South Central States NATO and NATO of Kansas and Missouri have entered into an agreement to merge the 2 regional associations with the surviving entity to be known as Mid-America NATO. The merger process, which formally began in March of this year after unanimous approval by members of the 6 states involved, is expected to be finalized sometime prior to this September. Each of the 6 states will surrender their individual charters and become voting members of the surviving organization with representatives from each serving on the new entity's board of directors.
The impetus behind the regional merger came out of a meeting between Bob Bagby (B&B Theatres) and the Texas Board in which a merger of CineShow and ShowArama was discussed. Due to the close geographical proximity of the two shows it was felt that merging them into one larger show might be more efficient and would better serve the 6 state area. From this initial meeting, and the subsequent agreement to merge the 2 trade shows, came further discussions on joining the 6 states into one unit and the benefits that would accrue.....better funding for legislative issues, consolidation of administrative matters, a uniform dues structure and the ability to employ a full time Executive Director.
Upon completion of the merger Rein Rabakukk who has overseen the operation of South Central States NATO as Executive Director will retire. Rabakukk has served in this position since 1999 and will be replaced by Todd Halstead who currently acts as NATO's Deputy Director of Government Affairs. Halstead will join the new Mid-America NATO organization as its full time Executive Director bringing with him years of legislative experience that will accrue to the new 6 state region. Rabakukk will continue on with the new organization in a consulting capacity as needed by the organization.
As noted earlier, ShowArama and CineShow will merge into one much larger regional show beginning in 2015 with ShowArama as the surviving entity. The ShowArama name has a long history with exhibition and to many enjoys an almost "iconic" status so it was felt the merged show would best be identified as ShowArama rather than CineShow. The first combined event will be held in New Orleans and will move around in subsequent years to other key cities in the region such as Dallas, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and others. By combining the 2 shows the larger event will be able to attract more suppliers and film company representatives and will provide a better member experience.