Author Archives: admin

Annual statistics: 2017 the most successful year to date for convention business in Berlin

Net value added generated by the conference and congress market exceeds 1 billion euro for the first time

Number of overnight stays at hotels rises to around 8 million

Constant growth in attendance figures and events

Congress business in Berlin remains on course for success: in 2017, around 11.7 million participants (+ 1 per cent compared to 2016) came to 140,200 events (+ 2 per cent) in Berlin. For the first time, the conference and congress market generated a net value added of more than one billion euro. These figures come from the current congress statistics* of the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin.

“Congress business is an important economic factor for Berlin,” says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin. “Internationally, our city is among the top group – and as yet demand has remained unbroken. In order to maintain this success, we must continue to create attractive offers in Berlin.”

The number of overnight stays rose to 7.9 million last year, an increase of 2.6 per cent compared to 2016. A quarter of all overnight stays at hotels in Berlin can thus be attributed to the congress business.

Every fourth event is a medical congress

Berlin is a sought-after location for medical events: more than a quarter of all conferences and congresses can be attributed to the sector “Medical, Pharmaceuticals and Health Science”. This is followed by the sectors “IT/Digital Economy” and “Politics/Public Institution” with eleven per cent each. Germany remains the most important market for Berlin, Great Britain and the USA/Canada, follow in second and third place.

The congress industry secures more than 43,000 jobs

The total turnover of the conference and congress industry amounts to 2.51 billion euro. Participants staying overnight spend considerably more money with 246 euro per day than in the previous year (2016: 237 euro). 43,200 full-time jobs are secured by the conference and convention business in Berlin (2016: 41,500).

For more information on Berlin, go to convention. visitBerlin. com.

*Source: Congress statistics in 2017 from the independent market research company ghh consult GmbH on behalf of visitBerlin.


Long-time Hyatt Regency chef to lead resort’s food and beverage program, including impressive new dinner buffet

HONOLULU, HI  – Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa’s General Manager Doug Sears announces the appointment of Jeffrey Szombaty as Executive Chef and the timely debut of The Buffet at Hyatt. With close to two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Szombaty joins the resort from Hyatt Regency Vancouver, where he served as Executive Chef for three years. Before his move to British Columbia, Szombaty served as Executive Sous Chef at Hyatt Regency Waikiki from 2010 to 2014.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Szombaty back to the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa family,” remarked Sears. “Jeff’s passion for indigenous, seasonal products, as well as sustaining relationships with local farmers and vendors, is evident in his style of cuisine, which focuses on simplicity and clarity of flavors. We are lucky to have Chef Szombaty back on the island to lead our culinary team and to introduce The Buffet at Hyatt.”

In his new role, Chef Szombaty has spearheaded the resort’s newest venue, The Buffet at Hyatt. With a focus on sustainability and delicious, organic options only available in Hawaii, The Buffet will be available from 5:30pm – 9:30pm nightly on the third floor of Diamond Head Tower. Menu highlights include a made-to-order poke station and sushi, Kauai shrimp, fresh local fish, kiawe smoked alaea salt crusted prime rib, southern king crab legs with Hyatt’s famous Singaporean chili crab sauce, certified angus grilled beef, traditional Hawaiian specialties, extravagant dessert selections, and more, with gluten free and vegetarian options throughout and an expanded seafood selection on weekends. Szombaty is committed to offering a unique array of choices for travelers from across the globe, with a special focus on local produce, organic ingredients, and a connection to Hawaiian culture. The Buffet at Hyatt will also feature a selection of curated cocktails, including the Hana Passion (Cruzan Rum, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, orange juice, piña colada mix), Waikiki Mule (Absolut elyx, lilikoi puree, ginger beer), and South Shor (Cruzan Mango, Southern Comfort, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine). The Buffet at Hyatt menus can be found here, and the full drink menu is included here.

A New Jersey native, Szombaty began his culinary career early in life, working in professional kitchens starting at age 16. He first joined the Hyatt community in 2000 as a Cook at the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA. He moved up the ranks to Banquet Chef in 2007 and transferred to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago in that same role in 2008. It was from Chicago that Szombaty moved to Waikiki to work as Executive Sous Chef under Sven Ulrich, and it is with great excitement that he is welcomed back to the resort.

About Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa

Balanced between the idyllic beauty of the legendary Waikiki Beach and the dynamic city center, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is a vibrant destination combining relaxation and adventure with true Hawaiian hospitality. Each of the 1,230 guestrooms, including 19 suites, offers Hawaiian elegance and private lanai with panoramic beach, mountain, and city views. With an unrivaled location just steps from world-famous waves, the resort affords effortless exploration of the island’s attractions, from Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu Zoo, and Waikiki Aquarium, to world-class shopping, sophisticated dining and expert surfing lessons. Offering endless amenities including luxurious treatments at the 10,000 square-foot Na Ho’ola Spa, StayFit Fitness Center, swimming pool overlooking Waikiki Beach, one of Waikiki’s biggest breakfast buffets at SHOR, steak and island seafood at Japengo, tropical cocktails at SWIM, and more than 60 boutiques on site. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach promises Hawaiian-style excitement paired with the warmth of authentic Aloha spirit.

For more information regarding Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, please contact the resort by phone at (808) 923-1234, or visit the resort website at:

About Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency offers a full range of services and facilities tailored to serve the needs of meeting planners, business travelers and leisure guests. Properties range in size from 180 to over 2,000 rooms and are conveniently located in urban, suburban, airport, convention and resort destinations around the world. Hyatt Regency convention hotels feature spacious meeting and conference facilities designed to provide a productive environment allowing guests to convene and connect. Hyatt Regency hotels in resort locations cater to couples seeking a getaway, families enjoying a vacation together and corporate groups seeking a functional and relaxed atmosphere in which to conduct business and meetings.

MinnSPIN is Coming to the Twin Cities March 7

First Daylong Event for Twin Cities Branch

SPIN (Senior Planners Industry Network) Twin Cities branch is holding a daylong conference for senior meeting industry professionals on March 7.  The content has been developed to target the busy senior-level planner who needs professional development close to home. “We realize that not all of our members can travel to attend conferences, so we are bringing the education and networking to them,” said Linda Hurtley, SPIN’s Regional Director, Central Region and Advisory Board Member.

“Our team focused on topics that appeal to our audience – folks who have been in the industry for more than 10 years and need that next level of discussion,” remarked Dana Ellis, SPIN:Twin Cities Branch President. Topics to be covered include “Contract Management” with Kelly Everhart, “Stories that Sell” with Phil Gerbyshak, a “Laugh and Learn” session led by the Brave New Workshop Team (venue host), “The Chemistry of Conversations that Build Trust” with Mary Schmid and “Build Efficiency and Fill Your Toolbox” with Sean Schuette.

Registration Open Now

Registration is open to member and non-member industry professionals (planners and suppliers who have at least 10 years’ experience). SPIN:Twin Cities is encouraging SPIN members from other branches who might be in town to sign up too! Register here.

About SPIN

SPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network is the world’s largest association for senior-level planners. SPIN has recently invited all hospitality professionals who have at least 10 years of experience to join their ranks.



Jené Iceberg, sales manager for the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is among an elite group of individuals recently announced by the Events Industry Council as members of the newest class of Certified Meeting Professionals (CMPs). The prestigious, internationally acknowledged meeting management certification program is recognized as a badge of excellence throughout the events, meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry. Iceberg received her certification after passing a rigorous examination and evaluation based on her professional experience and education. CMPs are considered leading experts in their field.

“We are thrilled that Jené continues to be recognized for her hard work and dedication to meeting planning and management,” said Meagan McGuire, vice president of sales and services of the Seattle Southside RTA. “Jené’s expertise benefits both our key stakeholders in Seattle Southside and the groups and events from around the country that we have the pleasure to host and serve throughout the year.”

In 2017, Iceberg was named “Rookie of the Year” by Meeting Professional International (MPI) and received a Shining Star award for her active community involvement. She served as the chair for the Washington chapter’s annual auction, successfully coordinating a team of volunteers to execute the successful event.

In her two-and-a-half-year tenure with Seattle Southside RTA, Iceberg has focused on bringing meeting and event planners to the region, as well as educating industry professionals on the services a destination marketing organization (DMO) can provide. She works closely with many local industry associations, volunteering her time to various committees.

Iceberg is currently working on obtaining her Professional in Destination Management (PDM) certificate from Destinations International. She is also a founding board member of the Seattle chapter of Young Travel Professionals and has rebuilt the group to provide opportunities for industry professionals to develop their careers, network and continue influencing the travel industry.

About the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority

The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is the official destination marketing organization for Seattle Southside. The organization is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal destination for leisure and business travelers who wish to explore Western Washington and for meeting and event planners to hold their functions. The Seattle Southside RTA is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. For more information, please visit or call (877) 885-9452.


AHLA Announces 2018 Officers & Board of Directors Slate

Notable Board Members Represent Full Spectrum of Hotel Industry

 The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today announced its 2018 Board of Directors which includes top industry leaders representing all segments of the industry.

Notably, Dave Johnson, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) Chair and President and CEO of Aimbridge Hospitality joins the current 2018 Officer slate, which includes: Chair, Mark Carrier, President of the B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, Vice Chair Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, Secretary and Treasurer Jon Bortz, Chairman, President & CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, and Jim Abrahamson, who continues to serve as Immediate Past Chair.

Several new industry leaders will also be joining the 2018 Board of Directors. The AHLA Board represents leaders from all sectors of the lodging industry, including brands, owners and REITS, management companies, independents, and state associations.

“I look forward to working together with our officers and incoming Board members, both current and new, to build upon the foundation of the last several years which has seen growing membership engagement, a more financially sound association and a dynamic team to achieve even greater success,” said AHLA Chairman Mark Carrier. “AHLA works to underscore the industry’s tremendous stories of opportunity, growth, innovation and success. Our Board represents the diversity of the entire industry, and both new and returning board members provide critical insight and guidance that will contribute to new success this year.”

“We are excited for the year ahead and all the depth of experience that our board brings to the table and in setting a strong, aggressive agenda,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA. “We are so grateful to our Officers and all the Board members who volunteer their time and energy to ensure that our organization is on a path for success that will bring the industry renewed visibility and one unified voice both in and outside Washington, D.C.”

Additions to the Board of Directors for 2018 are as follows:

Brand Representatives:

Ken Greene, President of the Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Peter Sears, Group President, Americas, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Kevin Frid, Chief Operating Officer, North and Central America, AccorHotels

Alex Tisch, EVP of Commercial and Business Development, Loews Hotels & Co

Management Company Representatives:

Chris Manley, COO, Stonebridge Companies

Owner Representatives:

Greg Juceam, CEO, BRE Hotels & Resorts

Rob Kline, CEO & Co-Founder, The Chartres Lodging Group, LLC

Vera Manoukian, President & COO, Denihan Hospitality

Independent Representatives:

John Campbell, General Manager, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Partner State Association Representatives: 

Eric Terry, President & CEO, Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association

At-Large Representative:

Jagruti Panwala, President & CEO, Wealth Protection Strategies

Click here to view the Board of Directors for 2018.

2017 Sees Record Numbers Endorse PCMA’s Status as the Leading Global Meetings Industry Association

PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) announced strong financial growth and record revenue numbers at the final press conference held during its annual Convening Leaders event, which took place in Nashville, TN at the Music City Center January 7-10, 2018.

Reporting on its membership, there are now more than 7,000 Business Event Strategists globally.  More than half of the PCMA membership body joined approximately 4,500 total attendees at this year’s Convening Leaders.

Financially, PCMA’s revenues have also shown record increases to $19 million USD (from $6 million USD in 2006) with partnership activity contributing $6.5 million USD in 2017. Its revenue streams and brands now include Convening Leaders, ICESAP, the Digital Experience Institute and Convene magazine.

The growth of PCMA has been supported by the PCMA Education Foundation, which has also announced record numbers this week, raising  $1.83 million USD from a range of activities during 2017 with $493,000 USD being awarded in scholarships and grants during the same year.

This record success has grown under Deborah Sexton’s leadership as CEO, a position she has held since 2005. In a recently announced move, Deborah Sexton will hand over as President and CEO to Sherrif Karamat, the current COO. Karamat has worked with Deborah since 2005 and originally joined the organization as vice president of sales in 2003. He became COO in 2008. He officially begins his new role as President and CEO of PCMA on January 19, 2018.

The IMEX Talking Point for 2018 is ‘Legacy’. So, what’s your legacy going to be?

The IMEX Group has announced that its Talking Point for 2018 will be the theme of ‘Legacy’ – a subject expected to resonate strongly with the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry, particularly at IMEX in Frankfurt in May and at IMEX America in October.

Following the successful launch of its annual Talking Point concept last year when ‘Purposeful Meetings’ was the focus, the IMEX Group is continuing this approach in 2018 with ‘Legacy’.

Explaining why the IMEX Group chose ‘Legacy’ for 2018, CEO Carina Bauer said: “As a company whose mission is “to unite and advance the meetings industry, doing everything we can to educate, innovate and help our clients make powerful connections with the right people,” IMEX has a strong, living commitment to the idea of Legacy.”

“While the meetings and events industry has been evolving over the past five years we’ve seen a shift away from planning an event around a ‘single moment in time’ towards planning an event with longer-lasting, more meaningful impacts – impacts that can be seen long after the event has ended. That impact could be on the attendees, the host community, the local innovation economy, the destination partners, the city leadership, the environment or many other areas.”

Five strands will unfold

IMEX’s legacy stories will explore five different angles over the next twelve months: political legacy; knowledge legacy/social impact; CSR legacy; environmental legacy and personal legacy – which means exceptional people doing exceptional things. Each of these will be examined in different ways as the year goes on.

Looking further at how the legacy concept has risen to prominence within the industry and within society, Carina Bauer observes “Developments in technology and, of course, social media, have allowed meeting and event planners to exploit and generate memory, meaning and value far beyond just one meeting or event. Put this together with the emergence of a younger generation of planners and suppliers who have a strong sense of mission and purpose, of making a positive difference through their work, and it becomes clear how ‘Legacy’ has developed and become our Talking Point.”

Recognising personal impact and legacy

Carina Bauer says “Our strapline – ‘Legacy: What’s yours going to be?’ – acknowledges that just one person with a strong vision can make a massive difference – but they don’t have to change the world in a year. Sometimes their legacy lies in getting something started, creating momentum, initiating change or achieving buy-in.

“For the IMEX team itself, ‘Legacy’ is about behaving and planning with a better future in mind – a form of payment in advance combined with a clearly articulated, ‘higher’ purpose for each of its shows.

“In terms of practical takeaways for the industry, we’ve commissioned two important new research reports and case studies and our legacy theme will also shape some of the shows’ education sessions. It will feature in the Policy Forum and Exclusively Corporate programmes at IMEX in Frankfurt and throughout the preshow education days – EduMonday in Frankfurt and Smart Monday at IMEX America. Other elements will be announced as the year progresses”.

Carina Bauer adds: “There is a growing consciousness of the long-term impact we all make on the world that is running throughout our industry, society and among individuals. Our Legacy Talking Point will give that consciousness due recognition.”

Online registration for IMEX in Frankfurt 2018 is open – and free.

Scottsdale Plaza Resort Announces Completion of Renovation

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort announces conclusion of our three year property improvement plan.

2015 saw our Standard Rooms getting a makeover by replacing bathtubs with glassed walled showers,  new flooring throughout vanity and shower area by Heritage Interiors, expanding the closet area / vanity bathroom area with more square footage, new accent chairs for seating area and desk by Living Spaces. New framed vanity lighted mirrors by Electric Mirrors, granite on wet bars and vanities by Arizona Tile and the addition of in-room refrigerators completed the improvements.

In 2016 we conducted upgrades to the Suite Category of rooms which included- all new furniture, artwork and lighting in the living room areas, new in-room charging stations and many of the upgrades that were featured in the standard rooms—like mounted wall televisions, new plumbing fixtures and granite on the wet bars and vanities.

Summer of 2017 we embarked on upgrading all of our common areas-Ball Rooms, Front Desk, Lobby, Meeting Spaces and Rest Rooms. This includes all new furniture, lighting, flooring and wall covering.

We also renamed our Gift Shop- The Market and serve grab n go food and drink, assorted coffees and offer specialty food products from the region as well as offer crafts and gifts from local artists for sale.

We unveiled our new public spaces at an Open House on November 2nd for meeting and events professionals with guided property tours, cocktails and culinary demonstrations and drawings for Room stays.

About Scottsdale Plaza Resort

Situated on 40 lush acres of magnificently landscaped grounds and with over 40,000 square feet of flexible and functional meeting space, the Scottsdale Plaza Resort offers the perfect retreat for business travelers, conventions and special events. With five pools, a full-service spa, on-site tennis courts and championship golf just steps away, the Scottsdale Plaza Resort is the perfect getaway for the family or business group.

For more information visit

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort

A Landmark of Excellence

7200 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

480-948-5000 or 800-832-2025

PCMA Education Foundation Announces the 2018 Visionary Awards Professional Excellence Finalists

NASHVILLE, TN, 10th January 2018; Fifteen individuals will be honored as Professional Excellence Award Finalists at the 2018 Visionary Awards on May 2nd, 2018 at the Marriott Marquis, Washington DC. These awards annually celebrate exceptional individual contributions to the business events industry. The award winners will be announced live during the Awards Show. Registration will open this month to get a ticket for the Visionary Awards – the industry’s premier recognition event.


Meeting Professional of the Year Finalists


Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, President, Association for Women in Events

Carrie, described as passionate, connected, ethical and knowledgeable, has been a meeting professional for almost 15 years. She is the co-founder and current president of the Association for Women in Events, an organization dedicated to showcasing the professional advancement of women in all aspects of the events industry. Through monthly webinars and personal presentations at events, Carrie consistently helps event professionals to connect and share knowledge with each other. She is dedicated to shaking up the industry to ensure women are treated equally alongside their male colleagues.


Wanda Johnson, CMP, CAE, Chief Program Officer, Endocrine Society

Wanda has contributed a huge amount to both the meeting management and healthcare industries, over a 25-year career. To her peers, she’s an inspiring leader they regularly ask for insights, collaboration and capabilities. She’s also considered to be level-headed and strategic in her thinking. Through her continual involvement with PCMA, she has utilized her platform to better the industry; bringing her personality and influence.


Stephanie D. Jones, CAE, CMP, Senior Director, Conferences and Events Management, Water Environment Federation

Stephanie is known for her helpful insights and tips on how to best handle a situation; she has been called a ‘beacon of light’ in the events industry by her peers. She freely shares her knowledge and experience, and is recognized by her team as someone who imparts excellent advice, though Stephanie finds it so natural to share, she’s unaware she’s doing it.



Supplier of the Year Finalists


Mary Beth Baluta, Regional Director of Sales – Washington DC, Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau

Mary is known for her vigorous efforts in liaising with potential clients, convention bureaus and suppliers. She has an infectious positive nature and is a great listener, taking in every detail before offering an idea or possible solution. Mary also shows her dedication to her local PCMA chapter through her volunteer efforts and desire to do whatever is asked of her.



Chris FJ Lynn, Vice President, North America & Emerging Markets –  Business Tourism, London & Partners

Chris is incredibly knowledgeable in the hospitality market and goes the extra mile to ensure that his customers have a great experience. He dedicates time getting to know his customers wants and needs before presenting a bespoke creative solution. Chris also devotes his energy to help elevate PCMA’s New York Area chapter. Despite being its past president, he consistently provides support for the chapter, most recently sponsoring 40 meeting professionals for an event.


April Williams, VP – Business Development, Freeman

April has more than 20 years’ industry experience in sales strategy and technology and regularly demonstrates her professional excellence and exceeds client expectations. She recently helped transform the Endocrine Society event branding from being city-specific, to more value-orientated; aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. She also actively advises her clients to share insights on trends shaping the future, including technology with a purpose, data analytics, personalization and brand experience.


Community Advocate of the Year Award Finalists


Jeff Chase, Vice President of Sustainability, Freeman

Jeff has more than 30 years’ experience in the events and exhibition industry. In 2017, he worked closely with the Consumer Technology Association to advance the organization’s sustainability goals for its annual CES event. Jeff developed and implemented a waste management program to encourage the event’s 3,600 exhibitors to contribute unused supplies, such as tote bags, pens and notepads, as well as reusable building material from the stands, such as furniture and flooring. The Exhibitor Program diverted 19 trailer loads of materials from landfill and donated them to local non-profit organizations, including Teacher Exchange, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and Opportunity Village.


Rachael Riggs, CMP, Manager, Meetings and Conventions Sales – Midwest/Chicago, Tourism Vancouver

Rachael has made incredible fundraising achievements throughout 2017. She single-handedly organized a charity drive for victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, within one week of these destructive events. She gained approval from the tourism board to match the funds that were raised, wrote a press release and issued it, all in one day. Earlier in the year, Rachael organized a charitable component at Global Meetings Industry day, which involved attendees from industry organizations packing 750 ‘clean-the-world’ kits and donating them to several Chicago charities.


Ken Sien, CMP, Director, Strategic Accounts, Experient, A Maritz Global Events Company

Ken helped oversee the Maritz Global Events Human Trafficking Committee, building awareness of its course within Maritz and within the entire global events industry. He was involved in creating a town hall meeting where he introduced the company and key representatives to the app TraffickCam, which seeks to combat sex trafficking. Ken also works to identify deserving organizations in each city that hosts a company event, leading fundraising activities for each.



Event Designer of the Year Finalists

Supported by Maritz Global Events


Phelps R. Hope, CMP, Senior Vice President, Meetings & Expositions, Kellen

Phelps has impressive experience as an event designer, and has helped implement fresh ideas and experiential opportunities to meetings.  Most recently, in October 2017, he redesigned the Girl Scouts Convention in Columbus, Ohio, which resulted in a shorter, more focused, event and a 50 percent increase in registrations.


Laura Metcalf Jelinek, CAE, Associate Vice President – Meetings and Travel, American Osteopathic Association

Laura is known for her creative and innovative approach to events. She recently created an event, which brought together members of the osteopathic industry. Laura used a mixture of music with arts and culture, to create an experiential environment for attendees.  It was described as totally unforgettable.


Lisa VanRosendale, TEDster, Senior Vice President, New Business Development, FreemanXP

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, and was most recently named in M&C’s Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry. Lisa, who is known for her innovative and immersive approach, is also a former TED speaker. Last year, she was responsible for leading a team that successfully organized each aspect of the Siebel Scholars 2017 Conference and in a post-event survey of attendees, 100 percent said they would attend another Siebel conference.


Digital Event Strategist of the Year Finalists

Supported by Meetings + Conventions Calgary


Nicole Armstrong, Vice President, Worldwide Events, MicroStrategy

Nicole is a champion for digital events, which she has demonstrated in her previous job roles as Sr Events Manager and Director of Stakeholder Relations at InternetSociety. This included overseeing the introduction and expansion of a series of digital event experiences for the company. Nicole will continue to utilize these skills in her new position at MicroStrategy.


Todd Helton, MBA, Senior Director, Meetings, Conferences & Online Learning Events, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA)
Todd was one of the pioneering Meeting Professionals who saw the vision and value of Hybrid Live Events, launching the first AICPA Live Streaming Event in 2009. Over the past eight years he has grown the online program exponentially and has devoted a significant amount of time to providing thought leadership in this field. He gives speeches at leading meetings and takes part in industry panels and interviews.


Patrick McCrea, Senior Manager, Digital Events, HIMSS Media

Pat helps provide educational content and thought leadership programs to IT Healthcare Directors, Executives, Managers, and VPs. Through his work, HIMSS remains the leader in the IT Healthcare education space. He has created a solution that has ungated and gated content, a mix of content (editorial vs. sponsorship), and has collecting actionable data to help drive organic growth among subscribers. The solution is working, and makes the ROI valuable for participating sponsors.




About PCMA Education Foundation

The role of the Education Foundation of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the meetings and conventions industry. Established in 1985, the Foundation fuels advancement, nurtures professional development and shapes tomorrow’s meeting and convention leaders. Learn more at .


Please contact Davies Tanner for all PCMA Media Relations and press releases at or +44 1892 619100.



Transformation of Facility to Be Complete in Q4 2019

MEMPHIS – The City of Memphis has officially filed a construction permit for a ground up transformation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center that will kick-off in Q1 2018, and wrap up construction in Q4 2019. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced plans for the project, pending City Council approval, to coincide with the city’s bicentennial year as part of the Bicentennial Gateway.

Located in downtown Memphis, every square inch of the convention center will be touched by this project, bringing hotel quality finishes and modern amenities desired by meeting planners and delegates. LRK of Memphis and tvsdesign have collaborated to develop a design plan that utilizes and enhances the existing facility. Their collective vision will expand the footprint of the building with outdoor terraces and glass enclosed concourses, prefunction and meetings spaces that embrace the river and skyline views, while adding valuable square footage that includes additional breakout meeting rooms. The project will allow the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau to pursue new meeting and convention opportunities, while also allowing shows taking place in the facility on an annual basis to grow with the expansion and renovation.

“This demonstrates our commitment and desire to be competitive in the meetings and conventions market,” said Kevin Kane, President & CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As the destination marketing organization for Memphis and manager of the facility, this has long been a goal of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Memphis Management Group. So much more than an expansion and renovation, this transformation of our facility will aid us in sustaining and growing the tourism and hospitality industry’s impressive annual economic impact.”

“Our administration is reinvesting in the core of our city like we haven’t seen in many years,” said Jim Strickland, Mayor of Memphis. “This is more than simply a renovation – this project will enhance the interior and exterior of the convention center in exciting new ways that take advantage of its location overlooking the Mississippi River.”

To accomplish this vital project that will incorporate public art, add digital wayfidning, create a sense of arrival within the parking structure, and include four additional bays for Main Exhibit Hall load in and load out, the City of Memphis has budgeted $175 million dollars in funds generated by the city’s hotel lodging tax and Downtown Tourism Development Zone. To get an idea of the size and scope of this game changing expansion and renovation, explore a gallery of images by visiting:

– The Memphis Cook Convention Center’s column free Main Exhibit Hall, with more than 125,000 square feet, will feature retractable ceiling lights, upgraded wall finishes and a newly
constructed exterior pre-function concourse overlooking the Mississippi River.
– The expansion will bring the total number of highly flexible breakout rooms to 52, a secondary
flex space will easily convert to a 40,000 sq. foot ballroom, in addition to an existing 28,000 sq.
foot ballroom.
– A new, spacious and modern grand entrance on the east side of the building, conveniently
located across from the Sheraton Hotel and a Main Street Trolley transit station that connects to several downtown hotels, is planned as part of the renovation and upgrades.
– A new sky bridge across Main Street will conveniently connect the 600 room Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel to the convention center.
– The impressive 2,100 seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts connected to the convention
center will also see cosmetic and back of house upgrades as part of the renovation project.
– The expansion will also include a redesign of the loading docks for a total of five permanent
docks that will accommodate five 18-wheelers to load in and load out for shows.
– Underground parking entrances to the building will be greatly enhanced to provide a real sense of arrival with a total of 900 spaces in the parking deck available to convention delegates and exhibitors.

The Memphis Meeting Planners Advisory Board, led by Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Chairman Lani Glancy, played a pivotal role in identifying the necessary improvements that are critical to the future and success of the facility. Equally important in making all of this a reality is the leadership of Wayne Tabor and the Board of Commissioners of the Memphis Cook Convention Center, together they have helped define a bright new future for this important facility.

Through careful planning, the convention center and Cannon Center will both remain open and continue to host events throughout the construction project.

The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Memphis Management Group, operator of the
Memphis Cook Convention Center, support the local economy and the community’s positive image through tourism and convention development, major events and destination marketing. The hospitality and tourism industry in Memphis currently supports over 35,000 tourism-related jobs that produce $623 million in annual payroll. In 2016, 10.5 million people visited Memphis, generating over $3 billion in expenditures and the collection of $158 million in state and local sales taxes from visitors.

Visit to learn more about Memphis as a vacation or meetings & conventions destination. For media inquiries, contact Kevin Kern, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, at / 901.543.5320 – or Catherine (Kitty) Taylor, RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, at / 901.266.2662. High-res renderings available upon request, or request access to download a gallery of renderings via the MCVB Digital Asset Library.
# # #
Founded in 1925, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, a 501(c)(6) membership organization, serves as the official destination marketing
and tourism organization for Memphis and Shelby County. Based in downtown Memphis, the MCVB also has representation in Washington,
D.C., Australia, Germany, France, Japan and the United Kingdom. The MCVB sales staff covers the convention, sports and tourism sales market
segments and is supported by a marketing department that includes advertising, digital marketing, research, public relations and membership.
Each year thousands visit two MCVB owned and operated welcome centers in Whitehaven and Arlington, along with a third downtown center
that is operated in partnership with the state of Tennessee. The MCVB’s commitment to workforce and economic development efforts are
managed through its 501(c)(3) affiliate, Welcome to Memphis, which works to ensure tourism and hospitality professionals are equipped with
customer service skills and destination knowledge to create a positive visitor experience. The Memphis Sports Council operates within the
MCVB and works to bring a variety of large and small sporting events to Memphis and Shelby County each year, in addition to supporting
annual in-market sporting events. Memphis Management Group (MMG), a subsidiary of the MCVB, operates both the Memphis Cook
Convention Center and The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. For more information about the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau,