People 3-1-2002

Meetings & Conventions: People March 2002

Current Issue
March 2002

By Terence Baker

  Coffee With...James C. Leverton

James C. Leverton

James C. Leverton is the Monrovia, Calif.-based president and founder of Concept Design Productions Inc. He has been designing exhibitions for themed events, conventions and meetings for more than 20 years. With his staff of 32, Leverton works with clients such as Bank of America, Microsoft, Sony, Suzuki and Warner Bros.

After 23 years, does the meetings industry still excite you? When things are going well and we know we have put on an excellent event, then yes, it does. I see myself as an inventor. Having studied industrial design at the University of CaliforniaRiverside, I get very excited when something I think up gets enthusiastically embraced.

What type of events do you like to design? Ones that have a futuristic element to them, whether it is the event’s theme or the product being marketed. The past is the past; it’s been done. But creating something to do with the future allows for more freedom.

Any examples? I designed the entire theme area for a $750 million event for an energy company that had decided to diversify. More than 1,250 attendees were expected, and the company’s new message had to be announced loud and clear, so we created a “town,” each segment of which marketed one of the company’s new business interests. Company officials later told me that many of the attending franchisees, having been impressed by the exhibit and the company’s new message, decided to remain with them.

What have you learned along the way? Three principal things: Listen, be responsive to constructive criticism and give the clients what they ask for.

Grey Separator LineON THE MOVE


Knoll Kesler joins ING Americas
Kari Knoll Kesler has joined ING Americas in Minneapolis as a sourcing specialist. Among her duties, Kesler is responsible for planning meetings and incentives for the global banking, insurance and asset management firm. She previously worked for Xerox Corp in Rochester, N.Y.

  • Ronnie Burt has been promoted to the newly created post of director of national accounts for the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association.
  • Geoffrey Cooke has been appointed national sales manager at the 640-suite Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix.
  • Tara Harding is the new corporate group sales manager at the 188-room Doral Park Avenue Hotel in New York City.
  • Michael Krizanic has been named director of sales at the 282-room Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, which opened last September.
  • Trish McSpadden has rejoined the 730-room Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix as national sales manager.
  • John Morgan has joined Lana’i Resorts, based on the island of Lana’i in Hawaii. Morgan will work in the company’s Apple Valley, Minn., office as sales manager for the Midwestern region.
  • Kathy Rivera has been named director of industry relations at the Washington, D.C.-based International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus.
  • Catherine Ryan has been appointed director of sales at the 1,350-room Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort on Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas.
  • John Tiffey has been named director of sales at the 415-room Monarch Hotel in Washington, D.C.
  • Susan Valen-Hogberg has been named director of sales and marketing at the 214-room Atrium Hotel at Orange County Airport in Irvine, Calif.
  • William Van Loon has been appointed vice president of incentive industry sales for the Pinehurst, N.C.-based Pinehurst Co., which manages luxury golf destinations.
  • If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Jennifer Philburn, People Page, M&C, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07094; fax: (201) 319-1796; e-mail:
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