People News: Events DC, Messe Stuttgart, BlueHive and More Welcome New Talent, Elevate Team Members

November 15, 2022

While the job market may be cooling off in many markets across the nation, the trade show and events industry appears to be staying steady as show organizers, tourism agencies, event tech companies and more continue attracting new talent, promoting staff and expanding their executive teams. 

Events DC

Events DC has chosen Angie M. Gates as its new president and CEO. Starting Nov. 14, Gates will guide the organization tasked with generating economic and community benefits for D.C. residents and businesses through impactful events. A 20-year veteran in event management, entertainment, film and public service with expertise ranging from tourism and hospitality to film and venue operations, she recently served as D.C.’s director of the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME). 

Gates was named the first African American general manager of the iconic Warner Theatre and earned Washington, DC its first Emmy at the 60th Annual National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Award show. She also recently received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joseph R. Biden. 

She succeeds COO Samuel R. Thomas, who served as interim president and CEO following the resignation of Gregory A. O’Dell in March.

Messe Stuttgart 

Messe Stuttgart Inc., one of Germany’s major trade fair, congress and event organizers, recently appointed events industry veteran Philip McKay as president of its American subsidiary. In his new leadership role, McKay is responsible for furthering the company’s business expansion into the U.S. market. 

McKay’s also serves as CEO of nGage events, a private organizer of trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences based in Scarborough, Maine. Prior to founding his company in 2012, McKay held executive roles at myriad global companies including Gartner, Key3Media, World Market Center and Questex.


Dana Esposito recently joined exhibit, events and interiors design firm BlueHive Exhibits as executive vice president of strategy, responsible for supporting the account executive and creative teams, and focusing on customer needs while championing their brands and goals. She will also be applying her skills in process refinement to further support and grow BlueHive’s operations and best practices.

Bringing more than 25 years of award-winning trade show design and industry strategy experience to the BlueHive team, Esposito is the co-chair of the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) University Affiliations Committee, serves on the EDPA Board of Directors and was an adjunct professor at BSU, where she instructed future exhibit designers. 


Global venue and event management software leader Ungerboeck has tapped seasoned software and technology marketing veteran Laurie McGrath as its new chief marketing officer (CMO). Bringing more than 25 years of product marketing, branding and communication experience as well as a deep knowledge of SaaS technology GTM strategy to her new role, she is responsible for leading global corporate branding and product marketing initiatives, including market positioning, product strategy, public relations, social media, corporate communications and demand generation.

McGrath most recently served as CMO at international supply chain firm Tecsys, where she led the company’s global rebranding and integrated digital marketing efforts. She has also served as CMO for healthcare firm Intalere (now Vizient), interim CMO and vice president of marketing for leading global cloud and IT outsourcing provider Savvis, a CenturyLink company, and vice president of product marketing for IT firm SourceMark International.  

ASM Global  

Leading venue management and event strategy company ASM Global has appointed Patrick Lynch as its senior vice president, private events, U.S. In his new role, he will work closely with ASM Global’s national sales force focusing on new business opportunities for the country’s largest private event portfolio.

An experienced sales leader with more than 20 years scaling revenues across various industries including financial services, technology, hospitality and restaurants, Lynch most recently worked as head of sales and customer success for the e-commerce and marketing platform Mercato.

Georgia International Convention Center

The Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) in Atlanta promoted Diann Jackson to senior catering sales manager following eight years serving on the venue’s catering sales team. In her new role, she is responsible for driving networking, relationship-building and sales for Proof of the Pudding catering team at Georgia’s second-largest convention center, which is part of the Gateway Center campus adjacent to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Prior to her current tenure at GICC, Jackson worked for 26 years as the senior catering manager of the Georgia World Congress Center, and prior to that, served as senior sales manager for Levy Restaurants. 

Tourism Diversity Matters 

Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) has made two recent appointments in response to growing demand for its organizational DEI expertise and strategy development for tourism organizations.  

TDM expanded its executive leadership team with the appointment of DEI and multicultural tourism expert Yvonne Drayton as its new director of operations, a newly created position in which she will support the development and reach of TDM’s DEI organizational culture assessments, educational training and workforce development, including the national apprenticeship program.  

Before joining TDM, Drayton was lead principal of Drayton Cross Consulting, where she conducted culture analyses and devised data-driven strategies to build DEI competencies across organizations in the commercial and nonprofit sectors. She also brings extensive tourism and meetings knowledge to her new role.  

Prior to that, Drayton served as president and CEO of Riscoe & Associates for three years and as executive vice president for eight years. 

Also joining the TDM team is Sofia Mendoza as executive assistant, responsible for supporting the organization’s communications and operations. She brings office managerial and executive assistance experience from both agency and manufacturing settings at Torrid and Lucrescent Bearing Corporation, along with international marketing capabilities from her time at IBG America in El Salvador.  

Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau 

The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit OKC) recently celebrated three hard-working marketing and sales staff members with much-deserved promotions.

Maryam Kari was promoted from digital marketing manager to senior digital marketing manager. In 2022, she successfully spearheaded the newly redesigned, and, as well as managed the launch of the Modern Frontier Attractions Pass. Her social media campaigns consistently perform above targeted goals.

Katy Birchett-Smith was promoted from convention sales manager to senior convention sales manager. An active leader within the local hospitality community, she has developed several new initiatives related to Visit OKC’s emerging convention scene and achieved more than double her sales goal last fiscal year. 

Lindsay Vidrine was promoted from vice president of destination marketing to senior vice president of destination marketing. From marketing creativity to public relations wisdom and overall strategy, she consistently delivers and provides experiential knowledge from years of working in the tourism industry.

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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.