Amidst the hectic planning for 2016′s T.H.E. Show Newport starting June 3, General Manager Marine Presson took time out to talk with us about the coming event. Read her advice for first time attendees, planned highlights of the coming show, and Newport’s future direction with the tragic loss of event founder Richard Beers earlier this year.
TONEAudio: How did you first get involved with T.H.E. Show Newport?
PRESSON: I met Richard while working at the Atrium Hotel in 2011 and as the Conference Service Manager during the 2014 show, he was impressed with my work ethic and personable demeanor. Along with others, I believed his graphic advertising could use a touch of class and breathing room so I would always tell him to hire me as his Graphic Designer and shortly after the event, he did! In 2015, that was my ‘official’ role but as we grew closer professionally and personally, he started talking about me taking over and light-heartedly introducing me as the GM to some. Initially, I told him he was nuts! But what I didn’t realize at the time, is he already knew of his failing health and wasn’t joking at all. He saw someone that could do what he did and so he taught me everything possible during that short time. He became very sick immediately after the 2015 show and that’s when I began slowly taking over more and more of his tasks. A few days following the New Year, he was in the hospital incapacitated so I made the decision to take over entirely for the simple purpose of continuing his legacy as I knew that even if he recovered, it wouldn’t be in time to pull off this show.
TONEAudio: What makes T.H.E. Show Newport special compared with other audio events around the U.S./World?
PRESSON: Richard built this Show with a focus on making everyone involved – exhibitors, attendees, press, entertainers, etc. – feel like they were part of THE Show family and inviting all to join; this is why “Open to the Public” is noted on nearly all advertising we do. He was open to feedback and suggestions, always implementing positive changes that would further grow the event making it more successful each year, and keeping everyone happy. As I move forward with his legacy, it is my goal to continue creating opportunities for friendships and business connections as well as making it a fun, high-energy event that people can feel excited for. Essentially, it’s a big family party where business can thrive.
TONEAudio: Compared with past Newport shows, what makes 2016’s event a must-attend?
PRESSON: First—it will be host to Richard Beers’s official and only memorial so we encourage everyone to join us in celebrating his life on Friday evening, June 3rd in T.H.E. Lounge. Secondly—we are also putting more emphasis on the personal listening market and expect to see more young faces than ever before, a necessity for the survival of the audio industry in general.
TONEAudio: What advice would you give a first-time attendee?
PRESSON: Purchase your tickets ahead of time and bring your confirmation email to ensure a smooth onsite registration experience. Utilize the tabs in the event guide to navigate your “show attack” – find exhibitors on our alphabetical listing, or use the maps as you walk the halls to find your favorite companies. Enter your name in every raffle box and join us for the drawing on Sunday to win big prizes! Isn’t everything so much more fun when you walk away with a prize? When you need some down time, head over to T.H.E. Lounge to enjoy some amazing live music, grab a drink and recharge your batteries – or take advantage of the lively energy to network with great people.
TONEAudio: We are all shocked and saddened by the passing of Richard Beers, and understand this year’s event is dedicated to his memory. What is your own favorite memory of Richard?
PRESSON: Everyone knows Richard was rarely on time – I got married just before last year’s show on May 15th and being the loving father figure he was to me, made it a point to be on time for the ceremony. It was very special for me. His humor, intelligence, and down-to-earth personality made for countless memorable conversations late into the night that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
TONEAudio: What do you think Richard would most like for all of us to remember about him?
PRESSON: Every discussion with Richard involved laughs – no matter the situation, there was always at minimum a good chuckle. He was a high-spirited, funny, hard working, and generous warrior. T.H.E. Show was his #1 priority and even through his failing health, he gave it his all. Failure was never option, he was going to take care of everyone as long as he physically could—and he did.
TONEAudio: What do you see as the future of T.H.E. Show? How will it grow or change over time?
PRESSON: There are still a lot of details to consider for the future but the bottom line is, I am dedicated to ensuring Richard’s legacy lives on. I will make every effort to ensure growth in a warm, friendly, and productive manner. Being of a younger age than many in the industry, I’m fully embracing my advantage of reaching Generation Y, the Millenniums – they are our future and it’s my personal goal to introduce them to the amazing experiences the audio community has to offer.
TONEAudio: What is your favorite part of managing a large-scale event like this?
PRESSON: When Richard first introduced the possibility of me taking over in 2018, I was hesitant because it seemed like an overwhelming lifestyle. When I got my feet wet, and then completely submerged in this lifestyle the last few months, I fell in love with the role. He was right—it’s the perfect gig for me! Why? Because just like him, I enjoy doing a lot and especially in a fast-paced setting (some of us are just crazy like that!). I thoroughly enjoy being challenged on a day-to-day basis, planning and coordinating, and more importantly I love taking care of people and contributing to their successes. I am the type of person that thrives in these ‘overwhelming’ situations and the rewarding feeling of completing an even successfully is priceless—for lack of better words.
TONEAudio: What do you find the most challenging element?
PRESSON: All aspects are challenging; you’re trying to make thousands of people happy—it’s nearly impossible to please every single person. But the most challenging this year specifically has been the feeling of loneliness. The wondering of ‘who’s here to help me and who’s here to help themselves?’ I’m still learning who the big players are, how everyone contributes differently, and putting together the pieces of the puzzle that were solely in Richard’s head. Next year will no doubt be less painful!
TONEAudio: When you are not working hard on show planning, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
PRESSON: Spending time with my family and pets—a lab mix, puggle, and senior cat keep me busy! My husband, Wess and I moved to Colorado last June to increase our outdoor opportunities—hiking, fishing, and sunbathing to name a few are musts! Having been born & raised in France, I’m naturally a foodie so I absolutely love dining out and cooking. And lastly—reading is my therapy.
TONEAudio: Is there anything else you want TONEAudio readers to know about the event?
PRESSON: The mission for 2016 is to maintain as much authenticity as possible. We are keeping a lot of the same from vendors to operations and mostly everything in between (with some fixes to efficiency leaks). That being said, as I discover more about the industry and event itself, I will be making whatever changes are necessary to improve the event and I am game for all that will contribute positivity to the audio community—feedback is always welcome and encouraged; it is only through understanding what you want that we can continuously expand on our successes.
Starting early May, we’ll be launching our Exhibitor Spotlight so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
On a final note, we’d love to hear your favorite memories of Richard, please share them on his guestbook and be sure to RSVP for his official memorial taking place Friday, June 3rd at T.H.E. Show Newport.
Find out more about T.H.E. Show Newport on their webpage