Monthly Archives: January 2019


Nearly $200 Million Project Exceeds City’s Target of 30 Percent Minority and Women Business Participation

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was joined by the Memphis Convention Center Board of Commissioners, its construction committee, Memphis Tourism leadership and members of the hospitality industry to formally kick-off the renovation of the Memphis Convention Center.

Memphis Convention Center Project Overview Video: 

The work over the next two years will make Memphis competitive in the meetings and conventions market, while complementing the already strong leisure market segment. The vital civic project will transform the city’s convention center into a modern showplace that will not only preserve its status as a major economic engine for our city, but grow it.

“This renovation is another prime example of the momentum we are gaining in Memphis, and we are incredibly proud of the significant inclusion of small, minority and women owned businesses who will participate in this project,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “This will allow us to go out and recruit more conferences, events, and ultimately more people coming to our city and spending money with our local businesses and hotels.”

Scheduled to be completed by the Fall of 2020, this game changing project for the tourism industry is being funded through the hotel/motel tax and Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) funds. W.G. Yates and Sons submitted the lowest bid in November 2018 and will serve as the contractor for the nearly $200 million project,  the largest civic project since FedExForum was constructed when Memphis secured an NBA franchise. Approximately $44.5 million will be spent with minority and women business enterprises – or MWBE’s, according to City of Memphis estimates. That surpasses the city’s MWBE goal of 30 percent, coming in at almost 33 percent.

LRK of Memphis and tvsdesign partnered to develop a design plan that utilizes and enhances the existing city owned facility. When complete, the Memphis Convention Center will feature a column free 118,000-square-foot main exhibit hall, a new exterior concourse and pre-function space, 46 breakout rooms, a secondary flex space that easily converts to a 67,500-square-foot ballroom, the largest in the region, and a 28,000-square foot ballroom to host smaller events. The renovation will also include public art, and digital wayfinding, and additional loading docks for easier load in and load out for a show.

“We’re remodeling this facility with meeting planners and their delegates in mind. When complete, we’ll have modern enhancements throughout the redesigned Memphis Convention Center, including a grand new entrance, high-end finishes, more breakout meeting rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows that treat visitors to natural light and stunning river views,” said Kevin Kane, President and CEO of Memphis Tourism, the official destination marketing organization for Memphis & Shelby County that also operates and manages the facility through Memphis Management Group, a subsidiary of Memphis Tourism.

Conveniently located on the Main Street trolley line within walking distance of restaurants, hotels, shops, entertainment venues and businesses, the Memphis Convention Center easily connects with the Pinch District, Downtown Core, South Main Arts District and Beale Street. With a reimagined convention center on the horizon, Memphis is currently seeing a significant amount of new hotel development with 13 hotels under construction or in planning the planning phase, putting an additional 2,000 new hotel rooms in the pipeline for the downtown central business district, according to the Downtown Memphis Commission. A total of $4 billion in new office, retail, hotel and residential development is currently planned all across downtown Memphis.

The Memphis Convention Center and the adjoining 2,100 seat Cannon Center will continue to host events and be open for business during the renovation. Visit for more information on the Memphis Convention Center, explore future floor plans, an architectural rendering gallery and a video virtual tour of the renovated facility.

For an animated architectural rendering of the renovated Memphis Convention Center or other digital assets, please visit this link to the Memphis Tourism photo and video library

ASAE Foundation Announces Three Innovation Grants Program Award Recipients

The ASAE Foundation named three awardees for the 2019 Innovation Grants Program (IGP). Each grant recipient will receive $10,000, and they will be recognized during ASAE’s 2019 Great Ideas Conference, March 17-19, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. These grants are funded through support from the SunTrust Foundation, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P, GEICO, and Choose Chicago.

The three awardees are:

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
“Mixed Reality Simulation (MRS)”
Alexandria, VA

American College of Cardiology National Headquarters
Washington, DC

National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers 
“Microlearning at NACUBO” 
Washington, DC

“On behalf of the committee, I want to congratulate the 2019 awardees. It is never an easy task for the committee to make its selections among all the applications received. They reflected creativity and commitment to an innovation process – we look forward to having them share that journey and add to the innovative efforts within the association community.” Rita Chen Fujisawa, 2018 chair of the IGP steering committee and Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, California Association of Health Facilities.

During the last seven years, the ASAE Foundation has received close to 300 applications and awarded a total of 28 innovation grants to organizations of varied types, sizes, locations, and industries. These numbers underscore the value of innovation in the association community.

“Since 2013, the Innovation Grants Program has been the impetus for innovation growth and open experimentation in the association community. I continue to be impressed with the research, creativity, and dedication being applied to meeting diverse sets of member needs. We appreciate the continued support from SunTrust Foundation, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P, GEICO, and Choose Chicago. Congratulations to this year’s winners,” said ASAE EVP, President, ASAE Foundation Susan Robertson, CAE. “

For more information and to apply for DELP, visit IGP website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Precker, CAE,, 202-626-2735.About ASAE
ASAE is a membership organization of more than 44,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. Its members lead, manage, and work in or partner with organizations in more than a dozen association management disciplines, from executive management to finance to technology. Together, they create a vibrant community that makes the world smarter, safer, and better every day. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge, and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession and provides resources, education, ideas, and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. Visit ASAE at

2018 PCMA Chairman’s Award Presented at Convening Leaders

Claire Smith, Chair of PCMA’s Board of Directors, today announced the 2018 Chairman’s Award at the Convening Leaders event in Pittsburgh.

Smith presented the award to PCMA employees for their hard work and dedication.

“Last year was exciting, yet challenging, for the organization as it embarked on a journey of self-reflection and realignment towards achieving our vision,” Smith said. “But PCMA employees persevered and embraced change to deliver amazing results, including the 63rd annual Convening Leaders. We are all better for their passion, hard work and commitment to PCMA and the business events industry.”

The award, given by the PCMA Board of Directors Chair, is given annually to an individual, group or organization for unique achievements and contributions to the business events industry over the previous year.

Past recipients include Janet Tan-Collis, president of the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (SACEOS) and the founder and CEO of East West Planners in Singapore and Isabel Bardinet, CEO of the European Society of Cardiology.

“We are extremely humbled to be recognized by the Chair and I am extremely proud of the team,” said Sherrif Karamat, PCMA president and CEO. “This is the first time the employees have been recognized and it’s an incredible honor.”

Convening Leaders, PCMA’s signature annual event, is the most important, influential and inspiring industry event. The 2019 “Disrupt + Deliver” event was held Jan. 6-9 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

PCMA and business events to help eradicate human trafficking

PCMA has committed to combat child exploitation by signing The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. In partnership with ECPAT-USA, The Code is the only voluntary set of business principles that companies and organizations in the travel, business travel and tourism industries can implement to prevent and eradicate the trafficking and exploitation of children.

The initiative forms part of the association’s new vision that business events drive social positive transformation. Its commitment to The Code and partnership with ECPAT-USA, which engages with the private sector to drive innovation in protecting children around the world, will see the world’s largest network of business events strategists advocate, build awareness and act on the issue.

The signing of The Code was announced by PCMA Foundation Chair and President of Maritz Global Events, David Peckinpaugh, during the association’s annual Convening Leaders conference, taking place from Jan. 6-9, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“As an industry, currently worth over $150 billion, we have the power of advocating and raising awareness of the human trafficking epidemic, and have a stronger voice for the vulnerable, whose opinions and opportunities have been taken away from them”, said Peckinpaugh. “Together with ECPAT-USA and other participating organizations, we are committed to doing everything in our power to end human trafficking.”

Alongside other industry experts, Peckinpaugh will present a session at Convening Leaders taking an in-depth look at the human trafficking epidemic.

“One of ECPAT-USA’s main focuses — and essential tools for ending child sex trafficking — is engagement with the private sector, including ensuring as many associates in the travel industry are educated about this urgent issue”, said Michelle Guelbart, director of private sector engagement at ECPAT-USA. “This new collaborative partnership with PCMA helps expand that mission to thousands more and will help protect countless more children from exploitation.”

ASAE Launches Applications for DELP 2019-21 Class

ASAE has opened the call for association professionals to apply for the 2019–2021 class of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP). Deadline for submissions is Monday, March 11. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau has been the exclusive sponsor of DELP since 2001.

“DELP is a vital program to the association industry. It helps associations identify and develop motivated leaders that fuel organizational success,” said ASAE President & CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. “The continued support of Larry Alexander and the Detroit Metro CVB over the last 18 years has made the association community stronger by every measure.”

DELP is an accelerated leadership program of education, mentoring, and volunteer service in the association community. Candidates who have at least three years of mid-senior level association management experience or at least one year of experience as an association CEO (as of the date of their application) and are members of a racial/ethnic minority group, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender, or have a disability are encouraged to apply.

During this two-year program, 12 DELP scholars will experience membership and volunteer service in ASAE. They will also have access to industry leaders who could serve as career coaches or mentors.

For more information and to apply for DELP, visit

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lauren Precker, CAE,, 202-626-2735.

About ASAE: ASAE is a membership organization of more than 44,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. Its members lead, manage, and work in or partner with organizations in more than a dozen association management disciplines, from executive management to finance to technology. Together, they create a vibrant community that makes the world smarter, safer, and better every day. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge, and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession and provides resources, education, ideas, and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. Visit ASAE at

Chicago Southland Meeting Facilities Top Choice for Event Planners

The Chicago Southland region has become a top choice for event planners as they identify venues to hold their corporate or association meetings, annual conventions, corporate team building, continuing education programs and other special events.

What makes the Chicago Southland meeting facilities unique and why should planners reach out to Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau? The Chicago Southland CVB can assist event planners in many ways. The CSCVB acts as the primary source of information for the Chicago Southland region. Meeting organizers can rely on the expertise of the CSCVB professional staff to assist in all facets of planning the event. They offer a variety of free professional services to groups booked through the CSCVB including: name badges, welcome banners and tent cards to just name a few. Also, a variety of brochures, videos and electronic files for individuals and groups are available upon request to event planners. These brochures contain information on hotels, attractions, cultural organizations, restaurants, and activities in the Chicago Southland area.

If an event planner looks for assistance with convention suppliers, the CVB has a list of members representing every facet of the hospitality industry including: audio/visual, transportation, decorators, florists, tour companies, specialty items, etc. The CSCVB can introduce event planners to the local suppliers who will help make their event a success.

The convenience of location is certainly one of the best features of Chicago Southland. With six interstates running through the region, it is accessible from any direction, and is just a five-hour drive from eight different states. The Chicago Southland is only minutes away from both Midway International and O’Hare International Airports, has many commuter rail options, and is just 30 minutes outside of downtown Chicago, making it one of the most accessible meeting destinations out there. 

Facilities, Amenities, and Attractions

Chicago Southland offers a variety of facilities to hold any kind of event, big or small. With six full service hotels, a multitude of select service hotel brands with meeting space, La Banque Hotel, a boutique hotel equipped with a retreat room and Tinley Park’s 70,000 sq. ft. convention center, you will easily find the facility perfect for an upcoming meeting, convention or event. All of the Chicago Southland facilities also offer FREE parking, and many of the hotels provide complimentary continental breakfast, making it an affordable option for many.

In addition to their variety of meeting facilities, Chicago Southland has a 38-acre nature preserve called Irons Oaks. Irons Oaks offers programs in outdoor recreation, environmental education, adventure education and corporate training. This is the perfect destination for a company retreat to work on team building skills as well as individual skills. Companies that participate in Irons Oaks’ corporate reach training can expect to leave with enhanced skills in collaboration, communication, problem solving and accountability. The skills learned at Irons Oaks will be sure to create noticeable improvements in the work place.

The Chicago Southland CVB has recently announced a new tool specifically for meeting planners looking to host an event in the Chicago Southland. A new Unique Venues & Activity Guide has been created to offer a menu of fresh event concepts to meeting planners including unique meeting venues, mobile activities that can be added to events taking place in traditional meeting spaces, and social responsibility/community service project suggestions. Whether it is adding group yoga, sip & paint, escape room, teambuilding, or other activities, this new guide will help planners create an unforgettable experience. Planners can reach out to Mary Patchin directly at (708) 895-8200 to receive a copy of this new tool.

The many attractions and endless activities in the Chicago Southland area is a large reason so many people enjoy holding meetings and other events here. Some of the attractions include Accelerate Indoor Speedway & Events, Dave & Busters, Brookfield Zoo, Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Toyota Park (home of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club), a number of distilleries and wineries, a children’s museum, and Standard Bank Stadium (home of the Windy City ThunderBolts). On top of all of the amazing attractions, the Chicago Southland also has many outstanding restaurants. With award winning breweries, farm to table restaurants, fine dining and more, the only hard part of holding an upcoming event here is deciding where to eat. Chicago Southland is a very lively area that truly has something for everyone.


The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the south metropolitan area and represents 63 south and southwest suburbs of Chicago. The Chicago Southland provides an abundance of amenities for meeting planners with an ease of accessibility. With its huge array of lodging and meeting facilities, amazing restaurants and endless activities, Chicago Southland is sure to be the best place for company or group events. For inspiration, you can view their Meeting Video here.

So whether it’s a company looking for corporate team building event venues, an annual company event for 10-2,000, or convention facilities near Chicago, organizers should consider Chicago Southland when planning their next event. To find out more or to contact the CSCVB, check them out at: