NAFB Events Manager Achieves Certification

Seth Ruff, NAFB events manager, recently completed his training to become a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).

Ruff graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality leadership. During his college career, he completed an internship with Aramark at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Aramark is the food and beverage catering company that operates within the stadium.

“Through my internship and previous experience, I eventually landed a full-time role as the suites and catering manager there,” Ruff said. “I handled all day-to-day operations for food, beverages, catering, and other related events at Kauffman Stadium.”

After a few years at Aramark, Ruff found the job posting for events manager at NAFB and decided to apply for the position.

“I didn’t really have any connections or an agriculture background, but I had experience with event management,” Ruff said.

He recently completed the CMP program, which is offered by the Events Industry Council, a global organization that offers certifications for the events industry around the world. To achieve the CMP status, individuals must have at least five years of professional experience with event management, along with 250 continuing education credits offered by the Events Industry Council.

“The CMP certification is a two-hour exam, and while preparing I learned a lot about event management,” Ruff said. “The course focuses on building relationships with sponsors, vendors, and contractors through the Events Industry Council core values: honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness, and compassion.”

Ruff said having this certification will help him improve annual NAFB events through implementing industry standards, ethics, and techniques he learned while studying for the exam.

“It will also maximize efficiency when planning, operating, and closing events by understanding the lingo and processes that take place from start to finish,” Ruff said. “Having a CMP on staff will add longevity to existing relationships with host venues, vendors, and contractors to create strong bonds built on ethics, respect, and integrity.”

Part of Ruff’s job includes planning and executing NAFB’s biggest events throughout the year, most specifically Washington Watch, the Summer Agribusiness event, and NAFB Convention.

“For NAFB Convention, my job is to work with sponsors and exhibitors to fill our Trade Talk booths and fulfill benefits of all sponsorships,” Ruff said. “I also work with the Westin hotel to manage our room block, meeting space needs, and food and beverage provided throughout convention. I work with contractors who provide the broadcast service center, trade talk booths, and printed materials.”

The CMP is an asset for event managers, like Ruff, who want to separate themselves in the industry.

“Only a fraction of events professionals in the United States have this certification,” Ruff said. “It’s a great way to boost your resume and establish credibility.”