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Creating Connections for Life

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    When Wenger Corporation acquired the assets of 45-year-old SECOA, it did so with an eye toward the future. “What we can benefit from this acquisition of the assets is that we have an opportunity to grow and pick up sales and their book of business, as it were,” said Chris Simpson, president and CEO of Wenger. “We have an opportunity to really leverage better resources. That’s an important point to this purchase. We’re adding some of their key team members and their related experience. We are able to take on a couple of their products that fit into our portfolio. That’s really a key element to what we’re doing.” Simpson came on board at Owatonna, Minnesota-based Wenger five years ago, and has led a dynamic growth spurt for a company that provides innovative, high-quality products and solutions for music and theatre education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage. “The genesis of even thinking about this goes back to what our base strategy is and what our vision is,” Simpson said. “It comes back to Wenger Corporation’s overall vision, which is to be a leading provider of products and services for the performing arts and education businesses on a global basis. That’s a big, broad vision. We understand what we have to do to go out there and do that. One of the things you have to do is grow. We clearly have a very aggressive growth strategy for the performing arts business.” Wenger, which started in 1946, acquired J.R. Clancy five years ago, which put the company in the rigging business. “Our product portfolio has expanded significantly with where we were pre-J.R. Clancy,” Simpson said. “We have audio, seating, acoustical, rigging and I could go on and on. The point is we have a broad and deep range of product offerings in the industry.” Simpson said that while he has looked at what might make sense from an acquisition opportunity, the SECOA deal happened when he was approached by that company’s owners. “I thought the similarities of business models was strikingly similar,” he said. “Therefore, we looked at how buying the assets of the company might make sense. That is one of the things to be clear about in that we didn’t buy SECOA, per se, but bought the assets of SECOA. That said, SECOA as a separate entity really will no longer exist. We have the rights to the SECOA brand and in fact we plan on using that on some of the select products that transferred over, but the business will be rolling up into the Wenger/J.R. Clancy business model.” Simpson believes that the combination of retaining some talented individuals along with the business model he has purchased means only a positive future to build upon. “There are some talented individuals we have coming on board who have long-term experience,” he said. “They are actually going to help us accelerate some of the abilities to really project manage and be a total integrator of more solutions for the performing arts space. SECOA has a business model that they’ve been running forever that we have had just over the last couple of years. That will help us jump-start even faster. But we just feel that the assets that we are acquiring as part of this deal clearly fits very well with what we’re doing.”

    The post Wenger Corporation Continues Growth With Acquisition Of SECOA appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    The wildfire destruction that swept across eastern Tennessee near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park has left 13 dead with the number of damaged buildings in Gatlinburg standing near 1,000. As the fires started early last week and had been burning for several days mostly in the heights of the popular national park, firefighters had difficulty reaching the remote inferno. Soon thereafter, the winds picked up and as of last Monday afternoon, the fires were spreading at a furious pace. Gatlinburg has borne the brunt of the devastation, but public assembly venues to the north in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have also been impacted. Pigeon Forge is located five miles north of the national park and is a huge tourist attraction featuring Dollywood and a vibrant music scene. The Sevierville Convention Center north of Pigeon Forge remained open while many in the public assembly venue industry checked on both sites. “I am happy to report that our facility avoided any damage and none of our staff or their immediate families suffered any losses,” Phil Campbell, facility manager at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, told IAVM. “The same cannot be said for our overall community as you may have seen from national press coverage. The current number of fatalities stands at 13 with numerous homes and businesses completely destroyed in the area, particularly in the neighboring city of Gatlinburg. On Monday evening, some previously contained wildfires were quickly spread by 80 mph winds and raged uncontrolled until much needed rains finally moved in. “We opened the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge as an emergency shelter at 7 pm Monday evening and quickly began to see displaced residents and visitors arrive. The American Red Cross joined us around 10 pm to provide assistance in sheltering around 400 people whose homes, cabins, condos, and hotel rooms were in danger and mandatory evacuations were issued. By Tuesday night our number of displaced evacuees had been reduced to 44 as people were allowed to return to certain areas, find other lodging, or stay with friends and family. We remained an active shelter until 5 pm Wednesday afternoon when the decision was made to consolidate those remaining with us into another shelter nearby. “It has been an experience neither I nor our staff will never forget. The outpouring of support from food, water, personal hygiene items, blankets, and clothes was overwhelming. We were blessed with an opportunity to provide safe shelter, medical assistance, and care to many distressed and hurting people. We have now transitioned back into normal operations and actually welcomed in the next event which started on Friday. Pigeon Forge lost no businesses and we are trying to ensure that the everyone knows we are open for business. One of the best ways they help is to visit and support our local economy that employs many of the very people affected by this tragedy.” Farther north, the Sevierville Convention Center remained a “business as usual” venue, according to venue General Manager Martha Norris. “The Sevierville Convention Center is doing well as we have not been affected directly by the fires,” Norris said. “We were not a shelter as we are located about 15 miles from the Gatlinburg area and there are large venues closer in than us. It is amazing that during this disaster we have been so blessed with the outpouring of prayers, love and donations from our surrounding states. I must say what a great area to call home. “The Sevierville Convention Center as well as the LeConte Convention Center are still going strong as will our neighbor the Gatlinburg Convention Center soon.”

    The post LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge Serves as Wildfire Shelter appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    IAVM would like to welcome Peter Sagal as the Performing Arts Managers Conference’s featured speaker: As the host of National Public Radio’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal is heard by more than 3 million people every week, broadcast on 450 public radio stations nationwide and via a popular podcast. The show received the prestigious Peabody Award in 2008, the same year it celebrated its 10th Anniversary. The hour long show has captivated news junkies across the country with its lighthearted approach to current events, and has become the biggest and most beloved weekend radio phenomenon since A Prairie Home Companion. Each week, Sagal leads NPR veteran newscaster Carl Kasell and esteemed guest panelists like humorist Roy Blount Jr., comedians Paula Poundstone and Paul Provenza, media personality Mo Rocca and author P.J. O’Rourke through a satirical review of the week’s news in the form of a quiz. It’s a revival of You Bet Your Life crossbred with the irreverence of The Daily Show. Sagal is the host of PBS’ new series, Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. The show follows him as he travels across country—on a Harley Davison Road King—to find out where the Constitution lives, how it works, its history and its vital relevance today. Sagal has traveled all around the country with Wait Wait…, playing to sold-out theaters from Seattle to Miami. At the podium, Sagal takes audiences behind the scenes of Wait Wait… to explore the shows beginnings, some of its more memorable moments and a look at today’s news stories. An adept moderator, Sagal is the perfect emcee, able to apply his quick wit to esoteric company stories, weaving jokes for an uproarious and unforgettable evening. Whether providing insightful, colorful commentary on current events or a behind-the-scenes peek at the funniest show on radio, Sagal never fails to inform and entertain. After hosting Wait Wait… for almost 20 years, Sagal knows a thing or two about telling a joke. In a separate program, Sagal looks back at his career to educate audiences on “the art of joke telling.” With a decades-long career in making people laugh, Sagal shares what he’s learned about jokes, giving audiences a rare behind-the-scenes look at how he writes and delivers them, and explores why humor is the best way to get a reaction from a crowd. A native of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Sagal attended Harvard University, and has worked as a literary manager for a regional theater, a stage director, an actor, an extra in a Michael Jackson video (Remember the Time), travel writer, an essayist, a ghostwriter for a former adult film impresario and a staff writer for a motorcycle magazine. He is the author of numerous plays that have been performed in large and small theaters around the country and abroad. He has also written a number of screenplays, including an original screenplay that became, without his knowledge, the basis for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. The Book of Vice (Naughty Things and How to Do Them), Sagal’s first book, is a series of comic essays about people who misbehave, why they misbehave, and why they’re not necessarily having more fun than you are. The Orlando Sentinel said, “Vice is that kind of book full of passages so deliciously funny you keep elbowing the nearest person and saying, ‘Listen, I just have to read you this bit…’” and Publishers Weekly called it “a hilarious, harmlessly prurient look at the banality of regular people’s strange and wicked pleasures.” Sagal is a radio host, author, humorist and commentator on current events with a remarkably eclectic career and an inquiring mind. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three daughters.  

    The post PAMC’s Feature Speaker: Peter Sagal appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    Demolition nears completion; recycling efforts hailed.  The Kentucky International Convention Center expansion project is seeking silver LEED green building certification, the second-highest ranking from the U.S. Green Building Council. To work towards that goal, more than 77 percent of the concrete, metal and other materials from the demolition of the western half of the building will be recycled. The concrete, 8,800 tons, will be used as the foundation in other construction projects. Some of the bricks will be re-used as part of the renovation, with nearly 65 percent being recycled in some capacity. The steel and other metals will be melted to create new construction materials. The original structure, built in 1974, is being demolished to the ground level. The convention center has been closed since August and will reopen in summer 2018. The expansion will add a minimum of 200,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 40,000 square foot ballroom without expanding the outer walls of the building. This expansion will potentially bring up to 25 percent more business to the convention center. The renovation of the convention center is projected to cost $207 million.

    The post Kentucky International Convention Center Expansion Update appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    Please welcome our newest members who joined IAVM in November 2016. Thank you for being a part of the association! Also, let us get to know you better by participating in the I Am Venue Management series. Please visit http://www.iavm.org/i-am-venue-management-share-your-story to share your story and photo. Adam Dawson, Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, TX Alexandra Pavella, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY Allison Ross, Des Moines Performing Arts, Des Moines, IA Amy Foreman, Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, TX Ann LaPietra, Valencia College, Orlando, FL Arlo Grundberg, University of Alberta Students’ Union, Edmonton, AB Bailee Petty, Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, TX Bernard Brown, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Bill Sandlin, BancorpSouth Arena and Conference Center, Tupelo, MS Bill Dantos, North Carolina Blumenthal Arts Center, Charlotte, NC Brendan Paull, Melbourne Cricket Club, Seddon, VIC Brennan Murphy, Myer Horowitz Theatre, Edmonton, AB Brian Unekis, ME Engineers, Inc., Golden, CO Carly Browne, Qudos Bank Arena, Toongabbie, NSW Carrie Sopp, Adelaide Showground, Goodwood, SA Carrie Cussons, Scotiabank Centre, Halifax, NS Colleen Buchanan, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Curtis Winston, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, TX Daniel Radnidge, Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, Moore Park, NSW Darren McBride, Logan Entertainment Centre, Rochedale South, QLD David Cruse, Phoenix Convention Center & Venues, Phoenix, AZ Delia Garcia, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Elinor Brigden, VenuesWest, Wembly Downs, WA Emily Ladewig, Iowa State Center, Ames, IA Erin Simmons, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre/AEG Ogden Pty Ltd, South Bank, QLD Flora Gephart, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Freya Alexander, Isaac Theatre Royal Christchurch Gabe Gutierrez, Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, TX Gareth Lieberman, Rod Laver Arena, Rosebud South, VIC George Bivins, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, KY Georgia Hendy, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, South Bank, QLD Graham Lentell, Omaha Performing Arts, Omaha, NE Hannah Gordon, Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment Park, Kennesaw, GA Heather Van Kirk, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Holly Boman, Iowa State Center, Ames, IA James Mosieur, 911 Cell Phone Bank, Ocala, FL Joanne O’Hara, Arts Centre Melbourne, Ivanhoe, VIC Joel Giblin, Leichhardt Service Centre – Inner West Council, Leichardt, NSW John Koperwas, Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, Toronto, ON John Ellison, University of Mary Hardin – Baylor, Belton, TX Johnine Bacon, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Jonathan Carpenter, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Columbia, SC Jonathan Wiser, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA Jordan Syms, Tapin2, Pasadena, CA Judith Brown, Verizon Center, Washington, DC Justine Vanderveen, Seattle University, Seattle, WA Kerri Bowie, Johnson & Wales University-Colorado, Broomfield, CO Kristen Thompson, Iowa State Center, Ames, IA Lucas LaPerriere, Johnson & Wales University – Rhode Island, Exeter, RI Marie Williamson, Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Megan Bednar, Racine Civic Centre, Racine, WI Michael Poole, Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, TX Monisha Smith, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Morgan Slocombe, Melbourne Cricket Club, Richmond, VIC Nick Kaizer, Iowa State Center, Ames, IA Nicola Drummy, Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust, Elwood, VIC Patricia Wong, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong Patricia Thompson, Extension Conference Centers, Madison, WI Perla Fagan, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Racheal Winkless, AEG Ogden (Perth Arena) Pty Ltd, Eden Hill, WA Rachel Wolf, Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust, VIC Rick Smith, LightCorp, Grand Haven, MI Ricki Ghani, Racine Civic Centre, Racine, WI Sara Compton, Iowa State Center, Ames, IA Sarah Bundy, UQ Sport Limited, Gatton, QLD Shawn Hamel, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY Sheryl Rodriguez, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX Simon Blakeney, AAMI Park, St Kilda East, VIC Stacey Kirkpatrick, Aerial UTS Function Centre, Rosebery, NSW Stacy Hedberg, Bellevue School District – Performing Arts Centers, Bellevue, WA Stephanie Hamilton, Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment Park, Kennesaw, GA Stephen Patterson, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Las Vegas, NV Steven Sakakihara, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA Susanna Brown, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR Valerie Butcher, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, Las Vegas, NV (Image: Judy ** via photopin cc)

    The post A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    AEG Facilities’ reputation as one of the world’s most trusted and experienced venue management companies that consistently delivers successful events time and time again, will be the focus of an international awareness campaign targeting convention decision makers. Launched globally today, details of the “AEG Advantage” were announced by AEG Facilities Senior Vice President of Convention Centers (Los Angeles), Brad Gessner and AEG Ogden Director of Convention Centres (Sydney), Geoff Donaghy. AEG’s global network of world-class convention venues is strategically located around the globe, with each designed to capture the imagination and inspire every event.  AEG Facilities manages convention centers in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Kuala Lumpur, Oman, and in Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin, Australia. Mr Gessner said the AEG Advantage is defined by the world-class standards their award winning venues consistently provide.  “All our venues offer global expertise with a unique experience of local culture and service, and we celebrate the cultural diversity, individuality and character of each destination within our world-class network,” said Mr Gessner.  The AEG Advantage is not only about stunning venues in desirable locations, it is about consistently delivering every element with exceptional hospitality. “It is also about our outstanding cuisine and five-star chefs who source local produce to capture the flavours of each destination. And it’s about sharing knowledge and regional expertise across our global network to continually deliver world-class standards,” Mr Donaghy said.   Another major advantage is having highly experienced global teams, many of whom joined at the pre-opening stage of their respective venues and have worked across multiple venues and countries.  “Our extraordinary teams offer local knowledge, vast industry experience and attention to detail to ensure a unique experience specific to the destination and one that convention delegates remember for a long time,” Mr Donaghy added.  Clients who have experienced the AEG Advantage, today endorsed this initiative.  Ben Goedegebuure, Global General Manager, EMEA, Maritz Global Events, who plan and execute more than 8,500 meetings, events and incentive travel programs a year, said that reputation and ease of doing business was a major factor in selecting new destinations and venues.  “Like Maritz Global Events, AEG and its global teams recognise that when you continue to provide exceptional service with exceptional standards wrapped up in a highly desirable destination, every event will be a success every time. To us, that is the real advantage.”  The International Association for Dental Research’s Director of Meetings, Leslie Zeck, who organises global meetings for more than 4,000 delegates, said both Los Angeles and Hawaii were amongst their top five venues for memorable experiences in North America.  “As global meeting planners, we have extremely high expectations. It is a huge advantage to plan our meetings in venues that are consistently well managed with experienced teams. When you work with an AEG convention center, it gives you the confidence that you can count on. It is more than simply working together; it is a partnership that evolves to building friendships for life.”  As part of the campaign, a specific AEG Advantage website www.aegadvantage.com has been established. Not only does it outline the features and benefits of each of AEG’s world class convention centers, it serves as a portal for global media to easily access AEG’s latest venue news from around the world. Also, an informative e-newsletter will keep clients abreast of the latest happenings.

    The post AEG announces AEG Advantage to the World appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    IAVM would like to welcome Bryan Lansing as the Guest Experience & Crowd Management Conference’s featured speaker: Bryan is a dynamic speaker and generational junkie who uses humor and poignant personal stories to impact lives and bridge gaps in the workplace and marketplace. Bryan has been speaking for over 10 years in front of a wide variety of audiences including Target, 3M and General Mills. Regardless of who is in the room, he delivers with a fun, dynamic style that can capture the attention of any audience. As a representative of the Millennial generation, Bryan strives to combat Millennial fatigue and show that just because the newest generation works differently doesn’t mean they don’t work just as hard. He is a generational bridge builder who expertly paints the picture of who each generation is, why they behave the way they do, and what traits they bring to the workplace. With his energy, positivity, and professional poise, Bryan lights up the stage and delivers insightful strategies that create meaningful change long after he’s left the stage. Four distinct generations are working together shoulder to shoulder, each with a unique set of attitudes, values and work styles. It used to be that older workers were bosses and younger ones took orders. Now, roles are all over the map and rules are being rewritten. Organizations are feeling the pain of generations as they struggle to manage productivity and morale while maintaining high standards of quality and service in a challenging economy. Bryan’s GuestX session will give you the tools to convert this form of diversity from an obstacle into an opportunity.  

    The post GuestX’s Feature Speaker: Bryan Lansing appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    The Queensland Government has re-appointed AEG Ogden as managers of the award winning Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) for a five year period from 1 July 2017, together with a five year option. AEG Ogden, the leading venue management company in the Asia Pacific with venues throughout Australia, Asia and the Middle East, has managed BCEC since its opening in 1995. The re-appointment of AEG Ogden as venue managers, acknowledges the effectiveness of the management of the Centre which this year was voted The World’s Best Convention Centre by the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), in July 2016 confirming Queensland’s reputation as a world-class destination for globally recognized conferences and events. Queensland’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad said, “It’s wonderful news that BCEC will again be in these capable hands. Since it was built on part of the former World Expo site, the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre has been a centerpiece venue for the people of Brisbane, Queensland – and in a very real sense, the world. BCEC continues to be a major contributor to boosting Queensland’s economy.” During 21 years of successful and continuous operation, BCEC has hosted 18,000 events and 14 million guests delivering $3.87 billion in economic benefit to Queenslanders. The Centre’s financial performance has been outstanding, funding operating and asset management costs from profits since opening, and continues with the Centre celebrating its biggest October ever this year. The October performance follows very strong monthly results delivering its best ever results for the first four months of a financial year during the Centre’s 21 year history. In an increasingly competitive environment, BCEC is looking at strong future growth having secured 140 new conventions for Brisbane during the 2015/16 Financial Year with 1,400 future bookings right through to the year 2029 bringing more than 900,000 guests and an added economic benefit of $1billion. AEG Ogden Chairman and CEO, Harvey Lister paid tribute to management and staff at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on securing a long-term extension to manage the venue.  “Bob O’Keeffe and his team have been committed to providing world-class and innovative service over many years, culminating in winning the most prestigious award possible in the highly competitive business events industry earlier this year.  “AEG Ogden’s re-appointment as venue manager for a further 10 years is testament to their hard work and professionalism, and we look forward to working with all major stakeholders in ensuring Brisbane continues to attract events which in turn contribute significantly to the local economy,” Mr. Lister said. BCEC General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe said key factors in the continued performance success of the Centre included the extended industry knowledge and expertise of its many loyal and long term staff, uncompromising focus on high standards of personal service and being able to create opportunities and innovate. “The re-appointment of AEG Ogden as Managers heralds an exciting new era for the Centre, shaping a future BCEC and building on 21 years of experience excellence and culture of innovation with a strategic plan for growth to enhance our industry leadership.” As the major driver of Business Events to Queensland, BCEC will continue to promote Brisbane and the South Bank Convention Precinct to the national and international business events market as part of its destination marketing activities. Key Points Australia’s most awarded Convention Centre with 160 awards. Named Worldwide Convention Centre Team of the Year by the international publication Conference & Incentive Travel Host of the 2014 G20 Leaders Summit, acknowledged as the ‘Best Ever’ in the history of the Summit BCEC collaborates with Brisbane’s universities and research institutes through its very successful BCEC Convention Advocates Partnership – an elite group of leading scientists and researchers who help to attract international scientific meetings to Brisbane – resulting in 71 new scientific conferences for Brisbane with an economic benefit to Queensland of $90.7 million Developed concept of Inaugural Events, creating conferences which have Brisbane as their home base Newly created World of Drones Congress (WoDC) – a recurring international forum  for business, governments and investors – Developing the Drone Economy in the Asia Pacific. Drone technology is expected to change the way we live, work and play in the next five years and beyond. Managed by AEG Ogden, the leading venue operators in the Asia Pacific, a Queensland based company.   Testimonials: Professor Ian Frazer, University of Queensland, foundation member of the Centre’s Advocate Partnership: “This initiative by your team at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre has been an outstanding success and continues to develop and deliver to the people of Queensland, creating legacies into the future. The caliber and commitment of the BCEC Team in partnering with the scientific, research and business communities in nurturing international collaboration is not only important for Queensland but for Australia” Professor Peter Soyer, University of Queensland – Dermatology Research Centre: “These meetings have brought in millions of dollars in economic benefit to our city and state, but not just in terms of delegate spend, somewhat more importantly these conferences nurture opportunity to develop essential relationships with key academic and industry partners around the world and highlight Brisbane’s leading strengths across medical science  and technology.” Mr. Daniel Gschwind, Queensland Tourism Industry Council: “With the quality and consistency of service you deliver at BCEC, our destination has been positioned as a competitive host for events, meetings and conventions.”     Enquiries: Gail Sawyer, Marketing and Communications Manager T: +61 7 3308 3023 M: 0439 733 509 E: gails@bcec.com.au Date published: December 2016 About BCEC: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is owned by South Bank Corporation and proudly managed by leading international venue management specialists AEG Ogden. About AEG Ogden: AEG Ogden is part of AEG Facilities of the United States, a division of AEG, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company. AEG Ogden manages venues throughout the Asia Pacific and Middle East, including convention and exhibition centers in Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Kuala Lumpur, Oman, and the ICC Sydney; Suncorp […]

    The post AEG OGDEN Re-appointed as Managers of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    Dean Dennis is a 20-year veteran in the convention center world and has seen and done a lot, but his newest professional opportunity is one that has him excited as he prepares to lead the 600,000-square-feet Atlantic City Convention Center. “I consider it a real honor to be tapped by Spectra to make the move to Atlantic City,” said Dennis, who arrives from the Owensboro (KY) Convention Center that he opened in 2014. “My 20-plus years of experience in the hospitality and venue industry have provided the skill set I feel is essential to managing a venue the size and scope of Atlantic City. Having spent most all of those years with Spectra, I know well the valuable resources our company offers and the synergies I can build upon with our other similarly-sized managed venues.” As the new general manager, Dennis will be responsible for supervision and oversight of the convention center as well as Boardwalk Hall. He will serve under the direction of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), the state’s key economic development agency for Atlantic City, which oversees the center through Spectra’s contract. “Atlantic City is a fantastic meeting destination and I look forward to creating partnerships and enhancing the existing efforts of the CRDA, Meet AC and our Spectra Team,” Dennis said. “I am also very excited about participating in the upcoming capital improvements planned for the center to ensure it remains competitive and a top destination in the meetings industry.” Prior to Owensboro, Dennis served as vice president of the Pueblo Convention & Visitors’ Council and president of the Tourism Industry Association of Colorado. As he leaves Owensboro for Atlantic City, Dennis spoke fondly of his experience in Kentucky. “It has been a privilege to be involved with such a wonderful and progressive community,” he said. “My wife, Michelle, and I moved to Owensboro in early 2012 to open the new venue and we have created wonderful friendships which will certainly be missed. Stepping aside from my business development role into an operations role for Spectra was a great move for me. I have enjoyed creating a great team of employees and organizational structure to deliver quality service and exceed expectations for our clients.”

    The post Dean Dennis Excited About New Atlantic City Position appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    Tammy Koolbeck, executive director of the Venuworks-managed Iowa State Center, announced the promotion of Holly Boman to director of marketing. Boman has more than 15 years of experience in advertising, marketing and management and is deserving of the promotion, according to Koolbeck. “Holly has been an integral part of our staff since VenuWorks assumed management of the Iowa State Center,” Koolbeck said. “She stepped up to take on more responsibility earlier this fall and earned this promotion with her creativity and work ethic.” Boman joined the marketing team at the Iowa State Center in 2014 and quickly advanced to the role of director of marketing. Prior to her position at the Iowa State Center, Boman served in management positions with the Des Moines Register and the Daily Tribune, responsible for managing classified and retail sales teams, training and budgeting. As marketing director at the Iowa State Center, Boman will oversee marketing operations, while guiding the definition and demonstration of VenuWork’s vision for the center. Meanwhile, Let There Be Rice Krispie Treats in Ames! Speaking of Iowa State University, a goodwill gesture is to present the performers (such as Brian Setzer pictured with executive director Tammy Koolbeck) with special Rice Krispie treats when they visit Stephens Auditorium on the Ames, Iowa, campus. Iowa State Alumnus Mildred Day and friend Malitta Jensen invented the delicious treat in 1939. It took the pair nearly two weeks to perfect the recipe that would become the promotional vehicle for Rice Krispies cereal! The famous recipe was published on the cereal box 75 years ago, and the original recipe has never changed. Fun Fact: Back in 2001, Iowa State University took over the record of making the world’s largest Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treat. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and volunteers helped create the 2,480 pounds treat.

    The post Holly Boman Named Director of Marketing at Iowa State Center; Rice Krispie Treats in Ames! appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    Ungerboeck Software announced the launch of a venue-focused, e-commerce solution for exhibitor sales and service. The Exhibitor Service Center works to increase the volume and value of exhibitor orders while simultaneously improving communication with exhibitors and operations alike. “Exhibitors are demanding a true Amazon-type experience while buying their services and I am excited that our venue customers will now be delivering that,” said Ungerboeck Software CEO Manish Chandak. “This product puts venues back in the driver’s seat in terms of exhibitor sales and revenue. With marketplace features like this, it’s just an incredible opportunity to open the floodgates on a whole new revenue stream.” Services like electrical, internet, security, rigging and items such as furniture and catering are presented via a branded website with a familiar, Amazon-like user experience. Recommendations, suggestions, required services, related upgrades and bundled packages make upsells and cross-sells easy and natural, while the ability to designate featured items draws attention to best-sellers and offerings with higher profit margins. Easy access to important information like deadlines for advance and standard pricing cutoffs, item descriptions and instructions cuts down on time-intensive back and forth with exhibitors, while the immediate availability of submitted orders in both the Ungerboeck database and to the operations team eliminates confusion with venue staff. “The real value of the solution is that it ties the front-end experience to all of order processing including payments, inventory, item placement and delivery times,” said Ungerboeck Vice President of Product Marketing Shannon Terrill. “Just in the short time it’s been available to our Beta users and early adopters, there have been some significant year-over-year increases in exhibitor sales and satisfaction – and this is all as they’ve spent less time and energy focused on exhibitor sales and service.”

    The post Ungerboeck Software Launches New E-Commerce Product for Exhibitor Sales & Service appeared first on International Association of Venue Managers.


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    Imagine packing the power of 14 cell towers inside a single convention facility. That’s exactly what the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has accomplished at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) with the launch of one of the nation’s largest Neutral-Host Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) throughout the property. Through a partnership with Cox Business/Hospitality Network and InSite Wireless Group, LLC, clients and guests visiting the LVCC will benefit from state-of-the-art wireless voice and data cellular services that are now being transported over the new DAS. This development will provide wireless subscribers a better convention experience as they navigate the LVCC’s 3.2 million square feet, or roughly 26 football fields, of space. “Today’s world is a wireless world, and to provide a first-rate customer experience, we have to have the infrastructure to ensure visitors have seamless coverage and service,” said Hugh Sinnock, LVCVA’s vice president of customer experience. “Investments like this will continue to provide our clients with the best possible tools for conducting business.” “With the support of our partners at InSite, we’ve constructed a neutral host DAS infrastructure that will provide reliable, high-speed cellular connectivity within the Las Vegas Convention Center,” said Derrick R. Hill, vice president of Cox Business and Hospitality Network in Las Vegas. “As a result, cell providers will be able to give their customers improved coverage and this will enhance the overall convention center experience for attendees and guests.” In addition to the center’s existing high-density Wi-Fi network, the capacity of the new cellular DAS is immense. With an ability to deliver service to more than 100,000 guests simultaneously, visitors to the LVCC can expect faster download speeds on their smartphones than typically provided on most corporate networks Four major U.S. wireless carriers have signed agreements to launch this service. The system can simultaneously accommodate traffic from all of the participating wireless carriers; serving the exploding wireless voice and data demands that are common at today’s high attendance, technology-rich trade shows and events. The approximately $18 million DAS project took three years to plan and 10 months to build. The job was so large that four separate installation contractors split up the work, tackling different areas of the campus simultaneously. In addition, various specialized construction trades from HVAC to electrical to fire suppression to custom fabricated steelwork were used to support the massive equipment and antenna infrastructure.

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  • 12/20/16--04:37: Happy Holidays from IAVM
  • It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us. Where did this past year go? It would be great if we had the space to reflect on all of the incredible things that you, our members, have accomplished this past year. So let me just say that in our newsletter of 2017, we will be doing a year-in-review presentation. As our thoughts turn to gathering our families around us during this time of giving, your staff at IAVM wishes you a very happy and healthy holiday season… With time to reflect on all of the wonderful experiences we collectively have had in our industry, your IAVM family thanks you for inspiring others, becoming better leaders, and creating personal and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. Happy holidays, and may your days be merry and bright!

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    December marked AEG Facilities and the City of Los Angeles three-year anniversary of a successful partnership. The private and public entities have worked together to reinvigorate the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) and turn it into an excellent economic driver for downtown Los Angeles. Key highlights of the three-year partnership include record-breaking financial results, surpassing the City’s goal of building a financial reserve, new sales and marketing initiatives, and capital improvement projects upgrading the building. On December 8, 2013, AEG Facilities assumed management of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Since the transition, the LACC has reported increasing operating profits every fiscal year from $1.7 million in the first year of management to $8.1 million in 2016. In the span of three years, AEG Facilities has generated an operating profit of over $11.8 million after reimbursing the City of Los Angeles $4.6 million for the Department of Convention & Tourism Development (CTD) overhead. Additionally, AEG Facilities has surpassed the City’s initial goal of building a financial reserve of $2.1 million in five years with $6.1 million at the conclusion of 2016. “The financial accomplishments of the Los Angeles Convention Center in these past three years are testament to an effective and efficient public/private partnership,” said Bud Ovrom, executive director of the Los Angeles Department of Convention & Tourism Development (CTD). “Revenues are up, expenditures are down and we have turned a profit every year. This is a partnership that is flourishing and we have the stats to prove it.” The financial success of the LACC is due to key operational improvements with increases in revenue from parking, food and beverage, event rental, and related revenues. Since LACC’s transition to private management, AEG Facilities has developed a new approach to sales and marketing of the center. The convention center’s brand was re-launched via a new website and a more entrepreneurial approach has led to more events being booked. The LACC and the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LATCB) continue to successfully interface and partner to book citywide conventions and special events which provide a significant economic impact to the City of Los Angeles. Through this partnership, the number of citywide conventions has increased over 86% from the three years prior. “The relationships between Los Angeles Department of Convention & Tourism Development, AEG Facilities, and the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board have never been better,” said Jon Vein, president, board of Los Angeles Convention & Tourism Development Commissioners. “We have worked collaboratively in marketing and sales and after three years have seen our efforts result in increases in citywide convention bookings that drive material revenue/economic impact to the City of Los Angeles.”  Additionally, filming revenue from commercial, television, and feature film shoots has increased by over 20%, with over 100 film projects booked from 2013 to 2016. In regards to marketing, all social media channels for the LACC have consistently grown to support clients and the LACC brand. The LACC has also developed interactive floorplans and virtual tours, accessible on the improved website, that serve as helpful tools to meeting planners and clients. Reaching $6.1 million in reserves and creating substantial operating surplus has created the opportunity to take on imperative capital and alteration and improvement projects. Between 2014 and the conclusion of this calendar year, $30 million will have been invested in the convention center in the form of completed and in-progress capital improvement and alterations projects funded through the City of Los Angeles and the annual operating surplus achieved through AEG Facilities’ management of the LACC. A few of these projects include the addition of 190 security cameras installed throughout the facility along with a modernized security command center, 20 magnetometers to further elevate safety and security procedures, installation of water saving toilets and urinals, carpet replacement in public spaces, and the re-landscaping of turf with 30,000 square feet of native and drought-tolerant vegetation to conserve water and aid with the Los Angeles drought, among other projects. “In accordance with best business practices, we believe in appropriating our operating surplus toward sustaining and improving the LACC facility,” said Brad Gessner, general manager of the convention center and senior vice president at AEG Facilities. “Since 2013, the LACC has completed and/or is in progress of over 40 capital and alteration and improvement projects to provide a modern, safe, environmentally conscientious, and competitive facility.”   

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  • 12/22/16--06:07: Your Membership, Your Future
  • IAVM has many resources available to our members, from our online member forum, VenueNet, to our Live Safety & Security training programs. We continue to develop important initiatives such as the Exhibitions & Meetings Safety & Security Initiative (EMSSI), an electrical power management program, and an economic impact calculator, all aimed at offering our members standards and best practices.  IAVM members are a global community of like-minded professionals that manage multi-million dollar venues and provide products and services that are instrumental in delivering exceptional experiences to millions of guests each year. IAVM has brought together thousands of brilliant individuals who have exchanged business ideas and are now better professionals because of the networking, education, and sharing of best practices. But IAVM is more – we are a family – connections that begin between peers and colleagues but quickly grow into friendships. This is what makes IAVM membership unique. We have overcome some real challenges in 2016, yet have generated many accomplishments, which will be shared with you in the weekly newsletter, IAVM News, in early January. Challenges are what make us strong, and overcoming those challenges are what make us stronger. So we choose to celebrate our successes, and we choose to celebrate you, our members. Without your continued support and dedication, IAVM would not be the diverse, respectable, and relevant association it is today.  For that, we thank you. And as we evolve and look forward to next year, ensure you have access to the resources that make you exceptional in the venue management profession!

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    The Spectra Venue Management managed-Owensboro (KY) Convention Center announced the promotion of some current staff and welcomes some new members to their Owensboro team. Jared “Buddy” McCarter has been promoted to executive chef. Always having had an interest in food, McCarter completed the Culinary Arts program at OCTC and went on to work as the Sous Chef at the Campbell Club for three years before joining the Owensboro Convention Center team in 2015 as Sous Chef. “I am looking forward to a long and productive career with the Owensboro Convention Center,” McCarter said about his new position. Jim Riggs is now the director of the Owensboro Sportscenter. Riggs is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University. He has managed a number of professional sports teams in the East Coast Hockey League, Central Hockey League, American Hockey League, and Arena Football 2 before coming to Owensboro. He has also served as a sales and marketing consultant for a number of teams in both the United States and Canada. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help grow the Sportscenter and bring a number of new events to the facility,” he said. Cody Thomas is a new event supervisor. Thomas has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Management from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Western Kentucky University. Previous experiences included being president of Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity, event coordinator with Owensboro’s Chapter of U.S. Bank Development Network, and interning with the Kentucky Mavericks. Caleb Farkas joins the Owensboro Convention Center staff as the new ticketing manager and will oversee all ticketed events on OwensboroTickets.com. Farkas is originally from Muskegon, Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University with his Bachelor of Applied Arts in Sport Studies. He has worked in ticketing for the sports and live entertainment industries for the past seven years including collegiate athletics, professional sports, and live events and shows. Most recently he worked for IMG in Coral Gables, Florida as a box office manager overseeing the ticketing for a variety of events; including PGA and LPGA golf events.

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    The Saratoga Springs (NY) City Center Authority Board announced the appointment of Ryan McMahon as the new executive director of the Saratoga Springs City Center. McMahon begins his new position on January 1 and replaces Mark Baker, the venue’s only executive director since it opened in 1984. McMahon has been with the venue since 2011 as operations manager and in fact will spend a busy New Year’s Eve as some regional bands will perform in three different rooms at the venue before being ushered outside at midnight for a fireworks gala. Even that event bears some familiarity for McMahon as prior to coming to Saratoga Springs he was the director of the Times Center, the New York Times’ premier performance, events and convention venue in Times Square. “It will be a busy night, that’s for sure,” McMahon said. “We will have several thousand people coming through during the course of the night. It’s a big city celebration and quite a way for me to transition.” After working at the venue for better than five years, McMahon has a strong sense of the challenges and opportunities before him. “Our website needs an overhaul,” he said in talking about challenges. “We are going to look at technology. We know we need to establish a greater social media presence. We are very fortunate that our bookings are strong going forward. While we are working on a marketing campaign, it is not really going to be for the immediate future, but more for 2018 and 2019. “We know that we are facing some other challenges. New York state has a bunch of new casinos coming online and one is about 30 minutes up the road in Albany. There is also a new convention center opening up in downtown Albany. So we have some new competition. I think our position is really strong, though. We can offer something that really no one else can which is a safe, walkable city with a robust business downtown.” As for the City Center’s business activity, McMahon cited the strength of several state associations and conferences that choose to meet at his venue. “We are close enough to Albany and kind of central in the state itself, so a lot of state associations come here,” he said. “That has been the lynchpin of this business. As with every convention center, it’s about driving hotel rooms.” McMahon noted that when the City Center opened in 1984, Saratoga was primarily known as a summer tourist town with a big race track presence. “The legend was you could shoot a cannonball down Broadway and not hit anyone,” he said. Baker and the venue proceeded to turn tourism into a year-round happening, thanks in large part to Baker’s many civic involvements to help drum business for the venue. “Mark’s contributions to the community have just been outstanding,” McMahon said. “He has always been at the forefront when something needs to be done in town.” McMahon plans to continue the proud legacy. His wife, Colleen Parker McMahon, is a Saratoga native. “I said to my wife that I loved what I was doing in New York City, but there are so many people there,” McMahon said. “I wanted to be some place where what I am doing matters to the community, not that it didn’t matter in New York, of course. But it’s hard to find a better position than working at the Saratoga City Center and the town of Saratoga. “We said that there are three variables in life: what you do, what you make and where you live. Most people average those out but we decided to spike where you live as high as we could and work the rest out from there. It’s the best recipe for success I can think of.”

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    Oak View Group (OVG) announced the acquisition of Venues Today, a leading live entertainment and venue trade publication and media company. In addition to the acquisition, award-winning live entertainment journalist Ray Waddell has joined OVG as senior vice president of media and conferences. In his new role, Waddell will oversee the Venues Today print publication, venuestoday.com, the e-newsletter, VTPulse, as well as the company’s directories and conferences. Venues Today founder, publisher and editor Linda Deckard will remain with the publication and continue to lead the newsroom as publisher. “Venues Today is the voice of record for our industry and a key acquisition for OVG in bolstering our media portfolio,” said OVG CEO Tim Leiweke. “Linda is an icon in this business and has built an incredible brand, and with Ray now at the helm the potential to grow that brand and its reach is unlimited.” “I’ll always be grateful to Billboard for providing me the opportunity to cover this dynamic industry, and I wish nothing but the best for the brand going forward,” added Waddell. “If I’ve learned anything in covering this business, it’s that change is to be embraced, and I am thrilled to play a role in the game-changing vision of Tim Leiweke and the incredible OVG team. Stay tuned!” During his three decade run with Billboard, Waddell spearheaded the trade’s successful touring conference in addition to leading its coverage of the industry. With OVG, Waddell will oversee OVG’s move into the media and event sector and look to build out a robust conference program under the Venues Today brand. “This is a tremendous opportunity not only for us to work with visionaries such as Tim and Ray, but to experience powerful growth for the Venues Today brand by tapping into OVG’s resources and expertise,” said Deckard. The news of OVG acquiring Venues Today follows the company’s recent investment in sports technology media company SportTechie in November.

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    The biography for Peter Sagal, the keynote speaker at this year’s Performing Arts Managers Conference (PAMC) from February 26-March 1, lists him as an acclaimed radio host, author and humorist. You might want to add salesman to the plaudits as the Chicago resident readily shares what will make this year’s 25th annual PAMC a special and memorable one in the Windy City. “I’ve been pretty much everywhere in America, but I think Chicago is the finest city in the country,” the host of National Public Radio’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! unabashedly confides during a telephone interview. “If the weather wasn’t so awful, everyone else would think so, too.” See, we told you he is a humorist. “In terms of one of the reasons that people live in the city, Chicago has got it all,” he continued. “It is a huge ethnic melting pot. There are so many communities to be a part of that makes it incredibly rich as a civic body. I have never been in another city with a better arts scene. We have created outstanding civic support.” As a New Jersey native who also spent time living in Los Angeles, Sagal is at home in Chicago and is the host of a radio show heard by more than three million people every week, broadcast on 450 public radio stations nationwide and via a popular webcast. The show received the prestigious Peabody Award in 2008, the same year it celebrated its 10th anniversary. “The main thing about Chicago in terms of its performing arts scene is you have a tremendous pool of talent and there is enough work here to support them,” he said. “It has a great economic balance between actors and artists to perform and live and work here, but mainly it has an audience. “For example, I lived in Los Angeles for a while. There are a lot of very talented performers there. You might think why aren’t they doing more theater? The answer is nobody (hardly) goes to the theater in LA. There’s just not an audience unless you are famous at something. “In Chicago, there is a vibrant and interested and excited audience of people who are not necessarily in the business but just like going out to see things. They support a whole bunch of theaters, large ones, small ones, medium ones. It’s wonderful to be in the city where performers are performing not just for their friends or for professional affiliations but for an actual engaged civilian audience.” While Sagal sells Chicago, attendees at this year’s PAMC will be sold on Sagal. The interview continues next week with a look at his theater background and lifelong love for the arts.

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    Claude Molinari, general manager of SMG/Cobo Center, announced the completion of a $2 million technology upgrade for Cobo Center. The work includes an upgraded Nortel core switch that distributes the Wi-Fi signal and along with several new Nortel edge switches located throughout the center. “For the visitors that use our Wi-Fi network, these upgrades will be like moving from a one lane highway to a three lane super-speedway,” Molinari said. System improvements also include upgrading Wi-Fi access points to 802.11ac Aruba APs and increasing the number of APs to 400 throughout the facility. The network location of APs and configuration will be remapped based on events’ anticipated high use of Wi-Fi in specific areas. This pre-planning creates design cost-effective networks that support uninterrupted digital services while minimizing cross-channel interference that can result from excessive and disorganized access points. The organic design smooths out the user’s experience and gives them “more on ramps” to the network. These Wi-Fi upgrades will allow 32,000 simultaneous users on the network. With device/client counts increasing every year for Cobo, the wireless continues to process ever increasing amounts of bandwidth per device/client and the upgrades will assure a fluid user experience. Some Cobo event Wi-Fi traffic examples include: 2016 SEIU: 6,516 unique clients, 1.8TB of data traffic 2016 NAIAS Press Week: 14,640 unique clients, 3.06TB of data traffic 2015 NAIAS Press Week: 9000 unique clients, 1.3TB of data traffic Discovery during pre-event planning for a show in Cobo Center may reveal estimated high usage, in which case, the Technology Services department is prepared to add more APs to smooth out the user’s experience and allow for a greater number of guests and their wireless devices to access the Internet at ever-increasing speeds. Visitor use of WiFi service has always been free throughout Cobo Center. To create a more flexible WiFi network, the ClearPass Access Management System was installed to create an integrated platform, allow coherence of private networks and create a WiFi splash page for the facility-wide “CoboFree” WiFi network, that will require users to click through a splash page designed to highlight sponsors or include advertisers, thus generating event revenue.

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