It’s hard to believe, but we’re just a little more than a month away from the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) RECon convention, which will be held from May 17-20 in Las Vegas. Therefore, we thought it was the perfect time to chat with Jesse Tron, director of communications for ICSC, about this year's show.

Jesse is responsible for the organization’s communications, public relations and branding. You can follow him on Twitter @JesseTronPR. Many thanks to Jesse for his time.

JTron - NewWhat are some of the key retail issues and trends addressed by this year’s RECon educational sessions?

Tron: Whether seeking to improve professional competence, to enhance career progression, to keep abreast of new technology and practices, earn credit towards professional certification, or to comply with regulatory requirements for licensure, RECon’s revamped educational program covers the full scope of industry topics, trends and forecasts.

Key themes include:

• Omni-channel retailing and personalization.

• Experiential shopping – enhancing the shopping experience.

• Specialty leasing/retail.

• Automated retailing.

• Global certification.

• Deal-making.

Tell us about the show’s lineup of keynote speakers. Is there one that you are particularly excited about hearing?

Tron: This year’s stellar keynote speakers range from one of the most celebrated names in NFL history to reputable business leaders. While Peyton Manning is creating heaps of pre-show buzz, Erik Qualman is the can’t-miss keynote for me personally this year. Energetic, down-to-earth and engaging, Qualman is a gifted businessman with impeccable delivery.

Here’s a quick overview of the speaker lineup:

Peyton Manning, notably one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks and the record-holder for the most career passing touchdowns as well as the owner of more than 20 Papa John’s franchises, will kick off the impressive lineup by speaking from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.

• John C. Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author, coach and speaker, will follow Manning, speaking from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 188 countries.

• Stefan Larsson, global president of Old Navy, will speak from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 18.

• Commander Rorke T. Denver, an esteemed 13-year Navy SEAL and author, will speak from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Denver played Lieutenant Commander Rorke in the film “Act of Valor,” which was based on true events, and also penned the bestselling novel, “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior.”

• Erik Qualman, author of the best-seller “Socialnomics” and writer and producer of the hugely-successful social media video “What Happens in Vegas, Stays on YouTube,” will discuss how to best adapt social media strategies to enhance business from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19.

• Michael R. Francis, chief global brand officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG, will discuss branding initiatives from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

What are some of the new show features planned for RECon 2015?

Tron: This year, RECon will unveil a revamped educational program. Formerly known as RECon Academy, educational courses have undergone an intensive, industry-centric update, and have been expanded for key audiences and integrated as part of the overall program. Offered free of charge for the first time, most educational courses will also be available online after the event with “best value” registration. Also new: all conference, education and blockbuster sessions as well as the keynote luncheons will take place at the Westgate Las Vegas hotel, located adjacent to the Convention Center.

Prior to the official kickoff of the show on Sunday, May 17, professionals are invited to attend Professional Development Day. The educational program is designed to help shopping center management enhance career progression, develop new industry skills, keep abreast of new technology and best practices, earn credit towards professional certification, and grow the specialty leasing program’s bottom line.

The Talent Development Pavilion will be in the Marketplace Mall and offer insight into ICSC’s broad-based programs and services that support professional development at all stages. The Pavilion will feature university programs in retail and real estate, a student mentoring program and unique opportunities, including resume coaching, professional headshot photographs and career-enhancing power sessions.

RECon’s integration of SPREE, the world’s largest show for the cart, kiosk, and temporary retail industry, will connect thousands of the specialty retail industry’s key players with RECon’s established network, offering both markets the unparalleled opportunity to gather under one roof and make deals.

How many attendees and exhibitors are you expecting this year, and how do those numbers compare to 2014?

Tron: RECon 2015 is shaping up to be one of the best post-recession years we’ve had. In 2014, RECon had more than 1,000 exhibitors and 33,000 attendees. We are currently tracking ahead of last year and anticipate welcoming more than 34,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas in 2015.

 

Follow RECon on Twitter @ICSC_RECon.