The 2020 Tabbie Awards have been announced, and a special section in APEX Experience magazine chronicling the association’s rich history has been recognized as a winner.

Last week, Trade, Association and Business Publications International (TABPI) announced the recipients of its 2020 Tabbie Awards, honoring APEX Media with a Gold Tabbie for the 40th Anniversary section in the September/October 2019 issue of APEX Experience magazine.

Of the achievement, TAPBI judges wrote, “It’s clear this 40th anniversary section was a labor of love for all involved. The mix of industry history, personal reflections, accessible writing, timelines, photo essay, and fresh design elements creates an all-around winner. And kudos for not stopping with the look back — highlighting up-and-coming thought leaders at the end rounds things out nicely.”

The 47-page APEX 40th Anniversary section highlights milestones in the history of the association’s flagship conference, APEX EXPO: It tracks the event’s evolution from casual hotel room meetings to international conference center affairs (‘A Flying Start’), flashes back to the heyday of extravagant ceremonies and networking parties (‘Social Club’) and gathers anecdotes from the year 9/11 happened (‘Close to Home’). The special section also looks at the achievements of present member companies (‘Still Counting’) and the industry’s thought leaders of tomorrow (‘The New School’). Readers will also learn about the women who led the association over the years (“Women on Board”) and get a look at a selection of photos unearthed from the APEX archives (“On the Record”).

“When our editorial team began brainstorming for this issue, we knew nothing more than the fact that we wanted to devote a large portion of the magazine to the association’s history for its 40th anniversary,” recalls Caroline Ku, former managing editor of APEX Media, in her Editor’s Letter that issue. “I have to admit, I knew little about the origins of APEX; I have only been around since the EXPO of 2015, in Portland, Oregon, and until now our team has primarily focused on covering the association’s recent and prospective activities.”

Over the course of a couple months, Caroline and myself interviewed current and past members about the early days of APEX. They told us stories about their experience of EXPO (sometimes about a career-defining meeting, other times about a networking party that went out of hand) and in turn gave us more names to track down. We made cold calls, did some investigative work on LinkedIn and asked around for e-mail introductions. When we saw replies from Cindy Tarver and John McMahon had landed in our inboxes, we knew the section would finally come together: Both had been instrumental to the foundation of the association and had been in attendance at the very first conference in Palm Springs in 1979.

“Thanks to them, and many others whom we interviewed, we were able to piece together a colorful history of the association. It is rich with quirky stories about chasing down airline reps at conferences, memories of drinking sessions called the Death Pact and accounts of spousal programs that promised partners of conference goers lunches of prawns and Chablis,” Ku says. “I hope this issue reinforces the need to preserve the amazing things this industry is accomplishing!”

Attend this year’s FTE APEX Virtual Expo to be part APEX’s story.