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2021 Connect Association 15 Over 50: Dan Darby, CEM

Dan Darby, 57, is the Show Director for LightFair/IMC. He's based in Atlanta.

Ca21 15050 Social Tiles3

Dan Darby, CEM, 57
Show Director, LightFair/IMC, Atlanta

What I do:
As show director for LightFair in New York City and Las Vegas, the world’s largest annual commercial and architectural lighting show, I manage an enthusiastic team dedicated to producing a memorable and profitable event year after year for our constituents and our show owners. 

How I got here:
I never burned a bridge. Twenty-three years after I left employment with AmericasMart Atlanta (IMC), I received a phone call from a former co-worker asking me to interview for the open show director position with LightFair. I was happy in my position with Informa, but I was drawn to LightFair by its position as market leader, sheer beauty, and the enthusiasm and professionalism of the show team.

Impressive stats: 
I restructured the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show floor plan to immediately realize an increase of 18% NSF ($225,000 revenue). I also reorganized U.S. Antique Shows staff and brought key marketing functions in-house, resulting in $110,000 savings annually.

What I am excited to be working on right now:
LightFair 2021 will be our first face-to-face show since May 2019. Like other shows, we are being forced out of any complacency, developing new concepts in order to produce a truly must-attend event for our clients.

What I do outside of work:
Professionally, I am on the board of the IAEE Southeast Chapter and have served on the national IAEE Education Committee. Personally, I volunteer with Hosea Helps in Atlanta, which provides food and financial assistance for families in need. I can also be found most weekends in my workshop building or redesigning.

Favorite vacation destination:
Pawleys Island, SC. It’s a 3-mile "arrogantly shabby" oceanfront of homes with tidal creek docks. Nothing to do but swim, walk, bike, ride, standup paddle, complete puzzles, read and nap.

Your favorite inspirational quote:
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Public figure I admire most:
I don’t think it’s possible for me to identify one I admire “most,” but I was truly inspired by Alex Trebek. In the face of almost certain terminal cancer, he remained committed to excellence, was encouraging to others, and seemed genuinely humbled by the outpouring of love and support he received.

Instagram: @ddarby929