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


Mitchell named vice president for AFFI

Jenny Mitchell has been promoted to vice president of conventions and meetings at the American Frozen Food Institute from her position as director of conventions and meetings. Her work for the 2007 AFFI Frozen Food Convention, held in February in Monterey, Calif., helped the organization increase registrations by 11 percent and sponsorships by 47 percent.

Nursing organization promotes Allgauer

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses has promoted Michelle Dennis Allgauer, CMP, CMM, to associate director of meetings and convention services. Prior to joining the organization, which serves more than 22,000 health-care professionals in the United States, Canada and abroad, Allgauer spent 11 years planning meetings and programs for two banking associations.


Among several promotions at VisitPittsburgh, the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau, Craig Davis is now vice president of sales and marketing, Jason Fulvi was named executive director of convention sales and Karl Pietrzak was promoted to senior national sales director.

Rick Miller is now the international golf industry sales representative for the 2,300-acre Ginn Reunion (Fla.) Resort.

Katja Morgenstern has joined Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center sales team as a sales manager.

Mark O’Neal has taken a position as director of marketing and sales at the 482-room Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City.

The 692-room Fairmont Chicago has hired Todd Sitz as director of convention services.

Two assistant directors have been hired at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau: John Solis, assistant director of sales and marketing, and Steve DeLaHaya, assistant director of finance and administration.

Benchmark Hospitality International, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, has appointed Eric Terry as vice president of sales and marketing.

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Mary Ann Linder“It’s all about networking and business interaction. A lot of deals are made.”

Mary Ann Linder is meetings manager for the 81-year-old Soap and Detergent Association in Washington, D.C. SDA members produce more than 90 percent of the cleaning products marketed in the United States. The SDA Annual Meeting & Industry Convention is held at the beginning of the year at Florida’s Boca Raton Resort & Club, its home for the past 38 years.

How did you get into the industry? After going to college for international relations, I found a job as a program assistant at the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, which represents the toll-road industry. I was supposed to help wherever there was a need, and most of the need was in meetings. I loved it. I learned on the job, completely. I like that, as a planner, you see projects through from start to end. And there’s never a dull moment.

What distinguishes your annual meeting? Ours is primarily for members to have business meetings. We always need about 30 meeting rooms. We have about 600 people participating, and our attendees say the right people show up: the decision-makers. It’s all about networking and business interaction. A lot of deals are made.

Do you have to theme your events around soap? The members do get kind of tired of all the clean-hand jokes. This group tends not to be at the beginning of their careers. We pick themes that are business-oriented. We did have disposable hand wipes at registration this year that we branded. Our little packets said, “Clean hands save lives.”