A Marine Sergeant Zeroes in on a New Career
A former Marine pursues his studies at George Mason University and a new career in events management.
Tourism and Events Management
Trade Show Intern
American Sportfishing Association
I was an active duty Marine for almost nine years. I separated honorably and started my education at George Mason University in January 2011. I left the Marine Corps at the height of my military service to pursue a new career, and am now a senior in the Tourism and Events Management program.
My internship was with the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). As the association's trade show intern, I was able to participate, observe, and assist in the management and production of "The World’s Largest Fishing Trade Show."
The trade show (called ICAST, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) was recognized by Trade Show Executive and the Trade Show News Network as one of the fastest growing trade shows in the U.S. I am very pleased that I was able to make a contribution to this growing event. Working there gave me the opportunity to use my newly developed skills as a tourism and event management professional.
Ken Andres, my site supervisor, has been showing me the ropes and teaching me the skills necessary to be a successful trade show director. During the weeks leading up to ICAST, which was held July 9–12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Ken and I went through the floor plan and talked about the exhibitors, vendors, and stakeholders’ relationship to the show. Ken explained to me the skills necessary to be a successful trade show director or coordinator. “Know your show, think fast, and never second-guess your decisions,” he explained to me.
With these three things in mind, plus attention to details and good prior planning, we had a very successful show. It went off without a hitch, with approximately 9,500 attendees.
In Las Vegas, my duties were to support the onsite show management office. As part of my internship, I also used my analytical skills to review the new product showcase, a special area of the 400,000 square-foot show floor where the sportfishing industry displays and highlights its new products and innovations for the upcoming season. Back in Virginia, I had many tasks and assignments at the association's office including invoicing more than $200,000 worth of booth space contracts and meeting room space.
The skills I developed and the positive support I received from my great co-workers are invaluable to my future in event management. Working at ASA has been a terrific experience and I look forward to continuing my transition from sergeant in the Marines to trade show and event management professional.
POSTCARDS from the field
Postcards from the Field is an occasional series featuring dispatches from Mason students taking part in internships. These field experiences are a key component of many areas of study in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, a part of George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development. Mason's location and connections in the Greater Washington area means students are able to take advantage of internships at some of the country's most sought after organizations, where students gain an insider's view, professional contacts, and invaluable career experience.