GES Acquisitions Timeline

Over the years I have accumulated what I think is a fairly complete list of how GES grew into the premier company it is today.  As in any modern organization we are a group of many smaller companies acquired and assimilated into a greater entity.  This can be painful at times but we are strong from all the diversity of people and skills.

Here it is through today in 2017:

Year GES Time line
1939 Manncraft founded in Kansas City – signs, window & small exhibits
1950s Manncraft created Exhibitor Service Division – expanded to Omaha, Miami, Tampa, Atlanta & New Orleans
1956 Ed Stewart (former GES VP Production) joined Manncraft
1957 Nort Rittmaster (former GES CEO joined company
1969 The Greyhound Corporation (Dial) purchased Manncraft
1971 Nort opened Los Angeles Office.  Bill Whitesell (former RVP Nevada) and Ed Stewart joined him there.
1973 Purchased Las Vegas Convention Service Company
1974 Purchased Stuart-Sauter Company in San Francisco
1975 Purchased Wernecke Studios in Chicago
1976 Opened an office in San Diego
1979 Manncraft changed name to Greyhound Exposition Services
1981 Nort Rittmaster promoted to President and CEO – consolidated operations to Western US
1983 Partnered with Puliz Moving and Storage and added a Reno office
1987 Electrical Division serviced companywide both Show Organizer and Exhibitors
1990 Purchased Rowan Northwestern Decorators and Northwest Exhibit Drayage Company (NEDCO) in Seattle
1990 Purchased Decorators West, Classic Decorating and Pacific Exposition Drayage Company (PEDCO) in Portland
1992 Headquarters moved to Las Vegas – offices in LA,SD, SF, SJ, Seattle, Portland, Reno, Palm Springs – over 500 full time staff
May 1993 Purchased United Exposition Service Company to expand company nationwide.  See United time line below
1993 Changed name from Greyhound Exposition Services to GES Exposition Services to reflect the “new GES”.  Also upgraded equipment across the company.
Aug 1993 Nort was promoted to Chairman and CEO.  Jerry Zwick from Dial Corp became GES President and COO
Oct 1993 Purchased Andrews, Bartlett & Associates a major contractor based in Hudson Ohio.  See AB time line below.
Nov 1993 Purchased Gelco Convention Services based in Miami with offices also in Orlando
1994 Enhanced electrical services by acquiring Expo-Tech Electrical and Plumbing.  Renamed division Tradeshow Electrical (TSE)
Jan 1995 Expanded into Canada with purchase of Panex Show Services and Stampede Display and Convention Services – offices in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton
Mid-1995 Purchased Concept Convention Services with offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Albuquerque
1996 Purchased in Canada Exposervice and Clarkson-Conway in Montreal.
1998 Purchased in Canada Ainsworth’s Show Services Electrical – now known as SHOWTECH Power & Lighting
1998 Purchased ESR in New York/New Jersey
1999 Purchased Tradeshow and Convention Services in Seattle
2004 Added to Canada Divisions Pro Show Services in Alberta & Saskatchewan
2007 The Canadian team expanded by purchasing Poitras Exposition Services in Quebec City
Feb 2007 Viad acquired in United Kingdom – Melville Exhibitions and Event Services Limited
Dec 2006 Melville expanded to Abu Dhabi Nat’l Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC)
Jan 2008 Viad acquires Becker Group Ltd. – an Experiential Marketing Company
Oct 2008 Melville became full service provider in Abu Dhabi
Feb 2010 Merged Exhibitgroup/Giltspur (EG), Becker Group and GES Exposition Services
Feb 2010 Changed name from GES Exposition Services Inc. to Global Specialists Inc. to reflect new united global team.
Sept 2014 Blitz Communications  – Audio Visual Services United Kingdom
Oct 2014 onPeak and Travel Planners – United States Accommodations provider for events
Nov 2014 N200 – European leader in event registration and data services
Aug 2016 On Events Services – US Event & AV provider – new name On Services – a GES company
Mar 2017 Poken – Europe based company that provides  cloud-based visitor engagement and measurement platform.
Year United Expositions Service Company Time line
1945 United Exposition Service Company founded in Atlantic City, New Jersey and several other East coast cities.
1950s Entered convention and tradeshow industry
1962 United teamed up with Stuart-Sauter Company and trucking company Young and Rue to form Las Vegas Convention Services – each 1/3 owner
Mid – 1960s United Expo went public on the American Stock Exchange and the Katz family (owners of United) decided to sell their interest in Las Vegas Convention Services to the other partners.
1970s Expanded into St Louis, California and Nevada
1978 Purchased by Jack O’Connell former CEO of Houston Astrodome/Astrohall
1978 After purchase added office in Austin, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego
May 1993 Purchased by GES
Year Andrews,  Bartlett & Associates Time line
1935 Founded as American Flag and Decorating Company
1940 Alfred S Andrews purchased American Flag and was joined by Harold E Bartlett.
1968 Harold Bartlett became president
1977 Harold’s son Butch Bartlett became president and CEO
1990s AB had offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Orlando, New Orleans, Washington DC and Atlanta.  They were known for innovation and creativity.
Oct 1993 Purchased by GES – Butch became Sr Exec VP of GES and sister Bonnie Aaron became our first VP of Exhibitor/Customer Service

Our Corporate Account team has a long history too.  Here is EG’s timeline:


Year Exhibitgroup/Giltspur Time line
1950 GRS&W Opens in Pittsburg
1955 Awards Exhibits opens – major account Motorola
3 Dimensions opens in Chicago
1957 Displaymasters
1962 New York based Consultants & Designers (C&D) acquires Award Exhibits
1964 IVEL (EGNY added to C&D roster
1965 GR&W has VW exhibit in Detroit Auto Show
1966 3 Dimensions joins C&D
1968 Industrial Displays (EGLA) and Exhibitcraft (NY) acquired by C&D
Company christened Exhibitgroup (EG)
1971 EG built for Kodak the largest US based exhibit.
Giltspur Limited (named for a street in England) acquires Marler Hailey & Exposystems
1975 Giltspur Limited acquires
GRS&W (Pittsburgh, Rocheser & Chicago)
Jones-Bause group of companies (LA & SF)
Firks (Chicago)
1979 EG – Design and build King Tut exhibit in Berlin Museum
EG Design, Fabricated & logistics arranged for Shakespeare traveling exhibition (on road in US & Europe 4 years)
1982 EG (Chicago, Cinncinati, New York)  – built Knoxville World’s Fair pavilions for Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt and Austrailia.
1983 Unigate PLC acquires Giltspur
1987 EG completed 2 year project for GTE’s Dallas Infomart
1995 Giltspur acquired by Exhibitgroup – new company called Exhibitgroup/Giltspur
EG also acquired Allwest (major client – Nike) and Displaymasters & Deaton Museum Displays
EMAX  launched – wins IDEA Award and Best New Product Award
1996 Acquired Color & Design
1998 TL Horton design (mall fixture design firm) joined family
imension Works acquired
Voblo Innenaausbau (major European builder) acquired
1999 SDD Exhibitions (England) acquired
Exhibitgroup/Giltspur releases new logo and vision “Build Your Inspiration”

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