Former Show Organizer and Marine to Head Up Chicago’s MPEA

TSE STAFF
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Chicago, IL – Juan Ochoa, 36, a former marine who launched his own business expo for the Hispanic market, began his new duties in January as the new CEO of Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority,  which owns and operates McCormick Place and Navy Pier .

Illinois Governor Rod D. Blagojevich appointed Ochoa to succeed Leticia Peralta Davis who stepped down to pursue other business opportunities. The governor hailed Peralta Davis for her work in shepherding  McCormick Place’s major expansion efforts and overseeing critical labor negotiations.

For the past 10 years, Ochoa served as president and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). Under Ochoa’s leadership, IHCC became one of the most active and nationally recognized Hispanic business organizations in the country, growing from 52 members and a $45,000 budget to over 1,200 members and a $1.7 million budget. He  also founded the annual Make the Connection! Hispanic Business Expo. Like Peralta Davis, Ochoa was a member of Blagojevich’s transition team. He also served on various city boards.

Ochoa came aboard after a year that saw landmark labor agreements signed with the Riggers and Decorators unions, and the signing of a deal to keep the huge National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show at McCormick Place through 2011.

The current year promises to be equally newsworthy with the planned completion of the McCormick Place West expansion in the summer, eight months ahead of schedule. The new building is the fourth on the McCormick Place campus and adds 460,000 gross square feet of exhibit space, new meeting rooms and a 100,000-square foot ballroom to the complex. McCormick Place is the largest convention center in the nation and  its expansion assures the number one  ranking for years to come, according to Trade Show Executive magazine’s 2006 directory of the  World’s Top Convention Centers.

Reach Juan Ochoa at (312) 791-7500 or jochoa@mpea.com.