The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) announces the appointment of Damon Bell, a proven sales leader with more than two decades of hospitality industry experience, as the new Sr. Director of Convention Sales.
Bell joins the Authority at a time of historic growth as the agency’s downtown Atlanta campus undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis, including the addition of state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium, decommissioning of the Georgia Dome, major upgrades to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park – and development of an upscale, on-site headquarters convention hotel.
“These new and exciting things happening on the GWCCA campus cannot be ignored within the convention industry and are very exciting to see,” said Bell, who most recently served as Director of Sales and Marketing at the JW Marriott Austin (Texas). “With the expansion of the convention center, the addition of a new hotel, the addition of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the continued effort to improve the convention corridor, I have no doubt that the city of Atlanta will continue to attract and retain major events and conventions. I want to be a part of that and cannot wait to join the convention sales effort in Atlanta.”
Bell, who begins his role with the GWCCA today (March 16), will oversee sales and booking of one of the country’s largest convention center complexes, which features 1.4 million square feet of exhibit space, 106 meeting rooms, 12 exhibit halls, two grand ballrooms and various outdoor spaces and plazas. Bell’s resume includes eight years with Omni Hotels and Resorts, and the last seven years with White Lodging, one of the largest and fastest-growing hotel ownership, development and management companies in America.
“I’m looking forward to Damon building and leading a true sales culture – one where the customer always comes first, reinforcing the Georgia World Congress Center’s reputation for being proactive and easy to do business with. His ability to analyze what’s going on, build a plan and execute against it is a highly-desired skillset that he brings to the table,” said Joe Bocherer, the GWCCA’s Chief Commercial Officer, who worked with Bell for four years at White Lodging. “He creates followership naturally – people want to do the right thing for him. He develops those key relationships that are instrumental in driving success and delivering overall excellence.”
Prior to joining the JW Marriott Austin, where he also served as Director of Sales before being promoted, Bell was Director of Group Sales at JW Marriott Indianapolis. He received the Marriott International Western Region Sales Leader recognition, and his teams earned the 2012 and 2015 White Lodging Full Service Sales Team of the Year Award. Bell and his sales teams consistently remained in the top 10 of sales and planning satisfaction within the Marriott Convention and Resort Network.
Bell earned a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management from Indiana University. He recently relocated to the Atlanta area with his wife of 10 years, Jean, and his two daughters, Haley and Harper.
About the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) now includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 3.9 million-square-foot Georgia World Congress Center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. This past year, the GWCCA hosted 523 events and welcomed more than 2.7 million visitors, creating an economic impact of $1.51 billion.
Convention Center, Levy and ai3 Designed New Space and Menu Based on Guest Behavior Research
ATLANTA (February 15, 2017) – Today, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority officially unveiled Social Table, a new food and beverage experience shaped to suit the distinctive needs of individual events and their attendees. The convention center, food and beverage partner Levy and its experience design agency, Curiology, and Atlanta-based design and architecture group ai3 collaborated on the research and design process, emphasizing flexibility, high quality, freshness and local flavors.
Social Table enables show organizers to customize dining service to each event’s audience, and offers guests a new choice for fresh flavors under one roof.
“Each convention center event brings a new set of attendees, who move, see, and dine differently,” said Cindy van Rensburg, Division President of Levy Convention Centers. “We recognized an opportunity to craft a more intuitive experience serving guests fresh, locally-inspired menus where, when, and how they want it.”
Levy, GWCC and ai3 grounded the design process in research to understand show manager, exhibitor and event attendee patterns. The immersive process identified several common behaviors, such as sitting at a restaurant space or roaming the event floor, which guided Social Table’s design and configuration.
Social Table infuses GWCC’s on-campus dining options with flexible and variable menus and spaces, including a full 35-seat bar, a build-your-own salad bar and a “Grab and Go” station. The space also features a multi-use food and beverage station serving a rotating and customizable selection of house-smoked BBQ, hand-pressed burgers and artisanal flatbreads. Southern twists on classic cocktails, like the Southern Mule, Midnight Manhattan and Lemon Sapphire Mojito highlight the revamped beverage offerings.
Social Table launched for the International Production & Processing Expo earlier this month, and will continue to provide customizable dining options for all guests and show organizers.
Social Table menu photos are available for download here.
About the Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) now includes Mercedes Benz Stadium, the 3.9 million-square-foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. For more visit www.gwcca.org/gwcc/ or follow on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
The original disruptor in defining the premium sports and entertainment dining experience, Levy remains of the fastest growing and most critically acclaimed restaurant companies. Named one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports by Fast Company magazine, Levy’s diverse portfolio includes award-winning restaurants, iconic sports and entertainment venues, and convention centers as well as the Grammy Awards, PGA Championship, US Open Tennis Tournament, Kentucky Derby, and NHL, MLB, NBA All-Star Games. For more, visit www.levyrestaurants.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
ATLANTA – (January 10, 2017) Multiple events are taking place on the Georgia World Congress Center Authority(GWCCA) downtown Atlanta campus and at nearby venues this weekend, January 13-15, with the largest attendance numbers expected to exceed 90,000 on Saturday. With the increased number of downtown visitors, attendees are encouraged to take MARTA, or if driving, pre-purchase parking passes online and allow extra travel time to the GWCCA campus.
The Atlanta Falcons take on the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, January 14th at 4:25 p.m. in a NFC semi-final game at the Georgia Dome. For more information visit: http://www.atlantafalcons.com/
Across the street at Philips Arena, the Atlanta Hawks take on the Boston Celtics on Friday, January 13th and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, January 15th. For more information, visit www.philipsarena.com
Take MARTA With parking at a premium on Saturday, patrons are encouraged to take MARTA. MARTA offers free daily parking at 23 of its stations. The Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station is located on the GWCC campus, and fare is $2.50 each way. For more information, visit: www.itsmarta.com
Buy Parking Passes Online Attendees are encouraged to buy passes online while supplies last. Purchasing parking in advance will guarantee a spot in one of our official GWCCA parking lots. To purchase parking passes, click on the “Purchase Parking Permits Online” icon here: https://www.gwcca.org/parking-directions/*Parking for Saturday, January 14th, is sold out at all official GWCCA lots*
About the Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) now includes MercedesBenz Stadium, the 3.9 million- square-foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. @gwcc_atl
SAVANNAH, GA. – (Dec. 19, 2016) The Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority
(GIMTCA), which governs the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center (SITCC), has selected Songy Highroads, LLC., in partnership with Omni Hotels & Resorts, to develop a convention headquarters hotel. It will be located on Hutchison Island adjacent to the riverfront convention center, which is managed by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA).
ATLANTA – (October 28, 2016) Continuing the celebration of Centennial Olympic Park’s 20th anniversary, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) is lighting up Downtown Atlanta’s crown jewel with a new winter event – the Southeast’s first-ever Chinese Lantern Festival, kicking off Dec. 9 and running through Jan. 15, from 6p.m. -11p.m. each night. (more…)
ATLANTA – (October 20, 2016)— The Georgia World Congress Center Authority(GWCCA) will be honored by the Georgia Historical Society with a special commemoration service to install a new historical marker for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. (more…)
Sept. 21, 2016 (Dallas, TX) — The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) has awarded the prestigious 2016 Convention Center Lifetime Achievement Award to Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Executive Director Frank Poe, an IAVM member since Jan. 1, 1980.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented during the 2016 International Convention Center Conference in Pasadena, California, recognizes individuals who have had a significant impact on the convention center industry and the IAVM community.
“To be recognized by your peers is a tremendous honor,” Poe said. “If you consider those whovhave received this award in the past, to be included with that group is humbling.”
Click on the video below to watch Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne, Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay and members of the GWCCA Board of Governors pay tribute to GWCCA Executive Director Frank Poe.
By Kent Kimes / Sr. Staff Writer
ATLANATA – (Oct. 28, 2016) – Frank Poe had it mapped out – he was going to be a history teacher.
Instead, he’s making history within the convention, sports and events industry – while continually teaching, leading and inspiring his staff and earning the adulation of his peers.
ATLANTA – (Oct. 7, 2016)
When feeding the masses, mitigating the waste materials is always top of mind for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), a leader in sustainability and owner/operator of the largest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified convention center in the world. (more…)
ATLANTA – (September 21, 2016) – Frank Poe, Executive Director of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, will receive the International Association of Venue Managers’ (IAVM) prestigious 2016 Convention Center Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 International Convention Center Conference held in October in Pasadena, Calif. (more…)
ATLANTA – (Sept. 12, 2016) From Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards to film shoots, athletic tournaments and Walker Stalker Con to Donald Trump’s presidential rally, the Georgia World Congress Center’s Exhibition Hall A3 has hosted a wide variety of events in recent times – but on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 9-10) the 105,000-square foot space was transformed into a two-night sold-out rave featuring red-hot electronic dance music (EDM) artist Bassnectar, drawing a combined 20,000 devoted Bassheads. (more…)
ATLANTA – (Sept. 12, 2016) -Peach Assist, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s new mobile alert program, provides exhibitors the option of requesting assistance or services via text without having to leave their booths. Peach Assist utilizes a text message number – 69050 – that allows anyone on the show floor to text their needs to the dispatch center. (more…)
ATLANTA – (Sept. 6, 2016) – The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) announces the appointment of Joe Bocherer – an experienced and proven leader within the convention, hospitality and tourism industries – as the organization’s new Chief Commercial Officer.
Bocherer, who most recently served as Head of Sales and Marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) U.S. franchise division, has 20 years of convention and visitors bureau and hotel sales experience with extensive knowledge of group and transient-driven business. He has served as Vice President of Sales for Experience Columbus (Ohio), Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing for White Lodging, and several key positions with Hyatt Hotels including Hyatt Regency Atlanta and Regional Vice President of Sales over the Southeast select service division.
As the GWCCA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Bocherer presides over Sales and Marketing, Business Development, Customer Analytics and Revenue Management, all products and contracted service agreements.
“Joe’s addition to the Authority is significant as he rounds out our restructured executive team,” said Frank Poe, Executive Director of the GWCCA. “With his extensive background in the hospitality industry, and in particular the convention business, we are confident Joe will provide strong leadership for our commercial team while continuing the organization’s focus on customer experience.”
The Chief Commercial Officer position was created as part of the first phase of a strategic reorganization plan that included the appointment of key leaders in new roles.
“I knew as soon as I met with Frank, his executive team and several board members, that this is where I needed to be. We were fully aligned on what success looked like and what it would take to get there in the short and long term. I couldn’t be more excited to move forward with this incredible organization and am humbled for their trust in me to lead the Commercial team,” said Bocherer, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from The Pennsylvania State University.
The reorganization plan, hastened by the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, decommissioning of the Georgia Dome, and major enhancements to Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia World Congress Center, is a result of Poe’s original concept of expanding the Authority’s brand and footprint, crystalized in the 2020 Vision strategic plan: https://www.gwcca.org/about-the-gwcca/campus-development/vision-2020/.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of this historic transformation of the GWCCA campus while creating a memorable experience for every visitor and attendee,” said Bocherer.
Bocherer succeeds longtime Authority executive Carl Adkins who has taken a position as Executive Director of Atlanta Football Host Committee, Inc.
Bocherer and his wife, Erin, live in Canton, Ga. with their three children — Brady 14, Carly 12 and Ellie 10. He spends time at the lake, golfing, mountain biking, playing basketball, snow skiing and watching his kids compete in various sports.
About the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) now includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 3.9 million- square-foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21- acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. This past year, the GWCCA hosted 555 events and welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors who generated $1.33 billion in economic impact to the State of Georgia.
ATLANTA – (August 23, 2016) – Unveiling a key component of its multi-faceted strategic realignment, the No. 1 convention, sports and entertainment destination in the world now has a brand new cyber destination.