Large busines events and meetings are returning to Pittsburgh. First up, in early October, Rubber Division, American Chemical Society’s International Elastomer Conference (IEC), gathers at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) with nearly 1,500 attendees and more than 150 companies and organizations exhibiting at the expo. This is Rubber Division’s fourth visit to Pittsburgh and first since 2016.

“We are thrilled to welcome the International Elastomer Conference back to Pittsburgh,” VisitPITTSBURGH President & CEO Jerad Bachar says. “Rubber Division has been committed to hosting this meeting in Pittsburgh, as they truly believe in the power of in-person meetings.”

The NAFA Institute & Expo, held at the DLCC last month, marked Pittsburgh’s first large business event since March 2020. This one piece of business brought 900 attendees into the region, with 94% originating from outside destinations and an estimated 57% flying into Pittsburgh, resulting in $883,000 of direct visitor spend and 423 direct jobs supported.

“NAFA I&E demonstrated that Pittsburgh is indeed ready to again welcome large business events,” Bachar says. “The entire Pittsburgh tourism community opened its doors and provided safe, clean environments for attendees to gather, network and rest. We were happy to deliver Only in Pittsburgh experiences to the attendees, including a Welcome Reception at Heinz Field, and we hope many will make a return trip to Pittsburgh soon.”

Backed by ASM Global’s VenueShield Environmental Hygiene Program, the DLCC’s 1.5 million feet of meeting and exhibit space allowed for an abundance of spacing and provided NAFA with flexibility and options that kept attendees’ health and safety top of mind.

“The David L. Lawrence Convention Center has long stood ready to welcome back large business events thanks to the abundance of space, natural air ventilation system and comprehensive hygiene initiatives implemented through the VenueShield Program,” DLCC General Manager Tim Muldoon says. 

Bill Schankel, CEO of NAFA Fleet Management Association, concurs. “This was our first live event since 2019, and the whole city and the Convention Center went out of their way to make sure we all felt safe and that the event went off without a hitch,” he says. “We were thrilled to get back in-person; it’s really important to us, and we couldn’t have picked a better city to start with.

As of October 1, nearly 30 business meetings and events are scheduled for Pittsburgh through the end of the calendar year, including Society of Actuaries 2021 ImpACT Conference in October, Emerald EDspaces 2021 in November, and Pittsburgh Japanese Cultural Society 2021 Tekko in December.

Pittsburgh may be known as The Steel City, but it has plenty of greenery, too, and opportunities for groups attending meetings here to get out in nature. The Pittsburgh CVB, which has the tagline “Only in Pittsburgh,” has proudly shared the news that the Great Allegany Passage was named a winner in the 2022 USA Today “10Best Readers’ Choice” travel award contest for “best recreational trail.” 


Duckpin bowling, pinball machines, shuffleboard, foosball tables and a vintage arcade.


Incorporating the host city into the framework of the meeting is an effective way to enhance the content of the conference.

Host in Local Hotel
While attendees might flock to flag hotels, consider a boutique hotel as overflow to showcase the destination. In Lubbock, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers a local flair through design and cuisine; meanwhile, just a few streets over, the Cotton Court Hotel pays tribute to the area’s cotton history.