FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
Speaking at the International Association of Conference Centres‘ (IACC)–Americas 34th Annual Conference, IACC Global CEO Mark Cooper described the association’s latest successes before an audience of 210 attendees gathered at Benchmark Hospitality’s Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A record increase in membership, global expansion, a flourishing educational program, ramped-up media outreach and new networking opportunities marked 2014 as a year of solid achievement for IACC. The recent conference marked another major accomplishment – a record number of first-time attendees.
The conference theme was ‘Breakthrough: Take it to the Next Level,’ and a highlight of the 2015 conference was the awards ceremony, where meeting industry and IACC notables were acknowledged for their commitment to volunteerism, and their dedication to bettering the association and the meetings industry.
2015 IACC Award Recipients
The Global Distinguished Service Award was presented to Leslie Vanderzwet of Alberta, Canada. Peter Stewart, global president of IACC and operations director, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney, awarded IACC’s highest honor given to an IACC member for extraordinary contributions at a chapter and global level.
IACC-Americas presented the coveted Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service to Tom Bolman, former executive vice president of IACC. TJ Fimmano, president of IACC-Americas and general manager, Dolce Hotels & Resorts at GE Crotonville, awarded IACC-Americas’ highest and most prestigious accolade to Tom, who was the first former IACC employee to receive the award. Tom was hired by IACC in 1986 as the first employee in the role of executive director. TJ Fimmano commented “Tom mastered the idea of the conference venue concept. He built relationships, and sold people and the meetings industry on IACC’s unique benefits.”
The IACC Pyramid Award, established in 2000 to shine the spotlight on members who show a true and long-lasting commitment to IACC education, was presented to Sean Anderson, vice president of operations for Sodexo Conferencing. TJ Fimmano commented, “Sean’s passion for the industry and the association is widely acknowledged and respected within the IACC family both domestically and globally.” Sean currently sits on both the IACC Americas and Global boards and is vice president for the IACC-Americas chapter.
Ken Misterly, general manager of the Millennium Conference Center in Manhattan, and Jason Maceachen, director of catering & conference services, Aspen Meadows Resort, were both awarded IACC-Americas Award of Excellence, established 12 years ago to underscore IACC’s educational focus.
The 34th Annual IACC-America’s Conference
During the 2015 IACC-Americas conference the association sought to provide three key areas of service to attending members: Education, Representation, Networking & Ideas exchange.
Innovative new conference workshops supported IACC’s commitment to sustainability, improved food and beverage, media outreach and volunteerism. The workshops included presentations on communications, effective use of websites, social media best practices and media relations.
The 2015 IACC-Americas conference was covered by a record number of meetings press in response to the IACC’s respected reportage of industry news, developments and meeting trends.
This year’s Copper Skillet winners, showcasing the best conference center chefs around the world, hailed from Australia and Denmark. The winner in the Senior Category was Michael Greenlaw, of the Lindenderry at Red Hill near Canberra. In the Junior Category, Denmark’s Trine Thybo Tamussen of the Hotel Koldingfjord took top honors.
IACC supports continuing hospitality education and this year, four students from Florida International University (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism gained valuable insight into the meetings industry by taking on a role as part of the Annual Conference Planning Committee for the IACC-Americas Conference.
A record 58 new conference venues joined IACC over the past 12 months, bringing its total membership to 355 facilities worldwide. In expanding its global reach, IACC added six new countries to its membership list, including meeting facilities in Africa and Eastern Europe. With a new presence in Kenya, Ukraine, Hungary, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy, IAAC is also now poised for greater expansion in those areas.