DALLAS, 25 June 2013 – Douglas L. Ducate, president and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, announced today at the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association’s Annual Summer Educational Conference that he will be stepping down by the end of this year from the CEIR post he has held for the last 15 years. Ducate, a 45-year industry veteran, explained he believes CEIR deserves “younger and stronger legs to carry some of the new initiatives to success.”
At the helm of CEIR since 1998, Ducate has served as the face of research for the exhibition industry. Among the many positive milestones that he has achieved during his tenure, he has been instrumental in establishing the vision for the exhibition industry’s first outlook conference, Predict, which has been held in New York for the past two years to rave reviews. He has worked tirelessly to release the CEIR Index Report and the CEIR Census, two publications that guide exhibition organizers in their planning and purchasing decisions. Additionally, the library of research, presentations, interviews, video media and more is a constantly resourced tool not only for those who are currently in the exhibition industry, but also for students who are exploring the exhibition industry as a profession.
CEIR Chairman of the Board of Directors and Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Greg Ortale said, “The respect and presence that our industry has nationally and globally can be attributed in large part to the passion, knowledge and determination of Doug Ducate. The science of trade shows has been helped tremendously by his commitment to absolute accuracy. Our industry has been blessed by many leadership giants and a few legends. Doug is both. We will miss him greatly but fortunately we know where he lives and we have his phone number.”
Ducate began his industry career in 1968 when he joined the staff of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) headquartered in Dallas, Texas. SPE is a technical society that serves the upstream, drilling, exploration and production segments of the oil and gas industry. He was responsible for planning and management of the SPE annual meeting and exhibition.
In April 1969, SPE along with 11 other scientific and engineering societies launched the first Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, for which Ducate was responsible for planning and managing. OTC grew rapidly and by 1981, it was the largest annual conference and exhibition held in the United States.
“I was most fortunate to be in the right place at the right time working for an organization with an enlightened leadership that understood the risks that can lead to rewards and were generous in allowing us to pursue new opportunities as long as our proposals contained “dry hole” economics,” says Ducate.
As a truly international society, SPE committed to providing services to members wherever they resided. The SPE meetings and exhibitions program was the core for delivering those services along with the many publications SPE produced. During his career, Ducate help drive launch and produce events in most of the oil-producing provinces around the world, and it was under his direction that the first U.S.-based, private exhibition was held in Beijing, China, in March of 1982.
In 1990, he was tasked to establish an office in Europe. Following research, London was chosen as the host city for the office. Ducate lived in the London area for two years and was responsible for establishing and staffing the office there.
In 1995, Ducate left SPE to join Production Group International (PGI). His role was to create an exhibition division, and after several acquisitions, that division became the largest in the company generating some $35 million in revenue.
In addition to his work at CEIR, Ducate has served in a number of volunteer roles. A recognized leader and innovator within the meetings and exhibitions industry, he has achieved both the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designations. His memberships in industry associations and organizations have put him on the forefront of industry innovation and have been recognized with senior positions.
Ducate has served as chairman of the Convention Liaison Council, president of the Trade Show Bureau (now CEIR) and was chairman of the National Association of Exposition Managers, Inc. (now IAEE). He has been a frequent author and presenter for the American Society of Association Executives and the Professional Convention Management Association where he served on their board of directors and then served as a member of the PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees.
Ducate received the International Association for Exhibition Management Distinguished Service Award and their highest honor, the William Hunt Eisenman Award. He also received the TSEA Distinguished Service award and the EDPA Hazel Hayes award. He was inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders and was named a Fellow of the Sloan School International Research Institute at the University of South Carolina in 2009.
Ducate made it clear while he is “stepping down” he is not retiring, and he fully expects to stay active in the exhibition industry. He said, “As a good Texan, I fully expect to die in the saddle headed to the next show. Being idle just isn’t in my blood.”
CEIR serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.
Susan Brower, CMM, CCP
+1 (972) 687-9207