Monthly Archives: November 2014

Exhibition Centre Liverpool Reaches Key Milestone with Topping Out

#ExhibitionCentreLiverpool reaches key milestone with topping out @ACCLiverpool

Exhibition Centre Liverpool reached another important project milestone in its journey to become the newest facility of its kind in the UK with the topping out of the £66m development.

A ceremonial event held at the prominent ACC Liverpool waterfront site, which is already home to BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena, saw the signing and installation of a specially commissioned steel beam at the highest point on the striking building – acknowledging the key roles of the major project stakeholders.

To mark this important milestone, David McDonnell, chairman of ACC Liverpool, was joined by the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, along with representatives from contractor ISG, hotel operator Branded Hotel Management and Pullman.

The steel beam, signed by the VIP guests, also features individual plaques representing Liverpool City Council, ACC Liverpool, ISG and Pullman Hotel and Resorts, and as part of the ceremony was lifted into place by the site’s 70m tower crane.

Scheduled to open in September 2015, Exhibition Centre Liverpool will more than double the existing 7,125 sq m capacity at ACC Liverpool to 15,225 sq m of flexible exhibition space. It will link to the existing arena and convention centre via a pedestrian link bridge, making the building the only purpose-built arena, convention and exhibition centre in Europe. It will propel the region into the country’s most exciting destination for consumer and trade exhibitions; global conferences; concerts and international sporting events.

Bob Prattey, chief executive of ACC Liverpool, said: “Exhibition Centre Liverpool marks the continued progression of ACC Liverpool and topping out represents the next major milestone in our development.

“We are now less than a year from opening and are pleased with how the project, which is one time and on budget, is gathering pace.

“Our teams are working hard to ensure that we have a busy calendar of exhibitions, conferences and entertainment events for visitors.”

In its first year of operation, it is expected to host about 50 events and attract more than 250,000 visitors. Confirmed trade and consumer exhibitions so far include the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers FPS Expo, MCM Expo group and the Allergy and Free From Show North. Contracted conferences include RenewableUK.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “The new exhibition centre will help secure Liverpool’s place as one of the top visitor destinations in the UK. This great new facility will become the jewel in Liverpool’s expo crown and will further enhance the city’s global events and conference reputation.

“It will bring a huge economic boost to our city and create jobs. It’s a great example of how we are investing to earn to grow demand for the benefit of the people of Liverpool and the businesses which depend on the visitor economy.”

Frank Joyce, ISG’s project director, said: “Reaching this milestone on one of Liverpool’s largest construction projects is a key moment to celebrate and reflect on the long-term legacy of this important development. The economic benefit derived from our focus on using regional supply chain partners, allied to the creation of our Social Investment Group, has resulted in a project that will create and support job opportunities and growth in the region for years to come.”

Jonathan Sheard, SVP operations, luxury, upscale and midscale brands, Accor UK and Ireland, added: “Today marks another step to us achieving our goal – to open a brand new vibrant and cosmopolitan Pullman hotel which will welcome many guests in Liverpool.”

For more information about this news release please contact Nicky Hunter; 0151 239 6039; 07713321440.

PCMA Announces 2014 Achievement Award Winners

CHICAGO, IL – Each year, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) honors outstanding members for their contributions to PCMA and the meetings industry. PCMA will recognize the winners from the main stage of the 59th PCMA annual meeting: Convening Leaders, January 11-14, 2015, in Chicago, IL.

“Each year we continue to be amazed by the accomplishments of our PCMA Achievement Award winners. The individuals and organizations we recognize here today are inspiring leaders, who are making significant contributions to the future of the meetings and events industry,” said Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA.

Distinguished Member of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Member of the Year Award is Joy Womack, Director, Event Management, Experient. Joy has been an active member of PCMA for many years, as well as a dedicated volunteer. This past year, she has served as Secretary of the Capital Chapter, and has been working collaboratively to develop a leadership toolkit as part of the chapter’s efforts around succession planning. On the national level, she is a member of the Advocacy Task Force and leads a workgroup that has been charged with developing tactics to disseminate information and tools to members. Joy is passionate about developing others, and serves as a role model and mentor.

Distinguished Meeting Professional of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Professional of the Year Award is Carolyn Pund, CMP, CMM, Senior Manager, Global Strategic Meetings Management, Cisco Systems, Inc. Carolyn has led the Global SMM program for Cisco since 2008, and it has been her mission to create the value of an SMM program that provides measurable savings while delivering meetings or events that produce the greatest business outcomes. She has served on over 30 industry committees, task forces and advisory boards, is a frequent industry speaker, and has received numerous accolades. Community service is a family affair, and Carolyn and her family have invested significant time in projects such as raising guide dogs and building homes in Mexico.

Distinguished Supplier Professional of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Supplier Professional of the Year Award is Kim Allison, CAE, CASE, CTA, Associate Director of Sales, Visit Baltimore. Kim is a true advocate for her clients and the city of Baltimore, and was recently recognized as the Visit Baltimore Employee of the Year. She serves on the board of the Capital Chapter, and has many years of service within PCMA and across the industry. She gives back through her extensive community service activities, and has participated in Hospitality Helping Hands at every Convening Leaders she has attended.

Distinguished Emerging Leader of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Emerging Leader of the Year Award is Samantha Moore, Meetings Coordinator, American Association of Immunologists in Washington, DC. Samantha first joined PCMA as a student at Penn State University, where she was president of the chapter in her senior year. Since joining the Capital Chapter, after graduation, she has served on both the Emerging Professionals and the Professional Development Committees, and is currently the Mentoring Program Champion. In this role, she aims to facilitate the exchange of experience and growth amongst the leaders of today and infuse excitement and strength into tomorrow’s leaders. She is a natural leader who is passionate about our industry.

Distinguished Educator of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Educator of the Year Award is Swathi Ravichandran, Associate Professor, Hospitality Management, Kent State University. Swathi’s students describe her as going above and beyond to provide them with an extraordinary learning experience. She is the Program Director for Hospitality Management, a program that boasts a nearly 100% placement rate. She served as a content reviewer for the 6th edition of Professional Meetings Management due to be released in January 2015, and serves as the faculty adviser to the KSU student chapter of PCMA. She is also a member of the PCMA Faculty Task Force.

Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award

The recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award is Belinda Keota, CMP, CEM, Meeting Manager, Produce Marketing Association. A member of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of PCMA, Belinda has served as Chair of the Student Development Committee, a member of the Board of Directors, and Secretary. She has recently led a Volunteer Taskforce to learn more about how to keep the chapter’s volunteers motivated and engaged, and she has also been working with the New Professionals Committee. She will serve as President-Elect in 2015.

Environmental Leadership Award

The recipient of the 2014 Environmental Leadership Award is Marriott International. Marriott’s commitment to the environment starts at the top with their Global Green Council of ten Marriott global officers and other senior executives, and extends enterprise-wide to their global family of associates and external partners. The company’s environmental goals and accomplishments address the key areas of energy/carbon, water, waste, green buildings, and associate and guest engagement.

Innovation Award

The recipient of the 2014 Innovation Award is Robert Heard, Associate Executive Director, American College of Emergency Physicians. Bobby is the creator of innovatED, a first of its kind, 10,000 square foot, case-based, hands-on experiential emergency room layout on the tradeshow floor that showcases the top innovative products and services in their industry. This immersive experience turned a profit in its first year, and serves as a prototype for other organizations and associations to capitalize on and create future growth in the tradeshow industry. Bobby is described as a visionary leader who has the drive and commitment to see an idea through from conception to execution with success.

Spirit Award

This year, there are two recipients of the Spirit Award: American Dental Association and Friends of Marlene.

In 2013, the American Dental Association launched their first national Mission of Mercy (MOM) project at their annual meeting in New Orleans. At this free, one-day dental clinic for the local community, 1,100 volunteers from 40 states provided $386,493 worth of care, 785 patient visits, 410 restorative procedures, 553 surgical procedures, 663 preventive procedures, 51 partial dentures and 10 sets of full dentures. Recently, the ADA’s second MOM project in San Antonio was another huge success with over 900 volunteers from 36 states and 10 countries helping 1,207 patients and providing $526,474 in dental treatment. Through these charitable efforts, ADA leaves a lasting impact on the host city for their convention.

The Friends of Marlene is a volunteer group comprised of mostly meeting professionals and industry suppliers from the Chicago area. The group formed to honor the memory of Marlene Hetzel Palmerson, a long-time industry volunteer who lost her battle with cancer in 2010. Through multiple fundraising events, Friends of Marlene directs 100% of their funds to benefit the Supportive Oncology Program at the Maggie Daley Center. To date, they have raised nearly $200,000 to support patient services such as acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition consultation, individual and family counseling and appearance enhancement.

About Professional Convention Management Association

PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,000+ members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization’s face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at

Team San Jose Hires New Sales Manager for California Corporate and Association Markets

CVB Veteran Paul Sprinkmann Hired to Attract Small Meetings Groups to San Jose

SAN JOSE, CA – Team San Jose recently hired Sales Manager Paul Sprinkmann to drive sales efforts for the thriving California corporate and association market segments. He will be responsible for booking California-based meeting groups of 200 room nights or less, with a special focus on the Bay Area and Northern California.

The addition of Sprinkmann is a result of recent success in the California corporate and association markets and the high demand of clients booking San Jose. Sprinkmann will be dedicated to securing hotel business and short-term opportunities within these market segments.

“With the robust local economy and significant renovations to area hotels, corporate and association meeting planners are seeing the benefits of bringing their meetings and events to San Jose,” said Diana Ponton, Team San Jose’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Paul Sprinkmann’s CVB background and versatile industry experience in sales, tourism and travel and leisure, make him an excellent addition to advance our sales goals and strategies.”

Sprinkmann joins Team San Jose after serving as sales manager for Travel Tacoma + Pierce County. He worked in a similar role targeting meeting planners, travel trade professionals (national and international) and leisure travelers through marketing and sales initiatives. At Team San Jose, he plans to broaden his industry experience in a larger market.

Sprinkmann received his BA in Business Administration – Marketing with honors cum laude from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He is a member of National Tour Association, Meetings Professional International – Northern California Chapter, California Society of Association Executives, Silicon Valley Business Travel Association and San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on planning a meeting in San Jose, please visit

About Team San Jose
Team San Jose is an innovative partnership unifying the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels, arts, labor and venues to deliver an exceptional visitor experience and serve as the gateway to San Jose as a destination. Our company manages the San Jose Convention Center and Arts and Entertainment venues including the California Theatre, the Center for the Performing Arts, Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall, City National Civic and South Hall.

Prague Convention Bureau Supports the Employment of Women

In the beginning of the year, Prague Convention Bureau became a partner of the expert job portal whose purpose is to help women find employment. The portal is operated by the company AGENDER s.r.o. who aims to improve the conditions of disadvantaged groups in the labour market, i.e. women with small children and people over 50 years. Prague Convention Bureau has decided to actively support the project by advertising a job suitable especially for mothers with small children.

“I believe that this project makes sense, so we decided to set an example for other employers and offer a job to women interested in flexitime. We want to show them that it works. In Prague Convention Bureau, we have a good experience with this type of work arrangement. Our team consists mostly of women, half of whom are mothers with small children, so we know well their needs and try to accommodate them as much as we can. Working mothers must deal with certain limitations, but it does not mean that they are doing their work worse than other employees,” says Aleš Hozdecký, managing director of Prague Convention Bureau.

The portal has recently published the results of a questionnaire survey focused on issues of women’s employment. The survey, in which almost 3,000 women participated, among others showed that 69 per cent of respondents need flexible work arrangement, i.e. part-time job, work from home or work sharing, so that they can balance work and family responsibilities. The biggest barrier to their return to work after parental leave is unsufficient support from the family and employer. Forty per cent of women with small children who are currently on a three-year parental leave also said they are willing to work, however, they are facing the lack of flexitime offers, as well as reluctance of the employer to hire them again. Twenty-five per cent of women with children under 6 years are facing the same obstacles, including a small number of state pre-school facilities and insufficient support from the family when going back to work.

Prague Convention Bureau for the first time presented the project this spring, during one of the regular meetings with its members. The founder of the portal and President of Business Leaders Forum Mrs. Petra Janí?ková discussed with the present PCB members flexitime possibilities in the field of tourism, especially in the hotel industry. Within its cooperation with, Prague Convention Bureau will also support a nationwide educational project „INICIO For Women“ whose purpose is to help women in starting their own businesses. „We have asked this year’s winner Mrs. Michaela Horá?ková to create souvenirs made of cardboard which will be used to promote Prague. We like the originality, processing, as well as ecological harmlessness of her products and we believe that they will be a great success,“ said Aleš Hozdecký from
Prague Convention Bureau.

Prague Convention Bureau will also participate in the organization of the first festival „FOR ALL WOMEN“ organized by the company AGENDER s.r.o. The festival, whose mission above all is to inspire women to find their own life path, will take place in Prague in early March 2015 and it should be attended by about 500 women. One of the main speakers at the festival should be Mrs. Madeleine Albright.

IMEX America announces final figures for 2014 show

Final figures have now been published following the successful conclusion of the fourth edition of IMEX America at the Sands Expo® in Las Vegas last month.

The statistics, which are now available on the trade show’s website, illustrate that 2,909 hosted buyers attended IMEX America, traveling to Las Vegas from 52 countries in addition to the US and Canada. This represents an 8 percent increase on 2013. Of all hosted buyers 70 percent came from the US, 6 percent from Canada, 5 percent from Brazil and 3.5 percent from the UK. Chinese hosted buyers accounted for 2 percent of the total, as did buyers from Mexico.

The number of attendees who came to the show (independent of the hosted program) also increased. Their numbers rose by 4 percent to 1,919 with 85 percent of them coming from the US; 3 percent from Canada and a further 3.5 percent from Mexico.

When analysed by nature of business, the statistics reveal that hosted buyers from incentive houses and agencies accounted for 64 percent of all those attending. A further 21.5 percent of hosted buyers were from the corporate sector with 8.5 percent being association buyers. The remaining buyers were classified as ‘independent planners’.

The statistics also confirm that IMEX America exhibitor numbers climbed this year. They increased by 8 percent, rising to 2900 exhibitors from 150 countries. Overall booth space also increased by 13 percent.

Statistics based on pre- and at-show usage of the unique IMEX online appointment system, which allows buyers to make appointments with exhibitors of their own choice, reveal strong usage of a new function called the ‘appointment profile’. Trialled at IMEX in Frankfurt in May, this new online function allows buyers to create up to five short event profiles – mini RFPs – to provide exhibitors with a specification on budget, size, scope, theme and date for a particular meeting or event. 45 percent of all hosted buyers took advantage of the new appointment profile function. As a result exhibitors were able to prepare in advance for almost half of the one-to-one appointments based on knowledge of a specific piece of business the buyer was looking to place.

The statistics also reveal that 53,000 prescheduled appointments were made between buyers and exhibitors, a figure which comprises one-to-one appointments as well as booth presentations (also chosen by the buyers). IMEX introduced booth presentations last year as a way to allow individual buyers to acquire a general introduction to a new supplier by joining an open group, rather than making a personal 30-minute appointment.

The IMEX America 2014 At a Glance Fact Sheet can be downloaded as PDF online here –

Prague Has a Unified Destination Branding

Organizations representing the city of Prague in the field of tourism, Prague Convention Bureau and Prague Information Service – Prague City Tourism, agreed to use a unified visual style of the destination. Both organizations have recently established close cooperation aimed at, inter alia, unifying the presentation of Prague in its promotion, thus strengthening its position as a tourist and congress destination in the international field.

PCB followed up on the new brand and marketing visual style presented by PIS-PCT in autumn 2013 in order to strengthen the area of marketing, public relations and more strongly promote our capital city in terms of travel and tourism. The new visual style of the tourist destination Prague is therefore built on emotions, feelings and experiences of visitors. Clear, positive and internationally comprehensible solution is complemented by a promotional slogan, Pure emotion“.

Prague Convention Bureau initiated a change in visual style of its presentations at the beginning of the year when it launched its new website. This was followed by a new form of PCB´s e-newsletters, all published under a new slogan: „Wow Prague InSpires“. The new visual style also includes a new logo of Prague Convention Bureau which corresponds with the new slogan. In the near future, destination presentation will be modified as well and the unified style will be maintained in a new version of the popular catalogue of Prague suppliers in the field of congress industry, Meeting Planners Guide (MPG) for the years 2015/2016 which will be issued at the beginning of next year.

“Unification of visual styles of PCB and PIS-PCT proved to be a step in the right direction. The new look of PCB´s presentations – websites and newsletters – has met with success,“ says Lenka Žlebková, former managing director of PCB, under whose leadership Prague Convention Bureau launched new branding. “Moreover, Prague now speaks one voice abroad thus enhancing the communication. Whether it is leisure or congress tourism, it is always Prague, so it is necessary to broadcast the same message. The unified visual style of Prague is without question an important means of strengthening Prague’s brand abroad. “

PCB’s new visuals have also been complemented with another tool to promote congress Prague – destination video focused on the MICE segment called „Prague Makes You Shine“ which has been presented this spring. The aim of the video is to show Prague as a dynamic destination ideal for organizing events of different types. It focuses on the city’s strengths, such as good accessibility, a wide range of accommodation and conference facilities, excellent infrastructure, a long congressional history or academic background. Video is available for free on the organization’s website.

PCMA 20 in their twenties Winners Selected

CMA to honor top young professionals at Convening Leaders in Chicago January 11-14

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has selected the 2015 class for their 20 in their twenties program.

20 in their twenties program, supported by the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Austin Convention Center, is designed to engage the best and brightest young professionals in the meetings industry by recognizing emerging leaders – and their talents – which help accelerate the industry and carry it into the future.

“We are privileged to once again have the opportunity to strategically partner with PCMA, the PCMA Education Foundation and their 20 in their Twenties initiative,” said Bob Lander, President and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As an inaugural partner, we were thrilled to assist in the development of new initiatives that involve and engage emerging leaders to promote innovation within the industry. This is a focus in Austin and we all feel a sense of responsibility to attract, recruit, and retain talented, motivated and productive young professionals to keep moving our industry forward. We recognize that this is critical to its proactive growth and continuing success”

20 in their Twenties Class of 2015

Ashley H. Akright, CMP, Manager of Conference Coordinators, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Magdalina A. Atanassova, Communication Manager, AIM Group International
Madeleine Bart, Event Coordinator, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)
Michael W. Cubbage, Principal, Meeting Contractors, LLC
Katrina L. Dunn, Meetings and Foundation Senior Manager, American Society for Nutrition
Danielle E. Foster, MBA, Meeting Planner, Certified Angus Beef, LLC
Katharine L. Gausmann, Meetings and Events Specialist, American Feed Industry Association
Kacie Hackett, Sr. Coordinator, CES Conferences, Consumer Electronics Association
Kristine Koonts, CMP, Executive Events Manager, Vancouver Convention Centre
Jennifer Kuchenbecker, CMP, Director of Conferences and Events, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
Alana K. Mallory, CWP, Meetings and Events Coordinator, America’s Essential Hospitals
Leucepe Martinez, Production Assistant, Worldwide Business Research
Madeja M. Metcalf, Meeting Coordinator, American Institute of Steel Construction
Samantha L. Moore, Meetings Coordinator, American Bakers Association
Janet Partlow, CMP, Senior Meetings Manager, J. Spargo & Associates, Inc.
Cara Pratt, Director of Sales, Destination Partners, Inc., A DMC Network Company
Lindsay K. Pund, Management Associate, BCD Travel
Kristina Simkins, Product Director, OnPeak
Jessica L. Smith, MTA, CMP, Senior Meetings Planner, American Bar Association
Jennifer Vaseleck, Assistant Director of Meetings, NASPA – Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education

“The quality of our applicants this year was outstanding” said Deborah Sexton, PCMA President and CEO. “While this is just our second PCMA 20 in their twenties class, it’s clear the young leaders in our industry have diverse talents and are making a true impact on the organizations they work for.”

Criteria for applicants was to be employed full time in the meetings industry, be 29 years old or younger and to demonstrate ways they consider themselves to be industry leaders. Applicants were not required to be PCMA members. A Committee made up of veteran and members of the inaugural class of 20 in their Twenties recipients reviewed dozens of applications in detail before deciding on the inaugural class.

The individuals selected will receive complimentary 2015 Convening Leaders and Education Conference registration, funds to cover travel expenses to attend Convening Leaders, as well as discounted registration to attend Convening Leaders and Education Conference until they reach the age of 30. Recipients will also receive complimentary membership for 2015 and discounted membership until they reach age 30. They will have the opportunity to be paired with a member of the PCMA Board of Directors, Foundation Board of Trustees, or Past Leaders for three face to face or virtual mentoring sessions to assist in further development of their innovation and career.

Recipients will be recognized at Convening Leaders in January, as well as in Convene Magazine and other PCMA communications.

The program is supported by the PCMA Education Foundation, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Austin Convention Center.

About Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,300 members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization’s face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at

About Austin CVB

The Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing and sales organization for the City of Austin. An accredited member of the Destination Marketing Association International, the Austin CVB is charged with marketing Austin nationally and internationally as a premier business and leisure destination, thus enriching our community’s overall quality of life. Locally, travel supports an estimated 53,900 jobs and pumps approximately $6.2 billion into Austin’s economy.

Gregg Talley Elected to the ICCA Board of Directors

At the ICCA (International Conference & Convention Association) Congress in Antalya, Turkey, two of the World PCO Alliance members were elected to the Board of Directors: Nina Freysen-Pretorius from The Conference Company in South Africa as the new President of ICCA, and Gregg Talley from Talley Management Group, USA in the Meetings Management Sector for the next two years.

“We are very proud to have two of our members elected and assist the meeting industry in moving further” says Per Ankaer, ICS, Denmark, President of the World PCO Alliance.“ The World PCO Alliance members are constantly working on developing the meeting industry, and by having some of our members represent ICCA, we will make it our responsibility to help move the meeting industry to the next level.”

The World PCO Alliance was created to help associations organize effective meetings throughout the globe. Representing the front-runner PCOs in all six continents,this cohesive group aims to capitalize on the efficiency of consolidating conference and event services within one network. By sharing resources, knowledge, technology, training and best practices, the WPCOA is the associations’ one-stop solution for international meetings and conferences. All 21 members of the alliance leaders in the association congresses industry in their respective countries and regions.

For further information, we welcome you to contact the Alliance’s leading officers, who will be happy to entertain any further enquiries you may have.

Per Ankaer, President: +4561702410
Kitty Wong, Vice President: