The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center announced that Elaine Williams, CMP, CEM-AP, has been named as the facility’s Senior Director of Sales and Event Services. In this new role, Williams will be responsible for developing and overseeing the Sales and Event Services functions from planning to execution.
Williams’ career in the Convention Center began with ARAMARK in 1996 when she was named Sales Manager. While working for ARAMARK, Williams rose through the ranks to achieve the positions of Director of Sales, Director of Operations, and Interim General Manager. She joined the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center sales team in 2007 as a National Sales Manager. Most recently, Williams served as the Director of Sales for the facility.
In May 2021, Williams became the first facility representative in the history of the International Association of Exhibits and Events (IAEE) to earn an Advanced Professional certification in Exhibition Management.
“Elaine recently celebrated her 15-year anniversary working at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center,” said Michael J. Sawaya, Convention Center President. “Her contributions have been meaningful, and she consistently exceeds the expectations of our internal and external customers. Placing her in this new role demonstrates our faith that Elaine will continue to achieve great heights in our industry for many more years to come.”
By Danica Tormohlen
As part of ASM Global’s new strategic convention and meeting space initiative, the ASM Global managed Huntington Place in Detroit hosted and sponsored the launch of the first-ever EVX on June 22. EV Exchange serves the electric vehicle (EV) and energy infrastructure market—a surging sector with EV sales expected to increase by 37% from 2021 to 2022 in the U.S, according to a forecast by market consultant AutoPacific. Globally, sales of electric cars have increased significantly in 2022, with 2 million sold in Q1, up 75% from the same period in 2021, according to IEA’s Global EV Outlook 2022.
With EV sales soaring, local, state and national government officials are seeking infrastructure solutions to support U.S. President Joe Biden’s goal of EV sales encompassing 50% of auto sales by 2030. At the same time, a lot of work on changing consumer attitudes and beliefs needs to be done to reach this goal, as studies have found that consumers continue to be leery of EVs because they aren’t comfortable with the idea that taking a long trip in one requires advance planning and multiple recharging stops, reported by Forbes.
To respond to this burgeoning market need, MAD Event Management and Sitarian Corporation joined forces to produce the first-ever Electric Vehicle + Energy Infrastructure Innovation and Sustainability Exchange conference (EVX).
Held June 22, EVX brought together key stakeholders to network and educate each other about the operations, infrastructure, investment, cost recovery, regulatory, and policy issues with the expanding deployment of EVs and EV infrastructure to execute and achieve goals for effective EV deployment and to meet climate change goals and balance policy issues around ESG.
The event drew 60 invited attendees, including EV manufacturers, private sector infrastructure companies and federal, state and local government officials. Visit Detroit is the presenting sponsor of EVX.
“As electrification becomes crucial to the future of automobility, EV Exchange is the perfect vehicle for Detroit to command center stage as the world leader in automotive innovation,” said Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit. “Coming out of the pandemic, we are so proud to host this transformative event.”
At a luncheon at EVX, Bob McClintock, executive vice president, convention centers, ASM Global, said, “Welcome to Huntington Place in Detroit, the auto innovation capital of the world.” McClintock serves on the EVX advisory board. “As a representative of ASM Global, we are here to support our customers, the venues we manage and the Detroit metropolitan region. We want to facilitate the creation of new products for the communities our building’s serve, and we are committed to promoting innovation in growing markets, particularly those that will help with sustainability initiatives.
“ASM Global continues to support the work of industry associations like PCMA, IAEE, MPI, ASAE and SISO; but the EVX launch represents our first investment with an independent organizer,” said McClintock. “We have a longstanding relationship with MAD Event Management, and ASM Global’s support of their vision for this expanding sector is an indicator of our commitment to the future of meetings and conventions.”
MAD Event Management also produces the Long Beach Comic-Con at ASM Global-managed Long Beach Convention Center.
“ASM agreed to sponsor EVX for at least its first two years to allow it time to grow and establish its place in the market,” continued McClintock. “We recognize the importance of EV, and we are dedicated to bringing new business to the communities we serve. When MAD approached us about sponsoring, we couldn’t think of a better way to support Detroit as the auto innovation capital of the world.”
Martha Donato, founder and president of MAD Event Management, agreed. “There’s no better city on the planet for the EV Exchange to launch and run this premier EV and next-generation mobility program,” she said.
“With support from ASM Global and Visit Detroit, it was amazing to have the opportunity to bring this program to fruition. EVX’s mission is to create a positive impact on domestic and global climate and environmental green initiatives,” said Paul Sitar, CEO of Sitarian Corporation and creator and director of the EV Exchange.”
Danica Tormohlen is a media rep for ASM Global.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United, has claimed a first for a professional sports stadium after it was awarded Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) precertification for its zero waste efforts.
TRUE precertification is administered by Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI) and recognizes buildings and projects which have implemented the foundational programs and policies needed to effectively pursue zero waste.
Since March, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has diverted over 90% of accumulated waste from landfill at all major events, including five Atlanta United matches and concerts from Kenny Chesney and Coldplay.
The stadium employs various green practices and programs, which allow it to achieve zero waste status on event day and in the building’s administrative offices. Initiatives have included recyclable and compostable supply-chain items and leveraging a 6,000-square-foot resource recovery room to reclaim, sort and divert materials from landfill.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium has also launched sustainability education and engagement programs for fans, associates, and food and beverage partners, while it has pledged to fit recycling and compost bins at every stadium suite by August.
Dietmar Exler, chief operating officer at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, said: “We are excited to announce that we have earned TRUE precertification, which is a major milestone on our journey to becoming a fully certified zero waste facility.
“Since construction, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been committed to creating a sustainable environment both in and around the stadium to reduce our overall environmental footprint. This is just the next step in our overall journey.”
In 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium became the first professional sports venue in North America to achieve the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System certification.
The stadium also employs water retention, energy conservation, alternative transportation, urban garden and agriculture programs. The venue works with partners Coca-Cola, Georgia Power, Novelis, Phade, and Waste Management to further enhance its efforts.
While Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first stadium to achieve the TRUE certification, it is not the first venue overall. State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, achieved this in April.
In 2019, State Farm Arena diverted only an average of 10% of its total waste but since May 2021, the venue has consistently diverted a minimum of 90% of fan-generated waste from landfills.
FIFA has decided on the 16 cities that will host the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada, with President Gianni Infantino outlining the goal that by the time of the tournament football will be “the No. 1 sport” across North America.
The announcement on June 16 in New York concluded a process which first started during the bidding stages for the national team showpiece with 44 cities and 49 stadia across the three countries.
It has now been decided that the first edition of the World Cup to feature 48 teams will take in the following cities and venues:
Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Boston (Gillette Stadium)
Dallas (AT&T Stadium)
Houston (NRG Stadium)
Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium)
Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium)
Miami (Hard Rock Stadium)
New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)
Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
San Francisco Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium)
Seattle (Lumen Field)
Guadalajara (Estadio Akron)
Mexico City (Estadio Azteca)
Monterrey (Estadio BBVA Bancomer)
Toronto (BMO Field)
Vancouver (BC Place)
Estadio Azteca will create history as the first stadium to be part of three World Cups, having been the focal point of Mexico’s staging of the 1970 and 1986 World Cups.
Vancouver has made the cut having only been added to the list of potential host cities in April. Vancouver became the third Canadian city in the running, alongside Toronto and Edmonton, with Montreal having withdrawn from the process in July 2021. Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city by population, initially declined to apply in 2018 to host any 2026 games because of uncertainty about cost and FIFA being able to change the venue agreement without consultation.
The ‘United 2026’ bid landed the World Cup in June 2018, having seen off competition from Morocco, receiving 134 votes to the African nation’s 65. At that time, the United 2026 bid featured 23 stadia across 23 candidate host cities.
“It’s a historic day for U.S. Soccer and the entire American soccer community, from every corner of our grassroots all the way to the pros and our national teams,” said U.S. Soccer president, Cindy Parlow Cone, after the announcement. “Together with our good friends in Canada and Mexico, we couldn’t be more excited to work with FIFA to host what we think will be the greatest World Cup in history.”
Yon de Luisa, president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), commented: “Having a World Cup in Mexican lands will also allow us to give greater strength to Nuestro Fútbol and to inspire more followers of the Mexican national team, which will return to experience in 2026, after 40 years, the biggest event of our sport.”
Nick Bontis, Canada Soccer president, added: “The competition for venue selection was the most robust in FIFA’s history. Today’s success is a testament to the cities, provinces, and federal government’s commitment and dedication in pursuit of hosting the most prestigious single sporting event in the world.”
Infantino said FIFA is looking forward to working with the host cities to deliver what he said will be an “unprecedented FIFA World Cup and a game-changer as we strive to make football truly global”.
“By 2026, soccer — or futbol — will be the No. 1 sport in this part of the world,” he added, according to the Associated Press. “You (North America) are leading the world in many areas. The objective must be that you will be leading the world, as well, in the world’s No. 1 sport.”
By Maggie Yu
The Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (“HKECIA”) successfully held the annual conference on 1 June to update members of the latest industry information and trends.
The physical conference was hosted at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and was attended by over 130 members and non-members. Aiming to update members and industry players of the latest industry trends and government’s plan to support tourism recovery, the conference opened with speeches from Edward Yau, GBS, JP, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and Stuart Bailey, the newly re-elected Chairman of HKECIA, followed by a presentation by Dane Cheng, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to share the up-to-date global tourism market outlook, HKTB’s overall strategy for the convention and exhibition industry, and plans for tourism recovery.
Conference participants were interested in the analysis of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry from the global and regional’s perspectives presented by George Leung, CEO of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. Leung also shared insights on how Hong Kong’s exhibition industry could tap into the opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, under the Mainland’s National 14th Five-Year Plan and could work together with local business community to lobby for the roadmap of enabling international business travelers to travel without restrictions.
The conference also covered the hottest topic of what NFTs are and how could NFTs be applied to the convention and exhibition industry.
Another highlight of the conference is the panel discussion among venue operator, event organiser and contractor about the journey to sustainable exhibitions in Hong Kong.
The HKECIA also hosted its Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) on 1 June 2022, from which the new term of the Executive Committee was elected. The Chairman, Executive Vice Chairman, two Vice Chairmen, Honorary Treasurer, and Honorary Secretary were also appointed in the 1st Executive Committee Meeting following the AGM. Stuart Bailey is pleased to have been re-elected as the Chairman of the HKECIA for the fourth time.
At the AGM, members voted to rename the ‘Operations Subcommittee’ to become the Sustainability and Operations Subcommittee. This new sub-committee will be tasked with identifying and measuring initiatives which target the reduction of waste and the reusing of materials in stand construction. The new sub-committee will be working on an “HKECIA Sustainable Charter” in the coming year and which will invite members to sign as part of their commitment to being an agent for positive change.
Bailey commented that Hong Kong’s exhibition and convention industry has survived another challenging year, the fact that there are still a hundred companies represented by HKECIA is a testament to the resilience and belief that Hong Kong will continue to play an important role as the super-connector between the Mainland and the rest of the world.
He said, “There is a huge appetite for largescale international events to resume but we need to have a plan that, with reasonable certainty, shows the international business community that they can travel without restriction or disruption. Almost every other city in the region has already done away with mandatory quarantine periods, while Hong Kong, which now has achieved high immunity rates through vaccination and natural immunity, is still effectively isolated. We will continue to join other business associations and chambers of commerce to lobby the HKSAR government to lift these travel barriers.”
Maggie Yu is Senior Com Executive at Shenyang New World Expo (Management).