February 21, 2007

Meeting Professionals International has named Katie Callahan-Giobbi as executive vice president of its MPI Foundation and strategic partnerships. Callahan-Giobbi comes to the association from LA Inc., the convention and visitors bureau of Los Angeles, where she was senior vice president of sales, service and membership. She assumes the position previously held by David DuBois, CMP, CAE, who is now the president and CEO of the Fort Worth (Texas) Convention and Visitors Bureau. At the same time, MPI promoted Didier Scaillet to vice president of global development and announced the creation of a new position, director of sales and EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa) partnership development. In other association news, in order to take MPI in a new direction, five high-level staffers were terminated last week. From the Dallas office, Paula Nourse, director of marketing; Dawn Myers, director of research; Kelly Joslin, business analyst; and Edjuan Bailey, vice president, marketing and brand management, were let go. John Oliver, the regional advertising director who worked out of his home in Birmingham, Ala., also was terminated.

JetBlue Airways has announced a new customer "bill of rights" designed to win back passengers after a weeklong operational collapse following the Feb. 14 ice storm on the East Coast. The airline promises to deplane travelers if an aircraft has been ground-delayed for five hours and to notify flyers of delays and cancellations in the future. Also, vouchers will be provided to compensate JetBlue customers for delays longer than 30 minutes. JetBlue made its new policies retroactive to cover passengers affected by last week's failures. The carrier also is forming a customer advisory council and reviewing its operations. On Monday, the airline canceled another 23 percent of its scheduled flights -- including service to Nashville, Houston, Pittsburgh and Columbus among other destinations -- as it attempts to recover.

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events has decided to hold its eMERGE: E2 Tech Showcase on Dec. 10, the first day of the 2007 Expo! Expo!, IAEE's annual meeting and trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The new one-day event focuses on how organizations can select and integrate innovative technology tools with their existing systems and operations. Previously, the tech event was to be held on April 25 in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Green Building Council is moving its 2007 annual convention and trade show, Greenbuild, from Los Angeles to Chicago after LA Inc., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked USGBC to change the show's dates for the second time in two months. In January, USGBC agreed to switch dates for Greenbuild from October to November in order to accommodate "a business development opportunity" for LA Inc., according to Peter Templeton, vice president of education and research for USGBC. In early February, Templeton said, LA Inc. told the USGBC that it could no longer accommodate Greenbuild until December. "We felt another date change would be detrimental to Greenbuild, and our ability to serve our members and our sponsors," Templeton said. "A venue change for 2007 became our only option." In a statement, Katie Callahan-Giobbi, LA Inc.'s outgoing senior vice president, said: "L.A. simply wasn't able to provide the U.S. Green Building Council with their desired meeting dates. Everyone in Los Angeles would really like to have this group in our city." The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo will be held Nov. 7-9, one of the first major shows to be held in the new West Building of Chicago's McCormick Place.

Construction crews have begun work at Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center, repairing damage caused when a large slab of concrete collapsed on the second floor earlier this month. Although there still is no official word on a reopening date, the Sports & Exhibition Authority, owner of the center, will hold a press briefing today regarding the independent safety review conducted by several outside firms.