February 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: People February 2001

Current Issue
February 2001 people


  Coffee With...Dave McDonnell

Dave McDonnell

While attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Dave McDonnell had visions of a career in broadcasting. But his interests led him to show business of another sort. Today, after working six years in the event planning industry, McDonnell is conference manager at Hachero Hill, a trade show and conference planning company based in Rockville, Md., that serves nonprofit organizations.

What past experiences have shaped you as a planner?
I played basketball in college, which forced me to manage my time between practices, classes, studying and other activities. It might sound like an NCAA promotional ad, but I really believe playing sports promotes teamwork and leadership. It also taught me to keep calm in pressure situations and use sound judgment in making decisions when as we all know happens during an event things start getting a little crazy. And sitting on the bench taught me patience.

Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a closet painter. I started doing it on the side for stress relief. I never studied art, it’s just something I’ve picked up for fun. Some people doodle on a notepad; I use a canvas. I like to paint scenes from some of the places I’ve visited. Sometimes I’ll just remember a particular view, and I’ll paint it later in a more abstract form. I do a lot of nautical scenes with lighthouses.

What’s the best professional compliment you’ve ever received?
I was managing a couple of East Coast-based events for an agency in the D.C. area. When the conference was being moved to a location out West, I was told by my employer that our West Coast managers would handle the event. When the agency found out I wasn’t going to be involved, they immediately contacted my manager and said that either I work on the event again or they were going with another conference planning company. It was nice to hear that.

What’s one of the more challenging aspects of your daily routine?
I work in a six-person office, and the other five are women. It’s difficult sometimes, especially when the conversation of men comes up. I can defend my gender for only so long. • LINDSAY MORRIS

Grey Separator LineON THE MOVE


Schechter named CEO of
Marc Schechter has been appointed chief executive officer of, a new Web-based meeting planning company in Southfield, Mich. Founder and previously CEO of Star Trax Corporate Events, Schechter will play a lead role in development of all aspects of the fledgling firm, including technology, sales and marketing.

Michael Clarke has been named director, Eastern regional sales, for events management company Nth Degree, based in Stone Mountain, Ga. He will oversee all accounts in the eastern United States as well as design and implement programs for all of Nth Degree’s various services. Clarke comes to the company from SMG, where he was director of sales and marketing for the Denver Convention Center Complex, an SMG client.

  • T. Calvin Michael has been appointed director of food and beverage at the Guadalupe River Ranch Resort & Spa in Boerne, Texas.
  • Christopher R. Perry has been named regional director of sales and marketing for Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza properties in the Northeast.
  • Stephen Pia has been appointed senior vice president, sales and marketing, for, an event registration software supplier based in Woburn, Mass.
  • David Reardon has joined Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, Calif., as food and beverage director.
  • Tom Santora has been named director of marketing and sales for the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, opening late this year.
  • Steve Taggart has been appointed regional director of HelmsBriscoe’s London office, where he will develop the U.K. market.
  • Melissa Winkler has joined the Santa Clara (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce & ConventionVisitors Bureau as convention sales manager.
  • If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Jennifer Philburn, People Page, M&C, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07094; fax: (201) 319-1796; e-mail:
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