People News: IAEE’s Legend of the Industry Award, Fresh Hires at CVBs and More

August 21, 2020

New appointments, promotions and awards have kept leading industry names in the news this summer, despite the ongoing pandemic continuing to make deep impacts on events. Take a look at some positive news:

Susan Schwartz was named IAEE’s 2020 Legend of the Industry on Aug. 7. Each year, this award is selected from IAEE members who’ve made remarkable contributions in innovation and leadership. Schwartz is managing director and co-founder of ConvExx, an independent exhibition management company in Henderson, Nevada.

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) named Dave Hilfman the organization’s interim executive director last month. Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as senior vice president of worldwide sales in 2018, stepped into his new role mid-July.

John Bacon, senior group publisher with McLean, Virginia-based Naylor Association Solutions, was appointed to the board of directors for Texas Society of Association Executives in July. He will serve a three-year term.

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board has named Adam Burke its new president and CEO. A seasoned tourism executive with more than 25 years of industry experience, Burke joined the organization as COO in 2016. He had previously served as interim president and CEO since April after Ernest Wooden Jr. announced his retirement, which became effective June 30.

Chicago’s Kimpton Gray Hotel promoted Joel Contor to director of sales and marketing. He’s worked with the Kimpton brand since 2016, starting as sales manager with Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in Milwaukee.

Venue management company Spectra named Jeffrey Goldenberg general manager at Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center in New Jersey, effective July 27. He brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his new role, most recently serving as GM of the House of Blues in Boston.

Michael Guerriero, previously of Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company, joined Digitell as president this month. In this role, he works closely with CEO Jim Parker to support the growth of the Jamestown, N.Y.-based live streaming and virtual conference company.

Long Beach CVB in California has hired Debbie Glenn as a national sales director, working remotely from Maryland. A seasoned tourism professional, Glenn served as sales director for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board for the past 14 years. 

Sean Verney was named area general manager for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, last week. He brings experience from a career spanning more than 35 years to his new role, which includes overseeing all aspects of the 2,270-room resort with 333,000 square feet of meeting space — plus the expansion of a new 14-story tower expected to open next year.

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau has two new senior national account directors: Kelly Blecke, most recently of JW Marriott Indianapolis, is focused on the Washington, D.C. area; and Rosa Luke, previously with Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf and Beach Resort, will concentrate on the Chicago market.

Mindy Abel has been named new deputy director of Anaheim Convention Center in California. She brings more than 35 years of experience to her new role, where she’ll oversee sales and services as well as lead all front-of-house, client-facing departments and partners at the convention center.

Phil Hobson, president of Phoenix International Business Logistics, was recently appointed to a three-year term as a member of the board of governors with the NY/NJ Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association, one of the oldest transportation-related organizations in the United States.

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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.