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seasoned show floor veteran OF the year


Gino Apadula Seasoned Veteran Nth Degree
Gino Apadula

Project manager, Nth Degree





Nominated by

D'Anna Hurley, marketing project manager, Nth Degree, Duluth, Georgia

This award program asked the question, “Who’s On Your Crew?” Gino is one of those team members that has helped define the qualities of the project managers we employ. To designate him as a seasoned show floor veteran is an understatement as he has helped shape how Nth Degree operates on the show floor. He has spent his entire career with Nth Degree dating back to 1984, but his impact has been even more defining than his tenure.

Gino has been dedicated to one of Nth Degree’s most loyal customers for most of his career. He earned his place as the lead project manager years ago when the account’s dedicated project manager became ill. As second in the job, Gino accepted the challenge of becoming the lead project manager without hesitation and then never looked back. That is his way – he rises to the occasion and approaches every challenge with confidence and the ability to instill that same confidence in the client he is serving.

Gino has been instrumental in helping manage this client’s account, which includes more than 100 events annually with exhibits over 20,000-square-feet in size. He expertly leads huge labor calls in cities across the country and helps lead a team that manages every tiny detail to maintain efficiency at every show. His in-depth knowledge not only of the account, but all the vendors and players are key components of the program seeing continuous improvements and flawless execution year-over-year. With such a large trade show program, Gino has become a true trade show expert with skills and abilities such as a keen understanding of union rules and facility regulations, as well as the integral study and full understanding of the client’s industry. The industry regulations alone is an area of study that would take an inexperienced team member years to master. The over 30-year relationship with this customer is the true testament to this achievement.

Despite being the leader of this account’s on-site operations, Gino does not simply delegate responsibilities. He takes full ownership of everything Nth Degree has promised the customer and truly leads by example. His strong work ethic sets the tone with the rest of the crew and inspires the greatness and the grit needed to deliver a superior service standard and act as ambassadors for the customer’s brand and event marketing goals. Gino is always the first one on the convention floor in the morning and the last to leave at night. He has the unique ability to work in the job day in and day out, while being able to manage the crew, work with the facility and local unions, and communicate with the exhibit house and customer stakeholders at the same time.

Another characteristic that separates Gino from an average project manager is his passion for continuous improvement. He has the ability to look holistically at the client’s exhibiting program with a discerning eye and identify areas of improvement. Over the years, Gino has conceived and executed solutions that have helped save the client thousands of dollars. He reviews every aspect of the program day after day and year-over-year to find cost avoidance and cost savings solutions for even the most seemingly simple processes. There is no procedure or piece of the puzzle that is beyond Gino’s consideration.

Gino is a true professional in how he leads his team and how he works with countless colleagues. He is an industry authority that doesn’t hesitate to share his wealth of knowledge with other Nth Degree team members and customer stakeholders. His devotion to the customer, his team and the company is evident in the self-sacrifices he makes every year including working over the Thanksgiving holiday for the span of his entire career.

When you work with someone like Gino, you are inspired to dig deeper, work harder and learn from his humility and expertise. You want to look back on your career like he can and see your accomplishments through the eyes of the people you’ve helped along the way. We are lucky to work with such an experienced professional.

“Gino is a loyal Nth Degree employee. He takes care of his guys in the job and is always willing to help in a pinch. He is a team player that puts the success of the job and the company first. When things get going tough, he is the first to dig in to get the desired results.” -- Doug Higgins, account executive, Nth Degree

Mike Haren Seasoned Veteran ShoLink pix
Mike Haren

Sho-Link, Lake Forest, Illinois





Nominated by

Rob West, senior director of field operations, Sho-Link, Lake Forest, Ill.

It is my honor to nominate Mike Haren for Seasoned Show Floor Veteran. Throughout my entire career with Sho-Link, Mike has always proven to be a standout professional both on the show floor and when working with clients. I have watched Mike tackle the most difficult of tasks with great success.  Mike has taken on multiple roles within Sho-Link throughout the years, such as show floor lead, city manager of Sho-Link Atlanta to regional manager for Sho-Link. He has always been someone I could go to for advice and problem solving and has never disappointed me with his wisdom. I have seen other competitors go to him for advice on an issue, and as Mike has always been a team player, he gladly shares his insight. To me, Mike has seen and done it all, and is very much deserving of this award for all he contributes to the tradeshow community.-- Rob West, senior director of field operations, Sho-Link

Co-worker Testimonial:

I am pleased to nominate Mike Haren for the Exhibit City News ACE Award. I have known and worked with Mike for six years and have always found him dependable, efficient and unfailingly punctual. In fact, I have never worked with a person who gives as much attention to detail as he does. Also, his willingness to take on difficult projects and oversee them to successful completion has repeatedly impressed me over the years.  His skills do not end with his carpentry work.  He also projects a superb professional attitude to our clients both internal and external. I have seen him resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact.   I believe these characteristics represent all that is good in our company, and I am pleased to nominate him for the honor of receiving the Exhibit City News ACE Award.—Robert Tarolla, Las Vegas city manager, Sho-Link


Client Testimonials:

In the 16 years since I first met Mike Haren, I have come to admire the fact that he is exactly who he presents himself to be. I could use the words such as Honest, Dependable, and Hard Working to describe him, but I would much rather tell you that I have witnessed Mike demonstrate these characteristics as his way of life.  He exemplifies leadership with his active, outgoing presence of leading by example.  Working in this industry you come to expect a little bit of craziness due to the nature of the business, and Mike does not shy away from the unknown but utilizes his crew and resources to obtain the objective. Over the years we have worked a lot of hours with Mike and he never disappoints.  I believe his greatest asset is that he gives of himself freely and shares his knowledge willingly with those around and under his supervision.  I look forward to many more years of having Mike by our side.--Amy Diffee, Nashville, TN

  Oftentimes failures are pointed out more than successes.  I thought I’d take a second to point out a success. Mike (Haren), Joey, and the rest of the Nashville team came through in a very compressed and technical install. Their willingness to work the long hours required and can-do attitude allowed us to wow our clients and deliver a win. Thanks guys. Much appreciated. --Jon Dalton, field supervisor, Derse, Milwaukee, Wisc.

I had a great team at Medtrade and a great supervisor. The ShoLink team’s pride showed in the way they dressed and in their attention to detail. I’m supremely confident that the Sho-Link team can find solutions to show floor challenges, these folks know their stuff! Mike Haren never lets us down, he's the best. Thank you for a great show, as always Mike Haren leads a great team get the job done and the client loves him. His attention to detail, timely installation running a staff and his ability to work with the client in any situation is always outstanding. Nothing more was needed to make our experience exceptional--it was perfect.-- Melissa Alter, Derse, Las Vegas

Frank Mennell

Momentum Management,





Nominated by

Dave Kennedy, Chicago city manager, Momentum Management, Alpharetta, Ga.

After 23 years in the tradeshow industry, Frank Mennell has learned what it takes to be the “Ultimate Lead” man. His calm, methodical leadership style instills an elevated level of confidence to all who work with him. His greatest attribute is his ability to strategically plan, execute and anticipate the scope of work within an exhibit installation. Through his previous experience as a foreman, he is excellent at evaluating talent and utilizing his crew in the most effective and efficient manner.


Frank is able to communicate with workers and clients equally, so that they both feel as if their interests are at the forefront. The larger and more challenging the project, the more valuable and competent Frank becomes.


His greatest compliment is that everybody wants to work with Frank. From carpenters to clients, everybody wants to be a part of his team. He successfully balances his friendly demeanor and his drive for excellence in his career on the show floor.


Frank is what every city manager is looking for in a veteran lead man. If I had one wish as a city manager it would be, “Please find me another Frank Mennell!  I promise I won’t ask again.”  As Frank has quietly become one of the best lead men throughout the entire tradeshow industry, and I am so grateful to have him on my team.

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