People News: Spiro, VSef, IAAPA and More Reinforce Teams, Elevate High-Level Staff

April 26, 2022

Event industry suppliers, CVBs, marketing and tech companies throughout the U.S. and abroad are fine-tuning their departments and promoting team members as the industry continues its robust hiring and promoting trend. Take a look!


Spiro, the brand experiences agency within the GES collective, has named Carley Faircloth chief marketing officer, responsible for Spiro’s global brand launch and beyond.  

Bringing extensive experience leading brand-building strategies in the events and experience sector, Faircloth previously spent just under six years at Freeman, most recently serving as global vice president, managing director, EMEA Agency services, in which she oversaw all sales, marketing and operations strategies. She also founded and launched Freeman’s Women of Agency initiative, which aims to support and empower women across all professional industries. 

Prior to Freeman, Faircloth worked as senior vice president, account director, at Jack Morton Worldwide. She boasts more than 25 years working with brands, including American Airlines, McDonalds, BP, Amazon and Dell. 

Spiro also recently named John Trinanes chief creative officer, a role in which he will draw upon more than two decades of industry experience to spearhead the new agency’s strategic and creative direction. A seasoned, award-winning marketing professional, he brings extensive knowledge leading and inspiring creative teams in experiential, digital and traditional advertising to his new role.  

Before coming to Spiro, Trinanes held similar senior creative leadership roles at Stadiumred Group, Opus Agency and George P Johnson, where he was the senior vice president of creative for one of the largest, most talented and diverse creative groups in the experiential industry.  


VSef, the global data format for digital event technologies, has named Stephen Knowles CEO. He brings more than two decades of experience working with some of the most dynamic events businesses, including CloserStill Media, UBM (now Informa Markets) and IQPC, helping to launch event brands into new markets and sectors.  

Knowles takes the helm from Mark Brewster, who has led VSef since its inception in early 2021 and will continue to serve as chairman of VSef and CEO of Explori, the event measurement business he founded in 2011. 


IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, recently promoted 30-year industry veteran Michael Shelton to vice president and executive director of the IAAPA North America (NA) region, responsible for continuing the development of the NA regional office and further expanding its regional services and products. An IAAPA team member since 2018, he most recently served as the director of education, safety and membership for the NA region. 

Prior to joining the association, Shelton served as the managing director at Hyland Hills Parks & Recreation District in Denver, where he was instrumental in the planning and development of new attractions and expansion projects for the park district. Prior to that, he was general manager for the Ice Centre at the Promenade in Westminster, Colo., and general manager of Water World in Denver. He also served as the food and beverage director for Hyland Hills Parks & Recreation District early in his career. 

Choose Chicago  

Choose Chicago has welcomed Shavonne Harding to its convention sales department’s East Coast team as a national sales manager. Based out of Washington, D.C., she is responsible for overseeing sales, marketing and event management. 

Harding joins the CVB from Visit Baltimore, where she was regional director of sales for the last four years. Prior to that, she served as a sales marketing manager with The Freeman Company, corporate events manager with Amazon Web Services, and sales manager at Mid-Atlantic/East with Destination DC, where she started her destination marketing career in 2014 and was promoted to conference sales manager within a year.


Leading furniture rental and transition services provider CORT recently announced the retirement of Executive Vice President Mark Koepsell after more than 34 years of dedicated service to the company.  

After beginning his successful career with CORT in January of 1988 as national accounts manager, Koepsell soon became the director of national accounts, vice president of national sales and in 2002, was promoted to senior vice president of sales. An active member of CORT’s executive committee, his responsibilities included executive management of the national accounts, destination services and apartment search, CORT Global Network, higher education, government sales departments, along with myriad additional strategic and “start-up” endeavors.  

Following Koepsell’s retirement, Jeff Rowe was promoted to executive vice president of residential sales, responsible for all residential sales efforts at the company. Along with absorbing Koepsell’s responsibilities, in his new role, Rowe will be responsible for leading CORT’s nationwide residential sales team across customer verticals such as multi-family housing, insurance housing and student housing. 

Rowe joined the company in 1987 as a CORT Workplace sales representative and during his tenure has been instrumental in forming and leading many of the company’s customer segments.

ASM Global  

Leading venue event strategy and management company ASM Global has appointed 16-year industry veteran Charles Beirne general manager of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, which is undergoing an extensive expansion project set to be completed in 2025. Bringing a wealth of experience to the Florida venue, Beirne has worked at the company since 2006, most recently as general manager of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Calif., where he also oversaw a $60 million capital improvement and expansion project. 

Prior to Long Beach, Beirne served as general manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center, a position he held from 2004-2012. He also led the opening of the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. 

ASM Global also recently expanded its content team with the key hire of concert promotion veteran Duc Nguyen as vice president, global content programming. Nguyen is tasked with content generation for its arenas, stadiums, theaters and convention centers, under the leadership of industry veteran Global Chief Content Officer John Boyle. He will be based in Las Vegas. 

Nguyen previously served as vice president of bookings at Allegiant Stadium, and prior to that, was a talent buyer at Live Nation, where he was responsible for booking shows in venues throughout Pennsylvania and Atlantic City. 

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau 

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) has promoted Joe Heller to senior vice president, marketing and communications. In his expanded role, Heller will lead the greater marketing and communications team that now includes four core areas of focus: marketing, communications, content and partnerships.  

Heller boasts more than 15 years of marketing and communications experience. Prior to joining the PHLCVB in 2019, he served as vice president of brand strategy and creative content for the Philadelphia Flyers. During his nine seasons with the team, he also led the Flyers mascot project that resulted in the creation of “Gritty,” sparking national and international media interest and elevating the Flyers’ brand recognition.

RCP London Events 

RCP London Events has appointed James Fisher as its new general manager, responsible for managing the venue’s event services operations as well as ensuring financial success, recruitment and retention of workforce and working with clients. His key focus this year will be to review, rebuild and refocus the historic venue’s post-pandemic procedures. 

A former head of hospitality at independent hospitality service provider BaxterStorey and Goldman Sachs, Fisher started his hospitality career as a pastry chef at some of London’s most luxurious hotels and restaurants, working his way up to head of pastry with the Admirable Crichton before transferring his skills and knowledge to front-of-house operations. Following this transition, he was involved with creating the in-house catering operation at Tobacco Dock, curating multi-faceted events and experiences for some of the world’s leading brands. 

International Market Centers

International Market Centers (IMC) has tapped ecommerce executive Jojo Feld as head of growth and engagement for Shoppe Object, IMC’s recently acquired, semi-annual, design-focused home and lifestyle trade show and its Shoppe Online B2B e-commerce platform.  

Reporting to Shoppe Object Show Director and IMC Vice President Jesse James, Feld will focus on strategic marketing. In the digital space, her role will include the enrichment and oversight of the Shoppe Object website and ecommerce marketplace, along with the development of social media strategies and content creation team management. She will also have a collaborative leadership role alongside James and Sales Director Renata Bokalo in strategic product category expansion, targeted brand recruitment, on-site experience development and buyer acquisition.

Feld previously spent seven years with online gourmet content destination Food52, where she oversaw its buying, merchandising, fulfillment and logistics and forecasting teams. She also led the launch of Martha Stewart’s first direct-to-consumer ecommerce platform.


Leading LED display provider INFiLED has hired Jon Chavez as regional sales manager, responsible for covering the central region of the U.S. for both fixed installation and the rental and staging markets.  

Based in Nashville, Chavez started his career at TMB as a product specialist working with entertainment production, media servers and lighting. He then went on to project management and technical sales for VER and PixelFLEX LED, specializing LED installation projects and emerging technologies. His most recent position was at Amazing Industries, working with event designers in Dallas, Nashville and Los Angeles. 

Visit Seattle 

Visit Seattle has welcomed Peter Andersen as senior director, convention strategy. Acting in a revenue manager role for all business generated by both the Visit Seattle sales team and the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) team, he will be responsible for maximizing the attendance and room night production of group business utilizing the WSCC to produce maximum citywide compression and direct optimizing revenue and space at the venue.

Bringing more than 12 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge in revenue management fundamentals, Andersen most recently served as the area director of revenue with Kimpton Hotels in Seattle and Portland. Prior to that, he was regional director of sales and marketing with InterMountain Management, responsible for eight franchised properties in Washington and Oregon, and prior to that, served as director of revenue management at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle for more than six years. 

Sodexo Live!  

Venue hospitality and management partner Sodexo Live! has appointed Nicole Hobby as its new vice president of marketing for North America. Bringing more than three decades of experience to her new role, Hobby recently spent more than 18 years with Ticketmaster across a variety of roles, previously serving for more than a decade in a senior leadership role for Feld Entertainment. 

In her new role, Hobby will focus on the deployment of Sodexo Live!’s brand positioning, value proposition and brand as well as its digital-first strategy and offer development, and will participate in the creation of new services. She will also be heavily involved in helping drive new business, retaining and cross-selling to existing clients. 

Based out of Denver, Hobby will work closely with CEO Steve Pangburn and all members of the executive leadership team in North America as well as liaise closely with global colleagues. 

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact