People News: SMG, Visit Spokane, JCK & Luxury, DMG Events and More Make Hires

January 24, 2019
Ed Nichols

The year started off with a flurry of new hires, making for a busy and exciting January. Here are all the industry professionals who have been making some big career moves recently.

Ed Nichols is now vice president of events for Hannover Fairs USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Hannover, Germany’s Deutsche Messe – one of the world’s largest and most active organizers of capital goods trade fairs. He will manage the commercial vehicle show portfolio, which currently includes the North American Commercial Vehicle Show. Previously, Nichols was vice president of events for Endeavour Business Media.

Meg Winchester officially took the reins as Visit Spokane’s new president and CEO on Jan. 22. Previously, she was director at the Galveston Island CVB in Galveston, Texas. She brings decades of convention sales and marketing experience to her new role.

Bob Sauter is now general manager of Moscone Center in San Francisco, appointed by SMG, as of Jan. 7. He had been performing as acting general manager of the facility prior to his appointment.

Jim Fox
Jim Fox, JCK & Luxury

Jim Fox has been appointed to portfolio sales director with JCK & Luxury. He will be responsible for strategy, leadership and development within the JCK & Luxury sales team, as well as key account customer relationships of the jewelry industry’s leading events. He brings more than 20 years of sales and business development experience in the luxury goods sector.

DMG Events has announced two new hires. Mel Sha is now vice president of its South East Asia energy sector; he will grow the company’s energy events in Asia, which currently include Bangkok’s Future Energy Asia, the Gas Asia Summit held in Singapore and Jakarta’s Gas Indonesia Summit. Nick Powell is now vice president for construction; he will work to help target portfolio growth across the MENA region, working with Chris Kilbee, also recently appointed to the role of senior vice president within the same division.

Chris Metzger has joined Access TCA as senior vice president of client services. Beginning his post-college career at association management company SmithBucklin, he has become one of the leading proponents of strategic congress channel management and the value of face-to-face marketing with a specialization in healthcare.

Hugh Sinnock has retired from his position at vice president of customer experience at Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, where he had been since 2006. Going forward, he’ll offer consulting as HKS Strategies, LLC, with emphasis on trade show, venue management, customer experience and community relations.

Lisa Dworsky is now senior director of sales development at ConferenceDirect. Her new role entails managing preferred relations for hotel chains and destination management organizations, and helping preferred partners grow their business and exposure with ConferenceDIrect. Most recently, Dworsky was Director of Sales at Hotel Californian.

Mike Lima has joined ProExhibits — the largest events, exhibits and environments producer in Northern California — as operations manager. He brings more than 25 years of industry experience to help the rapidly expanding production department of ProExhibits. He will manage portions of the operations and planning departments.

Marisa Lichtenstein has joined Level5Events by The Expo Group as national sales director based out of New York City. Throughout her 17-year career, she’s worked with companies such as NBCUniversal, Moet Hennessy, Tesla and BNY Mellon. Her experience includes business development and account management for live events, digital, social media and integrated communications experience in B2B and B2C marketing.

Marty Choate has joined Washington-based event management tech company Hubb as vice president of enterprise solutions. He will work on the company’s strategic product initiatives and focus on building the company’s rapidly expanding operations. He was previously a senior digital marketing manager for Microsoft, leading planning, design and executions of digital tools across Microsoft events.

Richard McAdam
Richard McAdam, MC²

Gary Benson was named chairman of MC² and Richard McAdam has been appointed as his successor to CEO, effective Feb. 1. As chairman, Benson will continue to be active within the organization in an advisory capacity, focusing on strategic planning for several key accounts. He has served as CEO since 2003. McAdam joined MC² in 2004 as corporate vice president of production and in 2006, became president of the organization. 

Lisa Reau is now director of business development and events for Cleveland’s International Exposition Center. She will be responsible for all sales initiatives while developing business relationships that drive growth and maximize revenue streams. Prior to this role, she served as an event manager with the center.

Daniel McKinnon was named executive vice president of exhibitions and events for MHI. He brings over 27 years of show management experience, most recently serving as vice president of global client solutions at FreemanXP. His primary function in this new role will be managing the ProMat and MODEX trade shows.

Adam Straight has joined New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans as vice president of operations. He will be tasked with the oversight of plans and strategies for convention center event operations, including production services, food and beverage, public safety, environmental services and more. He was previously senior director of campus operations with Georgia World Congress Center Authority in Atlanta.

Brett Haney, previously president of face-to-face marketing company Derse, has transitioned into the role of CEO for the company, taking on responsibility for the strategic direction and profitability of the company. Bill Haney, previous CEO, will maintain his role as chairman. The now-vacant president role is expected to be filled by summer. 

Dana Young
Dana Young, Visit Florida

Dana Young has been appointed president and CEO of Visit Florida. A sixth-generation Floridian, she served in the Florida House from 2010-16 and most recently served as senator for District 18 in Hillsborough County. 

Dave Brown is now operations director for 2020 Exhibits. Based in St. Louis, he will be responsible for managing and enhancing the company’s operational excellence, focusing on growth opportunities and developing meaningful partnerships with customers, partners and vendors. He previously served as vice president of sales with Optima.


Have people news to share? Send your announcements to Managing Editor Kelsey Ogletree at





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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.