People News: Expo CCI, Fern, Freeman and More Welcome New Leadership, Grow Teams

May 30, 2024

This spring, trade show-related organizations, especially industry suppliers, have been welcoming new executives and elevating staff as U.S. trade shows and business events continue surging ahead. 

Expo Convention Contractors Inc.

Trade show and convention services provider Expo Convention Contractors has appointed Steve Basch as its new CFO, responsible for spearheading the company’s financial operations and supporting its strategic objectives. Bringing more than two decades of finance and operations experience and expertise to his new role, Basch previously served as CEO at Shepard Exposition Services. 

Fern Expo 

Trade show services provider Fern Expo recently welcomed 25-year event industry veteran Beth Coffey as its new senior national sales manager, responsible for fostering connections with event organizers and providing top-tier event solutions. Coffey previously spent more than 25 years at Freeman, where she led teams in several business development, manager and director roles. 


Global events company Freeman appointed Angie Baldwin as treasurer and chief risk officer (CRO), tasked with overseeing the company’s strategic, reputational, operational and financial risks. She will partner across the business to identify, assess, manage and mitigate various internal and external risks, and as treasurer, will be responsible for ensuring Freeman has an appropriate capital structure, access to capital and financial flexibility. Prior to joining Freeman, Baldwin was treasurer and senior vice president of risk management at Home Group, where she was responsible for treasury, insurance and risk management, investor relations, indirect sourcing and procurement.


Leading omnichannel wholesale marketplace ANDMORE tapped Jon Pertchik as CEO and promoted Dorothy Belshaw to president. Former CEO and chairman Bob Maricich, who founded ANMORE (formerly International Market Centers “IMC”) in 2011, has transitioned to the role of executive chairman.

Pertchik joins ANDMORE with more than two decades of leadership experience across real estate, hospitality and finance industries. Most recently, he served as CEO of Fortune 500 company TravelCenters of America (TCA), and prior to that, was CEO of InTown Suites / Uptown Suites as well as ST Residential. He has also held leadership roles at WCI Communities and The Staubach Company.

With 32 years of experience in the wholesale marketplace industry, Belshaw has spent 12 years with ANDMORE in leadership roles including chief revenue officer, chief marketing officer and most recently, chief growth officer. Bringing more than 20 years of home and gift trade show industry experience when she joined IMC in 2012, Belshaw was originally hired to bring the category to the Las Vegas Market, after which her role broadened to include responsibility for all aspects of the end-to-end customer experience, driving increased buyer acquisition across all IMC Markets and developing tools and services to improve the at Market experience for buyers and exhibitors. 

CloserStill Media

London-based CloserStill Media welcomed 25-year international exhibition industry veteran Mark Temple-Smith as group managing director and a member of the group executive board. He most recently served as COO of Informa Markets, and prior that, held various exhibition industry leadership positions around the world, including CEO, Asia at Tarsus Group and managing director, Asia, for ITE Group.

Destination Toronto

Destination Toronto has appointed Andrew Weir as its new president and CEO. An integral member of the Canadian DMO’s leadership team for the past 18 years, he most recently served as executive vice president, responsible for leading strategic partnerships between the tourism industry, broader business leadership and government. Prior to that role, Weir served as chief marketing officer. 

Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) has selected a new president and CEO: Mike Larragueta, who for nine months has served as the CVB’s interim president and CEO since Charles Harris left the position in 2023.

Bringing nearly 30 years of travel and tourism industry experience, including15 years of local executive experience, Larragueta previously served as RSCVA’s vice president of sales since 2017. In this role, he led and developed the initiative to create Nevada’s only indoor track facility at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, and in recent months, worked to increase support for additional air service in and out of the destination, created a new director of event development position to expand the diversity of events held throughout Northern Nevada and implemented a local engagement campaign to activate regional event venues and promote community partnerships.  

Larragueta’s extensive background in the travel industry includes more than 12 years of executive hotel experience at Las Vegas resorts including The Venetian, The Palazzo, Hard Rock and The Palms. He also served as corporate vice president of global distribution for Baha Mar Casino & Hotel in the Bahamas. 

Georgia International Convention Center

The Georgia International Convention Center (GICC), the second-largest convention center in the state, appointed seasoned hospitality industry professional Don E. Simon as sales manager, responsible for focusing on the group market and attracting a wide range of events to the venue. Bringing more than 30 years of industry experience to his position, Simon has held IT and sales roles at a variety of hotels and served as IT manager for the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. 

ASM Global  

Leading venue and event strategy and management company ASM Global recently made several strategic hires. 

The company’s culinary division, SAVOR, added two food and beverage industry veterans to its team: Jason Dowd as senior vice president of culinary and innovation, and Craig Condra as regional vice president, food and beverage.  

Bringing more than 25 years of culinary-innovation experience, including in restaurant operations, research and development and menu creation at leading hospitality and restaurant brands, Dowd is tasked with managing the execution of SAVOR’s overall strategic product-innovation plan in North America as well as overseeing innovation, research, business development and KPI processes. A certified sommelier, he will also drive the product development efforts of regional and executive chefs, establish objectives and develop principles to guide product innovation among all team members.  

With more than 21 years of experience, including stints with Sodexo Live!, Levy Restaurants, Legends and Aramark, Condra will oversee food and beverage operations for 12 convention centers throughout the ASM Global/SAVOR portfolio. He will be responsible for the overall direction, coordination and evaluation of the facilities as well as supervising employees, from hiring and training to planning, directing and problem-solving. 

ASM Global also recently named live event sustainability veteran Lindsay Arell as its first chief sustainability officer, charged with spearheading the company’s sustainability initiatives across its global portfolio of 400 venues. Known for pioneering sustainability efforts for two decades for professional sports teams, venues and a wide array of events, Arell is the co-founder of Honeycomb Strategies, a leading sustainability consultancy for the hospitality, sports, venue and event industries. Besides leading the development of the ASM Global ACTS sustainability plan, she led the ISO 20121 certifications for Lincoln Financial Field and SoFi Stadiums and founded the Sustainable Sport Index.   

Visit Salt Lake 

After an accomplished 31-year career at Visit Salt Lake (VSL), Chief Sales and Experience Officer Mark White is retiring this month. After working in the investment and banking industries, White joined VSL in 1993 as its first director of ski tourism, later assuming the role of director of conventions and athletic events, and in 2002, was appointed chief sales and experience officer. He was closely involved in securing thousands of leading events in Salt Lake, including Outdoor Retailer, American Society of Association Executives, National Brotherhood of Skiers, Rotary International, MPI, USA Volleyball, United Nations and Parliament for the World’s Religions.

VSL’s Vice President of Sales Tyson Lybbert is assuming the role of chief sales officer and veteran industry professional Julie Rhoads is being promoted to chief services officer. VSL’s Sports Salt Lake, which White founded and focuses on attracting and managing youth and amateur sports events, promoted Clay Partain from executive director to chief sports officer. 

ATL Airport District Convention & Visitors Bureau

The ATL Airport District Convention & Visitors Bureau, the destination marketing organization for the cities of College Park, Hapeville and Union City, Ga., appointed experienced tourism marketing professional Rylee Govoreau as sales manager, responsible for showcasing the area as a preferred meeting destination. 

Before joining the ATL Airport District, she served as the tourism program manager for the Douglasville Convention and Visitors Bureau, overseeing sales, marketing and visitor services.   

Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority

Atlanta’s Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority announced a promotion and a new hire: Artimesa Evans to director of safety and security and Dale Gustafson as director of sales and marketing for the Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Galleria Specialty Shops, respectively. 

Now responsible for overseeing public safety and security throughout the Authority campus, Evans originally joined the Cobb Galleria Centre in 2012 and has held roles ranging from public safety supervisor to public safety manager. She previously served as the assistant public safety manager for the former Georgia Dome under the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Police Department and the NFL.

In his new role, Gustafson will provide strategic leadership and execution of the Authority’s sales and marketing efforts. He brings 35 years of hospitality industry sales experience selling for various hotel brands including Hilton, Omni, Marriott, IHG and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, with 25 of those years spent in leadership roles as director of sales and marketing.

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