2012 Design Grads Help Drive Successful Firm

ExpoMarketing, a pioneer in rental of trade show exhibits, has three 2012 BSU graduates on its team. The connection is a matter of design, not happenstance.

Jorge Navarro of Elk River and Patrick Trepanier of St. Paul head up the company’s exhibit design department, where they translate client brands and visions into exhibits. Kimberly Hacker, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., meets with customers as an account executive.

ExpoMarketing, based in Tustin, Calif., recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in the $80 billion a year trade show industry, which doesn’t get a lot of attention from colleges and universities.

BSU’s School of Technology, Art & Design is a notable exception. Students in BSU’s acclaimed exhibit design program immerse themselves through field trips, expert speakers, relevant internships and professional gatherings.

“The unique exhibit design program at Bemidji State lays a strong foundation for its graduates and in fact gives them a head start,” said Randal T. Acker, president and chief operating officer of EXHIBITOR Media Group, a firm that promotes the best practices in trade shows and events.

Navarro, who like Trepanier works from his home in Minnesota, said joining ExpoMarketing was a smart move.

“It’s a small company that’s expanding rapidly,” he said. “We are very passionate about what we do, and the teamwork is spot on.”

Now the company seeks to further cultivate its BSU connection through an internship program.

“ExpoMarketing is giving back by offering these talented students the opportunity to gain real experience in their field of study,” said CEO Laurie Pennacchi.  “We can provide them the unique advantage of learning to create exceptional rental exhibits through smarter designs.”