since 2006.


Martin Bay, CMP

Martin Bay, Senior Director, Meetings Operations & Procurement for Kellen, has over 25 years of meetings, events and tradeshow management experience. He is responsible for the technical and professional development of the Kellen meetings staff, for the procurement of all contracted meeting space and sleeping rooms for over 200 contracted events annually, and is the lead solutions provider for all Kellen clients.

Martin has experience in both the corporate and association meetings management industries, and specializes in processes and procedure management. His professional passion and his meticulous attention to detail has made him a leader in the meetings management industry, and he has developed an expertise with the IT aspects of our field.

Martin is an active member in the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), for whom he serves on the board of the Southeast Chapter and in the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). He is also a former member of the United States Canoe/Kayak Team, still trains on a regular basis, and his interest in international travel has taken he and wife Nancy to over 21 countries, including a two-year residence in Cairo, Egypt.


Kevin Bird

Kevin Bird began his career in the events industry in 1998, working for a small publishing company with a few tradeshows attached to their publications. As the company grew through new owner acquisitions, Kevin ended up managing two Top 200 events concurrently. In 2009, Kevin was hired by Shepard Exposition Services to manage the sales efforts of the teams based in Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. His varied experience gives Kevin a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

Kevin has been married to his wife, Jennifer, since 2005 and they have two children - Alexis, 6, and Michael, 4. The family resides in Acworth, GA.


Denise Cole

Denise Cole is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Georgia International Convention Center.

Prior to joining the Georgia International Convention she was a National Sales Manager for the Georgia World Congress Center. A veteran of the hospitality industry, Cole started her career in the early 90’s in Charleston, SC. Her pervious positions included, Express Sales Manager, Catering Manager, Sales Manager and Senior Sales Manager.


Dirk Ebener

Dirk Ebener has recently started Global CIF, LLC, a business consulting firm, that is supporting start-up trade shows and events, as well as providing product and marketing consulting solutions for companies that are looking to expand their business into new and emerging global markets.

Dirk Ebener has been the CEO & Managing Director of NuernbergMesse North America, the Atlanta based subsidiary of NuernbergMesse Germany, one of the 20 largest trade show companies in the world.  He has worked in the international trade show industry for 18 years and has extensive experience in launching and organizing trade shows in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and the Middle East. Prior to his current position, he was Vice President International Trade Shows for Messe Frankfurt in Atlanta.

Raised in Giessen, Germany, Dirk now lives with his wife Kathy and their daughter Kaylin in Kennesaw.  He moved to Metro Atlanta in June of 1995 and started his trade show career in October 1995. On a personal note, Dirk enjoys spending his time with his family and friends, is practicing martial arts, and works in local community projects.


Bob Hancock

Bob Hancock is the General Manager at onPeak, a company that specializes in Housing for Events. Bob’s responsibilities include the overall day to day operations for the Atlanta office and assisting with new sales for the company. He has been in the hospitality industry for 25 plus years in Atlanta. Prior to joining onPeak six years ago his background was Hotel Sales and Marketing for different hotels throughout the Atlanta area. Bob holds a BA degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Georgia.


Krystal Joiner

 Krystal Joiner is a National Sales Account Manager for CCR Events.  She joined CCR in 2011 and currently manages over 12 events annually.  She works closely with her clients planning all audio visual needs for their event.  Krystal leads CCR’s sales division and is typically the first person to have contact with new clients/accounts.  Her responsibilities include projecting the event scope and developing budgets for new and long term clients. She also works with clients to develop creative technical aspects for their show. Before partnering with CCR, she worked for Saga Communications as an Account Executive.  

Krystal holds a BA degree in Journalism, emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Sociology from Arkansas State University.


Mark Lind

Mark Lind is currently a Sales Manager-Healthcare Design Expo/Environments for Aging Expo. He was previously a Tradeshow Sales Executive with the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart. Mark started his tradeshow career selling exhibit space in 2004.  Prior spending 16 years in retail management.

Mark is a native of Binghamton, NY, is married, lives in Woodstock and has a blended family of 5 kids

Wendy McGar2015

Wendy McGar

Wendy McGar is a seasoned meeting and exhibits professional who has managed events, conventions and trade shows for associations for over a decade. She has planned, sold and managed 500-booth trade shows, multi-day conventions and individual events ranging from 10 to 20,000 attendees.

She is the Exhibits Manager for the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting (Hinman). She plans and manages Hinman’s annual meeting with over 400 exhibiting companies and 850 booths.

Wendy holds a BA degree in Communications and Public Relations from the State University of New York at Oswego and is currently working toward her CEM. She lives in Marietta with her husband and two boys.


Chris Pendley

“Wrapping up his 7th year in the international trade show industry, Chris Pendley is currently overseeing all digital operations as the E-Media Manager at the U.S. subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating top of his class from Kennesaw State University, Chris joined the Messe Frankfurt team where he manages digital strategy and implementation for over 20 international and domestic events. In 2014, he spearheaded the introduction of Mobile Applications for the North American event portfolio and was awarded “Best Mobile App” at the 2014 Digital Niche Awards. He was later selected as one of Expo Magazine’s 2015 “Rising Star” recipients and most recently was presented with the “Event Prof of the Quarter” award by Double Dutch in 2016.“


Shyanne Robinson

Shyanne Robinson is a dynamic event specialist with nearly a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has worked with the International Monetary Fund, LIGHTFAIR International, Jack and Jill of America and The National Safety Council, to name a few.
Earning a Bachelor’s Degree at Florida A & M University in Political Science and English Literature, Shyanne’s background and time spent in event management has allowed her to hone her expertise in the areas of Conference & Event Management, Tourism & Travel and Exhibitor & Vendor Management.

Shyanne’s introduction to hospitality came in 2008 when she had the opportunity to serve as the Associate Director of Housing for the Democratic National Convention Committee. In this role, she was responsible for housing nearly 50,000 conference attendees and government officials. Since settling in Atlanta, GA, in 2009 Shyanne has refined her housing skills as the Director of Account Services for onPeak | GES.

Working towards a CMP certification and learning a second language are just a few items on Shyanne’s to-do list. The tools she has gained through her time spent in hospitality will be instrumental to her mentorship of younger generations and the activation of new membership in the events and exhibitions industry.


Leigh Ann Simpson

Leigh Ann Simpson is currently the Housing & Registration Manger for the Society of Biblical Literature.  She is responsible for exhibit sales and sponsorships for several shows including National Education Association, Ecological Society of America and Music Makers Trade Show & Conference.  A 20-year tradeshow veteran, Leigh Ann has worked with both exhibitors, meeting planners and show producers while at American Exhibition Services, Showtime Florists and most recently with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Leigh Ann enjoys photographing nature scenes through the Southeast.  She recently started a company, Grits & Daisies, in which several of these photographs are available as prints or greeting cards.


Mark Sussman, CMP

Mark Sussman recently joined Connections Housing as VP of Business Development.  In his current position, Sussman will focus on developing and growing the Connections client portfolio through his vast knowledge, tenure and connections in the industry.

Prior to joining Connections Housing,  Sussman served as the director of tradeshow sales (since 2005) at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.  He was responsible for aligning ACVB strategies with hotel and convention center objectives to solicit citywide conventions and trade shows, maximizing hotel and convention center revenues.  He also oversaw the day-to-day management and selling strategy of the tradeshow sales department at the Bureau. Prior to that, he was director of sales for the Omni Hotel at CNN Center where he was responsible for overseeing all group sales including citywide conventions, tradeshows and corporate meetings. A 30-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Sussman began his career with the Marriott Corporation in 1982 and has held various sales, convention services and marketing positions at properties throughout the country. His previous positions included director of sales at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, director of sales and marketing at the Memphis Marriott Downtown and area director of sales and marketing for Marriott’s central Atlanta sales organization, where he was responsible for the total sales and marketing of three full service hotels in metro Atlanta.

Sussman has served as Chair of the Southeastern Chapter of IAEE and received the IAEE Merit Award in 2013. He is also involved with the American Society of Association Executives and Professional Conference Management Association. He holds a degree in hospitality management from Southern New Hampshire University.  Sussman and his wife Laurie have two children and currently reside in Duluth, Georgia.


Kristina Unger, CEM, CMP

Kristina Unger, CEM, CMP is the CEO of Georgia Girl Management & Events. She previously served as Executive Director of Sales & Operations for LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI) for more than eight years. Being with AMC, Inc. / AmericasMart®, the producer of LFI, for more than 23 years has provided her with the opportunity to be very diverse and gain experience within the company and the exhibition & event industry as a whole.  In her 23 years with AMC, Inc., she has held several positions including Operations Director for Convention Services. Currently, she is responsible for planning, managing and overseeing all operational responsibilities for the LFI Trade Show and Conference.  In her role, she manages and negotiates key vendor contracts and also directs the marketing, planning, selling and implementation of the LFI Sponsorship Program.  Under her leadership since 2004, this program has surpassed sponsorship goals by double digits.

Kristina joined IAEM in 1997 and as a member of the Southeast Chapter, has held a variety of positions, including 2006 Chapter Chair, 2005 Summer Classic Chair and as a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 to present.  She earned her CMP designation in 1998 and her CEM designation in 2007.

Gwen Venable

Gwen Venable is Vice President of Communications for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. She joined USPOULTRY in 2010 and is responsible for the Association’s comprehensive communications program. She also directs the strategic marketing and promotion for all of the Association’s industry services and events, including seminars and conferences, research, and the annual International Production & Processing Expo.

A native of Georgia, Gwen received her bachelors and masters of business administration degree from the University of Georgia.  She has more than 20 years of corporate communications, marketing and trade show experience.


Mark Zimmerman

Mark Zimmerman is the general manager of the Georgia World Congress Center.

As general manager, Zimmerman is responsible for managing over 400 employees at the nation’s fourth largest convention center and overseeing the marketing and operations of the facility. Zimmerman has over 20 years of industry experience, most recently serving as assistant general manager at the Georgia World Congress Center.

He began his career in 1984 as a concessions supervisor at the GWCC and two years later was promoted to senior event coordinator and later director of event services. Over the years, he has filled key positions for numerous high-profile events, including the 1988 Democratic National Convention, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.

He served as assistant general manager of the Cobb Galleria from 1992 to 1995, before returning to the GWCC as assistant general manager. His promotion to general manager took place in November 2004. Zimmerman graduated from Northwood University, Midland Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

In 2011, Zimmerman was awarded the Exhibitor Services and Contractors Association (ESCA) service award for his commitment to his local community and to the organization. He served on the ESCA board for six years. He is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Professional Convention Management Association and the Exhibitor Services and Contractors Association.

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Expo! Expo! - 2017