#MemberMonday IAEEDC Chapter Feature: Rachel Thomas


Name: Rachel Thomas

Title: Manager, Exhibits

Company: National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)


What are your responsibilities with your company or event?

Alongside the rest of our exhibits team, I manage the three conventions we do each year in the US, China and Switzerland. I sell booth space, process all incoming applications and placements, track and manage EAC requests, enforce show rules, design and update the floor plan, prepare invoices, prepare the security briefing and manage our security partner.

Tell us about your company/organization/show:

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. NBAA represents more than 9,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. NBAA2014 had more than 1,100 exhibitors and 26,000 attendees.


IAEE DC Involvement (Committees, etc):

This is my first year with IAEE, it has been great! So far I have been getting involved with the Young Professionals and helping on the Communities and Outreach committee with IAEE’s social media pages. I am definitely looking to get more involved in the future!


What drives your involvement with IAEE DC?

Networking! I think it is so inspiring to be surrounded by so many smart and exceptional people in our industry. You can always learn something new!

Best IAEE DC Experience:

I really like the luncheons, I went to the one at Clyde’s and I really enjoyed how the tables were broken down into different topics. We had some folks at our table who were veterans in the industry and it was really interesting to hear their perspectives and tips.

How long have you been in the DC area?

I have lived in the DMV for 5 years. I started in Annapolis, moved to Baltimore and I currently reside in Ellicott City, MD.

What made you choose to live here?

I always knew I wanted to live in or near a big city. After college, my first job opportunity was in Tenleytown.

What is your favorite place in the DC area and why?

I love Eastern Market on the weekends. I love finding unique jewelry there.

How did you first get involved in the industry?

Ironically enough, when I first moved here I had no friends, I didn’t know anyone. I started looking on Facebook for folks that went to Penn State and that’s when I found my friend Caitlin. I reached out to her and asked if she would be willing to meet. We ended up hitting it off and finding out that we lived in the same apartment complex. It was quite serendipitous. She then got me my first job in the industry at Hargrove, Inc. where she also worked. That’s where I fell in love with the industry.


What is the most interesting tradeshow other than your own that you have ever attended?

I really liked all of the conferences and shows that Inc. Magazine puts on. I went to Growco a couple years ago and saw Richard Branson speak, he really commanded the audience. It really made me want to take my profession to the next level, to be better, to do better. That’s one thing I love about this industry, you are always surrounded by so many inspiring people who are truly passionate about what they do.


Tradeshow Bucket List- if you could attend any tradeshow that you haven’t yet, what would it be?

I really want to visit CES and the Paris Air Show.


What book are you currently reading? 

I’m currently reading two.

This is Where I Leave You by Johnathan Tropper (love any of his books)


The Life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo… I haven’t decided if I like it yet but I am trying to get up the motivation to do a big cleaning spree on our house. I love collecting stuff and have a very hard time letting go, so I’m still a bit intrigued to read all of this Japanese organizing consultant’s tips.


What is your favorite activity in your free time?

I love being outdoors and hiking. I just got engaged during a hike – the Cascade Falls Trail in Patapsco to be exact! My fiancé and I also hiked the 26 miles to Manchu Picchu back in January.

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Where would you most like to travel that you have never been?

There are so many places, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one! Thailand, Venice, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Australia, Ireland, Alaska.


If you could have any career other than your current one, what would it be?

I love anything creative or crafty! I would love to work for Pinterest. I also interned for Martha Stewart back in college and I would love to be a part of her team that design and layout the magazine.


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ben rach harpers ferry


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