March 23, 2005

Meetings & Conventions magazine has teamed up with New York City-based BiZBash, producers of the annual Event Style Show, to create a new event, the Meeting and Event Style Show 2005. The show, to be held Oct. 20-21 at New York City's Pier 94, will feature conferences, evening galas, tastemaker luncheons, entertainment showcases and more. More than 2,500 meeting and event planners are expected to attend. For more information, visit

Michael Fife, president of the Palm Springs Desert Resort Convention and Visitors Authority, was put on administrative leave last week over allegations of embezzlement, reports Palm Springs' newspaper, The Desert Sun. The CVA began a full investigation of Fife's records last week to determine whether Fife should be reinstated to his position. The results of the investigation were presented yesterday at a private board meeting, and action on the investigation is not expected until after another meeting is held tomorrow. The CVA declined to comment.

Three bids were accepted by Monday, the deadline for organizations who want to buy the piece of land abutting New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where the New York Jets football team has proposed building a stadium/convention center. Cablevision Systems Corp. and its subsidiary, Madison Square Garden, are the Jets' fiercest opponents in this fight; they have offered a new bid for an undisclosed amount to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land. Their original bid was $600 million. Cablevision's plans for the land include nearly 6,000 apartments, a 750-room hotel, commercial space, an elementary school, a library and a five-acre park. According to reports, the Jets' latest bid is $720 million; in addition to the stadium, their plan calls for a market, a community theater, a museum, a riverfront cafe and thousands of residences nearby. A third bid by TransGas Energy System was tendered as well. The MTA will discuss the proposals on March 31.

In order to find the $1.4 million needed to fund a regional marketing effort, the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau on Friday eliminated a third of its workforce and cut its budget to focus solely on drawing meetings and conventions. Twelve positions at the GCCVB have been eliminated. "Four of those jobs were already vacant," said Alan Welsh, interim president/CEO of the GCCVB. "I've only [lost] about three and a half people from our staff of 27 and a half people." Last November, the GCCVB joined with the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau to market the Greater Cincinnati area to tourists.

This year's CONEXPO-CON/AGG and co-located International Exposition for Power Transmission expositions, held last week in Las Vegas, showed significant growth over 2002, when the triennial CONEXPO-CON/AGG was the largest trade show in the United States for that year. Combined, the 2005 events drew 124,220 construction-industry professionals and broke a record with more than 1.88 million net square feet of exhibit space taken by 1,968 companies. The show's record for international attendees also was broken in 2005 with 21,220, including an Iraqi delegation of more than 40 businesspeople.

As of March 17, more than 10,000 people have earned their Certified Meeting Professional designation. Earning the 10,000th CMP was Julie Green, technical conference manager for TMC Design Corp., in Smithfield, Va., who took the test Jan. 22. The exam is in its 20th year, and its popularity is growing, said Mary Power, president of the Convention Industry Council, which administers the CMP. "Really, in the last five years it's picked up steam," said Power. The CIC also began accepting nominations last week for the 2006 Hall of Leaders, a biennial award for individuals who have "made substantial contributions to the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry and whose efforts continue to shape the industry." The deadline for entries is May 8.

After long debate, a $54.9 million, 350-room Marriott headquarters hotel, with 20,000 square feet of meeting space, will be built in Syracuse, N.Y., adjacent to the Oncenter, a convention center with a 65,000-square-foot exhibit hall. Construction is expected to begin in the fall and finish in early 2007. "We've identified, along with the convention and visitors bureau, more than $9 million of conventions over the next five years that we're going to bring in as a result of this hotel," said Jerry Keohane, vice president and director of sales and marketing for the Oncenter Complex.