John Pugh

Founding Partner and Director of Marketing

With a uniquely comprehensive career in the exhibit and experience marketing world, John has seen and done it all. From both vendor and client sides, as an account manager, account executive, and even division manager, he's had over 32 years of invaluable experiences on how to achieve success and control costs.

In Southern California, working for the George P. Johnson Co. on the Infiniti account, John's client contact was promoted away and Infiniti asked John if he'd be interested in running their exhibit program from the inside. He accepted the position and had the unique experience of executing and navigating the manufacturer's internal exhibition/event program. This opportunity set him up for the next stage of his career: going back on the supplier side. Understanding the internal politics, budgets, approvals for expenditures gave him a better understanding (and great empathy) for his future clients. 

 

Moving back to Pittsburgh in 1995 to be closer to family, John took a role at Creative Productions to bring a large automotive account to the small exhibit firm - a challenging task for a company located outside of Detroit or California with no current automotive accounts. He eventually won a competitive bid for a 3 year contract with Volvo Cars of North American (Rockleigh, NJ) account. A year later, he signed Mitsubishi Motors for a 3 year contract.

 

Creative Productions was sold to GES in 1999, changing the culture of the small house. John left for an entrepreneurial company named FOLIO as General Manager, responsible for building out a 50,000 square foot full service exhibit facility in Pittsburgh (now Derse Pittsburghs location)  and hiring a full staff of exhibit professionals (sales, accounting, labor, design, field services).  He also first began working with the MINI USA division of BMW of North America - a client who would stay with him for nearly 20 years and followed John to a new exhibit house in 2002- Czarnowski. As the General Manager of the Pittsburgh division and automotive accounts, John first introduced the automotive industry to Czarnowski and grew it into a huge portion of their business. With deep core services and strategic locations, this would be the perfect value proposition for OEMS with large exhibit programs.  John was directly responsible for the acquisition, transition and contract negotiations for BMW, MINI, Audi, Rolls-Royce, Lotus, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, and indirectly responsible for General Motors and Hyundai. John set the new industry standard for utilizing remote locations to execute work, while serving the clients remotely. Responsible for more than 30 people and over $35 million in annual business in Pittsburgh and other remote staff, John created and fostered a working environment which ensured tight teamwork and collaboration. Utilizing internal Czarnowski resources (design, production, warehousing, field services, etc.)  at different locations across the US while managing clients in different locations across the US (NJ, GA, MI, CA) meant a tailored approach that cherrypicked the best people and resources.

 

John’s shared consulting knowledge and experience are unmatched values that can benefit exhibit managers, purchasing agents, exhibit houses. As he has for more than 3 decades, John uses his insight and experience to find cost-savings and improvements in any exhibit program.

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