by Sarah J.F. Braley | October 01, 2007


Carson moves to Gifted Children association

Robyn A. Carson has joined the Washington, D.C.-based National Association for Gifted Children as its director of meetings and professional development. Previously, Carson served as meetings manager at the American Dental Education Association.


Jesh Batra and Lionel Cooley are now associate directors of sales at the 422-room Adolphus hotel in Dallas, and Loretta Allen has been promoted to national accounts manager, overseeing the Midwest market.

The 340-room JW Marriott Grand Rapids (Mich.) was set to open last month with Julie Blanton as senior event manager, and Liz Della Croce and Brianne Schadler as sales managers.

Silvia De la Rua has been named meeting services manager at the 300-room Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The new director of sales and marketing at the 626-room Grosvenor Resort is Steven Green. A $25 million renovation finishes up at the Lake Buena Vista, Fla., property this month.

Lisa Green-Johnson is a new sales manager for the Baton Rouge (La.) Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau has promoted Barb Johnson-Greenhalgh to the position of director of sales, Western region.

Jim Lopez is now the director of sales and marketing for the 404-room Palm Springs (Calif.) Riviera Resort & Spa. Currently closed, the property will reopen in fall 2008 following a $50 million renovation.

Scott Mumma has been appointed director of national sales for The Woodlands, Texas-based Benchmark Hospitality International.

Tom Wolf has been named general manager of the 390-room Hyatt Regency Bethesda (Md.). Wolf comes to the property from his recent position as hotel manager at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Kaylee Hultgren, People Page,M&C,100 Lighting Way, Secaucus, N.J. 07094; fax: (201) 902-2032;

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Bob Walker“I ask planners what ‘must’ be part of the event and then what ‘might’ be part of the event.”

Bob Walker, vice president of creative services for Dallas-based AVW-TELAV audiovisual services, was the winner of Meeting Professionals International’s 2007 International Supplier of the Year award. He came to the industry 31 years ago from the broadcasting world.

What has kept you in this industry for so long? This has been an extraordinary adventure for me -- allowing me to experience a lot of new things and meet people I never would have met otherwise. The variety has made this so interesting -- no two days are ever the same.

How do you help planners create better events? In a word, I listen. I ask planners what “must” be part of the event and then what “might” be part of the event, given no restrictions of time or budget. Then I listen to their dream or goal, and many times we discover it together.

How do you characterize the best relationships between A/V companies and planners? Marriage is a good metaphor for that relationship. It’s a partnership where we can communicate openly and look out for each other’s best interests. We work together for each other’s common long-term good.

What mistake do planners make most often? It’s no surprise that planners are driven by cost and, in many cases, taking the lowest price. It’s also no surprise that A/V costs have grown substantially over the past decade. If a planner feels comfortable with an A/V partner and can share goals -- both needs and budget -- any A/V partner worth his salt will find a way to get the job done.