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EXHIBITOR Named MMPA Magazine of the Year

Jim Tarbox, Editor, The History Channel Magazine

Editor credits 30 years of organizational excellence.

His name might be at the top of the masthead, but EXHIBITOR magazine editor Travis Stanton will tell you producing the MMPA’s Magazine of the Year is a group effort.

Stanton, 30, lived in the Twin Cities for a few years—landing there from South Dakota—and worked as a freelance writer for both Best Buy and Lavender magazine before moving to Rochester, home base of the monthly EXHIBITOR, which he has edited for the past 6½ years. He credits all of that experience—and his 30-plus fellow employees at the Exhibitor Media Group—for the magazine’s success. In fact, he’s quick to credit others, especially his predecessors.

“This [award] honors the cumulative excellence for us of many, many years of work by many, many people,” he says. “This is a way to honor those past efforts. If it weren’t for the pioneers, we wouldn’t be here today. They provided the foundation that enabled us to survive,” especially in the face of recent business challenges.

Founded in 1982, EXHIBITOR magazine describes itself as a recognized leader in trade-show and event-management education by providing techniques, tactics, and trends a company can use to successfully market products and services through trade shows. Each month the magazine presents in-depth articles on every aspect of exhibit and event management including selecting shows to reach the right target audience, designing exhibits that draw a crowd, promotion and presentation development, budgeting, international exhibiting, creating lead-tracking systems, measuring show results, and logistics such as setup and transportation.

Ironically, the recently established Magazine of the Year honor—first presented in 2010 to Minnesota Monthly—was the brainchild of Stanton during his tenure on the MMPA board of directors. He said he got the inspiration for the award through his association with the American Society of Business Publication Editors, which presents a similar award and in 2007 named him a Young Leader Award winner.

Upon accepting the Magazine of the Year award Thursday night, Stanton said, "It's really cool to receive this. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the magazine, and this represents so many people. Every day our people come in, and they're thinking, 'I could give 50 percent, or 80 percent, or maybe 100 percent today.' I'm so lucky to be working with people who give 150 percent every day. They're thinking, 'It's good to be good, but it's so much better to be great.' " He also recognized the magazine's founder and publisher, Lee Knight, and his demand for excellence.

In remarks before the presentation, Stanton admitted his staff—an “amazing team”—was eagerly anticipating learning which magazine would be named (the top five nominated titles all had been informed of their standing prior to the awards presentation on Nov. 3).

“Everybody here is as excited as I am” about the nomination, he said. “Even for the ‘newbies,’ it really reinforces our pride in the good work and achievements.”