As Mark Metzler, the new VP of Sales at CDI World USA, settles into the Atlanta office, we asked him about his background in the industry and how he sees the future.
How did you start in the trade show business?
When I graduated back in ‘84 my Dad said I needed to get a job! I sent out several resumes and one of the responses was from a company called Installation and Dismantle Inc. I’d never heard of the industry, but they were looking for a coordinator in their special events area. I became part of a team responsible for all client activities that were not part of a trade show. I really learned all aspects of this business from the ground up.
What kept you interested?
The camaraderie was a big part of it. We were all young, just starting our careers, and had similar interests and expectations. We supported each other throughout the first several years. Once I was running my own events I was completely taken in by the planning and execution. Over the years the primary draw continues to be the variety and camaraderie unique to this industry.
And the excitement is still there?
I tell people all the time that there’s something new and different every single day in this business. The people are different, the locations are different, the challenges are different, and I love that. I also like to understand the challenges clients are facing. Whether you’re talking to an exhibit manager, a senior marketing executive, or a Sales leader they all have concerns about their booth space and where it’s located, whether the audience will be there if they spend budget on a particular show. I enjoy digging into those problems and finding solutions.
You’ve worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, companies like Nth Degree and Czarnowski. What attracted you about CDI World?
I love the fact that it’s very nimble, flexible and cost-effective. They certainly look and act much bigger than they are. Everyone is on top of the details and they have a great sense of urgency. They care about the client’s business as if it was their own. They’re also one of the few exhibit companies regardless of size, that has genuine global reach. They have long-established CDI World entities in the UK and Singapore serving EMEA and the Far East. So, wherever the event is held you have on-the-ground expertise that works to a common high standard of design, fabrication and cost control. I’m really looking forward to getting all this great capability in front of clients who don’t know us yet.
So what do you do with your time off, Mark?
Well, my wife and I do have triplets! They are 27 now, so much easier than when they were younger. I stay in close contact with them, still helping anywhere I can. Now it’s a little different from the 3 ring circus we had when they were little. Another passion is dog rescue, which we’ve always done. Our latest is Lucky, a 100% pure bred Pit Bull who’s blind. He is so sweet and gentle and such a gift to us. However, he does run into stuff and chases things that aren’t there. He’s a lot to handle but it’s fun. I also enjoy playing golf and time on the water, in any capacity.
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