Clarion UX (formerly Urban Expositions) produces 37 events across 13 sectors of both trade and consumer events. Clarion UX, which is the U.S. division of Clarion Events, UK, and backed by The Blackstone Group has become one of the fastest growing event companies in the U.S. with aggressive growth through both acquisition and launch. Clarion acquired PennWell in early 2018, bringing 4 Tradeshow 200 events into the U.S. portfolio and super-charging the already rapid growth. Clarion UX has offices in Trumbull, CT; Kennesaw, GA; Boca Raton, FL; Tacoma, WA, and Fairlawn, NJ.
The company is led by CEO Greg Topalian, who famously founded New York Comic Con, and in 2014 founded Leftfield Media after a stellar 17 year career at Reed Exhibitions, where he also created the ReedPop division. Clarion UX bought LeftField Media in 2016 and in 2017 named Greg as CEO of Clarion UX.
Greg is surrounded by a team of high performing industry veterans including Doug Miller, the Chairman and founder of Urban Expositions, who grew Urban from 1 to 30 shows over a 20 year period; Courtney Muller, former Reed SVP who came to Urban in 2014, brought Urban together with Clarion Events and LeftField Media and who oversees corporate development and strategy; and Jeff Dixon, former Financial Director of Clarion Events UK, who oversaw the Clarion UK finance team through their rapid expansion in the early 2000s. The balance of the senior team include the best and brightest from Urban and many industry executives who have found an exciting new challenge in working for an organization that is nimble, entrepreneurial, rapidly expanding, has formed a strong culture of excellence and is building to become one of the biggest players in the U.S. events industry.
Taking the best of Urban’s values, Clarion UX is well-known for its hands-on approach to working with customers. Back in the days of Urban it was not uncommon to see one of the owners, Doug Miller or Tim vonGal, walking the show floor or helping mop up after a ceiling leak. Today, you will see Greg Topalian carrying boxes and managing lines on-site. Behind the scenes he is calling agents to book guests, or working with his teams to help sell exhibitors. No job is too large or too small for any member of the Clarion UX team.
In the past 12 months Clarion UX has acquired multiple businesses including: Coffee Fest (3 regional coffee tradeshows); The Affiliate Summits (Marketing Conferences in NY, LA and London); Rose City Comic Con (part of LeftField Media), HAuNTcon (co-located with Halloween & Party Expo), and The National Grocers Show (owned in partnership with the National Grocer’s Association). In early 2018 Clarion acquired PennWell and with it their stellar line up of Tradeshow 200 industry leading events.
The Clarion Events portfolio spans a number of product sectors, including ones they share with Clarion UX including Art, Gaming and Retail-Trade and now Power and Energy. Clarion Events also produces a multitude of consumer events, industry conference and trade events in defense & security, life sciences and technology. The company website is www.clarionevents.com
Click on a team member’s picture to read their biography.
The first time Greg attended a tradeshow he was 10 years old and it was the Boston Seafood Show at the Hynes, he was hooked. The idea of creating engaging and epic experiences has always been the most appealing part of the tradeshow industry but rarely is achieved. This is the driving force behind the creation of LeftField Media which Greg launched in 2014.
Greg started his career in the event business over 20 years ago where the first event he worked on was The International Restaurant Show of New York, which is now part of Clarion UX. He spent 17 years at Reed Exhibitions where he was responsible for a portfolio of 38 events, established the One2One events group and led the creation of an enthusiast consumer events business, the fastest growing division within the global company. Greg has consistently created new concepts and challenged the status quo and it shows in all of the events and teams he has been a part of creating – including being the founder of New York Comic Con in 2006.
Greg comes from a long line of innovators. Greg’s father Harry Topalian was a Director of R&D at General Foods for 35 years and worked on the invention of notable products such as Stove Top stuffing, Jell-O, Shake and Bake, and Bear Naked Granola. It’s no surprise that Greg caught the innovation bug, which has led directly to the creation of LeftField Media which has rapidly grown becoming the fastest growing division of Clarion UX.
Throughout his career, Greg has built businesses by hand-selecting top talent and focusing on a people first-approach which sets his teams apart from the competition. Greg is a very active participant in the event industry and currently serves on the SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) Executive Board. He has also been a part of a number of partnerships working alongside media groups and associations which have proven to be a fruitful part of his career.
Greg’s passions include being an insane Yankees fan (he named his son Derek!), classic arcade games, classic cars, cooking and craft beer. His wife Andrea is an amazing photographer (check out the headshot) and they have 3 wonderful kids.
Doug Miller, a trade show industry veteran of 33 years, began his career by creating the Orlando Gift Show. The successful launch and development of that project attracted the attention of the Atlanta Market Center which brought Doug in as General Manager and VP of AMC Trade Shows at the Atlanta Market Center. Doug ran some of the of largest and most diverse trade show divisions in the country overseeing an extensive portfolio of events in a variety of categories.
In 1995 Doug founded Urban Expositions by launching the Philadelphia Gift Show amid a blizzard! The team pressed on and ran the show despite 36” of snow. From 1995 to 2011 Urban acquired and launched and became one of the largest producers of Gift & Souvenir events in the country. Doug’s trade show roots keep him very engaged in the Gift & Souvenir industry and if you want to walk from one end of the Philadelphia Gift Show to the other with Doug, you will need many hours, Doug’s kind and even keeled manner make him popular wherever he goes.
Doug is also an extremely aggressive and smart business leader and understood the need for diversity in the Urban business. He started to acquire events outside the Gift & Souvenir space by purchasing Airport Revenue News in 2012. By 2015 Urban had continued its growth trajectory and was producing events in 6 sectors including: Gift & Souvenir, Airport Concessions, Art, Halloween & Party, Foodservice & Gaming.
In 2015, after 20 years of growing his company, Doug sold the majority interest in Urban to UK based Clarion Events. Still a significant equity holder in the newly named Clarion UX, Doug maintains an important and visible role as Chairman of the business. While Doug’s focus has turned to new business development and acquisitions, he still closely with the CEO and Senior team to lend his knowledge and history with the company, making himself available wherever he is needed.
Doug is married with three grown children and 4 grandchildren. He is a classic car enthusiast and resides in Georgia where he lives with his wife and dog. Doug’s grandchildren refer to him as “Boss” and anyone who has worked with Doug knows that this is one of the best bosses you can have.
Doug is a graduate of Florida International University.
Courtney Muller lived in 8 states before she was 14 years old. Which might be the reason she loves the travel and pace of the events industry! Courtney started her career in events in 1991. She joined Urban Exposition in 2014 as Executive Vice President and is currently Chief Corporate Development and Strategy Officer. In her role she is responsible for new business, partnerships and commercial development for Clarion UX and also works as the Global Gaming Industry Advisor.
Courtney has 26 years of trade show experience which includes a 20 year career at Reed Exhibitions where she rose to the role of Senior Vice President overseeing a portfolio of 10 industry leading events in five sectors, including multiple Trade Show 200 events (Global Gaming Expo Las Vegas and Macau, The Vision Expos, Interphex and BookExpo America as well as New York Restaurant, Florida Restaurant & Lodging and California Restaurant events). She also oversaw the sponsorship revenue team as well as the conference teams.
Courtney is recognized for building strong relationships with association partners and customers. Over her career she has worked with The American Booksellers Association, The American Gaming Association, The Vision Council, The New York State Restaurant Association and the National Indian Gaming Association to name a few. Courtney’s creative approaches to growing business are further exemplified by her strong leadership and team building skills.
Throughout her career Courtney has developed award-winning teams that grow businesses, deliver results and create meaningful and lasting relationships with the partners, customers and industries they serve. Her teams have won multiple corporate and industry excellence awards including Fastest 50 honors. Most recently she has brought together a number of the key members of the current Clarion UX senior team.
Courtney was named as a “Great Woman in Gaming” by Casino Enterprise Management Magazine in 2006. She was also featured on the cover of Trade Show Executive in 2012 as an industry leader. She has worked as head of the International Committee for IAEE and is a current board member of SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers) where she is the Chair and co-founder of SISO Women.
Courtney is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She enjoys gardening and cooking and adores the natural beauty of her island home in North Carolina. She and her husband and dog live on the Topsail Island Sound and only steps from the beach! They have three grown children and two grandsons.
Jeff Dixon joined Urban Expositions in 2016 as the CFO and is tasked with building a first class financial reporting and planning team, improving financial processes throughout the organization as Urban seeks to grow organically and through acquisitions.
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in London, England with PwC, Jeff became the finance director for the events business, Clarion Events in 2005. In his 7 years at Clarion the group achieved significant growth that included 20 international acquisitions. More recently, Jeff was the CFO in a European and US technology group but moved to Connecticut in 2013 with his family.
Everyone in the events industry has an interesting story of they entered this business, no two paths are the same and most involve an interesting journey of eclectic experiences and a diverse set of skills. Kelly’s story follows suit and can best be summarized by a pursuit of challenges that can be solved by smart, creative, high energy doers and thinkers.
Starting in the summer following her freshman year at Drew University, Kelly began her journey with an internship and an Account Executive Assistant position with an advertising agency working on the launch of several new products including bringing the Jolly Rancher Lollipop to market – providing her first taste on launching businesses. Kelly’s career continued to launching eBooks with Rodale books and working with a team to put three of their trade books on the NY Times Bestseller List. In the midst of Kelly’s book publishing years, there were many trips to BookExpo America, Frankfurt Book Fair and Bologna Children’s Book Fair as both exhibitor and attendee.
In 2004, Kelly joined Reed Exhibitions handling the marketing for a newly formed small team called Launch Pad working with Greg Topalian, the now President of LeftField Media. While with Reed, Kelly oversaw the marketing and brand development for major events such as New York Comic Con and BookExpo America. Kelly was recruited by IQPC as the Global Marketing Director of the Americas overseeing the marketing efforts and teams for the conference events businesses in United States, Brazil and Canada. After a few years of traveling, Kelly took a step out of the events business to start her family.
Kelly is beyond ecstatic to be part of LeftField Media as President. Kelly lives in Old Saybrook with her husband, two boys, their English Bulldog and their flock of backyard chickens.
Duncan is Executive Vice President at Clarion Events and heads up the global Clarion Energy portfolio. With over 20 years’ experience running large scale events Duncan has led award-winning exhibition and conference teams in both the UK and overseas including the winner of Best Conference at last year’s AEO Awards.
In early 2018 Clarion acquired the U.S. headquartered PennWell, giving the business an unrivalled global position in the Energy sector. The acquisition brought together two of the industry’s most well-respected names to create one of the largest events companies in the world. PennWell’s leading events including DistribuTECH, POWER-GEN and HydroVision International now join a World-Leading Portfolio of Events alongside the Utility Week and Future Energy events.
To lead this global Clarion Energy business Duncan is one of a growing number of Brits based at Clarion’s U.S. Connecticut Office but as a live music & festival fan, Chairman of the AEO Development Board and an avid Liverpool supporter he’s never far away from the U.K.
Liz’s endless curiosity, desire for learning, and passion for building relationships infuse her responsibilities as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Clarion UX. With over 18 years of experience in the events industry, she is focused on delivering results by creating brand strategies and providing innovative approaches that meet her customers’ needs.
In her current role, Liz oversees integrated marketing strategies across the Clarion UX organization that are led by insight, marketing effectiveness, technology integration and innovation. In addition, she is responsible for brand strategy development, customer insights and marketing execution on the Halloween and HAuNTcon events. She constantly has her eye on the customer experience and how to continuously evolve what our events offer.
Liz’s interest in events began when she would work hands-on to assist her father in setting up his local food distributor events. From there she worked a variety of positions in college assisting the Convention & Visitors Bureau and quickly her passion for the events business spread. Before joining Clarion UX, Liz was with Reed Exhibitions for 14 years, in a variety of marketing leadership positions across several events, including the leading jewelry media brand, JCK.
Liz earned her bachelor’s degree from Niagara University and a master’s degree from the University of New Haven. She is active in her community where she volunteers in her assisting her sons’ sports teams throughout the year, managing communications and events. Liz lives in Connecticut with her husband, two boys and a dog and cat.
With more than 17 years’ experience, MaryBeth joins Clarion Events as Senior Vice President of North America Power and Operations, where she is responsible for the North America Power Events portfolio including two Tradeshow 100 events, POWER-GEN International and DistribuTECH, along with the world’s largest hydropower event, HydroVision International. In her position, along with her very experienced event operations team, MaryBeth is also responsible for ensuring the highest level of operational excellence, customer care and customer experience for several of the largest Clarion UX events.
Known as a results-oriented, forward-thinking and customer-focused leader, MaryBeth has been successful in driving business growth, generating revenues and delivering customer value through collaboration, partnerships and great relationships. MaryBeth loves change (unlike most)! She embraces it, strives for it, and more importantly implements it!
After a long tenure with PennWell Corporation, recently acquired by Clarion Events, MaryBeth is excited to join the Clarion UX leadership team. MaryBeth, and her husband Troy, have three beautiful daughters who keep them very busy! When and if, she has any free time, MaryBeth prefers spending it on a beautiful beach, with crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a lovely tropical beverage in hand!
Eric Schlett has worked in media for most of his professional life. Working for Fire Engineering /FDIC for his first 10 months while with PennWell, our country was attacked on 9/11. “That day and the events that unfolded as a direct result of 9/11 left an indelible mark on my life.” Personally, witnessing the atrocity and collapse live from a hillside just across the Hudson River “still chills me to the bone and is a vision I replay too often in my mind.” While this life changing event won’t be forgotten, it refocused Eric and has driven him personally and professionally; ultimately committed deeply to the fire service in this leadership role, a volunteer firefighter and proponent in promoting the products and services that ultimately save lives and properties in the communities first responders protect.
Eric’s fondest memories certainly are the relationships made along this nearly 20-year journey. Eric has the utmost respect for the everyday working firefighter and treats them no differently than the world renowned dignitaries he has met. From VP Mike Pence, to the Prince of Bahrain. One of the coolest thigs Eric has experienced was taking a helicopter ride across the desert in Bahrain to dine in a gigantic air-conditioned tent with Prince Khalifa Salman to discuss training the Bahrain Civil Defense. Not too many guys from Lodi NJ can say they “hung with a Prince. Eric enjoys traveling with team members to interesting places in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Eric says these experiences have enlightened him professionally and personally;” an opportunity I never had as a child or young adult. It’s gratifying to know the work I do helps first responders do their jobs better and ultimately save lives."
Outside of work, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and 4 children. You can find Eric almost every Saturday in the fall at a Rutgers game, or glued to a television rooting desperately for them to win. A graduated from Rutgers, Eric went on to continue his education at NYU. Through Thomson Reuters, he was selected to attended Columbia University’s Executive Education Program.
You know you’re in the presence of Mike Carlucci when you hear loud upbeat singing virtually any time of the day! Mike has a passion and energy that is impossible to miss. Since joining Clarion UX in 2014 Mike has been an active participant in the company’s growth, bringing new revenue opportunities across the portfolio of events.
Currently the Senior Vice President of Revenue and Specialty Events, Mike works on new launches including Classic Auto events, bringing to the U.S. a long-standing Clarion brand from the UK. He has also successfully integrated and overseen the growth of The Halloween & Party Expo and HAuNTcon events.
In his role, Mike energizes the revenue discussion! He works with teams across the company to envision, create and execute new revenue ideas. Mike is uniquely a hands on selling SVP currently bringing in more than half of the revenue on all his events.
Prior to joining Clarion UX, Mike had a 13-year career at Reed Exhibitions where he rose to the level of Group Portfolio Director overseeing sales on a large portfolio of events including Global Gaming Expo, The Vision Expos, and BookExpo America (All Tradeshow 200 Events).
Mike attended Bentley University. He is married with two daughters and lives in Connecticut. His wife Laura and daughters Isabella (Munchie) and Stella spend their lives being entertained by this energetic, upbeat and fun dad.
Donna Davies, Vice President of the Art Group, oversees all art fairs for Urban Expositions, including Art Aspen, Art Hamptons, Houston Art Fair, Art Palm Springs and SOFA CHICAGO. Donna works closely with the sales, marketing, and programming team members on all five art fairs to create strong, energetic and unique elements for each fair. As a former art dealer, Donna brings a curatorial perspective to the management and needs of art fairs.
Prior to joining Urban, Donna was Director of Marx-Saunders Gallery in Chicago. Previously, she was Assistant Director of Contemporary Art at Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Donna has a B.A. and M.A. in Art History and lives in Chicago.
Lisa Glosson, Vice President of Gift & Souvenir, oversees strategy, branding, market positioning and overall growth direction for the portfolio’s Las Vegas Souvenir and Resort Gift Show, Ocean City Resort Gift Expo, and semi-annual Seattle Gift Show.
Joining Urban Expositions as receptionist in 2001, Lisa quickly moved up through the ranks with roles in buyer relations, show administration, sales support and management. In addition to past positions as sales manager and show director, Lisa most recently served as Group Show Director. Holding the leadership sales and marketing role for the company’s Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show since 2008, she has been instrumental in guiding it to its current day position as the nation’s largest souvenir trade show.
Throughout her career she has received numerous awards and industry recognition for her dedication and commitment to excellence. In 2015 she received the company’s Best Show Director and Highest Revenue Increase Awards. In 2014, she was part of the team recognized as Best Team of the Year for Urban’s invitation-only Gathering event.
For Lisa, teamwork is everything. She looks forward to working closely with each member of her respective teams to continue expanding and enhancing their collective show offerings.
Lisa lives in Acworth with her daughter, Sarah, and two feisty pups, Pepi and Max.
In over a decade with ARN, Ramon has been involved in virtually every aspect of the business such as production, marketing, business development and editorial. Now serving as publisher, Ramon is responsible for ARN’s business operations and growth, overseeing the company’s current products while expanding and advancing its offerings.
Prior to ARN, Ramon worked for Trammell Crow Co., serving as the South Florida division’s marketing director. For six years, he developed and implemented marketing initiatives for the business unit’s 2 million-square-foot office, retail and industrial portfolio.
Ramon holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Florida Atlantic University as well as a degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. He lives in Lake Worth, Florida with his wife and two children, enjoys South Florida professional sports and is a huge fan of The Beatles.
Desiree Hanson became captivated with the event industry in 2000 and her passion for creating experiences for her customers continue to drive her success as she has expanded her horizon working in different industries. She joined Urban Expositions as Vice President of Fashion Events in 2017 after working for NPD Group, a global market research company. In her role, she is responsible for the management of the sales, marketing, content experiences with her team and growth of the Fashion Portfolio.
Desiree’s career started at Reed Exhibitions where she was directly involved in the development of the JCK brand and building relationships and year-round content for retailers. Most recently, Desiree was directly responsible for the boutique LUXURY, and LUXURY Prive event, where she created exclusive experiences for her customers in unique and sophisticated environments. Her strong work ethic, which she attributes to her father’s sound advice of working hard in life and focusing on what you want to accomplish, shows in her work today.
Desiree’s strong relationships and ability to connect customers combined with her genuine passion for the industry has shown in the work she has done with the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA). Desiree has held many roles on WJA including, a seat on the International Board of Directors for 10 years. Desiree was recognized for her work in the industry by WJA in 2014 and received the WJA Awards for Excellence in Special Services. Today, she continues supporting women in the industry as she holds the position of VP of New Chapter Development.
Desiree is a graduate of Roger Williams, in Rhode Island. She enjoys an active lifestyle with her family which includes hiking, exploring the beach near her home, rock climbing, running and skiing – always looking forward to her next adventure. She and her husband live in Connecticut with her two sons, and two Golden Retrievers.
Tom Loughran is an 18 year veteran of the trade show industry. He began his career at Reed Exhibitions as a sales executive on International Vision Expo in 1999. After being promoted to sales manager on other Reed events, Loughran returned to Vision Expo in 2004. He was promoted to Group Sales Director in 2006 and Event Director the following year. Since 2007 Loughran has been managing events and has held positions as Vice President and Group Vice President for International Vision Expo East and West, Global Gaming Expo and G2E Macau. In managing events he has been responsible for all aspects of a trade show including sales, marketing, conference, finance and operations.
Through successful relationships with show co-owners, The Vision Council for Vision Expo and the AGA for Global Gaming Expo, the portfolio of events enjoy market-leading status, educating thousands of professionals annually through a comprehensive educational program and by supporting professional associations, societies and groups each year.
In May Loughran joined Urban Expositions as Vice President for the Foodservice Portfolio managing three restaurant shows; Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show and International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of NY. In June Loughran integrated a new acquisition; three Coffee Fest Shows one of which will be co-located with Western Foodservice in 2018.
Before joining the trade show industry, Loughran served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, and is a graduate of Army Ranger and Airborne Schools. He is a veteran of Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Sea Angel, a humanitarian relief effort in Bangladesh.
As Vice President of Operations, Glenn Celentano oversees operations for Urban Expositions’ entire portfolio of events. In addition to managing operations teams based in Shelton CT, Kennessaw GA, and Chicago IL, Glenn is also responsible for managing venue contracts as well as procurement across the business.
Glenn has nearly 20 years of experience in the tradeshow industry, getting his start in sales, and growing through the ranks over his 13 year tenure at Reed Exhibitions. Prior to that, he worked in Finance, and even spent several years in broadcast radio as an on-air personality. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Glenn was born and raised in Connecticut, where he still resides to this day with his family.