People News: Visit Spokane, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Visit KC and More Make Executive Appointments, Grow Staff

April 17, 2023

Across the country, event-related organizations are tapping new leadership and expanding their teams. Take a look!

Visit Spokane

Visit Spokane has tapped Rose Noble as its new president and CEO, effective May 15. She is currently finishing out a five-year tenure as president and CEO of Galena Country Tourism in Galena, Ill., where she has worked for more than seven years, previously as interim director and prior to that as director of marketing. 

Bringing a wealth of marketing strategy and event planning experience to her new role with Visit Spokane, Noble was an active Illinois Council of Convention and Visitors Bureau member and is a current board member with Destinations International. She is working on her accreditation as a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME). 

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Venue management and event strategy leader ASM Global has appointed hospitality industry and labor operations veteran Tony Hodgins as general manager of the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC), part of the ASM Global portfolio of premier convention and trade show venues.

As general manager of the Philadelphia facility, Hodgins will be responsible for the successful operations of the PCC, including programs such as the recently launched Hospitality Industry Advancement Trust (HIAT) Fund, an industry-leading partnership between the venue’s management and its trade show labor partners.

Hodgins was previously a 30-year executive of Freeman, where he worked in the industry’s largest network of experts in the field and led its Northeast Region team to winning the Freeman Customer Service Award for the first time in its history. 

Visit KC 

Visit KC recently welcomed three new members to its sales team: Kristine Becker as national account manager, Carlissa Riddle as sales manager and Mackenzie Nelson as convention sales coordinator.

A native Oregonian who has served in the travel industry for more than 25 years, Becker previously worked for Travel Portland from 2004-2020, the last 13 years remotely. Prior to working at Travel Portland, she held various hotel sales roles in the Portland area. 

Bringing a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, Riddle most recently worked as a director of national accounts for Kansas City-based Global Cynergies, where she handled a portfolio of corporate and association-based customers in site selection and meeting support. Prior to that role, she opened the Home2 Suites by Hilton near the Kansas City International Airport as its director of sales. She also worked at the Ritz Carlton, Philips House Hotel and was part of the opening team for the Argosy Hotel in Kansas City. 

A graduate of the University of Missouri in 2020 with a degree in Hospitality Management, Nelson recently worked as a benefits coordinator with Lathrop GPM LLP and executed several internships with the Mizzou Alumni Association, the Kauffman Foundation and Starlight Theatre, among others. 

Conrad Washington, DC

Hilton Worldwide recently appointed 20-year hospitality veteran Adam Heffron as the new general manager of the luxury 360-room Conrad Washington, DC. He is responsible for leading the hotel’s team in all aspects of hotel operations, from marketing and hotel administration to luxury hospitality and ensuring premium customer service. 

In Heffron’s previous role, he led the pre-opening and opening team of the 305-room Conrad Los Angeles hotel in downtown Los Angeles, working to ensure its success as the flagship property for the Conrad Hotels & Resorts brand in California. In the course of his career, he has held a variety of senior leadership roles with Hilton, including general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Park City and hotel manager of the Conrad New York Downtown.

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Veteran hospitality sales leader and Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) Vice President of Sales Charlene Lopez will be promoted to executive vice president and chief sales officer beginning Jan. 1, 2024. She will succeed Mark Vaughan, who announced his plans to retire at the end of this year.

In her new elevated role, Lopez will be responsible for efforts to increase visitation to Atlanta through the development and implementation of all ACVB sales programs. She will oversee trade show sales, in-house sales, international tourism sales and convention services, establishing strategy for each and ensuring their objectives align with the corporate strategy. She will also maintain partnerships with hotels and convention facilities and serve as the sales liaison to ACVB’s executive committee and board of directors.

Lopez will be the highest-ranking woman in the ACVB’s history, serving as the first female C-level executive since the organization was established 110 years ago. She joined ACVB in June 2012 as sales manager, national accounts, focusing on association and corporate business, was promoted to director of citywide sales in September 2019 and became vice president of sales in July 2021.

Her career also includes roles with Omni Hotel at CNN Center as director of sales, associate director of sales at Hyatt Regency Atlanta and associate director of sales, sales manager and business travel manager at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa.

Visit Indy

Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ official CVB, recently welcomed two new additions and promoted three members of its sales team.

As the new national account director, Kevin Harmon will manage accounts in the western half of the U.S. for up to 1,000 peak rooms alongside the select Midwest market (Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee) for 601-plus peak room groups. He brings nearly two decades of hotel sales experience to the Visit Indy team, most recently serving as associate director of sales for the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.

As a new account manager, Max Spradlin joins the Visit Indy team after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Southern Indiana. His new role entails managing the meetings express market for up to 75 peak rooms nationwide and supporting the national account director in the CVB’s Chicago office for up to 350 peak rooms as well as its senior national account director in the East Coast market for up to 500 peak rooms.

Visit Indy also recently promoted Brooke Faris from account manager to national account manager; Chris Cecil, Jr. from meetings express sales manager to account manager; and Minerva Garcia from national account director to senior national account director.

Pinnacle Live 

Pinnacle Live, an event experience and technology company started in 2021 for the hospitality and event industry, has hired two industry veterans to launch its new Event Production division: Dan Sherman as executive vice president of business development, and Dave Arendes as senior vice president of sales operations.

An employee of Freeman for six years, Sherman most recently served as the company’s vice president, strategic business development. Bringing 21 years of industry experience to his new role, he has supported hundreds of North America’s leading event organizers, including Major League Baseball, U.S. Department of State, The White House, Society for Human Resource Management, NACS, Specialty Food Association, American Chemical Society and U.S. Green Building Council.

In 2008, Sherman founded HIP NETWORK, a B2B digital media company for the hospitality industry, and launched the Market in a Minute newsletter in 2017 and the Traveling podcast in 2020.

Arendes worked for Freeman for 25 years and most recently served as senior vice president, client solutions, for the Northeast region. He began his career at Freeman in 1997 and worked in sales and operations roles at the company. In 2014, he was selected to participate in iLEAD, a year-long developmental leadership program designed to build future, value-based leaders within Freeman. 

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau 

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) recently welcomed senior level human resources and operations professional Matthew Metzger as its new director of operations. 

In this role, Metzger is responsible for overseeing the daily activities of the chamber, coordinating the efficient use of chamber resources and managing the facilities, mailroom, visitor centers, human resources, insurance policy management, emergency management and information technology.

He is certified through the Society for Human Resource Management and previously worked as human resources director of Better Brands for more than five years.

Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority 

The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority in the Greater Atlanta Area recently hired 15-year certified human resources professional Robin Canada as its new director of human resources. She is responsible for recruitment, employee relations, benefits, compensation, training, development, payroll and labor relations for Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and ArtsBridge Foundation.

Canada has worked as an HR director for multiple hotel brands in several states, most recently at the Atlanta Westin Perimeter and for the Kessler Collection in Savannah, Ga.

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