by Terence Baker | November 01, 2003


Thornton hired by Courtesy Associates
Leslie Milsten Thornton has joined Washington, D.C.-based Courtesy Associates, a meeting and event planning company, as director of operations. Previously, Thornton founded the Chauffeured Transportation Certification Program, a training and safety course for the limousine industry, which she conducted from Portland, Ore. She has 17 years of experience in the meetings and hospitality industries.

MAC opens San Jose office
Independent event planning company MAC Meetings & Events opened a new office in San Jose, Calif., in September. Among the San Jose staff, principal planner Maria Kritzman, CMP, has been with MAC for 11 months and a planner for more than 10 years. Carolyn Vargas, a new addition to the team, will head up the sales side. Vargas comes to MAC from Cisco Systems, also in San Jose.


Renee Angeles
has been promoted to director of convention sales at the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Kathleen Ceseretti, CMP, has been promoted to vice president of sales at the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau in Providence, R.I. A new hire, Thomas Riel, has filled Kathleen’s former position as director of national accounts for Chicago and the western United States.
Mark Grosh has been appointed as director of sales and marketing at the 205-room Resort at Seabrook Island in South Carolina.
Chris Hackenbrock has been named director of sales and marketing at the Casperkill Country Club in Poughkeepsie, N.Y, which has almost 15,000 square feet of meeting space but no guest rooms.
Joseph M. Holody is the new director of convention sales and services at the Erie (Pa.) Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Kristen Jackelen has been named convention sales manager at the Saint Paul (Minn.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.

If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Terence Baker, People Page, M&C, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07094; fax: (201) 319-1796; e-mail:

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Kelly E. Kilga, CEM

"We have set up car washes, jewelry and food displays, dry-cleaning apparatus... Our members are very inventive."

Kelly E. Kilga, CEM, is director of meetings and conventions for the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of Convenience Stores. The association’s annual convention, which rotates between Las Vegas, New Orleans and, this year, Chicago, attracts 23,000 attendees. Kilga also plans a technology show for NACS each spring.How did you get to NACS? I started working for a German firm here in the United States. The largest show at which I exhibited asked me if I wanted to sell trade show space for them in other words, go over to the other side. I did that for five years before running the whole show. After that, NACS came along with a show three times as large.What about your convention excites you? It is amazing to see what is in convenience stores nowadays. At the convention, we have set up car washes, jewelry and food displays, dry-cleaning apparatus a whole range of things that perhaps you would not associate with convenience stores. Our members are very inventive.Are your education days over? No. In July, I completed the certification in exhibition management. Some of the course was done via distance learning. We were required to respond to each others’ e-mail postings, so there was contact between students, and I also could work around my own schedule.Any vacations planned? My husband, Mike Shupp, is a musician and has had some radio play and success in Spain, so we might go there next year for a tour.