People News: VisitPittsburgh’s New CEO, a Flurry of New Hires at MCI USA and IMC

May 1, 2020

Announcements of new hires and promotions are coming back slowly but surely in the events industry. Here’s a roundup of the latest People moves since mid-April.

Jerad Bachar was hired as new CEO for VisitPITTSBURGH, following a nationwide search for new leadership that began in January. Bachar had been serving as interim CEO, and Bryan Iams, chairman of the CVB’s board of directors, said that though their search produced some extremely qualified candidates, “[Bachar’s] exceptional leadership during these unprecedented times really made him stand out.” Bachar has more than three decades of experience in tourism and economic development.

MCI USA, an event experience company headquartered in Washington, D.C., promoted 10 senior-level professionals this week, including:

  • Lisa Altamira, Director, Association Events, Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives
  • Jay Blankenship, Director, Sales Consulting & Advisory, Sales Solutions & Services
  • Kathy Bradley, Associate Vice President, Resource Development, Association Solutions
  • Agnès Canonica, Vice President, Corporate, Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives
  • Jonathan Gilad, Senior Director, Association Solutions
  • Joonas Järvinen, Associate Vice President, Digital Innovations, Association Solutions
  • Amy Lestition Burke, Senior Vice President, Engagement, Association Solutions
  • Amy Lotz, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff, Association Solutions
  • Jessica Smith, Director, Association Events, Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives
  • Alison Teitelbaum, Vice President, Association Solutions 

The National Grocers Association, the trade industry representing the independent supermarket industry, hired Jim Dudlicek as director of communications and external affairs. He was most recently editorial director at “Progressive Grocer” magazine.

Following a wave of new hires we first announced here, International Market Centers has announced its second major staffing move, adding nearly 20 new staff members for its digital innovation division IMC_di in the fields of sales, development, implementation, marketing and customer success. Of particular note, Teddy Pekalski —a well-known figure in the gift and home industry — has been hired as sales director.

Downers Grove, Illinois-based CompuSystems — which provides registration, data management, data analytics and lead retrieval services — has expanded its management team by three. Mark LoGiurato is now chief operating officer, responsible for daily operations as well as sales, marketing and account management departments; John Studdard is head of global sales, responsible for sales and business development; and Adam Forman is chief technology officer, leading all technical departments.

Fred Chuck has been hired as executive director of the Geosynthetic Materials Association, based in Roseville, Minnesota. Most recently, he served as vice president of sales, marketing and business development for geosynthetics company Huesker.

On April 30, event technology provider Aventri announced Lisa Choi Owens has joined its board of directors. She's currently chief revenue officer and head of global partnerships at TED.

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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.