Alexandria, VA (Oct. 1, 2002) – ASIS International’s Annual Seminar & Exhibits, the world’s most comprehensive educational and networking event for the security industry, was held in Philadelphia from Sept. 10-13. The event exceeded all expectations—record-setting attendance of 17,650 people, with 725 vendors to the security industry showcasing cutting-edge products in 1,960 booths that occupied 450,000 gross square feet—all of the exhibit space in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The event coincided with the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, which had led many observers to anticipate reduced participation. But that speculation proved unfounded as exhibitors and attendees alike reported views similar to Debbie Cohen, communications manager for Wheelock, Inc. “The whole tradeshow experience has been less than positive this year until ASIS—it's a breath of fresh air.” She went on to say, “Hall traffic and quality leads are what exhibitors are always looking for, and the ASIS Seminar provides the most opportunities in the world.”
This year’s event featured 150 timely educational sessions, including more than 20 on the subject of terrorism. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.), ASIS’ keynote speaker, said, “I’ve never seen such a gathering of the best and brightest of security professionals. ASIS can play a pivotal role in bridging the information gap between government and private industry, and advocating that the real first responders are private security people.”
Another highlight of the Seminar was the Security Insights Program, a riveting two-hour panel discussion that featured Steven Emerson, the author of American Jihad, The Terrorists Living Among Us; Gen. Eugene E. Habiger USAF (Ret.), former director of security and emergency operations for the U.S. Department of Energy; Michael McConnell, former director of the National Security Agency; Kenneth Alibek, an expert on biological weapons who defected from the Soviet Union in 1992; and James Dunne, CPP, senior intelligence research analyst in the Office of Intelligence and Threat Analysis for the U.S. Department of State. The sobering talks had one common thread—each panelist agreed that a future attack was inevitable, saying it is a matter of when and how, not if.
ASIS has already sold out 86% of next year’s exhibit space, and 2,000 booths. The 2003 Annual Seminar & Exhibits will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, from Sept. 15-18.
Steven Millwee, ASIS’ president, said, “The heavy attendance and number of exhibits illustrate the important role ASIS International plays within the security industry. Everyone is thinking about security now, but ASIS has been at it a long time. We have a 48-year history, and membership of more than 32,000 people. It is clear that ASIS is where the industry turns to network, exchange information, see new products and get high-level industry expertise.”