Coffee With... Oscar Larson

Ullrich joins Impact Meetings & Incentives

Stacey M. Ullrich has been appointed director of Impact Meetings & Incentives, a Baltimore-based planning company affiliated with Safe Harbors Travel Group. Previously, Ullrich spent more than six years engaged in sales and event management for the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and also worked as an independent planner.

Clair Amiss
has been hired as East Coast sales manager for the 124-room Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills (Calif.). She is based in New York City.
Patrick Aversa has been appointed to the post of senior sales manager at the 800-room Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.
Deborah K. Badger, CMP, has been named convention sales director for the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Brad Beaty has been appointed director of sales and marketing at the 156-room Raffles Resort at Canouan Island, which opens this summer in St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the Caribbean. He is based in Raffles’ New York City office.
HelmsBriscoe has announced several promotions in its Washington, D.C., office. Lauren Crist now is director of operations, Andi Emrick is co-regional vice president and Sara Lenser is regional manager.
Jennifer D’Alessandro and Dawn Eagleton have been named sales managers at the Norfolk (Va.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Tad Munroe has been appointed sales manager, corporate accounts, for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition, Mark Parker has been hired as national sales manager, and Frankie Vinciguerra has been promoted to associate director, sales.
Larry Winston has joined Carlson Hotels Worldwide as vice president of sales. He is based at Carlson's headquarters office in Minneapolis.

Oscar Larson"The main issue on the agenda right now is the geographical dimensions of terrorism."

Oscar Larson is conference director at the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Geographers. This is Larson’s first planning position; he is a recent graduate with a degree in geography from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

After studying geography, did you intend to become a meeting planner? No. I wanted to work for a geographical organization and then just fell into planning. But my interest definitely makes the job fulfilling. I organize one annual meeting and several smaller, co-hosted meetings. I spend most of my time putting together the meeting’s academic side, booking 700 speakers every year.

Where do your attendees hail from? Only half are academics; the rest are students, government officials and employees from private companies. This month we will hold our 100th annual meeting, and I expect between 4,500 and 5,000 attendees.

What are the key issues for the association? The main issue on the agenda right now is the geographical dimensions of terrorism. Also, an initiative called My Community, Our Earth Project, encourages people to use maps and other geographic tools to improve their communities.

How is geography generally viewed as an area of study? The value placed on geographical education has diminished greatly. We have a full-time employee dealing solely with raising the status of geography in schools and universities.