People News: SMG Ups McCormick’s David Causton to Regional VP and Other Companies Make New Hires

May 11, 2014

Winter is finally in the rearview mirror for most of the United States, and promoting and hiring has continued into April and May for companies in the trade show industry.

David Causton, general manager of Chicago’s McCormick Place, bas been upped by venue management company SMG to regional vice president of the company’s Convention Center Division.  Causton, who has been with the center since 2004, will maintain his role as general manager of the facility.

“The successes we have had at McCormick Place are attributable to David’s leadership.  He has simultaneously ensured we are able to meet the expectations of the Authority and our trade show partners while maintaining a strong team of more than 200 employees,” said Gregg Caren, SMG executive vice president, Convention Centers. 

He added, “This promotion recognizes the magnitude of the job he does each and every day.”

Causton’s new role will allow increased engagement with the company’s leadership team around the country and greater involvement in SMG’s Convention Center Division strategic planning initiatives on behalf of their municipal venue owners.

This includes implementation of industry innovations and best-practices, participation in business climate strategic assessments and leadership in labor relations initiatives, according to SMG officials.

Integrated marketing communication firm, Frost Miller Group, added Sarah Kennedy to their growing team as public relations and social media specialist.

As public relations and social media specialist, Kennedy will develop social media strategies and public relations plans, research new trends and work with clients to successfully manage their social media accounts. 

Together, FMG and Kennedy will focus on expanding its strategy in the public relations and digital space.

Shepard Exposition Services is growing its team and the company’s recently acquired operations in the Phoenix and Tucson markets by adding two new National Sales Managers in Phoenix - Ryan Taffe and Georgina Zizzo.

Taffe's 12 years of sales experience is complemented by his rich event management experience, having produced events like the Waste Management Phoenix Open, The Barrett Jackson Auto Auction and the NASCAR Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix.

Zizzo brings 18 years of experience from the hospitality industry working to develop long-term relationships and create innovative solutions, which helped her clients set themselves apart from their competition.

Her most recent position was with the Venetian/Palazzo in Las Vegas as National Sales Manager where she specialized in the Insurance/Financial and IT vertical markets.

The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau (AOCVCB) has named Charles Harris, former vice president of marketing for Luxe Hotels and L.E. Hotels, as senior vice president of marketing.

In the newly-created role, Harris will lead strategic destination marketing efforts for Anaheim and Orange County and oversee the marketing, communications and tourism departments. He will also manage the organization’s rebranding efforts.

“Charles has an impressive background in tourism and sports marketing,” said Jay Burress, president and CEO, AOCVCB. “His depth of knowledge in these areas is essential as we embark on some very high-level projects, including the marketing of the Anaheim Convention Center’s expansion.”

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