6 Smart Moves in the Meetings Industry: July 7, 2015

Sara Blaynesmart moves

Lynnwood Convention Center in Lynnwood, Wash. promoted Sara Blayne, CMP as general manager. Blayne is directing the convention center’s operations and will work with Lynnwood Public Facilities District to help grow the building’s success. Previously, she was director of sales and marketing at Lynnwood Convention Center and has spent 20 years in the hospitality and events industries.

“The Lynnwood Public Facilities District supports SMG’s appointment of Sara Blayne as the General Manager of the Lynnwood Convention Center.  The District is confident in her skill and ability to lead and manage convention center operations, and we look forward to working with her,” said Grant Dull, executive director of the Lynnwood Public Facilities District.


smart movesKeith Backsen

The new director of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau is Keith Backsen, a 30 year hospitality and convention industry veteran. Backsen was previously vice president of sales and services for Visit Spokane. While there, he expanded the convention center, increased hotel inventory and opened sales offices in Washington D.C and Chicago.

“Keith brings enthusiasm and experience that will help Omaha grow as a tourism destination and convention city,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. “He is well known in the industry and will be a strong leader, innovator and mentor to our convention and visitors bureau staff.”


Amaury Piedrasmart moves

Amaury Piedra was named as managing director for Hawks Cay Resort, Villas and Marina in the Florida Keys, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. With more than 20 years of experience, Piedra comes from a long tenure with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where he served as general manager of the Westin and Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resorts. Prior to that position, he was resort manager for Westin and Sheraton Our Lucaya Resort and hotel manager for Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.

“Hawks Cay has already positioned itself as the Keys’ top destination for outdoor fun in the sun,” says Piedra. “I am eager to lead the resort’s experienced team and take us to the next level. With so many new offerings and even more on the horizon, there couldn’t be a better time to join this world-class destination.”


Skip Jamessmart moves

Lansdowne Resort, a Destination Hotels property, announced Skip James as its director of sales and marketing. In his new role, James oversees group, leisure sales, golf marketing, spa and food and beverage marking activities. Before joining Lansdowne Resort, James held the director of sales and marketing position at Turnberry Isle Miami and Sunriver Resort in Bend, Oregon. He brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience.

“Skip’s vast experience in the hotel industry, and him having served in similar capacities at luxury resorts that offer similar services and amenities as Lansdowne Resort, makes him a perfect complement to help guide the management team’s long-term objections,” said James Horsman, area managing director of Destination Hotels.


Timothy Lamsmart moves

The International School of Hospitality (TISOH) promoted Timothy M. Lam from executive director to president of the foundation for the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE). Lam also served as vice president of the foundation and is a founding member of TISOH. More than 1,500 students have graduated from the 10-year-old school, which specializes in short-term courses on event planning, catering, concierge and hospitality leadership.

“I am honored to serve on the foundation of NACE,” Lam said. “The foundation’s focus on supporting the catering and events industry through education, investment in the community and philanthropy reflects the values we uphold at TISOH. I hope to continue to advance those values and help keep the industry moving forward.”


Pavan Kapursmart moves

The Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas welcomed Pavan Kapur as senior vice president of revenue optimization and strategy. In his new role, Kapur is responsible for leading strategic direction across the entire property. Kapur has over 15 years of finance, revenue and analytics experience. Most recently, he served as vice president of revenue optimization for Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation in Las Vegas.

“Atlantis’ revenue management is evolving to focus on the total guest spend model,” said Paul Burke, president and managing director. “Pavan’s expertise and wealth of knowledge will bring both strength and growth to our new comprehensive revenue structure.”

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