Joe D’Alessandro, outgoing president
and CEO of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association, takes over as
new president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors
Bureau this month, replacing John A. Marks, who retired after 19
years at the helm.
What convinced you to leave
That was a tough one. I love Portland; I love this
job. But the opportunity of San Francisco was compelling.
What new challenges will
you face in your new city?
San Francisco is a lot bigger, the convention and
meetings industry is a lot bigger, the market is bigger. But I
think the competitive challenges are similar.
What are your thoughts
about the possible repeat of a UNITE HERE strike?
I need to get a lot more information about this, but
it’s going to have an impact, and it continues to be a cloud over
San Francisco and other cities, frankly. It’s something the bureau
will be in the middle of, assisting clients to make it as
unproblematic as possible.
San Francisco has lost some
business due to labor issues. What does the city need to do to get
that business back?
We have to prove to our clients and customers that
they made the right choice, that the city is the right place to
host their trade shows and meetings.
In July, you’ll be
splitting your time between Portland and San Francisco. How will
you handle running two bureaus at the same time?
I need to make sure the transition in Portland is as smooth as
possible. I’ve been here a long time and care a lot about the city,
the staff, the clients and the stakeholders. I can’t afford to
leave them in a lurch. During July, I’ll commute a lot, but I need
to make sure my successor in Portland is stepping into a positive