This Just In
  • The AHLA says the Dept. of Homeland Security will expand the number of H-2B seasonal guest worker visas available for this fiscal year.
  • The increase in H2-B visas will help small and seasonal businesses to meet workforce demands critical in peak tourist periods.
  • SMG signed a 3-year agreement to continue managing Cobo Center in Detroit. SMG has been the management firm for Cobo since 2010.
  • Highlights of SMG’s tenure include oversight of a major renovation, reduced operating deficit and creation of a technology department.
  • Ground was broken June 20 on the expansion of the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The 250,000-sf project will wrap up next year.
  • The $130 million expansion includes two new ballrooms, 11 breakout rooms and additional space for the center’s Stay Well Meetings feature.
  • The Louisville Downtown Marriott Hotel is undergoing a $30 million renovation slated for completion in August 2018. The hotel remains open.
  • The Marriott is attached to the Kentucky International Convention Center and offers 50,000 sf of meeting space and 616 guest rooms.
  • AEG plans to acquire four acres in downtown Nashville to be developed as a mixed-use entertainment district at SWVP’s Nashville Yards.
  • The mixed-use district will be anchored by a 4,000-capacity music hall, luxury theatre, live entertainment club, boutique hotel & more.

People on the Move

Michael Driscoll

Michael Driscoll joined Questex Events as one of two new vice presidents who will be focused on business development for the company.

Driscoll, whose 30-year career included positions with Miller Freeman and Reed Exhibitions, was most recently Vice President of Business Development & Sales and Event Director for the National Association of Broadcasters’ Content & Communications World Expo. He will lead the sales efforts for new events. Matt Kavney was named Vice President of Business Development for Questex Digital Media. He had been a sales executive at SmartBrief.

Both vice presidencies are newly created positions.

Reach Michael at (617)-219-8300 or mdriscoll@questex.com; Matt at (617) 219-8300 or mkavney@questex.com

Stephanie Curran

Stephanie Curran took over as general manager of the Spokane Convention Center and INB Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Spokane, WA on October 5 following the retirement of Johnna Boxley. Curran had been assistant general manager. Boxley stepped down after nearly 23 years with the City of Spokane. She became general manager of the convention center in 2000. During Boxley’s tenure, the Spokane Convention Center became an economic engine for the region, bringing millions of dollars into the local economy. She oversaw two major expansions, which tripled the size of the convention center, and the renovation of the INB PAC. She helped secure LEED Certifications and guided the implementation of green practices at the convention center. Reach Stephanie at (509) 279-7048 or scurran@spokanepfd.org

Rebecca Jennings

Rebecca Jennings was promoted to show director for the New York and San Francisco ad:tech shows produced by  dmg events USA. The company also organizes six other ad:tech shows in London, New Delhi and the Asia-Pacific region. Jennings had been sales director for the U.S. shows. Amy Allen, who previously headed up the two shows,  remains executive vice president of dmg events USA and willretain responsibility for the ad:tech shows overseas. Reach Rebecca at (214) 915-8818 or rebecca@ad-te

John Hawley

Convention Data Services (CDS) hired John Hawley as its chief technology officer. Hawley joined CDS from TJX Companies. The newly created position oversees product development and management as well as all other IT groups within CDS. Reach John at (800) 548-9299 or jhawley@cdsreg.com

Paul Cunniffe
Paul Cunniffe joined Freeman as vice president of business development for its Exposition division. His newly created position is based near Boston and has him working with Freeman’s business development teams. Cunniffe spent 10 years as vice president of national sales for Global Experience Specialists (GES) and was previously vice president of sales for Brede Exposition Services. He is an active member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, and a past chair of Expo! Expo!. Reach Paul at (617) 366-7936 or pcunniffe@freemanco.com
Christian Saucedo

Christian Saucedo was promoted to global CEO of SpotMe. He had been CEO Americas for the mobile event application provider and replaced Banz Ledin. The move was part of SpotMe’s strategy to expand its business overseas, particularly in the Asia-Pacific market. Future plans for the company include a self-service application use as demand grows for a la carte event technology with robust functionality and a customizable range of features.  Reach Christian at (312) 416-2708 or christian@spotme.com

Brad Weaber

Brad Weaber, former executive vice president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, joined Connections Housing as chief innovation officer. The newly created position is based in Washington and gives Weaber responsibility for the development of new strategies and initiatives. Prior to his tenure in New Orleans, Weaber was an executive vice president of SmithBucklin and Experient. Reach Brad at (703)447-6572  or bweaber@connectionshousing.com.

Courtney Muller

Courtney Muller, former senior vice president for Reed Exhibitions, has joined Urban Expositions as executive vice president. Urban Expositions has a portfolio of 34 shows in the giftware, art, gaming, food service and aviation sectors. She will oversee daily operations and be on the lookout for new launches, acquisitions and partnerships. Muller has been in the exhibition industry nearly 25 years. Most of her career has been at Reed where she was in charge of the Global Gaming Expo, BookExpo America, and a group of food-service events. She is a recipient of Reed’s in-house President’s Award and Chairman’s Award. She was the featured Power Lunch guest in the August 2012 issue of TSE. Reach Courtney at (678) 285-3976 or cmuller@urban-expo.com

Kenji Haroutunian

Emerald Expositions appointed a new director for its Outdoor group after veteran vice president and group show director Kenji Haroutunian stepped down. Marisa Nicholson moves up the ranks to vice president, group show director of the Outdoor Group. She had been group sales director of Emerald’s Sports Group and connected with Outdoor Retailer for 11 years. Haroutunian spent 15 years with the show and has been part of the outdoor industry for nearly 30 years. His immediate plans for the future were not revealed. Reach Marisa Nicholson at (949) 226-5700 or marisa.nicholson@emeraldexpo.com; Kenji Haroutunian at (310) 489-3281 or kenjiharo@
gmail.com

Chris Williams

Chris Williams was promoted to president of CompuSystems, Inc. after his father, Clark Williams, was named chairman. Chris Williams joined CompuSystems in 1996 and soon became director of sales. He was most-recently senior vice president and will oversee day-to-day operations in his new role. Clark Williams had been president since the registration company was founded in 1976. Reach Chris Williams at (708) 344-9070 or chris.williams@csireg. com; Clark Williams at (708) 344-9070 or clark.williams@csireg.com

Joshua Hartman

The Cardiac Research Foundation (CRF) named Joshua Hartman the executive director of its Education Foundation, which organizes a portfolio of 40 medical conferences. Johnnie White, who held the executive director post for more than eight years, left the organization in October and did not announce his future plans. Hartman joined the Cardiac Research Foundation in 2007 and had been director of educational services & strategic relations as well as managing editor of TCTMD, a CRF newsletter on research in the cardiology field. Reach Joshua at (646) 434-4500 or jhartman@crf.org; Johnnie at jwhitemdny@gmail.com

Margaret Edgell Core

The Food Marketing Institute named Margaret Edgell Core vice president of industry events. She will oversee FMI Connect, the Global Food Retail Experience. Her background includes various sales and marketing positions with BIO (the Biotechnology Organization), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the National Apartment Association. Reach Margaret at (202) 452-8444 or mcore@fmi.org

Melony Bildhauer

Melony Bildhauer was named to the newly created position of director, meetings and special events for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. She will take part in the planning of the association’s global conference and meeting portfolio while reporting to Ryan Strowger, vice president of exhibitions, conferences, and sales. Bildhauer was most recently senior meeting planner for NCTA – the Rural Broadband Association. Reach Melony at (703) 836-4800, x791, or mbildhauer@iaapa.org

Bob Brown

Bob Brown is the new director of sales and marketing for WestWorld of Scottsdale — The Etzel Agency, a 386-acre campus outside Phoenix that includes a 300,000 sf exhibition center, 130,000 sf of flexible space, and a 6,000 sf conference & banquet facility. Brown joined the venue earlier this year after stepping down as general manager of the Ontario Convention Center and president and CEO of the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau in Southern California two years ago. Prior to his seven years in Ontario, he held executive positions with Reliant Park in Houston and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. Reach Bob at (480) 492-3955 or b.brown@westworldaz.com

Dianne Young

Dianne Young, CEO of Exhibition Place in Toronto, was elected to the board of directors of UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, at UFI’s General Assembly in Bogota, Colombia. Young will serve on the board for three years and will chair its Sustainable Development Committee effective October 30. She was previously a member of the association’s Social Corporate Responsibilities Committee. Young joined Exhibition Place in 1999 as general manager. Reach Dianne at (416) 263-3611 or dyoung@explace.on.ca

Greg DeSandy

Cobo Center named Greg DeSandy its director of sales. DeSandy was most recently a sales executive with the Augusta Georgia Marriott and Augusta Convention Center. He will lead the Cobo sales team and work with their counterparts at the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. Reach Greg at (313) 877-8214 or gdesandy@cobocenter.com

Ken McAvoy

Ken McAvoy has launched Convention Consulting, Inc. following his departure from Reed Exhibitions earlier in the year. McAvoy had been with Reed Exhibitions for 15 years, most recently as senior vice president, and prior to that, was vice president of client relations for Global Experience Specialists. While with Reed, he was responsible for the operations of some 45 major shows and was also part of the ad hoc industry groups such as Friends of Javits, which advocated changes at major U.S. convention centers. He also served on advisory boards for convention bureaus in Las Vegas, Orlando and New York. Reach Ken at (770) 205-8448 or kmcavoy@conventionconsultantsinc.com

John Gallagher

John Gallagher, former president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt North America, joined Naylor Association Solutions as director of business development. Gallagher was senior vice president for E.J. Krause & Associates, heading up its Industrial and Commercial Divisions, before joining Messe Frankfurt. He will focus on building Naylor’s business in the events sector through the newly launched Naylor Association Solutions division. Reach John
at (703) 934-4700 or jgallagher@naylor.com

Charlotte Zilke

Charlotte Zilke, manager of convention services for the Helicopter Association International (HAI), has been promoted to director of conventions. She replaces Tina Jones, who left the association in April. The move puts Zilke in the pilot’s seat of the HAI HELI-EXPO, the flagship trade show for the helicopter industry, which this year, drew 20,393 attendees and covered 309,200 net square feet of exhibit space. Zilke joined the HAI in 2008 as exhibits coordinator. Prior to joining HAI, Zilke was exhibit services coordinator for the National Association of Broadcasters. Reach Charlotte Zilke at (703) 683-4646, x8458, or charlotte.zilke@rotor.org

Jaime Rosov

Reed Travel Exhibitions promoted Jaime Rosov to event director for IBTM America. She had been marketing director for the show, which had been called AIBTM and was a traditional trade show in the past. IBTM is now an invitation-only event for 250 buyers and 250 exhibi-tors. Rosov has been with Reed Exhibitions for nine years, and replaced Michael Lyons, who stepped down after two years in the position to pursue a career as a professional speaker and actor. Reach Jaime at (203) 840-5435 or jrosov@reedexpo.com