Mark Tester, previously director of the Austin Convention Center, has been named the new executive director of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Tester, who will assume the new role on Feb. 10, will be responsible for overall operations, planning, marketing and all activities at one of the largest convention centers in the nation. He will also be tasked with ensuring the OCCC's positive economic impact on the community.
"I believe Mark Tester's goals of creating high-end customer service and driving economic impact through sales and marketing align perfectly with my expectations for what the Orange County Convention Center can be, both now and in the future," said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings.
"Mark Tester's vast experience in the convention center industry will greatly benefit the Orange County Convention Center and the entire region," added Orange County administrator Byron Brooks. "He will be able to seize opportunities to increase the number of events, expand the use of available convention space and maximize the demand for room nights in area hotels."
Tester replaces Jessie Allen, who was interim executive director since Kathie Canning's departure in early 2018. Allen was Canning's predecessor and came out of retirement to help the county fill the role as the venue prepared its search for a replacement.
"I greatly appreciate and... [am] looking forward to working with the strong team at the OCCC," said Tester. "I have always had great admiration for the phenomenal work of the OCCC and its employees, and look forward to my role in Orlando, the nation's premier destination for conventions."