Industry News

Freeman Brings Design Thinking to the Forefront of the Events Industry

By | Design Thinking, Freeman, Industry News, Press Releases

brucemau linkedin

Appoints Renowned Designer Bruce Mau as Chief Design Officer

Freeman, the leading global provider of brand experiences, announced the appointment of designer, author and visionary Bruce Mau as its Chief Design Officer. In a move to drive innovation in the events industry, Freeman has created this new role at the company and appointed Mr. Mau to its Executive Committee.

Mr. Mau is the co-founder of the Massive Change Network, which promotes the transformative power of design thinking to generate new ideas and help institutions and businesses innovate. He has worked with leading companies, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, MoMA and Herman Miller; worked with countries such as Guatemala, Denmark and Saudi Arabia; and alongside star architects Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas on design thinking collaborations. Mr. Mau and his team are currently working with Walt Disney Imagineering, and he designed a master plan for Mecca to re-imagine this historic site for the next 1,000 years.

Read the full press release here.

Heidi Welker Elected to 2016 PCMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees

By | Education, Industry News, Leadership, PCMA, Press Releases, Women in AV

*La version française suit le message anglais.

Heidi Welker

Freeman Audio Visual Canada is proud to announce that Heidi Welker, vice president marketing, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Education Foundation Board of Trustees.

PCMA is a multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 39 countries. The PCMA Education Foundation is governed by the Board of Trustees that is responsible for fundraising, guardianship of the Corpus and funds raised, and support of PCMA and the industry.

A loyal, veteran PCMA member, Welker joined PCMA in 1982, and is a founding member and past president of the Canada East (CE) Chapter. She was instrumental in establishing and co-chairing the PCMA Canadian Innovation Conference, which in its first two years has raised more than $20,000 for CE Chapter education and the PCMA Education Fund. In 2012, Heidi was awarded PCMA CE’s Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award, and in 2013, she and her chapter were recipients of the PCMA Chairman’s Award.

“Committed to professional development and shaping tomorrow’s leaders, the PCMA Education Foundation fuels innovative and critical educational programming and research for our industry,” said Welker. “I am looking forward to contributing to its continued success story.”


Élection d’Heidi Welker au conseil d’administration 2016 de la Fondation de l’éducation de la PCMA

Heidi WelkerFreeman audiovisuel Canada est fière d’annoncer qu‘Heidi Welker, vice-présidente du marketing, a été élue pour un mandat de deux ans au conseil d’administration de la Fondation de l’éducation de la Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

La PCMA est une ressource professionnelle multicanale et un fournisseur par excellence de programmes de formation pour les leaders de l’industrie des réunions, des congrès, des événements et des salons professionnels. Ayant son siège social à Chicago, en Illinois, la PCMA a 17 divisions réparties aux États-Unis, au Canada et au Mexique et compte des membres dans plus de 39 pays. La Fondation de l’éducation de la PCMA relève du conseil d’administration qui est responsable du financement, de l’administration du capital et des fonds recueillis ainsi que du soutien de la PCMA et de l’industrie.

Fidèle membre de longue date de la PCMA, Heidi Welker a adhéré à l’association en 1982, et elle est membre fondatrice et ancienne présidente de la division de l’est du Canada. Elle a joué un rôle-clé dans l’établissement et la coprésidence de la Conférence canadienne de l’innovation de la PCMA qui, au cours de ses deux premières années d’existence, a recueilli plus de 20 000 $ pour la division de l’est du Canada et le fonds d’éducation de la PCMA. En 2012, Heidi Welker a reçu le prix Outstanding Service to a Chapter (prix pour services exceptionnels) de la PCMA pour la division de l’est du Canada, et en 2013, elle et sa division ont été lauréates du Prix du président de la PCMA.

« Engagée dans le perfectionnement professionnel et le façonnement des leaders de demain, la Fondation de l’éducation de la PCMA alimente des programmes éducatifs novateurs et essentiels ainsi que la recherche pour notre industrie, de dire Mme Welker. J’espère pouvoir contribuer à la poursuite de sa brillante réussite. »

Freeman Launches Global Certified Partner Program

By | Freeman, FreemanXP, Industry News, Press Releases

Global Certified Partner Program bolsters its partner network, answering the demand for Freeman quality and reliability worldwide

Freeman, the leading global provider of brand experiences, today announced the launch of its Global Certified Partner Program – a continuation of a focused effort that began several years ago to build a network of global suppliers, which has now become a formally recognized program that evaluates, qualifies and connects a community of suppliers who are able to meet Freeman’s high standards for quality, value, stability and customer service. Freeman uses these suppliers to support its teams as it delivers global programs for leading brands worldwide.

David Gauthreaux

David Gauthreaux

“Our existing North American customers want to increase their presence and deliver consistent brand experiences worldwide,” said David Gauthreaux, executive vice president of global sales for FreemanXP. “Similarly, our clients in EMEA and Asia Pacific are looking to do the same. As a design-driven company, Freeman has been investing in its global infrastructure for many years, and today we have a solid base of operations in Europe, Canada and Mexico. By extending our reach through third-party partners with an expanded, formalized program, we can better create value for our customers and continue to manage global growth in a smart and meaningful way.”

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Predictions About Future Conferences And Shifting Attendance

By | Event Trends, Industry News, Interesting Articles

*La version française suit le message anglais.

Seasoned meetings industry professional Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President, Education & Engagement, Velvet Chainsaw, recently made 15 predictions about the future conferences and shifting attendance that you’ll want to know about. Click here to discover his industry forecasts.




Aperçu et tendances ayant une incidence sur les engagements personnalisés

Un professionnel chevronné de l’industrie des congrès, Jeff Hurt, vice-président directeur, Formation et Engagement chez Velvet Chainsaw, a récemment fait 15 prédictions à propos des conférences du futur et les tendances en participation dont vous voudrez prendre connaissance. Cliquez pour découvrir ses prédictions sur l’industrie.


By | Industry News, Leadership, Press Releases

*La version française suit le message anglais.


Freeman Audio Visual is pleased to announce the appointment of David Campbell as executive vice president and chief operating officer of its Canadian division, effective immediately. David brings to the organization a wealth of experience, having spent nearly 30 years in strategic leadership roles, including seven as vice president and general manager of a large audio visual firm.

“Never resting on its laurels, Freeman is a dynamic enterprise that nurtures and embraces the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Campbell. “My approach to business strongly aligns with the core values of the company, and I look forward to working with this incredible team to further build upon its history of success and leadership in Canada.”

As the Canadian audio visual division’s most senior executive, Campbell is responsible for developing strategies, driving continuous growth, maintaining operational excellence, and ensuring customer and employee satisfaction. He will set the company’s short- and long-range goals related to sales, operations, financial performance and quality.

“We feel very fortunate to have found someone of David’s caliber to fill this multifaceted position,” said Ken Sanders, president of Freeman Audio Visual. “With his comprehensive business background and enthusiasm for our sector, I am confident David will thrive and empower others to succeed in our progressive and service-driven company culture.”



DAVID CAMPBELL 2015Freeman Audio Visual est heureuse d’annoncer la nomination de David Campbell au poste de vice-président directeur et chef de l’exploitation de la division canadienne, en vigueur immédiatement. Il apporte à l’organisation une vaste expérience, ayant passé presque 30 ans dans des fonctions de leadership stratégique, dont sept en tant que vice-président et directeur général d’une importante entreprise audiovisuelle.

« Ne se reposant jamais sur ses lauriers, Freeman est une entreprise dynamique qui nourrit et encourage l’esprit d’entrepreneuriat, a déclaré M. Campbell. Mon approche entrepreneuriale correspond tout à fait aux valeurs fondamentales de l’entreprise, et j’ai hâte de travailler avec cette équipe formidable pour continuer à bâtir sur les fondations de son incroyable succès et de son statut de chef de file au Canada. »

En tant que plus important dirigeant de la division audiovisuelle canadienne, M. Campbell est responsable d’élaborer des stratégies, de favoriser la croissance continue, de maintenir l’excellence opérationnelle et de garantir la satisfaction des clients et des employés. Il établira les objectifs de l’entreprise à court et à long terme en ce qui concerne les ventes, les opérations, le rendement financier et la qualité.

« Nous sommes vraiment choyés d’avoir trouvé quelqu’un du calibre de David pour occuper ce poste aux multiples facettes, a déclaré Ken Sanders, président de Freeman Audio Visual. Avec sa solide expérience et son enthousiasme pour notre domaine, je suis persuadé que David réussira très bien et habilitera les autres à réussir dans le cadre de notre culture d’entreprise progressive et axée sur le service.

Need a directory of women in tech to speak at events? Peep this!

By | Industry News, Keynote Speakers, Women in AV

Tech Events: Take the “50-50 Pledge”

Noting the dearth of women at the mics of most technology conferences, Sandi MacPherson, founder of a professional network called Quibb, decided to do something about it. Starting with this tweet:



And did she get responses? Yes, yes she did. According to Fast Company, she’s already amassed a 1,100-person list of female tech speakers—a list that’s still growing—and she’s issuing a challenge to tech conference organizers to take her her “50-50 pledge” and make their stages more gender-balanced. According to FastCo:

“There are a lot of women out there who are so great at what they do, these people do exist. It’s just that you might not know them,” MacPherson says. Her goal is to partner with organizers and provide them with suggested speakers “focused on the right topic and in the right role.”

Comic-Con: Game of Brands

By | Brand Experience, Face-to-Face with Freeman blog, FreemanXP, Industry News, International Events
Published by Alison Jenks, SVP at FreemanXP | Source: Face-to-Face with Freeman blog

What B2B Event Marketers can learn from Comic-Con International 2015

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last week, you’ve probably seen a lot about the 2015 Comic-Con International in San Diego. Comic-Con started in 1970 as a one-day “minicon” devoted to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms. Today there’s nothing mini about it. The conference receives attention from all over the world, attracts the biggest names in entertainment and draws over 130,000 people for the four-day event in America’s Finest City.

Most of the high-profile entertainment brands at Comic-Con could easily tap into their own established and widespread distribution networks to reach such large audiences. And yet, they prioritize a big showing at Comic-Con – underscoring the global trend toward experiential marketing as a key pillar of effective promotion. In its coverage of the conference, global digital media outlet Mashable explains why brands are investing in great experiences to connect more closely with fans: “We live in an always-on culture that can inform hundreds of nations in a single tweet, bridge thousands of miles through an Instagram post. Plugged in, live streamed, we think ourselves everywhere at once. But there’s still something to be said for the in-person approach, for events that connect to the emotional brain via all the senses.” 

And connect it did…

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Montreal Director of Sales Honoured with MPI Montreal & Quebec Volunteer of the Year Award

By | Awards, Corporate Social Responsibility, ECOS, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Industry News, Meeting Professionals International, Women in AV

*La version française suit le message anglais.

Freeman Audio Visual Canada is very pleased to announce that Montreal Director of Sales Danielle Piche has been awarded Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Montreal & Quebec Chapter’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Volunteer of the Year Award acknowledges a planner or supplier who works in the shadows for the industry by getting involved in community and social causes.

“Danielle is committed to promoting the objectives of MPI Foundation Canada and its influence in our industry, whether acquiring financial collaborators for the Canadian Economic Impact Study 3.0 (CEIS 3.0), facilitating MPI educational initiatives or supporting the Events for Communities of Sustainability (ECOS) Project,” said Montreal & Quebec Chapter President Sarah Maisonneuve.

“She also helped pioneer our chapter’s participation in the Sun Youth Christmas gifts distribution program, a cause that is very close to her heart.”

Piche has been an MPI Foundation Canada board member since September 2012.


La directrice des ventes de Montréal décroche le prix du Bénévole de l’année de MPI Montréal et Québec

Freeman audiovisuel Canada a le plaisir d’annoncer que Danielle Piché, directrice des ventes pour Montréal, a reçu le prix Bénévole de l’année de la part de Meeting Professionals International, section Montréal et Québec.

Ce prix reconnaît le travail d’un planificateur ou d’un fournisseur de notre industrie qui a œuvré dans l’ombre au profit de sa collectivité et de causes sociales.

« Danielle a montré son engagement à faire la promotion des objectifs de la Fondation MPI Canada et à en renforcer l’influence dans notre industrie en recrutant des collaborateurs financiers pour l’étude d’impact économique canadienne (CEIS 3.0, pour Canadian Economic Impact Study), en favorisant les initiatives éducatives de MPI et en apportant son soutien au projet ECOS (pour Events for Communities of Sustainability) », a rappelé Sarah Maisonneuve, présidente de la section Montréal et Québec.

« Elle a aussi mené la marche pour que notre section participe au programme de distribution de cadeaux de Noël de Jeunesse au Soleil, une cause qui lui tient à cœur. »

Danielle Piché est membre du conseil d’administration de la Fondation MPI Canada depuis septembre 2012.

Freeman VP of Sustainability Jeff Chase an “Industry Leader and Hero,” says MeetGreen

By | Corporate Social Responsibility, Freeman, Industry News, Leadership


Years ago, I met Jeff Chase, Vice President, Sustainability, Freeman Companies, while he was supporting the sustainability efforts of his client, American Wind Energy Association.  He had called us in to assess their event and make recommendations.  As the event’s general services contractor, Jeff had taken it upon himself to find a donation stream in the Dallas area for the show floor discards.  He worked hard to make it happen, supplying extra time, labor and resources so the items could end up in the hands of those who needed them most.

Fast forward to 2015, Jeff continues to propel an industry toward finding sustainable solutions.  A 27 year veteran of the trade show/event industry, his energy and enthusiasm are unwavering, he is a true believer in the power of business to make a difference.  We recently had an opportunity to ask Jeff about his important work as a change agent.

Has your industry changed dramatically in the past five years? What have you seen from inside your company?

In 2006, there was a great movement to find sustainable solutions for tradeshow signs but it was not a full program for ALL the types of waste generated at shows.  In 2008-2010, with the economic downturn, everyone pulled back and lost some focus. But since 2011, I have seen a great up surge in corporations and some associations willing to find more complete solutions to the environmental impact at their shows.  At Freeman, we have always been client driven so the sustainability efforts were very client focused…

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Freeman Audio Visual Ottawa Wins Consumer Choice Award for AV Services for Third Consecutive Year

By | Awards, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Industry News

*La version française suit le message anglais.

Freeman Audio Visual Canada is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Ottawa consumers and business community as the 2015 Consumer Choice Award (CCA) winner in the category of Audio Visual Services for the third year in a row. CCA was established in 1987 and is considered the most distinguished award for business excellence in Canada.

“This is truly a testament to the hard work and outstanding service they have continued to provide over the past year,” said Marcel Sbrollini, President, Consumer Choice Award. “They are once again a part of a very select group of business owners and entrepreneurs recognized by the people of Ottawa for their business excellence over multiple years.”

Through an independent market-research survey, consumers and businesses in the Ottawa community voted Freeman Audio Visual as the top-ranked organization in its industry, without the influence of industry insiders, advocate groups or unethical business practices.

“It is an honour and a pleasure to serve the residents of Ottawa, and we are immensely grateful for their continuing support and confidence,” said Kevin Wolfe, General Manager, Freeman Audio Visual Ottawa.

“The staff members at my branch take pride in their work and are 100% committed to providing customer service that is second to none. Having their efforts acknowledged truly means the world to them. Thank you so much, Ottawa.”


Freeman audiovisuel Ottawa gagne le Prix du Choix du consommateur pour services audiovisuels pour une troisième année consecutive

Freeman audiovisuel Canada est fière d’annoncer que les consommateurs et la communauté d’affaires d’Ottawa l’ont désignée Choix du consommateur 2015 dans la catégorie des services audiovisuels pour une troisième année consécutive. Ce prix a été créé en 1987 et est considéré comme le plus prestigieux à récompenser l’excellence en affaires au Canada.

« Ce prix témoigne du travail acharné et du service exceptionnel que l’équipe a fourni au cours de la dernière année », mentionne Marcel Sbrollini, président, Choix du consommateur. « Freeman audiovisuel Ottawa fait maintenant partie d’un groupe prestigieux de propriétaires d’entreprises et d’entrepreneurs reconnus par la population d’Ottawa pour leur excellence en affaires. »

Au cours d’une étude de marché indépendante, les consommateurs et les entreprises de la région d’Ottawa ont choisi Freeman audiovisuel comme meilleure entreprise dans son secteur d’activité, sans aucune intervention de l’industrie ou de groupes de défense d’intérêts ni de pratiques d’affaires contraires à l’éthique.

« C’est un honneur et un plaisir de servir les résidents d’Ottawa et nous leur sommes immensément reconnaissants d’obtenir leur soutien constant et leur confiance », a souligné Kevin Wolfe, directeur général de Freeman audiovisuel Ottawa.

« Les membres de notre équipe sont fiers de leur travail et s’engagent à 100 % afin d’offrir un service inégalé à nos clients. De voir leurs efforts reconnus ainsi n’a pas de prix. Merci infiniment, Ottawa. »