IMI Association Executives was incorporated in May 1986 by owner and president, the late Barbara W. Short, under the name InfoMarketing Inc. (IMI). The company was temporarily housed in offices on Guess Road in Durham, NC, with five employees.
The focus of InfoMarketing, as it was known in the marketplace, was marketing communications with three operational divisions: advertising, public relations and association management. In these early days, IMI worked with three state trade associations and managed one regional trade show.
Short was an entrepreneur and brilliant public relations strategist and surrounded herself with people who had her passion. Stephanie (Stevie) Kernick, who had worked previously with Short, was named Vice President for Association Management Services, while the late Ralph Reins handled the creative design process.
In 1996 as Short looked to retire, Kernick agreed to purchase the company. The sale took place on July 1, 1996.
Short made one key decision toward the end of her ownership when she hired Linda C. Owens as company comptroller. Owens would stay with the company for over 20 years and eventually become the current owner.
Under Kernick's leadership, InfoMarketing shifted focus to work exclusively with associations. With that shift came the corporate name change to IMI Association Executives Inc. The "IMI" was retained within the new name to sustain the connection with the original company.
The staff size had grown to 13 and the corporate offices moved to a larger and more professional office complex in Morrisville, NC.
The client base developed gradually over the years with the addition of national and international association clients and expansion from exclusively trade associations to include professional organizations, as well.
In 2014, after 18 years as the owner of IMI, Kernick sold the company to trusted employee (Linda) Owens with whom she had worked for more than 30 years. Just as it had 18 years earlier, the ownership transition was seamless.