Mary Lou Keen, the AGTA’s longtime trade show manager, is set to retire after 28 years in the position and 30 years total with the association.
Dallas—The American Gem Trade Association just announced the retirement of Mary Lou Keen, who has been its trade show manager since 1991.

Keen started at AGTA in 1989, serving in several roles and helping to grow the association’s presence at other industry trade shows over the years.

She was also vital in developing AGTA’s current lineup of shows and events: AGTA GemFair Tucson, the Spectrum Awards, the AGTA Pavilion at JA New York Summer and the debut of AGTA GemFair Las Vegas at the convention center this year.

“I walked into the AGTA office 22 years ago, and Mary Lou had already been with AGTA for nearly a decade,” CEO Douglas Hucker said. “I quickly learned that Mary Lou was truly the ‘face’ of AGTA to many, if not all, of our members.

“That adoration stems from the person she is—a consummate professional, a vigorous champion of our members and the association, and, honestly, the most kind and caring person I have ever known.”

He added that the AGTA’s success and position in the industry are due in large part to Keen’s dedication and devotion.

“I don’t know where the AGTA, its members, its staff or myself would be if Mary Lou had not spent the last 30 with us, but I know we would be less. Thank you, Mary Lou, my colleague, my friend.”

In addition to her role at AGTA, Keen also has served on the board of the now-defunct Smart Jewelry Show, which was last held in 2016, and the advisory board of the Tucson Convention Center. She is a past recipient of a WJA Award for Excellence in the Special Services category.

She continues her philanthropy by serving her church community.

“It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since I became part of the small office staff of AGTA,” Keen said. “I am so fortunate to have spent these years with an association that I am so proud of and to see its stature grow within our industry.

“I was fortunate to work with a committed staff, multiple dedicated boards, talented members and supportive vendors. I am blessed to have had so many wonderful people in my life; I will always cherish these years.”

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