People News: BPA Worldwide, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and More Tap New Leadership, Announce Promotions

July 6, 2022

As the trade show industry continues its evolution toward a post-pandemic future, event-related organizations across the U.S. and abroad are appointing new leaders, promoting staff and hiring new team members in preparation for bluer skies ahead. Here are the latest exciting new people developments you need to know!

BPA Worldwide  

Leading global assurance provider of media, technology, events, and sustainability compliance, BPA Worldwide, has named Richard Murphy president and CEO. He replaces Glenn Hansen, who intends to retire in June 2023 and in the interim, has been named executive strategic advisor.  

Bringing 30 years of experience with BPA to his new position, Murphy previously served as executive vice president, responsible for leading global operations and instrumental in launching BPA’s iCompli Technology Assurance division. Murphy joined BPA worldwide in 1992 and has held a succession of management and executive positions in New York, Toronto, Chicago and Shelton, Conn.  

In his new role, Hansen will work on special projects as requested by the BPA board of directors. Initially, these include growing BPA’s iCompli Sustainability (ESG) Assurance services and BPA’s iCompli Event Audit services for in-person, hybrid, and digital events.  

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center 

Elaine Williams has been named senior director of sales and event services of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, responsible for developing and overseeing the facility’s sales and event services functions from planning to execution. 

Williams’s career at the venue began with ARAMARK in 1996, when she was named sales manager. While working for ARAMARK, Williams rose through the ranks to achieve the positions of director of sales, director of operations and interim general manager. She joined the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center sales team in 2007 as a national sales manager, and most recently served as the facility’s director of sales. 

Toy Association 

The Toy Association has promoted Kimberly Carcone to executive vice president of global market events. A 30-year nonprofit and corporate event management, marketing and publishing veteran, she joined the organization in 2007, serving most recently as senior vice president of global market events.  

An integral member of The Toy Association’s senior management team, Carcone is responsible for the management of Toy Fair in addition to leading the development of year-round events, private meetings and opportunities that connect toy sellers and innovators with key retail buyers, licensors, entertainment executives and other decision-makers in the toy, game and youth entertainment industry. 

Prior to joining The Toy Association, Carcone held various leadership positions at ALM Events, a division of American Lawyer Media; E.W. Williams Publications; Miller Freeman.; VNU Business Media; The American Society of Interior Designers; and the Council on the Arts for the City of Long Beach.

Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre  

The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority has promoted Nick Panter to executive chef at the Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in northwest Atlanta. In his new role, Panter will be responsible for overseeing the entire kitchen and stewarding operation at both venues. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Panter joined the venue’s culinary team in 2015 as chef de cuisine and has been promoted throughout his tenure to sous chef and executive sous chef. 


Cambridge, U.K.-based international event technology company ExpoPlatform, an AI-powered event management platform for virtual, hybrid and live events, and online communities, has promoted Romain Dejoie to the newly created position of head of product. In his new role, Dejoie will lead product discoveries that add real value to the leading Smart Event and Community platform’s roadmap, and will work with customers and end users to research, analyze and prototype new features.  

After previously serving as global innovation success manager at RX, Dejoie moved to ExpoPlatform in 2021 and as customer success manager, played a critical role in delivering projects for clients including Clarion and Comexposium.  


After taking over management of American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, full-service venue management and hospitality company OVG360 has revealed its local leadership team.  

Industry veteran Brian Martin has been tapped as general manager of the facility, Joe Castor will serve as general manager of hospitality, overseeing all food and beverage operations, and Nick Ustruck has been named executive chef.

After starting his career with Oak View Group in 2008 at the University of South Carolina, Martin worked in ticketing and event operations at the Augusta Entertainment Complex in Augusta, Ga., where his positions included director of ticketing and director of event services. In 2016, he was appointed assistant general manager of the Macon Centerplex.  

Beginning his 30-year career as banquet manager for The Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis, Castor has participated in the openings of The Conseco Fieldhouse, Arlington Racetrack, Gillette Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Busch Stadium, UBS Arena and most recently, the new Moody Center in Austin. He has led premium operations for the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Convention Center, Javits Center and Washington Commanders, and also served as director of event operations at the Embassy of Italy and general manager of The Cow Palace and Virginia Beach Sports Center.

An executive chef with 17 years of culinary experience, Ustruck is a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute of Arizona, after which he focused on a broad scope of catering ranging from small, intimate dinners to large-scale events, including PGA Tour Events, Barrett Jackson Car Auction and NCAA College Football Playoffs. 


Encore, a global leader in event technology and production services, has welcomed Jennifer Duffy as director of external communications. As a member of the company’s brand team, she will oversee public relations and external communications, shaping strategies through the development, implementation and measurement of effective communication programs within Encore.    

A seasoned brand-building professional, Duffy brings more than 15 years of B2C and B2B marketing experience to her new role. She most recently served as vice president of marketing for Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), where she shaped a successful, content-focused marketing program for more than 250 independent luxury hotels.  

Prior to ALHI, Duffy served as the communications director for Experience Scottsdale, and previous roles include director of brand marketing, food and beverage strategy at MGM Resorts and regional director of public relations at Loews Hotels, responsible for overseeing the California and Golf Resorts regions.    

San Diego Tourism Authority  

San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) has hired hospitality sales professional Michaelene Sullivan as its new vice president of sales and services, a key leadership position tasked with directing the sales team while representing the organization with clients and stakeholders on a local and national level.  

She previously served as director of sales and marketing for the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego and brings a wide range of experience from her 18-year tenure with Hyatt, including in food and beverage, events and sales. 

Cobb Travel & Tourism  

Cobb County, Ga-based Cobb Travel & Tourism (CT&T) has welcomed destination marketing professional Kimberly Franz as its new director of programs and events. In her new role, Franz is responsible for the management and strategic direction of core CT&T program and event operations that will assist in building current and upcoming programs, as well as ensure successfully run events. 

Bringing a strong track record of implementing outreach programs, instituting innovative ideas and mentoring successful personnel to her new role, Franz comes to CT&T from Discover Dunwoody, where she worked for more than 10 years in marketing. She currently serves as vice president of the Atlanta Metro Travel Association.

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.