GWCCA News

GWCC August 9, 2017
Georgia World Congress Center Receives IAVM 2017 Venue Excellence Award

ATLANTA – (August 9, 2017) The Georgia World Congress Center has received the 2017 Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), the preeminent organization representing public assembly venues around the globe. The GWCC joins sister property the Georgia Dome, which won IAVM’s Venue Excellence Award in 2013.

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“We are deeply honored to receive this tremendous recognition from IAVM,” said Georgia World Congress Center Authority Executive Director Frank Poe. “It is a testament to not only our hard-working team and leaders, but to our valued customers who continue to choose the Georgia World Congress Center to host their events.”

Announced today during IAVM’s 92nd annual VenueConnect conference in Nashville, Tenn., the annual award recognizes five venues which demonstrate excellence in management and operations, team building and professional development, safety and security, and service to the community.

“The Georgia World Congress Center is a pivotal part of the Atlanta community and I can’t think of a more deserving venue to win this prestigious award,” said Dan Corso, President of the Atlanta Sports Council. “I especially want to congratulate the hardworking team at the Georgia World Congress Center Authority for their dedication to being a key part of Atlanta’s ability to host major sporting events in a first-class manner.”

The Venue Excellence Award comes at a time when the 3.9 million-square-foot GWCC, which opened in 1976, is undergoing numerous improvements, including the recent opening of Social Table, a new flexible dining concept, and replacement of high foot-traffic area carpeting throughout the center with terrazzo, a more durable hard surface. Additionally, as part of the Authority’s 2020 Vision plan, plans are in motion to create one million square feet of contiguous exhibition space – improving the facility’s connectivity while bolstering Atlanta’s status as a top convention destination. The Authority also is moving forward with the development of an 800-to 1,000-room four-star hotel on Northside Drive on the site to be vacated by the Georgia Dome, adjacent to the GWCC’s Building C.

“This well-deserved recognition spotlights the evolution and versatility of Georgia World Congress Center and its downtown Atlanta campus,” said William Pate, president and CEO, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Through the vision and commitment of its leadership, GWCC has become one of the top convention, sports and entertainment venues in the world.”

An industry leader in sustainability, the GWCC is the largest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified convention center in the world, and recently executed the largest stand-alone Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Contracting project in the state of Georgia, a pact that is the largest of its kind for any public assembly venue in the nation.

About the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority campus — which includes the Georgia World Congress Center, Centennial Olympic Park, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Junior Achievement Discovery Center and state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium — is the No. 1 convention, sports and entertainment destination in the world. These facilities exist for the primary purpose of promoting and facilitating events and activities that generate economic benefits to the citizens of the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta as well as enhance the quality of life for every Georgian.

Media Contact
Alicia McNease
[email protected]
404-223-4051

Park June 26, 2017
Bobby Brown headlines the Southeast’s Largest Fireworks Show on Fourth of July

(ATLANTA – June 26, 2017) Centennial Olympic Park’s annual Fourth of July Celebration will offer FREE family-oriented entertainment, including live music and the Southeast’s largest fireworks display. This year’s celebration will be bigger and brighter than ever as the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which owns and operates the 21-acre park, has partnered with Lenox Square to combine both facilities’ popular fireworks shows. Gates open at 6 p.m..

This year’s entertainment lineup includes:

  • Grammy Award-winning artist Bobby Brown
  • Grammy Award-winning artist Ann Nesby
  • Billboard 100 Top Dance Club Artists of All Time artist CeCe Peniston
  • Member of Grammy Award-winning country duo Sugarland, Kristian Bush
  • Atlanta favorite JFly and Friends
  • R&B singer and songwriter Algebra Blessett
  • Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta 2016: Best Local Mainstream Act Chelsea Shag
  • Gospel singer, songwriter, and radio host Darlene McCoy
  • Pop artist Jordan Bolch

 

The event starts at 6:30pm with the gates opening. KISS 104.1FM’s Sasha The Diva will be the on-stage host to the crowd.

Then, at 8:30pm, WSB-TV’s Live telecast “Georgia Salutes America” starts with Channel 2 anchors Jovita Moore and Zach Klein.

Live music performances include Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, CeCe Peniston, Ann Nesby and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Bobby Brown.

Each year, thousands of people come to Centennial Olympic Park to celebrate Independence Day. For transportation, attendees are encouraged to ride MARTA . The park is accessible from both the Peachtree Center Station as well as the Dome/Phillips/GWCC Station. Paid parking is also available in the Marietta Deck, adjacent to the College Football Hall of Fame, or the Red Deck, adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Georgia Dome. Coolers, glass containers, pets, personal fireworks, large umbrellas, tents and grills are prohibited. All bags are subject to search. Alcohol and food may not be brought into the park; however, it is available for purchase inside. Additionally, park visitors under 17 years of age are required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18-years-old at all times.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Gates Open: 6 p.m.

Musical Performances: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Event:

Centennial Olympic Park

265 Park Avenue West

Atlanta, GA 30313

PARKING: For TV or satellite truck parking, please email [email protected] .There will be no complimentary parking for personal vehicles, but the Red Deck is recommended.

FOR CREDENTIALING, INTERVIEW REQUESTS, OR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Morgan Smith-Williams

Senior Communications Specialist

[email protected]

404.223.4013

Centennial Olympic Park’s 4th of July Celebration is presented by Coca-Cola. For more information on Centennial Olympic Park’s 4th of July Celebration or the park, please visit gwcca.org/park or call 404.223.4412.

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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, 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 information, visit www.gwcca.org.

GWCC May 16, 2017
Georgia World Congress Center bolsters sales force with two experienced national managers

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ATLANTA – (MAY 16, 2017) The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) welcomes the addition of two national sales
managers, Brad Minton and Cara Marbach, both focusing on capturing large association and corporate
conventions for the 3.9-million-square-foot Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) and the city of
Atlanta.

Joining the Authority today, Minton and Marbach bring a wealth of overall sales experience to the
organization, including convention and hotel sales acumen. The Authority is moving ahead with
developing a luxury convention hotel on its downtown Atlanta campus as well as an expansion between
the GWCC’s Buildings B and C that will create 1 million square feet of contiguous exhibition space.
These managers will be instrumental in communicating this message with the right groups for these
new offerings.

“We are excited to have two national sales managers start with us this month. Both Cara and Brad
bring a wealth of experience to us and a strong understanding of the convention industry,” said Damon
Bell, the GWCCA’s Sr. Director of Convention Sales. “The focus for both is to lead with customer service,
responsiveness, and an overall feeling that we are easy to do business with at the Georgia World
Congress Center. With the expansion of our exhibit space happening soon and the new offering of more
than 1 million square feet of exhibit space, I look forward to working with these talented individuals to
attract new customers to Atlanta.”

Minton joins the Authority after most recently serving as director of global accounts for Omni Hotels
and Resorts in Washington, D.C. But it is a homecoming of sorts for him, as he worked from 2013-2014
as National Sales Manager at Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, which is physically connected to the
GWCCA campus by a climate controlled pedestrian corridor. His resume also includes several positions
with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, including Hyatt Regency Lexington (Ky.) at the Lexington Convention
Center.

Marbach joins the Authority from the West Coast, where she most recently served as senior sales
manager at Napa Valley Marriott. She also served in a variety of positions for Marriott International,
including the Marriott Marquis Houston and the JW Marriott Austin, where she established strong
relationships within each city’s convention industry.

“Cara will manage accounts within both the association and corporate segment that are based in the
Midwest and West,” said Bell. “And Brad will manage accounts within both the association and
corporate segment that are based on the East Coast.”

Media Contact
Alicia McNease
[email protected]
404-223-4051.

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
decommissioned 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.

GWCC May 4, 2017
National Rifle Association 146th Annual Meetings and Exhibits hits the mark at Georgia World Congress Center

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ATLANTA – (May 3, 2017)
Headlined by a keynote address from President Donald J. Trump, the Georgia World Congress Center hosted the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits this past weekend (April 28-30), bringing more than 81,000 visitors to downtown Atlanta, driving an estimated economic impact of $60 million. (more…)

Park April 17, 2017
Centennial Olympic Park Under Renovation Until 2019; Events On Hold After 4th Of July Celebration

ATLANTA (April 11, 2017) – The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) is embarking on a
$17 million makeover of Centennial Olympic Park following the conclusion of the park’s 20th anniversary capital campaign. The park will remain open to the public while the work is in progress.

(more…)

GWCC April 6, 2017
Former GWCC General Manager Fills New Role as Sr. Business Consultant

zimmerman7-10-09ATLANTA – (April 5, 2017) Long-time Georgia World Congress Center General Manager Mark Zimmerman has transitioned into a new role and will continue working for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority as a senior business consultant.

“It’s all related to sales – recruiting possible clients and customers, and keeping up with current customers,” said Zimmerman, who began his career at the GWCC as a concessions supervisor. “I’m also representing the congress center at industry functions, including several upcoming speaking engagements.”

For instance, Zimmerman recently represented the GWCC at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship in St. Louis in hopes of landing the event in Atlanta.

Zimmerman served as general manager of the 3.9-million-square-foot convention center from 2004 until late 2016. He has launched Zimmerman Consulting LLC, a venue, food service and event management company based in Marietta, Ga.

Not ready to part with the industry – and campus – he loves, Zimmerman signed a multi-year deal to consult with the GWCCA. “It’s a mutual benefit for everybody,” he said.

A graduate of Northwood University in Midland, Mich., Zimmerman, who is known simply as “Z” by many of his colleagues, is well regarded in the convention, tradeshow and event businesses and he has served on numerous hospitality industry boards, including the Trade Show Executive Exposition Forecasting Board.

“To have Z stay on as a consultant with the GWCC is a gift that keeps on giving. His relationships and friendships in the industry are unlike any I’ve ever witnessed,” said GWCCA Chief Commercial Officer Joe Bocherer. “I’ve been to a few industry tradeshows with him, and we literally couldn’t walk five feet without him shaking a hand or getting a hug from a client or colleague — in turn, let’s just say my Rolodex is getting bigger.”

Zimmerman is also a member of the Exhibition Service Contractors Association, Southeastern International Association of Events and Expositions – Southeast Chapter, Professional Convention Management Association, International Association Venue Management, Northwood University Entertainment Sports & Promotions Management, Georgia State University Hospitality, Kennesaw State University Center for Young Adult Addiction & Recovery and University of West Georgia Sports Management.

Under his guidance, the GWCC hosted the 1988 Democratic National Convention, been a part of two Super Bowls, several NCAA Final Four basketball championship and SEC Football Championship fan events, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, and various Top 200 tradeshows.

His rise through the ranks at the GWCC includes stints as an event coordinator, event services manager, and director of event services. He left in 1992 to help open the 300,000-square-foot Cobb Galleria Center, a convention center in suburban Atlanta, where he was named as the inaugural Assistant General Manager. He returned to the GWCC in 1995 as the venue’s Assistant General Manager, a position he held until being promoted to General Manager in 2004.

Media Contact: Alicia McNease, 404-223-4051, [email protected]

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.

GWCC March 16, 2017
Georgia World Congress Center Authority Appoints Sr. Director of Convention Sales

ATLANTA – (March 16, 2017)
Damon Bell

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.

Media Contact
Alicia McNease, [email protected], 404-223-4051.

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.

GWCC February 22, 2017
Georgia World Congress Center’s Social Table Introduces Flexible Dining to Event Planners and Guests

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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.

About Levy
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.

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GWCCA January 11, 2017
More than 90,000 Attendees and Fans on GWCCA Campus Highlight a Busy Weekend Downtown

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/

The Progressive Atlanta Boat Show will take place January 12th-15th at the GWCC in Building C. For more information visit: http://www.atlantaboatshow.com/

Lil Big South will take place January 14th-16th at the GWCC in Building B. For more information visit: http://www.lilbigsouth.com/

The Chinese Lantern Festival will host its final weekend at Centennial Olympic Park. The last day of the festival is Sunday, January 15th. For more information visit: https://www.gwcca.org/chinese-lantern-festival/

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*

Media Contact
Alicia McNease, [email protected], 404-223-4051

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

GWCCA December 19, 2016
Savannah Convention Center Selects Partner for Hutchison Island Hotel Project

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).

(more…)

Park November 10, 2016
Bank of America Endows $1 Million to Centennial Olympic Park Expansion

Support comes as part of Bank of America’s efforts to help build a thriving community and economy in Atlanta with targeted capital investments   (more…)

Park November 4, 2016
Centennial Olympic Park Hosts Atlanta’s Inaugural Chinese Lantern Festival

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…)

Park November 3, 2016
New historic marker for 1996 Games unveiled in Centennial Olympic Park

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…)

GWCCA October 28, 2016
Frank Poe Receives 2016 Convention Center Lifetime Achievement Award

frank-poe

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.”

(more…)

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