by Terence Baker | June 01, 2004

VonGerichten goes to boat manufacturer
Michele VonGerichten has joined Pursuit Boats, a Fort Pierce, Fla.-based fishing-boat manufacturer, as marketing assistant and meeting and events planner. Previously, she was meeting planner and production manager at White Commercial Corp., a grain-commodity futures broker in Stuart, Fla.
Sarni joins Newspaper Association
Shirley Sarni has become meetings manager for the Vienna, Va.-based Newspaper Association of America. Sarni previously held similar positions with the National District Attorneys Association and the Helicopter Association International, both based in Alexandria, Va.

Timothy R. Bugas has been promoted to vice president of sales at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts in Hershey, Pa. 
Beverly Dolina Roach is the new director of sales and marketing at the 252-room Marriott Plaza San Antonio.
Andrew Hatton has been named national sales manager at the 640-suite Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix. 
Rhonda Omodt-Summers has been promoted to director of sales and marketing at the 321-room Millennium Hotel, Minneapolis.
Jorge Pesquera has been appointed to the post of president and CEO of the Aruba Hotels & Tourism Association, on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Pesquera formerly served in the capacity of executive director of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.
Robert Pierce has been hired as sales manager at the Richmond, Va., Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. Also joining the bureau is Susan Williams as convention sales coordinator.
Doug Smith has been appointed as the new corporate director of sales for the Orlando-based Kessler Collection
of hotels.
Kimberly Sparks has been named convention sales manager for the Portland Oregon Visitors Association.

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Sharon Collins"I think there is an instinct for being able to make the right recommendations at the right time."

Sharon Collins, CMP, is the Atlanta-based director of meetings and expositions for the Kellen Co., an association management firm. Last October, Collins assumed responsibility for the Washington, D.C.-based Juice Products Association (JPA), a new 400-member organization formed by the merger of the National Juice Products Association (NJPA) and the Processed Apples Institute (PAI).

Previously, you planned meetings just for the PAI. Was the merger difficult? No, because during the transition process, all the association-management companies bidding for the new business were kept in the loop about the JPA’s planned October midyear meeting. This gave us time to prepare for an event occurring the same month we landed the contract. The JPA also has an annual meeting in May.

How did you approach the running of this new association? I did not charge in like a playground bully. It was important to learn from the history of both groups; for example, the NJPA had a long history of volunteerism, so we plan on expanding that.

What makes a good planner? I think there is an instinct for it, for being able to make the right recommendations at the right time. Attention to detail and being able to see the importance of good customer relations also are important.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Passing my CMP exam, which I did this January. If you’ve been out of school for a while, the studying is intense. Participating in a CMP study group is critical.