National Barbecue Association Retains Kellen Company as Association Management Partner

National Barbecue Association Retains Kellen Company as Association Management PartnerThe National Barbecue Association  announced today that it has retained Kellen Company as its new association management partner. The company, recognized as a global leader in association management, will oversee day-to-day operations of the NBBQA, including membership growth and retention, national conference planning, sponsorship, and solidifying overall program value.

“The NBBQA is ready to evolve and grow relative to the explosive interest in BBQ nationwide, and Kellen Company is the right association management partner to help us do that ” said Roy Slicker, NBBQA president.

Kellen Company has tapped Brian Hilligoss to be the NBBQA’s new executive director.  A seasoned executive producer of events, entertainment and marketing campaigns, Hilligoss grew up near Lexington, North Carolina, where his passion for barbecue became deeply rooted.

“I probably bleed barbecue,” said Hilligoss,  “I look forward to getting elbow deep in barbecue and meeting all the passionate folks associated with the NBBQA. I see so much potential here!”

Hilligoss spent much of his early career in the music industry and show business in Nashville where he sang on the Grand Ole Opry, toured with headline artists like Alan Jackson and Louise Mandrell, and worked as a producer/director for entertainment attractions giant Opryland U.S.A.

He also enjoyed successful stints at high-profile organizations such as Fiesta Texas Theme Park, Walt Disney World Creative Entertainment, and Dollywood. For the last 18 years, his focus has been on corporate events and communications as an executive producer, strategist and creative director. He has produced over 400 event programs for Intel Corporation alone.

Hilligoss will be based out of the Kellen Company’s Chicago office. Kellen Company replaces FSA Management Group, which has worked with the NBBQA since 2009.

About the NBBQA
Founded in 1991, the National Barbecue Association (NBBQA) is dedicated to supporting the unique food culture of barbecue and the people who love it. The NBBQA’S goals are to promote the recognition and image of the industry, facilitate effective networking of industry resources, foster new business opportunities for its members, and educate and inform the public about the art and enjoyment of barbecue. For more information, visit

About Kellen Company
Kellen Company is a global leader in association services, including management, conference planning, communications, regulatory and public affairs, serving more than 100 trade associations, professional societies and charitable organizations representing over 10,000 companies and 100,000 professionals worldwide. The company’s Kellen Communications group also provides a full range of marketing communications, public relations and digital media services to corporate clients. Kellen Company maintains seven offices worldwide, located in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York, Washington D.C., Brussels and Beijing. For more information, visit