People News: New Hires At Boulder CVB, SmartSource, IAAPA and More

September 9, 2021

From new leadership appointments to newly created positions designed to grow and expand burgeoning departments, trade show and event professionals are continuing to find new career opportunities as the industry forges ahead toward recovery. Here’s the latest news:

Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau

After 20 years with the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, CEO Mary Ann Mahoney will retire on Oct. 15, 2021. Charlene Hoffman, the CVB’s current operations and financial officer, will assume the CEO role on Oct. 16.

A valued leader in Colorado’s tourism industry who has mentored a generation of tourism professionals in her 40-year hospitality career, Mahoney joined the Boulder CVB in 2001, and during her time, transformed the organization into one of the city’s most effective economic vitality contributors. In 2019, she was awarded the Boulder Chamber’s Celebration of Leadership President’s Award of Distinction, as well as the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Colorado Tourism.   

Since joining the CVB in 2014, Hoffman has played an integral role in advancing its strategic priorities, overall impact and daily operations. She brings more than 25 years of diverse experience in senior level management and ownership roles in sales, marketing, management, business development, finance and business operations to her new leadership role.  


Leading business and events technology solutions provider SmartSource, an ABCOM Technology Group company, has appointed Tom Shanley as senior vice president, technology services, responsible for leading the further growth and expansion of the company’s Managed Information Technology (IT) Services. In his new role, Shanley will be directing SmartSource’s team of IT professionals to provide vital services, from help desk support to rapid deployment of equipment and ensuring customer data protection.

Shanley brings more than two decades of high-level IT technical and professional services experience to his new role. His in-depth skill set encompasses business process design, cloud computing, business intelligence, data center management and Windows Server and virtualization, among other areas of expertise. 

Prior to joining SmartSource, Shanley was vice president of information technology with the Greater Nevada Credit Union, where he was responsible for the financial institution’s broad IT operations. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of professional services at Logically, an IT outsourcing and consulting firm that acquired his former employer, IQ Technology Solutions.  


IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, has hired Patrick Haller as vice president of global marketing, communications and membership. Bringing an extensive background in association marketing, strategic planning and management to his new role, he will lead the association’s global marketing, communications and membership strategy and plan implementation. 

With more than 15 years of association marketing and communications experience, Haller most recently served as senior director of membership and member services at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in Washington, D.C. where he was responsible for growing the association’s membership, expanding membership value and deepening its relationships and engagement with members. Prior to joining NBAA, he served as strategy director for member and component support at the American Institute of Architects. 


Global experiential marketing partner GES Events has appointed Eugenio Callejas as director digital technologies. In this newly created position, he will focus on further expanding the company’s digital offerings as events move from virtual to hybrid, and live events include more digital components.  

Callejas has been designing experiences since 2001 and brings extensive expertise in digital media, platforms and solutions, as well as deep knowledge of both technological aspects and design, to his new role. He has created enterprise-level applications for Fortune 500 companies including GM, Ford, Toyota, Dell, IBM and Abbott Pharmaceuticals, and is an expert at 3D design, video and motion graphics, as well as various media servers and open web standards. 

Main Light

Live entertainment technology and equipment rental partner Main Light has made two new hires to bolster its burgeoning Main Light West location in Las Vegas.

As the company’s new rental executive, Steve Nancarrow is responsible for business development and client interfacing with professional production companies on the West Coast. Nancarrow previously worked for 27 years at PRG Las Vegas, most recently holding the position of entertainment lighting representative.

Mike Gaynor has been tapped to serve as operations manager. A third-generation member of the live entertainment industry, he brings a depth of experience to his new role, with logistics and assistant operations manager positions at 4Wall Entertainment and prior to that, as operations manager at Christie Lites in Las Vegas.  

Louisville Tourism

Louisville Tourism has appointed 24-year hospitality industry veteran Sonia Fong as senior vice president of convention development. Her responsibilities include managing the convention sales team to achieve annual room night goals, developing and implementing the convention sales and marketing plan, outlining specific sales objectives and priorities for the convention sales staff and establishing sales policies and procedures to maximize Louisville as a convention destination. 

Prior to coming to the Louisville CVB, Fong served as vice president of convention sales and services for the Greater Miami CVB, where she worked for 21 years in a variety of sales positions with additional responsibilities overseeing their Washington, D.C., regional sales office. Prior to the Miami CVB, she worked in several Marriott properties and the Biltmore Hotel, all in the Miami area, and has worked with many high-profile groups and national trade shows. 

The CVB also recently hired Elizabeth Berry as director of Northeast sales, responsible for Northeast sales territories. She brings an extensive sales background in the meetings and event industry to her new role, including nine years working for the Baltimore Convention Center, most recently as the assistant director of sales. 

Based in Baltimore, Berry is responsible for promoting and selling Louisville as a convention, meeting and trade show destination to Washington, Maryland and Virginia area-based national associations, government organizations and corporations. She will also serve as the official representative for Louisville Tourism in the Washington market and act as a liaison between the Louisville DMO, hotels, convention facilities and potential clients. 

Epiphan Video 

Video capture and streaming products provider Epiphan Video has appointed Nic Milani as vice president of marketing and business development, responsible for shaping the company’s marketing strategy, product development, customer success and growth. He succeeds David Kirk, who is moving to an advisory role with the company.

Milani brings a history of leadership in a variety of industries to his new role. As director of technology solutions at Herman Miller, he led the development of a workplace technology strategy that produced a patent for the company’s IoT (Internet of Things) smart furnishing. More recently, Milani spearheaded Crestron Electronics’ transition to SaaS, an initiative that earned the company Microsoft Global Partner of the Year for IoT.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.