People News: New Orleans & Company, Huntington Place, Encore and More Tap Leaders, Grow Teams

February 3, 2022

Will the deluge of promotions and new hires ever slow down? Not if the meetings and events industry continues its steady pace toward recovery! Check out all the recent appointments and transitions happening at event-related organizations throughout the U.S. and beyond.

New Orleans & Company 

Prominent national tourism executive and long-time industry leader J. Stephen Perry, president and CEO of New Orleans & Company, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2022. 

Perry took the helm of New Orleans & Company, formerly known as the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), in August 2002, leading the city’s $10 billion tourism industry through crises including Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, Hurricane Ida and the current COVID pandemic. He led the renaming and rebranding of the CVB to New Orleans & Company and created and implemented a unique and successful private sector funding model, among many achievements.

Walt J. Leger III, attorney, former state legislator and New Orleans & Company’s executive vice president and general counsel, has been tapped as the CVB’s president-elect and Perry’s successor, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Huntington Place

Becky Bixby has been appointed assistant general manager of Detroit’s Huntington Place (formerly TCF Center). Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) with 29 years of event experience leading teams in customer service training and new technology implementations, she will be responsible for all day-to-day operational aspects of the venue, including ensuring client needs. 

Bixby will play a key role in helping the venue work towards LEED Platinum certification and in all sustainability initiatives crossing over multiple departments; assessing all emergency response plans and establishing safety and security measures; working toward resolving any client union or staffing concerns; and ensuring all operational departments are on track with their budgets and financial goals for the year.

Previously, Bixby served as senior manager, client services for Informa Markets, and prior to that served as vice president, exhibitor services for Freeman.


Global event technology and production services leader Encore has appointed Amanda Armstrong senior vice president, brand and community engagement, responsible for overseeing the company’s industry relations, thought leadership, communications and brand functions within its marketing team. 

Armstrong most recently served as assistant vice president for Enterprise Holdings, Inc., the global parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo and National Car Rental, where she managed the event planning department and oversaw all aspects of the company’s meetings, including the sourcing, planning and operation of all national and licensee meetings worldwide. 

Visit Anaheim 

Visit Anaheim has expanded its sales team with the recent hires of three new meeting sales managers, increasing the organization’s meeting sales team to five. They include:

  • Isaac Gutierrez, meeting sales manager, Northwest region. Based in Northern California, Gutierrez boasts a long history of success with Marriott, selling luxury brand and convention hotels, and also has experience selling smaller boutique hotels in Sonoma and Monterey, Calif. Early in his career, he spent four years at the Anaheim Marriott, making him knowledgeable about the destination.
  • Quincy Smith, meeting sales manager, Midwest region. Smith has a long history of success with the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley CVB and has also sold convention and luxury hotels. Based in Chicago, he will help drive meetings business from the Midwest market to Anaheim and Orange County.
  • Sue Stemley, meeting sales manager, Eastern region. Based in Washington, D.C., Stemley brings a wealth of experience selling San Diego Marriott hotels for the past 20 years to her new role at Visit Anaheim.

Aria Technology Solutions 

Aria Technology Solutions LLC has appointed award-winning seasoned sales leader Vishal Goyal as chief revenue officer. Bringing extensive experience in the live event and audiovisual rental industries to his new role, he will oversee Aria’s revenue-generation strategy and execution, including the introduction of new and innovative technology rentals, brand strategy and integrated digital marketing. 

Goyal began his professional career in sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry, later advancing to executive-level roles within the live events industry. 

The Meetings Industry Fund

The Meetings Industry Fund recently elected two new officers to two-year terms. Jack Chiasson, who retired in 2017 after serving more than 30 years in nonprofit organization management, was elected chairman, and Karin Soyster Fitzgerald, an experienced association executive, was elected secretary. Both Chiasson and Fitzgerald are former PCMA Capital Chapter presidents and long-time volunteers. 


Chloe Richardson has joined feedback platform and full-service research agency Explori as vice president of senior corporate relations, responsible for corporate event and exhibit programs, and helping clients demonstrate event ROI and impact through measuring, comparing and benchmarking customer event metrics. 

Prior to joining Explori, Richardson was the master of ceremonies and content at GDS Group. Before that, she ran her own business, Acier Events, where she helped event teams and organizers improve their commercial results through strategy redesign, on-site engagement and bespoke training and coaching. 


Zurich, Switzerland-based Interprefy, a leading provider of managed remote simultaneous interpretation technology and services, has tapped COO and board member Oddmund Braaten as its new CEO. Having led Interprefy’s commercial and operational success for five years, his appointment brings continuity and the necessary skills to lead the company on its mission of future growth and success in 2022 and beyond. 

Outgoing CEO Annett Polaszewski-Plath resigned from her role in January. 

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB ) has appointed Alissa Steele as marketing manager, responsible for developing and executing marketing activities in support of sales and branding initiatives for the PHLCVB and its partners. Before joining the organization, she served as advertising specialist for the Philadelphia Phillies and advertising coordinator at Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

Production Transport 

Production Transport, provider of event transport services across the U.S. and Canada, has expanded its leadership team with three new appointments. 

After a 10-year absence, Jenni Sanders has rejoined the company as vice president of business development. Heading up the Chicago office, she will work closely with CEO Richard Einhorn in the growth and marketing of the company. Sanders originally worked with Production Transport from 2001-2011 as senior sales manager for the Midwest region. She most recently served as managing director of All Events Transportation.

Phil Weld, who has been with the company since 2016, has been promoted from director of operations to vice president of operations and technology. Based in Los Angeles, he will continue to lead the operations team, as well as develop and grow state-of-the-art technology services to enhance the client shuttle experience.

Ron Alvarez has returned to the company as vice president of human resources after five years away. He is responsible for implementing training, onboarding new hires and developing policies and regulations from the Las Vegas headquarter office and will also be an integral part of the operations department. For the past three years, Weld served as director of operations for Hello! Las Vegas.

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