Galen Poss: President, HANLEY WOOD EXHIBITIONS
Poss has spearheaded the company’s aggressive expansion of shows in the construction industry and developed innovative new types of events.
Don’t tell Galen Poss that the U.S. housing bubble has burst or that the construction industry is cooling: Hanley Wood’s exhibitions are hotter than ever. And Poss is spearheading a strategy by the Irving, Texas-based company to blow right through the industry’s butterflies and continue expanding. The HW events unit produced $52 million last year and is projected to generate $60 million this year.
No doubt the 54-year-old Poss faces an easier sell these days than if he were still in his first job in the convention business: Sales manager for the New Orleans convention bureau. After selling their own event-management company to Miller Freeman and working for the acquirer for six years, Poss and partner Michael Green landed at Hanley Wood in 2000.
Poss has taken advantage of the construction boom to build a portfolio of a dozen shows, including the huge World of Concrete. "This is the most fun I’ve had in business, even more fun than running my own company," he says. "I’ve got more resources and a bigger sandbox."
The housing sector has barely taken a breather, he posits, and will remain hot for at least the next decade or so. So Poss is broadening the company’s attendee and exhibitor bases. To promote the addition of masonry to this year’s World of Concrete, for instance, Poss launched a competition called the Bricklayer 500 that offered prizes of trucks and cash to the slickest bricklayers;and landed on CBS Sunday Morning. And Hanley Wood is increasing its marketing efforts to foreign exhibitors.
Even more ambitiously, Poss has been building the annual Big Builder Conference and Show in Las Vegas since 2003. It enforces a uniform exhibit look and is open only to luxury homebuilders.
VITAL STATS: Hanley Wood has built its exhibition business to $52 million last year and a projected $60 million this year.