"I try to keep my family involved with what I'm doing, so they can see why I put in so many hours."
John Gonzalez, the new event manager for the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, began his career as a mail clerk at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1997 and steadily worked his way up to managing large-scale events at the center. During that time he also served two tours in the U.S. Army in the Middle East and still found time to help raise two children.
What is one surprising thing you've learned over the course of your career? From the beginning, the industry struck me as something I really liked. But I thought event coordinating was the same for all venues. After moving from the Wortham Center, a sister venue of the GRB, I realized that coordinating convention center events is very different. Three or four months into it, I knew that I wanted to keep going with this.
How do you make time for your family? My kids, now 7 and 12 years old, love the convention center, so depending on the nature of the event, I'm able to bring them there and walk them around when it's slow. The hardest thing is the hours, but they've been very understanding. I try to keep my family involved with what I'm doing, so they can see why I put in so many hours there.
Has serving overseas helped your job here in the United States? I feel that my time overseas greatly enhanced my leadership skills, values and goals. I believe in building a strong camaraderie with my team and would never ask them to do anything I have not done. My time overseas made me believe in leading by example.
MAC Meetings & Events hires Ryals
is the new director of medical meetings for MAC Meetings & Events,
a meeting, event and destination company based in St. Louis, where he
oversees the medical meeting division's sales and operations.
Previously, Ryals served as senior meeting planner at Ryals &
Associates Inc., headquartered in Springville, Ala.
107-room Lorien Hotel & Spa, new to Alexandria, Va., since
February, has hired Donald Anderson as general manager and Joy Whiddon
as director of sales.
Phil Anderson has been appointed to the
position of general manager of the 94-suite Whiteface Lodge Resort
& Spa in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Rowenne Brockfield has been promoted
from project manager to manager of strategic development, virtual
meetings, at health-care meeting and event company UniversalProcon.
She will represent sales for the U.K. and will be based out of Slough,
The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired
Lowell Canaday as director of convention sales. He will work out of the
bureau's Washington, D.C., satellite office.
The Seattle Convention
and Visitors Bureau has appointed George Coromilas as national accounts
director. He will be responsible for management of the corporate,
sports and environmental convention sales markets.
Shorebreak Hotel, opening this month in Huntington Beach, Calif., has
hired Sean Crume as director of food and beverage and Donald Chock as
director of sales and marketing.
Robert K. Humphrey has been hired as director of sales and marketing for the 768-room Avenue Hotel Chicago.
Leslie Pchola has been appointed general manager of the 800-room Hilton Austin (Texas) Hotel.
Jennifer Phillips has been named director of sales at the 1,070-room Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta.
Hawaii has appointed Julie Makii Reiser as the senior sales manager for
the western region of the United States. She will be based out of