People News: Visit Phoenix, Hubilo, Vancouver Convention Center and More Welcome New Executives, Promote Team Members

July 2, 2021

The deluge of hiring and promoting continues in the trade show industry, with a plethora of event-related organizations appointing new leaders and boosting existing team members up the organizational ladder. Check them out: 

Visit Phoenix

Following an extensive nationwide search, the executive committee of Visit Phoenix has appointed Ron Price as president and CEO. He brings 25 years of experience in the tourism industry to his leadership role, most recently serving as president and CEO of the Arlington Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau, and prior to that, as the assistant executive director of Visit San Antonio. Prior to his time in the DMO world, Price served more than 12 years as a Marriott International executive. 

Price currently serves on the board of directors and executive committee for the U.S. Travel Association and the board of directors for Destinations International.

Hubilo

Virtual and hybrid events platform provider Hubilo Technologies Inc. is continuing the exponential growth of its workforce, most recently with new leadership team members. They include 23-year marketing veteran Cathy Song Novelli as senior vice president of marketing and communications; 20-year sales expert Greg Volm as senior vice president of sales and success; 20-year human resources professional Anita Menon as senior vice president of talent and culture; 15-year finance veteran Abhishek Jain as vice president of finance; 13-year technology expert Sudip Mitra as senior vice president of engineering; and 13-year software professional Shailesh Hedge as head of product.

Vancouver Convention Centre 

Phil Adams

The Vancouver Convention Centre has welcomed Phil Adams as its new director of sales. He brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in business development and sales to his new role, including an extensive background in Canada’s major events, sports and entertainment industries. Most recently, Adams served as senior director, Western Canada Operations at Canadian Soccer Business.

 

 

Toy Association 

The Toy Association promoted Kimberly Carcone to senior vice president of global market events, effective June 1. As an integral member of the association’s senior management team, she will be responsible for the management of the organization’s live go-to-market events, including Toy Fair New York, Toy Fair Dallas, Toy Fair Everywhere and The Toy Association’s virtual Private Previews.

A seasoned professional with nearly three decades of experience in nonprofit and corporate event management, marketing and publishing in New York City and Washington, D.C., Carcone joined The Toy Association in 2007 and served most recently as vice president of market events. 

MCI USA

MCI USA  has hired Chris Williams as its senior vice president, registration and housing, responsible for leading its strategic events, meetings and incentives team in providing registration and housing services to some of the largest and most complex events in the trade show and meeting industry.   

He previously spent 25 years at leading registration services provider CompuSystems, where he served as its president for the last seven years, and prior to that, as senior vice president of sales for 15 years.  

MarketTime  

Chris Happ

B2B software as a service (SaaS) solutions provider MarketTime has tapped e-commerce pioneer Chris Happ as its new CEO. He brings decades of experience as an entrepreneur and B2B marketplace leader to his executive role, in which he will be responsible for the company’s sales, marketing and executive leadership. 

Happ previously served as a co-founder and investor in Goby and blueSolutions, and in leadership roles at Hubwoo, Ariba, Empirian and PwC. He will work closely with MarketTime  Founder and President Hemal Patel.

 

 

IAAPA 

Keith Stephenson is the new director of public affairs for IAAPA North America. He will lead IAAPA’s government relations and advocacy initiatives on key issues impacting the attractions industry in the U.S. and Canada. 

With 25 years of public affairs and trade association experience representing the hotel and lodging, food and beverage, and retail segments of the hospitality and travel and tourism industry, Stephenson most recently served as the director of state and local government affairs for the National Restaurant Association, where he managed a complex portfolio of policy issues in many of the largest U.S. consumer markets. 

mdg 

Erin Lee

Association, event and corporate marketing solutions agency mdg, A Freeman Company, has appointed Erin Lee to oversee the continued growth and transformation of its digital, data and web departments. She will collaborate with Customer Journey Architect Marc Blumer, Freeman’s Senior Vice President of Data Solutions Ken Holsinger, as well as a team of strategists. 

 

 

Digitell

Global events industry veteran William Patrick Carlson has joined digital broadcasting company Digitell as its vice president of business development. He will be responsible for developing a framework to best serve the ever-growing digital and hybrid event needs of corporate, global and enterprise clients. 

Carlson brings more than 22 years of industry experience to his new position, including serving as global accounts director and vice president of global expansion at Gartner, and previous roles at event research companies including United Business Media and Obscura Digital.

MSM Inc.

Meghan Schmidt

Live and digital experience agency MSM Inc. has made two key hires to drive growth and expand opportunities in its live and digital experience offerings. 

As product/project manager, Erin Gongwer will be responsible for developing MSM’s suite of virtual experience solutions, while Meghan Schmidt has been appointed as human resources generalist, responsible for rebuilding and expanding MSM’s operations and production teams.

 

 

AMC Institute 

Association management company trade organization AMC Institute has tapped new talent to join its management team, including Krista LeZotte as vice president, events, membership and education, and Thomas Pigg as manager, membership and marketing/communications.

A recognized leader in the business events industry, LeZotte was most recently responsible for the oversight of operations and engagement for the American Society of Association Executives’ programs and conferences. Pigg brings more than a decade of experience developing and executing professional and educational programming for nonprofits.  

CSI Worldwide 

Trade show services provider CSI Worldwide has tapped industry veteran Bobby Lee as president of its general service contracting division. With deep roots in the industry dating back to 1985, Lee co-founded Metropolitan Exposition in 2001 and grew it into one of the nation’s top service contractors until it was Metro-Expo was acquired in 2016 by Freeman. 

“I’m ready to get back to my roots, doing what I love – helping others – while establishing CSI Worldwide as a premiere yet boutique General Service Contractor, working with one of my oldest friends in the industry, [CSI Worldwide CEO] Dave Centrowitz,” Lee said.

BeyondLive 

Patrick King

Leading-edge 3-D virtual experience developer BeyondLive, Inc. has hired Patrick King as a business development manager. With more than 25 years of experience working in Silicon Valley, King brings vast knowledge in high technology sales, channels, services and business development and has substantial experience selling software, hardware and service solutions throughout the U.S.

 

International Market Centers

International Market Centers has appointed William B. Furlong as CEO of Juniper, IMC’s new fully integrated omnichannel B2B e-commerce platform for the wholesale furniture, gift and home décor industries. Furlong brings 25 years of digital innovation and leadership experience to his new leadership role, including 11 years as vice president of North American markets for Expedia Group. He has also held positions at Microsoft, Time Warner and Morgan Stanley. 

Additionally, IMC recently promoted Chelsea Peabody Bohannon to senior PR manager.

Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority

Charles Harris

RSCVA President and CEO Charles Harris joined the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association. This new appointment is intended to help give Reno Tahoe an authoritative voice in addressing key industry issues in the post-pandemic tourism recovery and supporting the Washington D.C.-based organization’s mission to increase national travel.

“I’m honored to join such a prestigious organization and to support the recovery of the tourism industry across the U.S.,” Harris said. “The U.S. Travel Association will be a key player in the recovery of national travel, and I’m eager to be a voice for the destination of Reno Tahoe as we work to ensure a brighter future for our destination and for the industry as a whole.”  

 

IMS Technology Services 

Event staging and systems integration solutions provider IMS Technology Services has expanded its team with several promotions and new hires, including Mike Schisler hired as a senior project manager; Christopher Kissel hired as a national account manager; Chris Leonard promoted to director, technical operations; Brook Kebede promoted to production supervisor, and Brian Johnson promoted to warehouse supervisor.

Have any People News to share? Reach out to lpsavas@tsnn.com.  

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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.