This Just In
  • MGM Resorts is adding 80,000 square feet of conference space at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas and rebranding the Monte Carlo as the Park MGM.
  • The project includes an outdoor terrace and the 10-room executive meeting center.
  • The entire Park MGM is being tailored for smaller groups of up to 5,000 guests.
  • A consumer gun show in Las Vegas has been cancelled. The Eastside Cannery Casino Gun Show was scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 7.
  • Las Vegas media said the schedule for another firearms show on Oct. 21-22 was still being decided. January’s SHOT Show remains on schedule.
  • Charlotte is moving forward with plans to renovate and add new meeting space to the city’s convention center. Work begins in 2019.
  • The $110 million project includes new pre-function space and 26,000 sf of meeting space. A new skyway will connect to the Westin hotel.
  • Diversified Communications announced the acquisition of Luxperience, an Australian hosted buyer event focused on luxury travel.
  • It is one of Diversified’s first forays into the hosted buyer segment. The move is expected to complement the company’s
  • British Tourism & Travel brand.

People on the Move

Robert J. Tracy

Robert J. Tracy has joined United Service Companies as a senior vice president in their security group, United Security Services, Inc. 

Tracy, whose 30-year career includes command positions with the New York Police Department and global crisis management at Citigroup, most recently served as the Chief of Office of Crime Control Strategies for the Chicago Police Department. In this role, he worked under the guidance and supervision of then-superintendent Garry F. McCarthy. Tracy was able to reduce overall crime by 37% and helped achieve the lowest homicide rate since 1966. As Senior Vice President, Robert Tracy will provide consulting services, assist in the company’s growth, and direct United Security’s global efforts. 

Additionally, former deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department and Chicago Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, will work exclusively with United on various industry-based projects through his new private-sector venture, GFM-Strategies.  

“Our continued ability to recruit top talent is a paramount to bringing the best service to each of our clients,” said Richard Simon. “Robert Tracy is a distinguished member of both the public law enforcement sector and the private corporate sector. His leadership, along with the ability to partner with Garry McCarthy and GFM-Strategies, gives us a significant advantage as we ramp up our next generation security at public facilities.”

Contact Robert at (800) 248-8558 or rtracy@unitedhq.com; Garry at  (312) 986-9330 or gmccarthy@gfm-strategies.com

Don Welsh

Don Welsh, President & CEO of Choose Chicago,has  accepted a new position in Washington, DC as President and CEO of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). Welsh was named to the new position two weeks prior to the DMAI’s February 9 Destinations Showcase in Washington.

Welsh will remain with Choose Chicago through March during which time the agency’s board will look for a new person to head up the Windy City’s overall convention, trade show and tourism marketing. “We appreciate the foundation that Don has laid and are confident that we will continue the trajectory,” Board Chairman Desiree Rogers said in a statement.

Among all of his accomplishments, Welsh told TSE he was most proud of the team at Choose Chicago and the outstanding results they have produced for the city and its partners over the past five years.  “I was grateful to be their biggest cheerleader and I will miss them,” Welsh said.

Welsh is an industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience in the hotel industry and with the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau and Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. He left the Indianapolis CVA in 2011 to join Choose Chicago.

Welsh will replace Michael Gehrisch, who left DMAI after 15 years last Fall. COO Charles Jeffers has been interim CEO since then. “After a thorough search process that included a stellar group of candidates, we are thrilled that Don accepted the position,” said Bob Lander, Chairman of the DMAI board and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

During Welsh’s tenure, the total number of overall visitors to Chicago grew by 12.5 million. At the same time, Choose Chicago also had to lay off about 25% of its staff last year when its annual state budget allotment became stalled in the Illinois legislature. The $7.2 million was eventually approved in December; however no re-staffing has taken place.

Reach Don at (312) 567-8588 or dwelsh@choosechicago.com 

Fred Peterson

Fred Peterson, Interim Executive Director at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), was named Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) last month. Peterson, the longtime Director of Facilities Operations for the MCCA, replaced Deputy Director Ken Sinkiewicz, who retired after 16 years with the organization.

The promotion was made by David Gibbons, who became the new executive director of the MCCA in December. Peterson spent the second half of 2015 as interim executive director following the departure of James Rooney.

The MCCA runs the BCEC, the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center and the MassMutual Center. Milt Herbert remains executive director of the Boston Convention Marketing Center, which carries out the long-term sales functions for the MCCA properties.

Reach Fred at (617) 954-2459 or fpeterson@signatureboston.com

Heidi Voorhees

Heidi Voorhees has been named CEO of bXb Online LLC, the parent company of BOB.tv  - Best of Business - and will serve on bXb’s board of directors.

Voorhees will take over the duties of Tony Lorenz, who was recently named CEO of AlliedPRA, but he will remain the primary shareholder and member of the executive committee on the bXb board of directors.

Voorhees began her career with SmithBucklin where she rose to the position of Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Institute of Food Technologies (IFT). She was in charge of the annual IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo, whose 2014 show ranked 89 on TSE’s Gold 100. She also spent two years at Experient, a Maritz Travel company, as Senior Vice President.

“I have been watching Tony and his team pioneer a big idea into a market that is tough to penetrate,” said Voorhees. “The opportunity ahead for BOB.tv is enormous, and the ability to lead this organization is incredibly exhilarating.”

Reach Tony at (312) 239-8537 or tony.lorenz@bxbgroupllc.com; Heidi at (312) 239-8537 or Heidi@bob.tv

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