People News: APPA, WWIN, Visit Reno Tahoe and More Welcome New Executives, Fill Directorship Roles

June 14, 2022

In their quest for recovery and growth, associations, CVBs and trade show producers have been busily tapping new executives as well as filling director and management positions with experienced professionals. Check out all the hard-working individuals moving up at event-related organizations across the U.S. this month! 

American Pet Products Association  

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) has appointed seasoned association executive Peter Scott as its CEO, effective Aug. 15. A proven leader bringing more than 20 years of experience to his new leadership role, Scott has served as CEO of the American Academy of Optometry since 2019 and prior to that, spent more than six years as COO of the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC).

“As those in the pet industry know, we are not only a part of a market-leading and constantly growing industry, reaching a record $123 billion in sales in 2021, but also a thriving community that aims to lift each other up and help each other succeed,” Scott said. “I look forward to working alongside the APPA team, our members and other industry partners and stakeholders to continue promoting responsible pet ownership and play a small role in this amazing industry’s achievements moving forward.”  

WWIN Show 

WWIN (Womenswear in Nevada), a biannual premier sourcing destination for women’s apparel operated by Clarion Events, has promoted Melissa K. Montes to vice president of WWIN, responsible for leading business and brand development, as well as strategic partnerships and growth acceleration.  

Montes will also serve as the vice president of AXN (Airport Experience), continuing to serve as publisher and portfolio director of Airport Experience News, for which she is responsible for its overall strategic vision as well as that of the Airport Experience Conference and other company-hosted events. Additionally, she will continue her role as diversity and inclusion business partner lead at Clarion Events. 

Prior to joining AXN, Montes served as director of account services at Ryan William’s Agency and has held other advertising positions. 

Visit Reno Tahoe

Visit Reno Tahoe promoted Trent LaFerriere to vice president of facilities, responsible for budgeting, operations, staffing, maintenance, safety, compliance and capital expenditures of Reno-Sparks Convention Center, National Bowling Stadium, Reno Events Center and Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center, as well as overseeing the management agreement with Aramark, which was recently awarded the food services contract for the facilities. 

LaFerriere’s elevated role follows more than 18 years working in management, maintenance and operations at the four CVB-managed facilities. An employee since 2004, he has served in numerous capacities, including as facility operations manager, senior project manager and senior facilities manager of all four facilities, and as engineering supervisor and building engineer for the National Bowling Stadium and the Reno Events Center.


Corresponding with its Community solution expansion, digital engagement platform JUNO has promoted event, community and relationship-building expert Megan Martin to director of engagement. In this newly-created, multi-faceted role, Martin will serve as a strategic consultant for clients, partnering with them to successfully build best-in-class communities and practices for their brands, grow engagement and increase member value.  

A former president of PCMA’s Rocky Mountain Chapter and this year’s Visionary Award Winner for Outstanding Service to a Chapter, Martin previously served in a sales capacity for JUNO. She boasts many years of experience as an event director, manager and planner for a variety of organizations. 


Integrated B2B media and information services company Questex recently welcomed event and hospitality executive Akshar Patel as senior director of events and strategy, hotel operations. In this role, Patel is responsible for Questex’s hotel operation events, including Hotel ROI and the Hotec portfolio of hosted buyer meetings, as well as the growth of the portfolio through acquisition, partnerships and organic initiatives. 

With nearly 20 years of experience in leadership, event strategy and business operations under his belt, Patel joins Questex with a proven track record of successfully delivering large-scale live and virtual events and trade shows. Most recently, he served as vice president of conventions and events and as a member of the executive leadership team with the Asian American Hotel Operators Association (AAHOA), where he managed the world’s largest hospitality convention and trade show, a portfolio of more than 150 hospitality events, as well as virtual and hybrid events.  

Earlier in his career, Patel managed events for large associations and agencies, as well as InterContinental the Willard Hotel Washington, D.C., and was also an advisory board member for Shepard Exposition Services.  

Beauty and spa industry expert Elizabeth Fantetti recently joined Questex Wellness as its partnerships and events director, responsible for leading Questex’s events strategy and expanding its beauty and spa event portfolio, including the International Beauty Show (IBS), the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference (IECSC) and Spatec.   

For nearly 15 years, Fantetti served as director of member engagement for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), where she created relationships with manufacturers, distributors, salon/spa owners, licensed professionals, school owners, students and suppliers. She also managed the sales efforts for multiple membership groups, curated a portfolio of multi-channel marketing resources to help members elevate and grow their careers and their brands, created a successful Partner Program and managed the company’s largest data conversion initiative. 

Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau named Joele Brew Hatton its new director of national accounts, responsible for supporting the CVB’s executive sales team’s efforts and operations as well as assisting in strategy development and implementation. 

An accomplished and award-winning hospitality sales professional with over 15 years of experience, Hatton most recently served as associate director of sales for the Omni Dallas Hotel. Prior to that, she served in positions of increasing trajectory with the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

Dallas Market Center

Wholesale marketplace industry veteran Dave Savula has joined Dallas Market Center as business development strategist, responsible for growth strategy across the marketplace with a special focus on the home décor/design and gift categories.  

Bringing more than 25 years of experience to his new position, Savula most recently served as executive vice president of International Market Centers and as its president of gift and apparel. He previously served as executive vice president of AmericasMart for more than 20 years, and prior to that, was vice president of leasing for MMPI/High Point Market. 

Commodity Classic  

Commodity Classic has tapped 15-year event, communications and management veteran Maureen Feck as its show director, effective July 1. She will play an integral role in the continued growth and innovation of the agricultural industry’s premier annual trade show and educational experience.  

Feck comes to Commodity Classic from the True Value Company, where she served as senior director of meetings and events and successfully grew attendance in biannual, city-wide conventions by 18% over two years and developed events that are strategically focused on creating meaningful experiences for attendees.

Destination Colorado

Destination Colorado has chosen 35-year hospitality and tourism veteran Marie Huston as its association manager. Huston participated as a member in numerous Destination Colorado events while working as a senior group sales manager for Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies, where she worked for 11 years.

Prior to that, Huston and her husband owned and operated Carlos & Maria’s (aka Chuck & Marie’s) Mexican Restaurant in Winter Park for 12 years following her sales management roles at two Colorado hotel properties. She’s been a member of the Winter Park Marketing Council and has served on the Grand County Tourism Board. 

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.