People News: SHOT Show, National Grocers Association and More Make Hires; 8 New CSEPs Awarded  

August 6, 2019

Summer may be the season for out-of-office notifications and slower days, but not so in the trade show industry. Catch up on the latest flurry of hires and promotions the last month, from shows to destination marketing organizations.

National Shooting Sports Foundation has appointed Kenneth G. Andres as senior director of sales. He joined the organization in late June with a wealth of experience in trade shows, including senior management roles with American Sportfishing Association and Freeman. Andres will replace trade show veteran Dave Jeannette, who will retire on Sept. 1 after 26 shows with NSSF. In addition, Tammy McIntyre, who joined NSSF last year, has been appointed to a new role as manager of exhibit and sponsorship sales.

Massachusetts Convention Center Authority announced Aug. 6 that Diane DiAntonio has been promoted to general manager, replacing Joyce Leveston, who is moving to Spectra as senior vice president of convention centers. DiAntonio was previously assistant general manager and has been with MCCA for nearly two decades. 

Diane DiAntonio
Diane DiAntonio
Greg Ferrara
Greg Ferrara

Greg Ferrara has been announced as the next president and CEO of National Grocers Association, effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Peter Larkin, who is retiring and will remain an advisor through the end of the year. Ferrara currently serves as executive vice president of NGA and joined the organization in 2005.

JD Events, which launched Plant Based World Conference & Expo this summer, has named Chris Nemchek general manager to oversee future growth of the event. Nemchek worked closely on the launch and is a 25-year veteran of the exhibition and global commerce industries. 

Pascale Besse was appointed CFO of global events organizer Comexposium in July. She was previously CFO with Lefebvre Sarrut in Europe for five years.

Chicago-based PCMA has two team changes. Bruce MacMillan, currently CEO of Visit Dallas-Fort Worth, will join as chief marketing officer, effective Sept. 2; while Michelle Crowley, with 30 years of industry experience, has been promoted to chief growth and innovation officer. 

Visit Oxnard (California) has two staff changes. Brittney Hendricks was promoted to director of marketing and communications from her previous role as marketing and communications coordinator; while Courtney Freeman joined the organization as group sales manager. Freeman was previously in sales for Elite Status Group. 

Courtney Freeman
Courtney Freeman

VisitPittsburgh promoted Derek Dawson to senior director of partnership development in July. Joining the CVB in 2012, he was most recently development director for SportsPittsburgh, the sports development division of the organization.

Ashly Balding has been named chief strategy officer for Associated Luxury Hotels International. She’s been with the organization for 16 years. In her new role, she’ll work closely with new CEO Michael Dominguez to lead the global sales organization.

International Live Events Association announced eight new Certified Special Events Professionals (CSEPs) in mid July. They are: Liz Bakunovich of Epicurean Catering & Events, Rachel Cullari of HP Inc., Chloe Hice of Hillcrest Country Club, Nela Kovacovic of Timewise Event Management, Carrie Lauck of The Happy Hour Hostess, Chelsea Lawrie of River City Events, Dana Macaulay of Sonoma County Vintners and Larisa Morales of San Antonio Detours.

Massachusetts Port Authority, also known as Massport (which owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport), has appointed Lisa Wieland as new CEO and executive director, to serve a five-year term. She’s been with the organization for 13 years.

Kim Wilkins and William Goza have joined the sales and operations team for On Location, a provider of labor and management services for exhibits and events, as account executive and floor manager, respectively. Both will be based in Las Vegas.

Katrina Stewart
Katrina Stewart

NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and CVB for New York City, hired Katrina Stewart as new regional director of national accounts. She’ll focus on convention development in the Midwest for groups requiring 151 rooms or more on peak.

Jill Larsen is now chief financial officer with VisitDallas. She brings more than 30 years of experience in finance and accounting to her role, and most recently worked with Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Matt Rulis is now vice president of sales for ProExhibits, a Northern California-based company focused on experiential exhibits and events. 

Matt Rulis
Matt Rulis

Visit Baltimore has named Dustin Arnheim vice president of convention sales and services. He was most recently with Visit Indy, serving as senior director of sales.

Indianapolis welcomed two new additions last month. Janelle Johnson, most recently with Ashfield Meetings & Events, is now convention sales manager for Visit Indy; while Andrew Mallon is new executive director of the Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium. Mallon replaces Barney Levengood, who has held the ED role for 28 years and retired this year.

Louisville Tourism has promoted Cleo Battle to a newly created position of chief operating officer. He has served as executive vice president for the organization since 2013.

Cain Brodie is now general manager of Las Vegas Design Center, a collection of showrooms on the World Market Center Las Vegas campus. He’ll help oversee strategic direction and management of LVDC. 

Tracey Brouillette is now director of national accounts for Visit Spokane. Previously, she was assistant director of sales with Hilton San Diego Sales Complex. She’ll work remotely from Southern California.

Visit Seattle has hired Cameron Hart, most recently of The Westin Seattle, as national account director. He will sell space at Washington State Convention Center as well as hotels and venues around the city to corporations and associations on the West Coast. 


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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.