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VegasMeansBusiness - An Interview with Mark Pursell

VMB_Mark_PursellIn January, 2013, more than 50,000 members of the homebuilding industry, from land developers, contractors and builders to renovators and mortgage finance specialists, will converge on Las Vegas for the annual International Builders Show hosted by the National Association of Home Builders.

The IBS is no stranger to Las Vegas, which has been its frequent home since 2000. That's because, for North America's largest homebuilding convention and trade show, Las Vegas has all the raw materials needed to put on a one-of-a-kind event.

The Las Vegas Convention Center will be the hub of the event, housing the trade show and many of the more than 600 meetings to be conducted during a one-week period. The NAHB will be headquartered at the Wynn Encore, utilize 18 hotels to accommodate attendees, and take additional meeting space at the Las Vegas Hotel because of its proximity to the convention center.

With so many moving parts, coordination is key. All of the NAHB's 250 employees devote at least some of their time during the year to planning the IBS - and some 35 are dedicated to its planning full time. Add to that the active support of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which mobilizes its vast resources and experience to help the NAHB plan and promote the event.

"They're our eyes and ears on the ground," says Mark Pursell, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions, Marketing & Sales for the NAHB. "We work very closely with the LVCVA on everything from anticipating what our space needs are going to be, to contracting the space, managing those agreements, and capitalizing on the amenities available on the Las Vegas Convention Center campus. They help us market to both a national and international audience, and make introductions to valuable contacts within the city, from local celebrities to politicians. They're a very important resource for us."

Vegas is also attractive for its endless opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer learning. "Vegas is great because there's such a variety of things to do there," says Pursell, "making it much easier for us as meeting planners to put together an outstanding program. Our people often tell us that the greatest value they get from attending our show is what they pick up after hours from their peers who may have a similar business but are in a different part of the country, or are facing similar challenges and can offer solutions. It's about the ability to share and learn from each other."

A prime economic indicator, the housing market has taken a hit over the past several years, but 2012 has seen the beginning of a strong comeback, and Pursell sees Las Vegas as the perfect venue to bring all of that positive energy.

"We're very excited about coming back to Las Vegas; it's such a great draw for us. It's a win-win for everybody."