ORLANDO, FLA. (May 7, 2 p.m. ET) — Gary Sain, president and CEO of the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, collapsed and died at a charity fundraiser in Orlando on May 4. He was 61.
Sain became a key figure in the plastics industry's recent NPE trade show, which was held in Orlando last month. The 2012 show marked the first time that NPE was held outside Chicago in 40 years.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Sain collapsed at an event for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.
Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., issued a statement praising Sain's work on the recent NPE trade show.
“It is with deep sadness that I share the news with the entire plastics industry that Gary Sain, the president and CEO of Visit Orlando (The Orlando Tourism Bureau), passed away unexpectedly on the evening of May 4th at an event in Orlando,” Carteaux said.
“As many of you may recall from SPI events and articles in Plastics News and elsewhere, over the past three years Gary was extremely instrumental in helping to attract SPI to Orlando for NPE2012. His tireless efforts and commitment to the show and our industry helped us create one of the best NPEs in its history.
“Gary took some huge risks to ensure our success that could have cost him not only his job, but also his outstanding reputation. But as I got to know him better along the journey, I realized there was no way he would allow SPI, or himself, to fail in helping create the special event that we did with NPE2012.
“Over the past three-plus years, Gary and I developed a close, personal relationship. He was a true visionary in the trade show and tourism industry and probably had the best marketing mind of anyone that I have known in my professional career. His ability to look at every problem and obstacle as an opportunity was tremendously refreshing.
Carteaux said the global plastics industry owes Sain its appreciation for his work on NPE.
“Without his help, support and unwavering commitment to our success, NPE2012 would not have been nearly as successful as it was," Carteaux said. “From a personal perspective, I will miss our friendship dearly. On behalf of SPI Sr. Vice President of Trade Shows and Conferences Gene Sanders and the rest of the SPI staff, I want to express my deepest condolences to Gary's family, loved ones and the staff at Visit Orlando.”
The Sentinel reported that a funeral and a memorial service are expected to be held this weekend.