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Industry Veteran Lynn Thompson Passes Away

Sandi Cain
, Senior News Editor
January 10, 2017
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Chicago – Retired industry veteran Lynn Thompson, who was instrumental in developing the International Convention Center Conference (ICCC) produced by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), has passed away at 72. 

Thompson began his career in 1972 in Orlando, Fla., working for the city where he oversaw Centroplex, a five-venue complex catering to entertainment and sports. In 1986, he was hired to manage the Anaheim Convention Center, where he worked with the city and the Anaheim CVB (now called Visit Anaheim) to approve an expansion that ultimately helped keep Anaheim competitive with other West Coast venues. During his tenure in Anaheim, the convention center underwent four major expansions. 

During that time, he was the city’s administrator for the opening of the Anaheim Pond (now Honda Center), working with Brad Mayne, now President and CEO of IAVM. “He was a kind person who worked to build consensus and serve others,” Mayne said.

Bill Snyder, who was President of the Anaheim CVB during Thompson’s tenure and still heads the city’s hotel association, told Trade Show Executive that he knew Thompson as a quiet, well-organized guy who was very client-oriented. “He would go to the convention floor, meet the person in charge of a show and get to know them,” Snyder said. “That’s not typical of people in that position,” he said.

Snyder said Thompson’s willingness to get out and promote the building was “a big step for the convention center” in its efforts to be competitive in the market.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times when he was hired by Anaheim, Thompson said his philosophy was to “observe the operations and make refinements when necessary … to maintain a tradition of excellence.”

In the mid-90s, Thompson became the first General Manager of the Hawaii Convention Center, and in 1997 he moved on to oversee the Reno-Sparks Convention Center until he retired in 2007.

Reach Brad Mayne at (972) 538-1021 or mayne@iavm.org; Bill Snyder at (714) 256-8290 or wfsny9400@aol.com

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