People News: February Marks Busy Month of Hiring, Promotions

March 6, 2018

February wasn’t just a month to celebrate Valentine’s Day and slog through the dog days of winter in some areas of the U.S., it also was a busy time for companies to hire new employees and promote from within.

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, promoted Dave Newcorn to senior vice president, Digital & Data.

The newly created position allows PMMI to centralize its digital and audience resources under Newcorn with data, new product development, web site development and information technology all now falling under his purview.

The Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre welcome Susan Burchell as director of Food & Beverage.

In her new role, Burchell will provide strategic leadership and execution of the company’s food and beverage concepts.

AGAM has announced the appointment of Adam Beckett as CEO.

Beckett has assumed day-to-day leadership of the company and will spearhead strategies designed to grow the business and strengthen customer relationships.

Beckett is an exhibition industry veteran. Most recently, Beckett spent 20 years at Derse, a full service face-to- face marketing agency where he held senior leadership roles including president and CEO.

SMG, the operator of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, recently welcomed Renee Browning as assistant general manager and promoted Ashley York to Director of Event Services at the 600,000-square-foot multipurpose facility.

With more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Browning joins the Convention Center from Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala., where she served as assistant director of Sales. In her new position, she will oversee sales initiatives between the Convention Center and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Conventions & Visitors Bureau.

Ashley York joined the SMG team as an event manager in 2012, working her way up the ranks to senior event manager in 2017.

In her new position as director of Event Services, she will lead a team of four event managers, oversee event planning processes and logistics for a variety of large-scale clients, and ensure the success of meetings and conventions hosted at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau (LCVB) has promoted Zack Davis to vice president of Destination Services.

He replaces Doris Sims, who retired from the position after 30.5 years of service.

In his new position, Davis will lead the CVB’s Destination Services and Housing team for Louisville’s booked meetings business.

He will also will to help retain convention groups, as well as increase their profile and attendance while in Louisville.

Taffy Event Strategies, a full-service event management firm, has added Jenn Ellek to its team of talented professionals.

As senior director of marketing, Ellek will bring decades of expertise in results-oriented campaign management to Taffy Event Strategies.

Prior to Taffy Event Strategies, Ellek worked for the National Confectioners Association (NCA) as the marketing lead for the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) has named Miriam Chovanec as its senior international tourism sales manager.

Chovanec, who officially began her new position in January 2018, reports to Svetlana Yazovskikh, executive director of Global Tourism for the PHLCVB, and is responsible for the development and execution of international sales and marketing strategies throughout Europe, Scandinavia and South America.

Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has appointed Tonya Almond as its vice president of Knowledge and Experience Design.

Almond will lead the events and education teams and will engage with its global audience to help PCMA evolve its education content and event experiences. She reports to Joyce Winnecke, PCMA’s chief content officer.

Almond has extensive knowledge of the association. She first served on the Greater Midwest Chapter Board and more recently has served on the PCMA Board of Directors.

Since 2014, Almond has served on several of PCMA’s committees including the Annual Meeting Program Committee, the Nominating Committee, Annual Giving Taskforce and the Foundation Dinner Taskforce (now Visionary Awards).


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.