Company Growth Requires Care, Feeding and a Chief Development Officer

The future of the trade show industry is on a positive run, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). The research firm is predicting that 2017 will see a year-to-year increase of 1.6%. While that doesn’t sound like a huge increase, keep in mind that it’s the 24th consecutive quarter of growth in the industry. (CEIR uses a weighted average of net square footage, number of exhibitors and attendees, and revenues to measure the overall performance.)

According to Brian Casey, president and chief executive officer of CEIR, “For the last six quarters, the exhibition industry has outperformed the economy in terms of GDP.”

T3 Expo is feeling the results of that growth, and sees the industry remaining strong. So strong, in fact, that the company has hired a new Chief Development Officer, Tim Heffernan, to continue the momentum and success that T3 Expo has experienced over the past few years. T3 Expo agrees with CEIR that the “face-to-face marketing industry" is experiencing a boom and exhibiting companies are increasing their spending slightly in anticipation of bigger shows and more attendees. Trade shows are still the best way to meet and greet new prospective clients, re-establish old relationships and showcase your products and services.

In the newly created position of Chief Development Officer, Tim will help provide the grease that makes the wheels of T3 Expo run smoothly. Strong communication skills of all sorts are prime requirements for a position like this, and Tim has years of honing this craft. He will have his eyes on identifying new ways to connect with new and existing customers using shareable moments that drive business growth, look across businesses to drive better customer service through product development and service initiatives.

We got the opportunity to sit down with Tim for a Q&A about his new role, his thoughts about T3 Expo and his previous experience.

What is your title and job description?

Chief Development Officer. In this position I will assess, develop and deliver innovation across all our customer’s touch points. The role focuses on bringing disruptive and incremental innovation across the areas of sales, marketing, product and customer service. The position will also allow me to help create and execute T3 Expo’s go-to-market messaging to better serve T3 customers across corporate association and agency clients.

What are some of the things you want to do at T3 Expo?

I want to design, implement and standardize our processes that support business growth, while fostering creativity in our outbound go-to-market with our clients, business partners, suppliers, subcontractors, technology providers, etc. I also want to execute marketing strategies that build and maintain high-level contacts with current and prospective customers, and other business and project partners. And, I will be responsible for product life-cycle management of T3 Expo’s product lines, which includes some awesome innovation -- T3 Central, T3 Tracker and others to come—that is really exciting.

Can you share your previous experience and what you bring to T3 Expo and its client base?

I have lead and advised governments and Fortune 1000s through all phases of market development, business development, research, government relations, product development, public relations, crisis, marketing and internal communications. I have also advised governments, corporate affairs, marcoms and market development executives in the areas of healthcare, financial services, retail, entertainment, supply chain, consumer behavior, environment, technology, and enterprise policy. So, I have a good understanding on how many different types of industries work, and have established many great working relationships that I can bring to T3 and the role of Chief Development Officer.

Can you talk about some of your other previous experiences?

I was head of Regulatory Affairs for Cable & Wireless responsible for overseeing its regulatory strategy and implementation across its business. I helped create policy driven growth initiatives through public-private partnerships that enabled citizens to connect, interact and transact using information and communication technologies (ICT). We did this across 44 countries.

I also was the vice president of Government Relations and Emerging Business Opportunities for NCR Corporation, running policy-driven growth initiatives that created innovation, revenue and aided in reducing NCR's cost structure. And, I sat on the Innovation Council and was responsible for incubating approved new product ideas.

What motivated you to join T3 Expo?

The dynamic nature of the T3 Expo founders (Chris, Chris and Nate) and the equally dynamic industry that we serve was a huge draw. I wanted to be part of this growing industry and a company like T3 Expo that was leading the charge when it comes to creative thinking and being different. Also the opportunity to use my diverse skill sets in one company, both to help T3 grow, and for our clients to grow, was very attractive.

We would love to get to know you more. What are some of your other hobbies and things you do in your spare time?

I definitely love to travel, especially with my wife Adela and our six-month old sheltie, Scotch. Scotch has already been to seven states and two countries and has his own Instagram account (sheltie_scotch). Currently, I have been to 63 countries and counting. 

I also like anything to do with the water in liquid or frozen form -- sailing, scuba, boating, skiing.

What is your favorite movie and your favorite quote?

My favorite movie is “Big Fish,” and “Pirates of Silicon Valley.” My favorite quote is “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” St. Francis of Assisi.

What are some accomplishments you are most proud of in your work life?

I have been lucky to work with (and for) some amazing people. I have received numerous industry awards for my efforts by customers within the U.S. government, and was rewarded with challenge coins from the Secretary of Defense, US Navy’s Israel’s attaché, CJIATF 435 (Combined Joint Interagency Task Force Legal Operations Directorate in Afghanistan) and a token of appreciation from The White House. 

I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Rhode Island and while I was there, I received numerous academic awards in the area of political science and hold the distinction of becoming one of the first civilian student representatives at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.


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