People News: SnowSports Industries America, AlliedPRA,, MCI USA All Name New Leaders

February 23, 2016

The past month has marked a busy time, with several companies not only bringing on new employees, but also naming people into top positions.

SnowSports Industries America, the snow sports industry’s member-owned trade association, has named Nick Sargent as SIA president.

Sargent, who joined the organization in August 2015 as SIA’s incoming president, has spent the last five months working alongside exiting President David Ingemie.

“Nick holds a background in all aspects of the snow sports industry, which has proved to be extraordinarily beneficial in helping to strategize future growth,” said Bob Gundram, chair of SIA’s Board of Directors, and CEO of C3. “I look forward to seeing Nick utilize his passion and expertise in leading the organization and industry.”

Prior to beginning his transitional role as SIA’s incoming president, Sargent led partnership marketing initiatives for Burton Snowboards as vice president of Global Business Alliance, where he grew the brand’s globally recognized partner portfolio while expanding its global alliances.

AlliedPRA, a Destination Management Company, announced that industry veteran, Tony Lorenz, CMM has joined the award-winning company as its new CEO.

He will serve alongside Denise Dornfeld, whose position elevates from president to chairperson of AlliedPRA.

“2016 is set to be a pivotal year for AlliedPRA, with new strategic partnerships, organic growth and continued client program success,” said Denise Dornfeld. “We are experiencing a positive growth path for our company, unlike any other year in the past decade. Tony is the right person to work with me, as we capitalize on the strong economic conditions and exceptional service delivery and innovative program enhancements that have clearly differentiated AlliedPRA.”

bXb Online, creator of – Best of Business, has appointed Heidi A. Voorhees as CEO, effective Jan. 25.  Voorhees also was elected to the board of directors of bXb Online.

Tony Lorenz, co-Founder and CEO, will continue to serve as a primary shareholder, member of the executive committee of the bXb Board, and strategic advisor to the company as he takes the role of CEO of AlliedPRA.

Lorenz said, “Heidi is a highly respected association executive. We met during my time at Freeman years ago, and I have been trying to identify a way to work closely with her ever since. Heidi had an advisory role at the launch of, and was instrumental in ensuring that we designed the platform to meet the needs of the association market and, most importantly, the members and customers whom associations serve.”

The MCI Group, the world’s largest international provider of strategic engagement and activation solutions, has announced the official launch of MCI USA.

MCI USA was born out of MCI’s merger with U.S.-based Coulter Companies, which serves associations and other non-profit entities through its association management and consulting divisions, as well as global corporate brands through its experiential marketing and events division. Coulter Companies, together with all other existing and new United States operations, is now consolidated under the MCI USA brand.

Coulter Companies founder Thomas Coulter Gibson has been appointed CEO, MCI USA. Erin M. Fuller, FASAE, CAE will serve as president, MCI USA Association Management & Consulting, and Blake Kotenbrink has been appointed president of MCI USA’s luxury experiential events division. 

Underscoring its commitment to SEM service delivery in the United States, Shawn L. Pierce has been tapped as president, SEM for MCI USA. Pierce brings proven leadership in developing businesses powered by delivering strategic event solutions.

Fern has hired Jeffrey Hoffend as vice president, National Sales. Hoffend will lead Fern's national sales team.

"Jeff is well respected throughout the industry and is known for his leadership and integrity," said Aaron Bludworth, CEO. "I am very pleased to have him join our team and have full confidence in his ability to provide leadership to a critical part of our growing business."

Visit KC, Kansas City’s convention and visitors bureau, made two recent promotions. Cindy Dowers is now director of marketing and communications, while Dustin Wolfe now assumes the role of partnership development manager.

Dowers joined the destination marketing organization in 2012 as director of marketing. In addition to overseeing Visit KC’s robust advertising campaign, as of November her expanded new role includes the day-to-day management of the Marketing & Communications department.

The 11-person team encompasses online marketing, graphic design, public relations, social media and film. She brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in sales and consumer marketing.

Wolfe joined the organization in June 2015 as a marketing and communications coordinator. Under his new title of partnership development manager, Wolfe will be responsible for the organization’s partnership recruitment and sales, such as advertising opportunities on the organization’s website,

Nth Degree, a leading full-service global event marketing and labor management company, has promoted industry and company-veteran Robert Lowe to president, Events. In this key senior leadership role, Lowe will lead the growth and development of Nth Degree’s events business by adding new skills and tools, penetrating new markets, and expanding the group’s global capabilities.

SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals has appointed Mary Caldiero as digital marketing manager. Caldiero will be responsible for leading the company’s digital marketing strategy, including social media, blog, web content, email campaigns and search engine marketing and optimization (SEM and SEO).

Eagle Management Group Inc. (“Eagle”) has promoted David Holloway to president.  Holloway joined Eagle in 2013 as controller after earning his CPA from the State of New Jersey and his MBA degree from Rowan University. 

After one year as controller, he was quickly promoted to vice president of Finance and joined Eagle’s leadership team.  

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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.