Chief Operating Officer, Tournament of Roses

One of the most well-known and beloved events in the nation, The Tournament of Roses has been an institution since 1890. From a parade of flower-decorated horse-and-buggies and an afternoon of public games on the “town lot” to a well-oiled machine featuring elaborate floats with high-tech computerized animation and the granddaddy-of-them-all, Rose Bowl Game. Ed Corey, chief operating officer, Tournament of Roses, will share how the organization continues to evolve and keep its legacy event fresh and relevant.

Co-Founder and CEO, Goldstar

As co-founder and CEO of Goldstar, Jim McCarthy brings audiences new ways to experience more and spend less on theater, concerts, nightlife, comedy, sports and other events in their city. He will delve into emerging technologies and how they impact the way we communicate in a global market.

Jim McCarthy is an 18-year veteran of the Internet and e-commerce and has spent his entire career in high-growth businesses. He's the curator and co-founder of TEDxBroadway. He's spoken at conferences all over the world, including TED, SXSW, INTIX and more. His articles have been in Forbes, Fast Company and Business Insider. Jim studied English at Harvard University and received an MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Senior Vice President & Chief Security Officer, AEG Worldwide


Matthew R. Bettenhausen is the Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer for AEG Worldwide. AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. They own or manage over 120 sports, entertainment and convention center venues such as STAPLES Center, the LA Convention Center and the LA Live entertainment district in Los Angeles. They own sports franchises in professional basketball, hockey, and soccer. AEG LIVE is the second largest promoter of concerts, live tours and special events in the United States. Matt has overall responsibility for security, safety and preparedness for AEG's domestic and global operations and facilities.

Matt is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP); Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP); an attorney (Illinois/Federal bars) and a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Illinois. He serves on a steering committee with the U.S. State Department's Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC); the membership committee for the Chief Security Officer Roundtable and is a member of the FBI's Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), among other professional organizations.

Previously, Matt was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead California's homeland security and emergency management operations as the Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA). Matt was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger's cabinet for nearly six years and served as the Chairman of the California Emergency Council.

He has held a number of senior leadership positions with national organizations, such as the National Homeland Security Consortium (Chairman), National Governors Association's Homeland Security Advisors Council (Chairman) and National Emergency Managers Association (Vice President).

Prior to his appointment in California, Matt served as the first Director of State and Territorial Coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he was the Department's representative to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and a member of both the Department's Emergency Response Group and its Interagency Incident Management Team.

From January 2000 to January 2003, Matt served as the Deputy Governor of Illinois and its Homeland Security Director. As Deputy Governor, Matt was responsible for coordinating the law enforcement and public safety functions and agencies of the State of Illinois. The agencies reporting to him included, among others: the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois State Police, Department of Corrections, State Fire Marshal's Office, Department of Nuclear Safety and the Department of Military Affairs.

For over twelve years Matt was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. He investigated and prosecuted all manner of federal offenses from drug cases to complex financial fraud matters and long-term undercover investigations. He also worked on a number of terrorism cases and civil rights investigations. For most of his prosecutorial career he held supervisory positions with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, including Chief of Appeals and Associate Chief of the entire Criminal Division.

Matt graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Accountancy and continued his education at the University's law school where he earned his J.D. degree cum laude. In 2006, Matt was privileged to receive the Patrick Henry Award from the National Guard Association of the United States for his public safety and security work.

His family has a long and extensive history in the fire service and law enforcement. His father dedicated more than 50 years to the fire service and recently retired as the Fire Marshal for Tinley Park, Illinois. His brother is an officer with the Lemont Fire Protection District.

Protective Security Advisor (PSA), U.S. DHS


Brian L. Keith currently serves as a Protective Security Advisor (PSA) for the U.S. Department of

Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Infrastructure Protection. As a PSA, Mr. Keith coordinates Counter-Terrorism, Active Shooter, and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) awareness training to critical infrastructure owners and operators and first responders in the Los Angeles District.

In addition to coordinating training, Mr. Keith conducts vulnerability assessments of local critical infrastructure sites and facilitates information sharing between the DHS and state and local first responders. As an infrastructure security expert, Mr. Keith also provides physical and cyber security technical advice to the California Homeland Security Advisor (HSA) and the Infrastructure Protection Division within the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES).

Prior to serving as a PSA Mr. Keith was appointed as Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Office of Homeland Security (OHS). For OHS, Mr. Keith was responsible for the development of California's Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, as well as the implementation of the states first Regional CIP Assessment Team. In addition to overseeing the state's Regional CIP Assessment Team, Mr. Keith chaired and served on several DHS national level working groups to include; the Chemical Vulnerability Information (CVI) Working Group, the Automated Critical Asset Management (ACAMS) Working Group, and the State Railroad Safety and Security Task Force.

Before joining OHS, Mr. Keith was as a Preparedness Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP). For the ODP, Mr. Keith was responsible for the management of over $ 260 million in federal homeland security grant programs administered to the state of California. Before his tenure at ODP, Mr. Keith served as a Senior Program Specialist for the Governor's Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP). In this capacity, Mr. Keith managed several Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Programs which were administered to state and local law enforcement agencies throughout California to provide equipment and training to combat crime, substance abuse, and terrorism.

Prior to OCJP, Mr. Keith served as a Body Armor Technician for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC). Prior to his service at NLECTC, Mr. Keith was employed as a Security Force Officer (SFO) for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. At Goddard Space Flight Center, Mr. Keith was responsible for physical security operations assisted with the enforcement of laws on U.S. Government Property.

Throughout the past 23 years, Mr. Keith has conducted several counter-terrorism and law enforcement technology presentations for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) National Academy, and the New York State Police Union Association. After the events of 9/11/2001, Mr. Keith conducted homeland security presentations to the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the United Kingdom's Royal College of Defense Studies in London.

Mr. Keith completed his Bachelor of Science in Criminology from the University of Maryland University College in 1997 and is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) Executive Program in Counter-Terrorism.

Founder & Chief Motivator, Workplace ESL Solutions


Transformative. Groundbreaking. Advocate. This is Ronna Timpa, a tireless champion of workplace inclusion who made it her mission to advance the field of workplace English as a Second Language (ESL). For the past 25 years, she has made good on her promise. What began with an opportunity to teach English to 30 housekeepers representing 11 countries has evolved into Ronna's passion and profession. Armed with a bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management and a master's degree in TESL, she founded Workplace ESL Solutions, an industry-leading language communications firm headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada with offices in California and Florida. The firm's Chief Motivator, Ronna inspires her team to educate and empower clients through courses, coaching, speaking and consultation in the areas of workplace ESL, diversity & inclusion, business writing, and written translations.

Sought after by top hospitality corporations, government agencies, residential communities, and healthcare clients, Ronna is a guru in linking ESL training to job performance, retention, and an exceptional guest experience. The practical application of her innovative approach comes to life in her empowering keynote speeches, the numerous textbooks she has authored and in the online hotel ESL program she imagined and engineered with Vegas PBS.

This enthusiastic, results-oriented leader gets her energy from her kind husband, her energetic teenage daughter, and lots of vegetables.

Principal, LMN


Brian has over 27 years of experience with complex convention center projects. He is an active participant in convention center industry panels and conferences, and a recognized authority in convention center design.

Brian has spent the last 24 years working on many of LMN's convention center projects as a project architect, project manager and program coordinator. Brian's skills on the design team ensure that the owner's program and functional layout are delivered in an effective and operationally efficient manner. Brian has worked on convention centers in cities across North America including Seattle, Honolulu, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Vancouver, BC and London, ON. Brian's convention center industry affiliation includes the International Association of Venue Managers and the Convention Centres of Canada and often speaks at their conferences.

Brian's convention center project experience includes a variety of delivery methods (design/build, CM at risk, traditional design bid) and ranges from complex schedule driven renovation projects to new buildings and master planning projects throughout North America.

Vice President | Practice Leader, Convention Center Group, HKS, Inc.

With more than 30 years of experience in the programming, planning and design of public assembly facilities, Ken has become a recognized expert in this discipline. He has been invited to speak at the International Association of Venue Managers' International Convention Center Conference numerous times and has published articles in Facility Manager, Auditoria and Revitalization magazines. Prior to joining HKS as the leader of its convention center practice, Ken was involved in over 30 convention center design commissions, including work at four of the five largest facilities in North America, receiving three national AIA Honor Awards and two Urban Land Institute Awards of Excellence. As an IAVM Allied Member, Ken serves on the Convention Centers / Exhibit Halls Committee.

Associate Principal, tvsdesign


Emery Leonard, AIA is an Associate Principal with tvsdesign, one of the world's leading convention center design firms. His projects with tvsdesign include Nanjing International Exhibition Center in Nanjing, China, the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Ocean Center in Daytona, Florida among others.

Emery commuted from Atlanta to Shanghai during the design and construction of the Nanjing International Exhbition and Convention Center. The success of the project earned tvsdesign a subsequent expansion opportunity now under construction.

He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (BS) and the University of Pennsylvania (MArch). Emery's tenure with tvsdesign began in 1996.

President & CEO, CEIR

Brian Casey is President & CEO for The Center for Exhibition Industry Research and has more than 34 years of experience in the trade show and meetings industry. Prior to joining CEIR he served as Vice President & General Manager of Cleveland’s new Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovations, President and CEO of the High Point Furniture Market, Owner of his own exhibition management company, Executive Vice President at Smith Bucklin and Managing Director of Trade Shows for the International Housewares Exposition. Casey has served on boards of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Major American Trade Show Organizers, IAEE among other industry associations.

Subject Matter Expert on Domestic and International Policing, United Service Companies

Garry McCarthy, is a Subject Matter Expert on Domestic and International Policing at United Service Companies. In this capacity, he facilitates all plans regarding issues related to municipal policing planning and policing needs.

Throughout his extensive law enforcement career, Garry McCarthy has consistently delivered superior results. Through executive leadership roles, operations management techniques and implementing innovative crime control strategies, McCarthy has significantly reduced crime and streamlined efficiencies.

SVP/General Manager, San Diego Convention Center Corporation

Karen Totaro was recently named the SVP/General Manager of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. Prior to heading west Karen served as the General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center for Spectra, a leader in private venue management. Karen relocated from Cincinnati where she held the position of Assistant General Manager at the Duke Energy Convention Center which was also managed by Spectra. Prior to Cincinnati Karen served as the Assistant Executive Director at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for nine years and the Associate Director at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio for five years. Karen started in the business at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana as the Marketing Manager for the Assembly Hall Arena.

During her career Karen has had an active role in the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) by serving in several capacities which have included her recent role as Chairman of the Board as well as 1st and 2nd Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and now Past Chair which equates to four years on the Executive Committee, District IV Regional Director, a seat on the Board of Governors, Chair of the Transition Committee, Chair of the Education Council, Chair of the Board Development Committee, a member of the Allied Task Force and two years as a member of the Board of Trustees. Karen has also served as Chair of the Governance Committee and three years on the Leadership/Nominating Committee which she now chairs. The roles noted included three terms on the IAVM Board of Directors. Karen was instrumental in the planning of the IAVM Region IV Conference in Portland and assisted with the Conference planning in Vancouver, Spokane and Seattle as well as the International Convention Center Conference in Portland in 2010. Planning regional Conferences became a great asset when Karen was asked to Chair the VenueConnect Planning Committee for 2014 in Portland.

In the summer of 2015 Karen was named a "Woman of Influence" by Venues Today Magazine and was the cover story of FM (Facility Manager) Magazine with an article on "Leadership". In 2016 Karen was awarded the "Elite Award" from Facilities and Destination Magazine for making a difference in the meetings industry. Most recently Karen was highlighted in Facilities & Destination Magazine on the "F & D A-List of Top 12 Women Convention Center Executives".

Karen is a graduate of the University of Illinois. In addition she is a graduate of the IAVM Venue Management School. Karen completed the three year Senior Executive Symposium in 2007 and received her Certified Facilities Executive distinction in 2009.

Originally from Chicago, Karen grew up in the shadow of the old Comiskey Park (former home of the Chicago White Sox) so venues have always played a significant role in her life and continue to do so. Karen has an obvious passion for the venue industry, as well as an enduring passion for her beloved Chicago Bears (Da Bears!)

Principal, Design Director, Gensler

Eric Stultz, AIA, LEED AP is a Design Director and Principal with Gensler, the largest and most-admired design firm in the world. Eric is a Firmwide Practice Area Leader for Convention Centers in the Los Angeles office, where he also imparts his expertise as a Studio Leader focused on large-scale, mixed-use planning and architecture. In his 25 years of professional experience, Eric’s work has encompassed a broad range of building types and services, and has been recognized consistently for design and technical excellence.

His 19 years with Gensler, both in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, have presented opportunities to lead the design of significant large-scale projects around the world. These projects include the Costa Rica Convention Center in San José; the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters, Training Facility and Ford Center at The Star in Frisco; Farmers Field NFL Stadium; and New Century Plaza Hotel, Residences and Conference Center in Los Angeles. Eric has received numerous AIA Awards for projects he designed in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington DC and Virginia.

During his time at Gensler, Eric founded Gensler’s Firmwide Digital Design Strategy Practice and continues to oversee its initiatives.

Eric is also a Board Member and President of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles. He attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and received his Bachelors of Architecture from SCI-Arc.

Senior Vice President, General Manager,, Los Angeles Convention Center

Brad Gessner is a 37 year veteran of the hospitality and public assembly facility management industry. In addition to being the Sr. Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center responsible for the day-to-day management of that facility, he also is the Vice President of Convention Centers for AEG Facilities responsible for the Los Angeles Convention Center and Hawaii Convention Center.

Additionally, he is responsible for overseeing and expanding the management services and delivery of best practices in the areas of convention center management, operations, guest services, sales and marketing. Gessner came to AEG from the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (California), where he spent 14 years in senior management positions and was the General Manager of the 2.6 million square foot award winning convention center for six years.

He is an industry leader in the areas of sustainability and “green” practices and served as the Chair of the Sustainability Committee for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) from 2008 – 2012. He also chaired the “Green Team” for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation and oversaw the process that resulted in that facility attaining LEEDEB O&M SILVER Certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council in 2011.

Gessner is an adjunct faculty professor and visiting lecturer for San Diego State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Department and completed his Master’s Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management at SDSU in 2013.

Principle, Neil Reid & Associates

Mr. Reid is an internationally invited consultant and speaker to industry and academia on mobility subjects ranging from Wi-Fi value propositions and success metrics for executives and graduate business schools, to complex RF propagation and project sequencing for engineers.

He has published three books on wireless technology through McGraw-Hill of New York, the second of which became a best seller, the third entitled “The Why of Wireless”.

His Wi-Fi hands on experience includes many of the worlds largest Wi-Fi deployments at some of the worlds largest venues. As the primary Wi-Fi consultant for British Telecom’s Open Zone public Wi-Fi deployment, Mr. Reid helped deploy over one thousand access points across nine major venues for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

His recent extensive experience in major Wi-Fi deployments includes the Boston Convention and Entertainment Center, and Overland Park Convention Center. In addition to those deployments; three Super Bowls, a World Series ballpark, numerous other convention centers, college stadiums, regional retail super warehouses, nuclear power plants, shipyards, hospitals, and major outdoor venues.

President/CEO, IAVM

Brad Mayne, CFE is President/CEO of International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). IAVM represents public assembly venue professionals from around the globe. Active members include managers and senior executives from arenas, convention centers, exhibit halls, stadiums, performing arts centers, university complexes, and amphitheaters. Member venues represent major expenditures of public and private funds in their communities, are an economic engine, and attract millions of patrons to an astonishing variety of events including sports, conventions, meetings, conferences, and artistic offerings.

Mr. Mayne has broad experience and proven leadership skills as an accomplished executive in the public assembly facility industry developing success with arenas, stadiums, convention centers and performing arts centers; employed by municipalities, private, and public/private organizations. He has served as a consultant and arbitrator for NHL, NBA and NFL facilities.

Most recently Mayne served as President/CEO of MetLife Stadium, President/CEO American Airlines Center, and Region Manager for Ogden Entertainment Facility Management.

Mayne has received numerous awards throughout his career including SEVT Lifetime Achievement Award (University of South Carolina), ALSD Visionary Award, IAVM McElravy Award, IAVM Foundation Legacy Award, Ogden Entertainment Masters Award, IAVM Ray Ward Award, and PollStar Magazine’s Venue Executive of the Year.

Active in the communities Mayne has resided, he has served on Board of Directors for CVBs, Chambers, Sports Commissions, Super Bowl XLVIII, IAVM, and Cotton Bowl Classic.

Executive Director, ESCA

After 11 years with GES where he was regional VP and 24 years with Freeman where he was Executive VP of Sales, Larry joined The Augusta Group in 2005. Shortly thereafter he and associate Don Vaughn created a new entity named Augusta Group Management (AGM).

In 2007 AGM officially assumed association management of the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA). Larry has served on the Board of Directors for ESCA in the positions of Board Member, Secretary-Treasurer, First Vice President and President and also served as Program Chairman for their Annual Summer Educational Conference for five years. He has served on the New Orleans CVB and Dallas CVB Sales and Marketing Committees and was always active in other industry associations as well as being a Charter Associate Member of IAEE and a member of PCMA. Larry was a member of IAVM for 15+ years and in the past has served on the Exhibits Committee and Allied Member Committee.

In the past Larry has been the recipient of Freeman’s top honor, the “Buck Freeman Award” and the prestigious “ESCA Lifetime Achievement Award”.

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Freeman Expositions

Chris Schimek currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Freeman Expositions. He works with field SVPs, RVPs and GMs to ensure consistently successful event execution in every city and venue through the successful implementation and application of companywide operating tools, processes, systems and standards developed to continuously improve operational efficiencies and customer service. Reporting directly to Chris in his role are the Anaheim, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Reno, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta and Orlando branches, as well as Corporate Operations, including corporate graphics, transportation, CDC and WDC.

Prior to relocating to Freeman's corporate office in Dallas in 2009, Chris served as the vice president and general manager of Freeman's Las Vegas office. Freeman Las Vegas ranks as one of the highest volume producing and highest customer service ranking branches in the company. Chris joined Freeman in Atlanta as the assistant director of operations in 1997; he also served as director of operations and assistant general manager in the Atlanta office. He has more than 20 years of experience in the exposition services industry and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Exhibition Services Contractors Association. Chris completed the Executive Education Program at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business in 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

General Manager, Virginia Beach Convention Center

Courtney Dyer is a native of the City of Virginia Beach and a graduate of Old Dominion University’s School of Business Administration.

Courtney began his career in 1972 working in the concession stand of the former Virginia Beach Civic Center, a small multi-purpose auditorium designed by Buckminster Fuller. The facility hosted meetings and conventions, community events and a variety of live concerts.

In 1980 Dyer was part of the team that opened the Pavilion Convention Center. He held various positions at the facility including Event Coordinator, Assistant Manager, and General Manager. The Pavilion was a multipurpose facility that included a 60,000 square foot exhibit hall, meeting rooms and a 1,000 seat performing arts theater. The center hosted nearly 500 events and a half million visitors annually. The Pavilion was demolished in 2005 to make room for the current convention center.

In 2001, Courtney became actively engaged in the planning, design, and construction of the new Virginia Beach Convention Center where he currently serves as general manager. At a cost of over $200 million, the replacement convention center contains 150,000 square foot exhibition hall, a 30,000 square foot ballroom and 28,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The Center has twice certified LEED Gold for Existing Buildings.

Dyer is a graduate of the Venue Management School and is a Certified Facilities Executive. He has been active on Region 5’s Board for the last ten years and currently serves as the Region’s Treasurer. He has been a member of the International Association of Assembly Managers for nearly 40 years.

Courtney is the father of two grown daughters and is involved with several community organizations.

General Manager, Overland Park Convention Center

Driven by a desire to spend more time with his children, in 2010 Brett C. Mitchell returned as general manager for the Overland Park Convention Center, one of the few convention centers to generate a true operating profit.

Previously Brett held the position of vice president of convention center operations & regional vice president for Global Spectrum and directly managed operations totaling more 75 million dollars in revenues, 450 FT employees, and 5 million square feet of event space. He was instrumental in a dramatic expansion of Global Spectrum’s convention portfolio.

Brett earned a degree in Sports Business Management from Brigham Young University and later served on the Industry Advisory Council for the school’s Facility Management Program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the Exhibitions and Meetings Industry Security Council, IAVM’s Convention Center Committee, and the MityLite Advisory Board.

Brett is the son of a Marine Corps General, the husband of twenty years to Sheila Cook Mitchell of Vernal, Utah and the proud father of 16 year-old Georgia, 14 year-old Emma, 12 year-old Noah, and 10 year-old Maia.

Executive Director, Department of Convention and Tourism Development, City of Los Angeles

“Bud” Ovrom is the Executive Director of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Department of Convention and Tourism Development.

This is Mr. Ovrom’s fourth executive position since coming to the City of Los Angeles 13 years ago. Ovrom was the Chief Executive Officer of the Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) in the Hahn Administration from 2003 to 2005. When Antonio Villaraigosa was elected Mayor in 2005, he asked Ovrom to join his Administration as Deputy Mayor of Economic Development. At the end of the first term, Mayor Villaraigosa asked him to stay on as General Manager of the Building and Safety Department.

In the Garcetti Administration, Ovrom has been tasked with turning the Convention Center into an economic engine for the City, with a “Four Pillars” strategy - - Governance, Privatization, Hotel Development, and Expansion.

Prior to coming to Los Angeles, Ovrom was the City Manager of the City of Burbank for 18 years. Ovrom also held City Manager positions in Downey and Monrovia, and started his career as Assistant to the City Manager of Simi Valley in 1970.

Research Manager, IAVM

Prior to joining IAVM in 2011, Frank worked for 30 years at several leading market research firms in NYC and the metropolitan area. His work at IAVM includes designing and executing industry related surveys and reporting the findings to members.

Outside of research, Frank enjoys competitive bowling, scuba diving, boating, working out and reading American History.

Executive Director, Convention & Event Services Department, City of Dallas

Ron King, a convention industry veteran, is responsible for the Convention & Event Services Department for the City of Dallas which includes the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (formerly the Dallas Convention Center). With two million square feet of space, it is one of the nation’s largest U.S. Green Building Council LEED-EB Silver Certified convention centers, brings more than 1 million visitors, and generates over $800M in economic impact to North Texas annually.

King oversees an annual budget of $96M. In addition to the Convention Center he is responsible for the City’s Office of Special Events and provides contract oversight for the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel, Union Station, American Airlines Center, and the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. His reputation for building and maintaining successful client, community, and hospitality partner relationships distinguish him in a field that is built on them. Over the past 20 years King has led successful and progressive convention center operations in multiple markets including San Diego, California; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Since 2012, Ron King has brought to Dallas an unparalleled commitment to environmental leadership, relationship management, and customer experience which continue to set the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas apart in the highly competitive convention industry.

Chief Operating Officer, Tampa Convention Center

Robert has been with the Tampa Convention Center since 1998. He assisted the US Secret Service and other security agencies with the safety and security operations of the Media Center during the Republican National Convention in 2012.

During his tenure in St. Petersburg, Florida, Robert worked in the front office for the Tampa Bay Rays (Major League Baseball). While serving as the Assistant General Manager of the ThunderDome in the 90s, he hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) and Tampa Bay Storm (Arena Football).

Robert served as the Associate Director of the O’Connell Center at the University of Florida and oversaw four public assembly facilities in Allen Park, Michigan.

Executive Director, Meydenbauer Center & Visit Bellevue Washington

Stacy Graven has been involved in the development, opening and operations of one of the Seattle region’s two largest convention centers.

In 1990, she began work at Meydenbauer Center as the Director of Sales and Marketing, where she assisted the Bureau in marketing of the facility prior to opening in late 1993. In March of 1994 she was asked to serve as Interim Executive Director. Ms. Graven was appointed to the permanent position as Executive Director in September 1994.

Prior to Meydenbauer Center she worked at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle from 1983-1990, where she worked in the construction development, sales and operations areas of the organization.

Ms. Graven is a graduate of Leadership Eastside and a member of the Bellevue Rotary. She currently serves on the Board of the Washington State Major League Baseball Public Facilities District; the Bellevue Downtown Association and its Executive Committee; KidsQuest Children’s Museum Board of Trustees; she serves as President of the Board of Trustees for Eastside Preparatory School and is a member of Eastside Pathways Business Engagement Collaborative. She previously served on the boards of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and the Eastside District Board of the YMCA. She is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers.

She received a degree in Communications from Washington State University and graduated from Newport High School in Bellevue, WA. She is married to Ken Johnsen and has two teenage boys.

General Manager, Spokane Convention Center

Stephanie Curran is the General Manager at the Spokane Convention Center and INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane, Washington. She has been a member of IAVM since 2006 and currently serves as the Region IV Vice-Chair and the Foundation Board of Trustees Vice-Chair. She is a graduate of IAVM’s Venue Management School, the Venue Management School Graduate Institute and IAVM’s Senior Executive Symposium at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. She has a B.A. from Gonzaga University and an M.A. in Organizational Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University. She has previously worked for Centerplate (formerly Volume Services America and Service America) and the Sheraton Hotel Corporation. She serves or has served on several Boards in her community including Executive Women International (Past President), Executive Women’s Golf Association (Past President), Downtown Spokane Partnership (current Vice-Chair), and Boys and Girls Club.

Sr. Director, Labor Relations, GES

Guy Langlais is an accomplished and respected Labor Relations professional with more than 20 years experience in the USA and Canada. He has specialized in the fields of collective bargaining and dispute resolution working with businesses in Forestry, Logistics, and for the past 12 years, in the Trade Show business with GES.

Guy was educated in Canada earning a BA in Psychology from McMaster University in Hamilton and then went on to graduate from the School of Business and Economics at Sir Wilfred University in Kitchener –Waterloo.

Director, Sales & Marketing, Cox Business/Convention Center

Kathy Tinker, Director of Sales and Marketing, at the Cox Business/Convention Center-Tulsa, has been in the convention sales industry for 20 years. She has worked the national, religious, state and other markets for the Center as well as the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau. Prior to her work at the Center, she was Marketing Manager for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Public venues have comprised most of her professional life and she enjoys travel, reading and Zumba outside of work.

Vice President, Shared Services, Fern Exposition & Event Services

Neil McMullin joined the Fern team in May of 2012. Neil has spent the last 15 years in the Exhibition and Events Industry as a General Manager of convention centers, conference centers, arenas, and performing art venues in various locations throughout the Country working for a private venue management firm before joining Fern. Neil has a lifelong passion for working in live events which started at the ground floor of the industry through today. Neil is responsible for field operations including quality control and the implementation of best practice in order to ensure a consistent delivery of high quality services and products. Neil also oversees all creative services including, structural design, graphic design and production as well as technology solutions and carpet operations. Neil is a board member of the Exhibitor Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), which includes serving as the Chair of the Contractor/Venue Relations Committee. Neil is also an active member of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and serves as the Chair of the Convention Center Committee responsible for producing the International Convention Center Conference (ICCC). Neil graduated with a degree in Facility and Business Management from BYU.

Senior Principal, Populous

As the design director for Populous’ convention center practice, Michael is actively involved in all phases of design, production and presentation for public assembly projects. Michael provides design leadership and coordinates with client representatives to reach design goals through highly collaborative and interactive design workshops, encouraging cities and communities to actively participate in the design, planning and aesthetic of major civic structures.

Michael has taken on many unique design projects around the world. Recently completed projects include the expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California and the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. Projects currently in the design and construction phases include new buildings and expansions in diverse destinations such as Sydney, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Sacramento and Oklahoma City.

Michael was recently awarded Engineering News Record Midwest’s 2013 “20 under 40” award as well as KC Business Magazine’s 2013 Rising Star award. This annual program honors rising design and construction professionals on the basis of their contributions to their profession and community.

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