IAVM member real estate consulting firms are located throughout the US. Such firms specialize in convention centers, arenas, stadiums, hotels and fairgrounds, among other real estate land uses. Often, real estate consultants are seen as “feasibility consultants” looking at a new facility or an expanded or replaced facility.
If customers/clients are smart, they can use economic consultants in so many other ways. A good consultant has literally seen thousands of projects that can inform the support they can provide. For example, the Erie County Convention Center Authority has commissioned studies for:
Your consultant can also identify operation improvements, help analyze economic and fiscal impacts, help argue the case, base on return on investments, help hire architects, contracts and other service providers, and many other services. Such consultants are seasoned industry professionals, with the sole intent of making client organizations better. Their services are actually very inexpensive compared to the size of investments being made and are often earned many fold over by the savings brought forth by the consultant.
Charles Johnson is the President of Johnson Consulting and a Managing Director of World Trade Center Chicago
The Cox Business Center in Tulsa, managed by SMG and owned by the City of Tulsa, announced the appointment of Angie Teel, CMP, as the assistant general manager. Teel joins the venue from the St. Charles Convention Center where she has acted as a director since 2011. She has more than 10 years of venue management experience and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). In her new role, Teel will coordinate daily activities in the downtown venue with various departments and work to continuously improve the reputation and award-winning standards of the convention center and interject best industry practices into the day-to-day operations.
“The enthusiasm and passion for great events and guest experiences at the Cox Business Center is something I share,” Teel said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the entire team and Tulsa better, and to contribute to the outstanding impact the venue has on the city and everyone who steps inside.”
Teel studied International Business at Missouri State University before beginning her career in events. She is active in IAVM and has chaired numerous committees and served as Region 3 Director (2015-2017) and on the Board of Directors Executive Committee (2016-2017). She specializes in venue safety and security, trade-shows, special events, and corporate meetings.
“We look forward to having Angie and her convention industry experience join Tulsa,” said Ray Hoyt, president, Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau & Tulsa Sports Commission. “As we get ready to open the new expansion and greet new guests she will be a strong asset to our industry partners.”
A new, transformative solution now exists to meet the global demand for specialty coffee and customizable, on-demand experiences. Those working or attending any events at the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) in Houston will be able to enjoy their favorite java from one of the most innovative coffee solutions in the world. Houston First, which owns and operates the GRB, and its hospitality team powered by Levy, Houston Inspired Catering, have partnered with Austin-based Briggo to launch the first robotic, connected coffee service in Houston.
“We’re excited to partner with Briggo and bring more smart and innovative products to Downtown Houston,” said Luther Villagomez, chief operating officer of Houston First. “Adding a robotic Coffee Haus to the convention center adds a layer of convenience and elevates the visitor experience, which is always our number one priority.”
“We’re thrilled to make Houston our first market outside our home base and deliver our gourmet, connected coffee experience to residents and global visitors,” said Briggo CEO Kevin Nater. “Since launching Briggo inside Austin-Bergstrom Airport last summer, we have been overwhelmed with demand for our service. Houston is an epicenter for business and innovation and an obvious fit for Briggo. We are so pleased to be broadening our service with Levy Restaurants and the Houston First team.”
Briggo’s Robotic Coffee Haus serves hot and iced coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, chai, hot chocolate, and other favorites 24/7 using gourmet whole-beans, fresh dairy and syrups. Customers can order ahead from the app, or customize their favorite drinks on the Coffee Haus touchscreens, and enjoy their drinks within minutes. The new Coffee Haus, located across from the Marriott Marquis Houston’s skywalk, will serve guests visiting the GRB during all public and private events.
“Technology like Briggo blends high quality service and memorable experiences, and that’s what we strive to deliver to our guests,” said Katherine Paynter Putnam, regional vice president for Levy Convention Centers, the team behind Houston Inspired Catering. “We’ve seen guests gravitate to the Coffee Haus in other spaces and it will be a great addition to the wide range of amazing Texas-raised food and beverage options at George R. Brown Convention Center.”
Named one of Austin’s “Best Places to Work,” Briggo’s Houston location is the latest in their multi-market network of Coffee Hauses and their fifth opening since SXSW in March of 2018. In addition to Austin-Bergstrom Airport and Austin’s Convention Center, Briggo operates inside three global tech firms, including two Coffee Hauses at Dell’s Round Rock headquarters. The company plans to continue expanding their network of Coffee Hauses into airports, convention centers, universities, hospitals, and additional locations where 24/7, on-demand specialty coffee is essential.
Maria Joe has been named event manager at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – the sixth largest convention center in the nation. In her new capacity, she will be responsible for managing all aspects of the event planning process. As a liaison between the Center and clients, she will guide clients through event preparation and show set-up, monitor in-house events, and oversee all related activities for her clients to ensure successful events.
Joe brings more than 11 years of event management experience with the Pennsylvania Convention Center authority where she served as an event manager. In her former role, she managed services for events in Pennsylvania, ranging in attendance from five to 200,000 people. As a meeting manager at Fernley & Fernley, Joe’s most recent role before joining the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, she handled all aspects of event management, such as venue, vendor, transportation, and operational logistics.
“We look forward to drawing on Maria’s experience in order to continue the proud tradition of excellent customer service here at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center,” said Donna Sakelakos, director of events.
On December 8, 2018, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), owned by the City of Los Angeles, celebrated five years of successful operations by AEG Facilities Management.
The public-private partnership has exceeded expectations and established the LACC as an integral centerpiece of convention and special event development in Downtown LA.
When AEG Facilities was awarded the management contract in 2013, the privately-owned company set out to increase the number of events, increase revenues, reduce expenses, as well as make capital improvements to the aging facility.
With nearly 250 events and 2.5 million visitors per year, the LACC is now generating approximately $781 million per year in economic impact for the City of LA and has built an operational profit of $35.6 million in five years, much of which has been reinvested in the convention center.
The City also requested that AEG Facilities build a financial reserve of $2.1 million within the five years of its management agreement. This goal was exceeded in less than two years with the reserve currently standing at $8.1 million. Other aggressive goals set by AEG include implementation of environmentally conscientious practices and building renovations, improvement of food & beverage services, increase in event bookings, and strengthened relations with the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism).
To celebrate this momentous anniversary, five executives weigh in on five years of success at the LACC:
“AEG Facilities has been an ideal partner for the City of Los Angeles in the management of the LACC,” said Jon Vein, president of the Board of Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Development Commissioners. “The LACC team has been incredibly efficient, having taken the budget from a deficit to a significant annual operational surplus in a very short period.”
“The LACC serves as a powerful economic engine for the City of Los Angeles; its success is integral to the vitality of our local economy,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president & CEO of L.A. Tourism. “L.A. Tourism has helped secure a record number of citywide conventions at the LACC during the past five years and through our strong partnership with AEG, we will continue to promote the LACC around the world as a premier site for meetings and conventions.”
“We have experienced the most success in the LACC’s 47-year history through our partnership with AEG Facilities,” said Doane Liu, executive director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development. “The occupancy rates increased from 53 percent to over 70 percent; the continuous prosperity of the LACC demonstrates the excellence of this public-private partnership.”
“Since 2013, AEG Facilities has implemented numerous revenue generating, efficiency and service delivery improvements at the LACC,” said Brad Gessner, senior vice president of the LACC and Convention Centers at AEG Facilities. “In partnership with the City’s Convention & Tourism Development Department and L.A. Tourism, AEG has increased event programming and occupancy, elevated the guest service experience as well as made significant building improvements to the convention center resulting in record economic impact for the City of Los Angeles.”
“In five years, we have been honored to be recognized with 30 awards,” said Ellen Schwartz, AEG Facilities general manager of the LACC. “This past year was especially significant when we received the state’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). Additionally, we plugged in a 2.21 megawatt solar array that will save close to $500,000 annually and unveiled an innovative 9,500 square foot rooftop garden. These accomplishments serve as a catalyst to continue to push boundaries to make the facility best in class. We are proud to be part of this historic anniversary at the LACC and we look forward to celebrating more initiatives and continued success of this partnership.”