June 8, 2013 |
SMG manages convention centers as large as McCormick Place, the Chicago behemoth on the shores of Lake Michigan, and as small as the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda, Fla. But winning control of Philadelphia's Convention Center has special meaning. "This time it's personal," said SMG president and CEO Wes Westley on Thursday, a day after the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority board voted to make the West Conshohocken-based firm the manager of the challenged facility.
June 7, 2013 |
In a move to reposition the Convention Center amid fierce competition, the board of the troubled facility voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to privatize a range of management functions and hire an outside firm to lead it. The board also voted, 13-2, to hire SMG, a West Conshohocken-based management group that runs arenas and other large facilities in the United States and overseas. The board selected SMG over Global Spectrum, a unit of Comcast-Spectacor. The decisions leave unanswered what role the Convention Center's current president and chief executive, Ahmeenah Young, will have under the new management structure, said Board Chairman Gregory J. Fox. In other cities, such as Chicago, where SMG now directs the convention center, the authority's CEO was retained and works closely with SMG. "I am thrilled that the board today has embraced a bold and bright future for the Convention Center, born of a new management model that sets the stage for future improvements," Fox said after the board voted 12-3 to privatize and before selecting SMG. "It's a willingness to depart from the past and embrace the future.
May 4, 2013 |
In the last 30 months, five U.S. cities have turned to private management companies to run their respective convention centers, among them Detroit and Chicago. Philadelphia and Los Angeles are now looking to do the same. Requests for proposals to manage the Convention Center are due at 5 p.m. Friday. Turning to privatization to handle key convention center functions has everything to do with the need to run these complexes as if they were five-star hotels, said some industry experts.
February 9, 2013 |
The board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority voted Thursday in favor of seeking proposals from companies to privatize certain functions of the Convention Center. The 15-member board hired Public Financial Management Inc. (PFM) in late November as a consultant to review responses to the board's request for qualifications from companies that provide services for the convention business, including handling facility operations, maintenance, and management. Thursday's affirmative vote of 13-1 for PFM to issue a request for proposals from such companies was the next step, board chairman Gregory J. Fox said.
November 30, 2012 |
The board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority has awarded a consulting-services contract to Public Financial Management Inc., of Philadelphia, to assist in reviewing responses to privatize certain functions of the center. The 15-member board, at a meeting Wednesday, voted unanimously to approve the contract. "The board felt that it was important to bring in an independent consultant to assist us in the process of reviewing and evaluating the responses we have received, as well as analyzing our options going forward," board chairman Gregory J. Fox said just before the vote.
June 29, 2012 |
Elimination of the 8 percent labor management fee charged to groups at the Pennsylvania Convention Center formally takes effect on Sunday, according to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, which oversees the center. The fee elimination was announced in early April and is intended to make the Convention Center and the city more competitive in attracting group business. Other changes designed to enhance customer service include mandatory hospitality training of workers, a new customer service booth on the show floor, and increased transparency of labor rates and hours.
June 22, 2012 |
Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority chairman Gregory J. Fox Wednesday announced a new spirit of cooperation and communication among all stakeholders in the center, in response to a letter by the city's hoteliers' group that blamed labor costs for disappointing bookings of group events. "It's important to emphasize we are all on the same team — the board members, hotels, laborers, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau," Fox said at a meeting of the authority's board packed with representatives of the various factions.
June 15, 2012 |
With just a year left on their 10-year customer-satisfaction agreement, intended as a framework for a more conciliatory and productive working relationship between labor unions and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, relations seem more strained than ever before. Labor leaders said Wednesday that they have been taken aback by recent complaints by the city's hoteliers that union issues - including allegations of theft, discourtesy, and inflated costs - were making booking the Convention Center more difficult and preventing large events from planning return engagements there.