The Center for Exhibition Research tapped SmithBucklin Corp. to run its day-to-day operations and will relocate its Chicago headquarters from McCormick Place to SmithBucklin's offices across town.

Douglas Ducate will remain president and chief executive officer of CEIR, a position he has held since 1998, and will relocate to an office in Dallas. He will focus his efforts on marketing, media relations, and general outreach. Two other CEIR staff members will have the option of interviewing for positions at SmithBucklin. Jennifer Morrison, a SmithBucklin executive, has been named executive director of the CEIR account and will head up the management effort. The transition begins immediately and will be completed by June 1.

CEIR, a leading source of information on the exhibition industry, will continue to conduct research and generate reports through outside partners as it always has, says Ducate. In addition, the CEIR board remains intact.

SmithBucklin will manage the business, providing back office support, infrastructure, technology, human resources, finances, and other related functions, explains Henry Givray, SmithBucklin president and CEO. The association management firm also brings a foundation for growth, adds Givray. "Because of our size and our stability and our longevity, we provide a tremendous level of security and risk mitigation for our client organizations."

Ducate says the move to hire SmithBucklin is designed to ensure that CEIR's research capabilities survive. While it finished in the black last year, CEIR has not been immune to economic pressures. "The struggle the industry has faced the past last few years has impacted us," says Ducate. Along with the recession, 9/11, and other factors that have negatively affected the industry, CEIR saw its revenue stream of selling hard-copy reports hurt by the e-commerce revolution.

SmithBucklin officials are honored to be selected to support a "vital force" in the industry, says Givray. "This is an important industry group," he adds. "It's important for us as a company that CEIR succeeds." Givray expects the board and the leadership of CEIR to get together over the coming months to develop a growth strategy.