City of San Jose Unanimously Backs Team San Jose, Drops RFP Process

December 13, 2011

Team San Jose - the city’s convention and visitors bureau that also oversees the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, along with other arts and entertainment venues – received a unanimous vote of confidence Dec. 13 from the city council and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed to drop the RFP process to find another entity for CVB and venue management responsibilities.

“This is a great signal to our customers and the community that Team San Jose is here to serve their needs,” said Bill Sherry, CEO of Team San Jose.

He added, “(The) vote of confidence is a positive move forward. With a new state-of-the-art convention facility coming online in 2013 that proudly reflects our position as the Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose has a lot to offer convention planners.'' 

After a tumultuous few years for Team San Jose that included financial difficulties and organizational struggles, a turnaround was made in the past 12 months that prompted a recommendation to the city council by San Jose City Manager Debra Figone to pull the RFP.

The RFP process initially was launched because “(Team San Jose) leadership had gotten sideways with the city leadership,” Sherry said.

He added, “The city council finally said ‘enough’ and instructed the city manager to see what else was out there.  That was a wakeup call.”

Some of the changes that were made included the prior head of Team San Jose, Dan Fenton, resigning, as well as the organization’s board being reduced from 28 to 15 members and trimming down the number of committees from more than a dozen to five.

An executive committee also was established that would allow the board to be more engaged with every item, and in March, Sherry, who also is the aviation director at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, also was voted in as the new CEO of Team San Jose.

Further changes included examining cost overruns and streamlining the budget process, which resulted in Team San Jose exceeding for FY 2010-2011 seven of the nine performance results administered by the city.

Here are some of those results:

Despite a challenging economic environment, Team San Jose grew revenue to $18.7 million, $4.8 million more than the adopted budget

Customer service continued to be strong, with an end of the year result of 98 percent overall customer service rating

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue, which supports Convention Center and theater operations, exceeded the budgeted goal by 8.7 percent

“I support the vision and goals of Team San Jose’s new leadership,” said Mayor Chuck Reed.

He added, “(The extension of Team San Jose’s contract) will allow Team San Jose to build on its recent progress in bringing business to our convention center that will generate new revenues, hotel room nights and jobs in our community.”

Other executive changes include the hiring of a new COO, Dave Costain, who has more than 35 years of hospitality operations experience, and a new CFO, Janette Sutton, who has improved financial reporting and increased partnership with various city departments.

Now that the RFP has been pulled, Team San Jose is able to focus on the $120 million expansion to the convention center that was announced in April.

“With the expansion, we are going to be able to attract the larger events and multiple events,” Sherry said.

He added there already are 18 tentative bookings based on the new space opening in September 2013. “Advance bookings are looking really positive,” Sherry said.

Current bookings also have seen a positive trend, he added. “Silicon Valley is leading the economic recovery of the nation,” Sherry said. “We’re seeing a lot more corporate bookings.”

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