by Allen J. Sheinman | July 01, 2011

Michael Costelli
Connecticut Convention Center That Michael Costelli, general manager of the Connecticut Convention Center in Hart­ford, is esteemed by his peers was amply proven in March, when he was deemed general manager of the year at the Annual Leadership Conference of the Waterford Hotel Group, whose subsidiary, Waterford Venue Services, manages the facility. Costelli, who says the best part of his job is "the interaction with people, and the fact that each day is different," recently took some time to chat with M&C.     

What path led to your becoming a GM? When I was 15, I began working at the Ramada Inn in North Haven [Conn.]. During my seven years there, I worked in the kitchen, the engineering department, housekeeping -- I learned as much as I could about every aspect of hospitality. I left there as director of catering and began my career with the Waterford Hotel Group, where I've been for 24 years, and in 2005 I was appointed GM at the convention center.

What are the biggest challenges facing you at the center? One of the biggest is maintenance -- the center is a 540,000-square-foot facility. Another is keeping staff members motivated and focused on providing first-class service in an industry that can be quite demanding. We are fortunate to have an outstanding team in place here. Also, there is the ongoing challenge of keeping business coming here by letting prospective clients know what makes the center and Hartford so special.

How can planners best take advantage of what the center offers? Meeting planners should take advantage of the expertise that our event managers provide. Each planner is assigned an event manager for their specific event, someone who is an expert in a particular market segment. It is an outstanding resource for a planner to have.

On the Move

PlannersAdam Radziminski has been named manager, creative and conference services, for Advance Group Conference Management Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Suppliers Mark AhlesThe Scottsdale (Ariz.) Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired Mark Ahles (pictured) to serve as national sales manager for the Midwest market.

Leon Baum has been promoted to general manager at the 105-room The Stafford London; previously, he served as resident manager at the property.

Alex AltDallas-based Rose­wood Hotels & Resorts has named Alex Alt (pictured) as senior vice president of global development and strategy, and Ralph Aruzza as vice president of sales and marketing.

In Napa, Calif., the 274-room Meritage Resort and Spa has hired Rosanne Beals as director of group sales.

Mike Davis has been promoted to director of hotel sales and marketing at the 1,740-room Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Miss. Previously, Davis was assistant director of the property.

Breanne DimockAt the 336-room The Curtis, a Doubletree Hotel, Breanne Dimock (pictured) has been hired as catering sales manager, responsible for the government, association and corporate markets.

Eric Gavin has been named vice president of marketing for Seattle-based Noble House Hotels & Resorts.

At the Anaheim/Orange County (Calif.) Visitor & Convention Bureau, Christine Locke has been hired as the new vice president of marketing.

Charity Mara has been named senior sales manager at the 500-room Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa in Phoenix.

Kris­ten ParkerThe Austin (Texas) Convention and Visitors Bureau has appointed Kris­ten Parker (pictured) as director of Eastern regional sales.

Robert Rechtermann has been hired as general manager of the new 463-room Conrad New York, to open late this year in Lower Manhattan's Financial District.

LA INC., The Los Angeles Con­vention and Visitors Bureau, has appointed Kathy Smits as senior director of travel industry marketing.

Bill Stock has been hired as general manager of the 199-room Holiday Inn Palm Beach Airport Conference Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Terri WoodinAssociated Luxury Hotels Internation­al has named Terri Woodin, CMP, as director of sales for the West region.