When you talk to Tricia Barglof, CEM, U.S. operations manager at Tarsus, it’s hard to believe she grew up in Forman, North Dakota, a town of less than 600 people. “I wouldn’t change my upbringing for anything,” says Barglof. “But it was small.”
That changed when Barglof moved an hour and a half away to attend North Dakota State University in Fargo. To help pay for college, she worked as a sales associate at Eddie Bauer and later became an assistant store manager after graduating.
An Eddie Bauer co-worker helped Barglof net a job interview with Tarsus Group, an international business-to-business media group known for its conferences, exhibitions, massive trade shows and publishing. Tarsus is the parent company of Connect.
Barglof’s job relocated her to Wisconsin, where she lives in Milwaukee and works in the western suburb of Brookfield. Thanks to her retail experience, Barglof was able to transition into the retail trade show industry. She now manages five to six trade shows per year, including the massive Offprice Show in Las Vegas Aug. 11-14 for apparel retail buyers and Labelexpo Americas, the largest event for the label and package printing industry in North and South America, Sept. 25-27 in Rosemont, Illinois.
Here’s Barglof’s advice on industry trends and managing massive trade shows—and how she got a spot on an upcoming episode of “Family Feud.”
What’s it like to be in Wisconsin instead of North Dakota?
The biggest difference is North Dakota is landlocked. It’s flat and full of farmland. To have Lake Michigan in your backyard is completely different.
What do you like about Milwaukee?
Summers here are second to none because there’s so much to do outside with festivals every week, including Summerfest, the largest musical festival in the world. If you like the outdoors, Milwaukee is a great city.
What are your go-to local restaurants?
I like Botanas for Mexican; Onesto for Italian; and Screaming Tuna for sushi.
What attracted you to event planning?
The opportunity to travel. Tarsus is an international company, and to be able to produce events all over the world was very intriguing to me. I never knew there was a career like this when I first got into event planning. It’s funny how a door can open when you build relationships with people and remain open to new opportunities.
What is it like to work for Tarsus?
It’s the best of both worlds. Tarsus is a global company with over 500 employees worldwide, but it’s a small office in Brookfield, Wisconsin. There are only 20 of us, so we can do team working and still have a corporate culture and the flexibility of working in a small office to produce events.
What are the keys to achieving your goals during events?
Being proactive in the planning process and communication.
Can you give some examples?
It’s about always looking ahead, trying to anticipate. Any time you open with a general session early in the morning, you should have a rehearsal the day before to work out any AV kinks and to make sure the machines are running correctly. It’s also important that the speaker feels comfortable with the stage set, and to make sure you have enough seating based on your registration.