News

Owensboro Convention Center Again Honored with ConventionSouth’s Readers’ Choice Award

Spectra, the providers of Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality to the Owensboro Convention Center, and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau are excited to announce that they have each received the 2018 Readers’ Choice Award from ConventionSouth, the national multi-media resource for planning events in the South.

ConventionSouth readers and fans have voted to decide the best meeting sites in the South, and it is no surprise to us that the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau have been selected to receive our annual Readers’ Choice Award,” said ConventionSouth Publisher J. Talty O’Connor.  “The value in receiving this prestigious recognition is that it comes from the United States’ top meeting professionals who hold events in the South. These planners demand the highest level of customer service and quality facilities, and they have contributed in determining that the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau both indeed display the commitment to professionalism, creativity and service that they require.”

Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated meeting sites that provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated sites are then compiled onto an online ballot where meeting professionals and fans are asked to vote for the best of the best. With over 7,000 voters participating in the selection process and the highest social media interaction to date, this has been the most successful and engaging year yet.

“It’s an absolute honor to receive this incredible recognition.  I’m very proud of our staff and the convention center staff for their commitment to world-class service and hospitality,” said Mark Calitri, President and CEO of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This recognition is a perfect example that when our community works together as a whole, we can achieve amazing things.”

“You must be nominated by an event planner to even be considered for the award and then the general public gets to vote,” said Spectra’s Laura Alexander, General Manager of the Owensboro Convention Center.  “We are very thankful that our clients think Owensboro is a top notch location for conventions and hope to continue working with the CVB on bringing quality events to Owensboro.”

Since its creation in 2001, this is the third time that the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau have received the award, making it an even greater honor to present both with a 2018 Readers’ Choice Award.  The Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2018 Awards Issue of ConventionSouth magazine.

 

Spectra Announces New Hire and Promotions for the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter

Spectra, the providers of Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter is pleased to announce some promotions and welcome a new member to their Owensboro team.

Jessica Wilson Beckmann is now the Director of the Owensboro Sportscenter.  She was born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, a graduate of Daviess County High School (2005), and a KWC Lady Panther Basketball Alumni (2005-2007). Jessica graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a Bachelors in Business Administration, specializing in Sports Management and Marketing. She has attained the designation of Certified Event Management Expert (CEME), is a Graduate of Venue Management School (VMS), and recently received the Certified Venue Professional (CVP) designation from the International Association of Venue Managers.

She has spent the last 10 years in the St. Louis area managing events at a variety of venues including a casino, convention center, ballpark, and arena.

She joined Spectra Venue Management at Chaifetz Arena in 2015. In her three years with Spectra, she has worked with clients such as the St. Louis Sports Commission, the Olympic Committees, NCAA, AEG, and LiveNation.

“The Owensboro Sportscenter is nostalgic for me.  I look out the window of my new office and I can see where my Grandfather Bullet Wilson, KWC Hall of Famer, coached. Like many others, I grew up on the sidelines of this arena in the heyday of the Ray Harper and Bruce Pearl rivalry.  My family history is tied to this building, the tenants, and this city. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be back home to help grow the Sportscenter and continue to bring a number of new events to the facility.” Jessica stated.

Heather Terry has been promoted to Director of Sales for the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter. Heather started her career with Spectra as a Sales Manager in 2015.  When Spectra was awarded the contract for the Owensboro Sportscenter in September 2016, she became a Sales Manager for that property as well.  Her primary responsibility in her new role will be to book conventions and special events while overseeing the Sales Team.

Prior to her work with Spectra, she worked as an Inside Sales Manager for Dell, Inc. as well as a Supervisor at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, both in Nashville, TN.

Heather graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College with a Bachelors in Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations and Advertising.  She has an Associate’s Degree from Owensboro Community and Technical College in Organizational Communications.

Cody Ball has been promoted to Operations Manager at the Owensboro Convention Center. Cody joined the Spectra team in 2017 as a Housekeeping Lead and quickly transitioned over to setups and AV, including the new videoboards at the Owensboro Sportscenter. “We look forward to great things from Cody in his future with Spectra,” said Allen Herzog, Director of Operations.

 

 

Spectra Announces New Hire and Promotions for the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter

Spectra, the providers of Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter is pleased to announce some promotions and welcome a new member to their Owensboro team.

Executive Chef Matthew Dewalt joins the Owensboro team from another Spectra Venue, Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA.  A graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh, PA, he has over 18 years of experience, including country clubs, restaurants and the Ritz Carlton. “His menu planning skills, management style, and teaching abilities will be a great asset,” stated Spectra Food and Beverage Director Mark Pruett.  “We look forward to his ideas, creativeness, and cooking techniques to help elevate the Convention Center and Sportscenter to a higher level.”

 

Natalie Russell has been promoted to Sales Manager.  A graduate of the University of Kentucky, she has been with Spectra since 2015.  Most recently as the Sales and Marketing Coordinator, she became the Event Producer for the two largest signature self-promoted expos the Convention Center produces – Kraftucky in November and the Your Perfect Day Wedding Show in January.  Her new role will also include booking consumer and trade shows.  Natalie is excited to bring new events to Owensboro and to continue to grow the existing expos.

 

Mallori Betz joined the Spectra team as an Event Manager in July of 2017 and has been promoted to Wedding Sales Coordinator.  A graduate of IUPUI, Mallori has 5 years of event experience, most of which has been driven by the wedding industry.  She previously worked as a Day of Wedding Coordinator in Indianapolis, IN and says, “It is truly an honor to be part of a couple’s wedding day!”

For more information about the Owensboro Convention Center or the Owensboro Sportscenter, please visit OwensboroEvents.com.

Spectra Promotes Laura Alexander to General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Owensboro, KY (July 20, 2018) – Spectra, the providers of Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter is pleased to announce the promotion of Laura Alexander to the position of General Manager.

Alexander, a graduate of Western Kentucky University, started her career with Spectra as Director of Sales and Marketing in 2012 at the Owensboro Convention Center prior to its opening.  Since January of 2017, she has held dual roles of Assistant General Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing and has lead the staff as interim General Manager since March.  In her new role as General Manager, she will be responsible for the overall management and staff of both facilities.

“Laura has been an essential and committed part of the Center’s team since its beginning,” said Dean Dennis, former General Manager and Vice President of Spectra.  “She has done an outstanding job of promoting and selling the Center and the Sportscenter and we are confident that she will provide the leadership necessary for continued success of the facilities and the City of Owensboro.”

“I’m pleased that our partner Spectra has selected Laura Alexander as General Manager of the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter,” said Nate Pagan, City Manager with the City of Owensboro, KY. “With her background in the hospitality industry and service as Assistant General Manager, Laura has the knowledge and experience to lead and maximize the economic impact of both facilities.  As an Owensboro native, Laura knows the community well, and should provide stability to the position.”

Laura is a 2016 Venues Today Generation Next Award Recipient which honors young professionals who make a difference in sports, music, conventions, family shows, and festivals.  She is also a graduate of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Venue Management School, regarded as one of the best professional education programs available for venue managers.

For more information about the Owensboro Convention Center or the Owensboro Sportscenter, please visit OwensboroEvents.com.

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Owensboro Convention Center and Kentucky Legend® Announce Pier Naming Rights Agreement

Owensboro, KY (June 29, 2017) Kentucky Legend® will hold a ribbon cutting for the unveiling of the new Kentucky Legend Pier on Thursday, July 6, 2017. The ceremony will commence at Noon CST on the Pier, which is located behind the Owensboro Convention Center.

Representatives from Kentucky Legend, a division of Specialty Foods Group, LLC will host the event to local city and government officials. The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to celebrate this event and cut the ribbon.  At nearly 8,900 sq. ft, the Pier sets over the beautiful Ohio River and is the main location for various events throughout the year; i.e. Friday After 5, endless amounts of performances, etc.

Kentucky Legend® has its roots firmly planted in Owensboro, Kentucky and continues to strive on the community values set forth by founder Charles Eldred Field. With over 100 years in the meat manufacturing business, Kentucky Legend knows a thing or two about bringing inevitable flavors and families to the dinner table.

“In the midst of all the new and exciting things happening in Owensboro, we are excited to be part of it all.  As the city continues to grow, we strive to ensure Kentucky Legend’s presence is known. Expect to see more of us as the year continues.” said Brooklyn Maple, Brand Manager for Kentucky Legend®.

“We are excited to enter into this long-term partnership with Kentucky Legend, an iconic worldwide brand that continues to grow,” Owensboro Convention Center General Manager, Blake Henry said. “This partnership puts the “stamp” on Kentucky Legend’s long standing commitment to Owensboro and our western Kentucky region.”

If interested in reserving the Kentucky Legend Pier for upcoming meetings or events, please contact the Owensboro Convention Center Sales Team at (270) 687-8800.

Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter to Help the Western KY Botanical Garden as Part of Comcast Cares Day

Owensboro, KY (April 14, 2017) – More than 20 local Spectra by Comcast Spectacor employees from the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter and their families, friends and community partners will “make change happen” as they volunteer to improve the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden in Owensboro, KY on Monday, April 17 and Tuesday, April 18 as part of the 16th annual Comcast Cares Day.

Spectra, part of Comcast, provides Venue Management and Ticketing and Fan Engagement to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter.

Comcast Cares Day is more than just a day – it’s the culmination of Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to volunteerism that began when the company was founded more than 50 years ago. From using technology to create positive change, such as wiring community centers and libraries and teaching digital literacy skills, to mentoring youth, to beautifying parks, Comcast NBCUniversal employees volunteer on this day, and throughout the year, to make a lasting impact.

This year, the vast majority of projects will take place on Saturday, April 22nd and the Company expects more than 100,000 volunteers to participate in approximately 900 projects across the country and around the world.  To date, volunteers have contributed nearly 5 million volunteer hours at 7,700 projects since Comcast Cares Day began in 2001.

With several established gardens – Butterfly, Rose, Daylily, Iris, Herb, Fruit & Berry, and the Takahashi Japanese Memorial Garden – the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden is becoming a center for the growth and display of hundreds of outstanding plant selections as well as a beautiful location for social gatherings.  Spectra’s team at the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter has committed to the beautification and clean-up of the Garden.

“As we celebrate our 16th annual Comcast Cares Day, we are so proud to partner with the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden to give back in our community,” said Spectra’s Blake Henry, General Manager at the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter. “It’s truly amazing what’s possible when volunteers donate their time to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“The Spectra team’s volunteer service to the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden is vital to the upkeep of The Garden’s 12+ acres,” said Garden Director, Susie Tyler. “They are to be commended for their initiative in contacting The Garden and offering to aid and assist a unique community asset that relies greatly on volunteers.”

The Comcast Foundation will also provide grants to local community partner organizations across the country on behalf of everyone who volunteers on Comcast Cares Day. The grants will help Comcast’s community partners continue their mission of serving the community throughout the year.  To date, the Comcast Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to local non-profit organizations who have served as partners on Comcast Cares Day.

For more information on Comcast NBCUniversal volunteer and community investment initiatives, visit www.comcast.com/community. If you are interested in becoming a part of Comcast Cares Day as a volunteer, you may sign-up online at the volunteer portal at www.comcastinthecommunity.com.

Blake Henry Named New General Manager

Owensboro, KY (February 10, 2017) The City of Owensboro and Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, the providers of Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality and Ticketing and Fan Engagement to the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter, today named Blake Henry, a 20-year industry veteran, as General Manager of both the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter in Owensboro, KY.

Blake joins Spectra from SMG where he most recently served as Director of Operations at the Baton Rouge Convention Center. During his career, he assisted in project development stages from conception to day-to-day operational aspects of three AEG ground-up public facilities projects, including the STAPLES Center arena in Los Angeles, CA.

He has served as an Executive Director for the YC Performing Arts Center in Prescott, Arizona; General Manager of the Nokia Theatre and the Best Buy Theater, both in Times Square in New York City.

He has successfully managed entertainment businesses with annual revenues of more than $15 million.

“Blake brings a tremendous amount of leadership skills to Owensboro,” said City Manager, Bill Parrish. ‘”We look forward to his arrival and what he can do with the very successful Spectra team that’s already in place here in Owensboro.”

“Blake’s vast array of experience in venue management and live entertainment supports our mission in Owensboro to continue to enhance bookings, provide exceptional guest services and showcase the Owensboro Convention Center as the premiere destination for entertainment, regional and local meetings and conventions, as well as build on our ticketing program, “ said Pam Plageman, Regional Vice President of Spectra Venue Management and Food Services and Hospitality. “Blake is excited to get involved in the community and work with the City and Spectra teams to keep the momentum going.”

Blake’s first day with Spectra will be Thursday, February 23.

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Owensboro Convention Center Announces Promotions and New Hires!

Owensboro, KY (December 22, 2016) – The Owensboro Convention Center, proudly managed by Spectra Venue Management is excited to announce the promotion of some current staff and welcome some new members to their Owensboro team.

 Jared “Buddy” McCarter has been promoted to Executive Chef.  Always having had an interest in food, Jared completed the Culinary Arts program at OCTC and went on to work as the Sous Chef at the Campbell Club for three years before joining the Owensboro Convention Center team in 2015 as Sous Chef.  Jared stated, “I am looking forward to a long and productive career with the Owensboro Convention Center.”

Jim Riggs is now the Director of the Owensboro Sportscenter.  He’s a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University. Jim has managed a number of professional sports teams in the East Coast Hockey League, Central Hockey League, American Hockey League, and Arena Football 2 before coming to Owensboro. He has also served as a sales and marketing consultant for a number of teams in both the United States and Canada. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help grow the Sportscenter and bring a number of new events to the facility,” Jim stated.

Cody Thomas is a new Event Supervisor. Cody has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Management from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Western Kentucky University.  Previous experiences included being President of Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity, Event Coordinator with Owensboro’s Chapter of U.S. Bank Development Network, and Interning with Kentucky Mavericks. Cody is very excited to start his career in Event Management with the Owensboro Convention Center.

Caleb Farkas joins the Owensboro Convention Center staff as the new Ticketing Manager and will oversee all ticketed events on OwensboroTickets.com.  Caleb is originally from Muskegon, Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University with his Bachelor of Applied Arts in Sport Studies. He has worked in ticketing for the sports and live entertainment industries for the past seven years including working in collegiate athletics, professional sports, and live events and shows.  Most recently he worked for IMG in Coral Gables, Florida as a Box Office Manger overseeing the ticketing for a variety of events; including PGA and LPGA golf events.

For more information about the Owensboro Convention Center, visit OwensboroCenter.com or call 270-687-8800.

Dean Dennis Named General Manager for Atlantic City Convention Center

Owensboro, KY (November 30, 2016) – Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, the providers of Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality and Ticketing and Fan Engagement to the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter has tapped General Manager, Dean Dennis to lead the company’s efforts at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

A 20-year industry veteran, Dennis’ background and proven success were key factors in his relocation to one of the East Coast’s largest convention centers.  Dennis moved to Owensboro on behalf of Spectra in 2012 to open the new Convention Center and has been its only manager.  Under Dennis’ leadership, the Center recruited over $800,000 in corporate sponsorships and sub-naming rights for the facility and has aggressively booked more than 675 events.  Dennis and the Owensboro team have doubled the projected number of conventions, and have produced and promoted nearly 30 public events generating $455,000 in additional gross revenue attracting over 40,000 attendees. Furthermore, Dennis recognized the need for a regional ticketing system and thus partnered with Spectra Ticketing and Fan Engagement to create OwensborotTickets.com, a convenient and affordable ticketing service for the region’s events.

Most recently, Dennis and Spectra have expanded their scope of work to include management of the City owned 5,000-seat Sportscenter where Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro Catholic High School and Kentucky Mavericks are main tenants for basketball.

“It has been a privilege to be involved with such a great, progressive community”, said Dennis. “My wife, Michelle, and I have created wonderful friendships here and those will certainly be missed. Our core strength is our team of employees and our organizational structure which will continue to deliver quality service and exceed expectations for our clients.”

“Dean has done a tremendous job in returning Owensboro to the Convention and meeting business.  Because of Dean’s efforts, outside dollars are once again flowing into our local economy because of conventions and events that had left Owensboro after the closure of the Executive Inn.  While we will miss Dean and his efforts, it does speak highly of the transition we have made with the Owensboro Convention Center in that a much larger market wants to tap into Dean’s successful reputation in the western Kentucky region, said Owensboro City Manager, Bill Parrish.

In conjunction with the City of Owensboro, Spectra will immediately begin the search for Dennis’ replacement and expects a smooth transition. Potential candidates will be presented to the City for its final approval.

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Spectra Poised to Make an Even Bigger Economic Impact in Owensboro

Owensboro, KY (October 1, 2016) – The City of Owensboro will be moving forward with their plan to have Spectra by Comcast Spectacor to manage the Owensboro Sportscenter, a multi-purpose 5,000 seat arena and one of Owensboro’s classic, most historic buildings.

Spectra currently provides both Venue Management and Ticketing & Fan Engagement to the Owensboro Convention Center and those same services will now be provided to the Sportscenter, effective on October 1. Spectra will oversee the tenants at the Sportscenter, including Owensboro Catholic High School basketball, Kentucky Wesleyan College NCAA Division II basketball, and the Premier Basketball League team, The Kentucky Mavericks.

Mayor Ron Payne made the announcement Friday saying, “Dennis and the Spectra staff have contacts and promotion and marketing abilities the city cannot match. I think we will see utilization of the Sportscenter like we haven’t seen in years,” Payne said.

The timing of the announcement comes about a month after Spectra shared their successful annual financial report to the City Commissioners which included $1 million in business already being on the books going into fiscal year 2016-17 and over $1.3 million in system ticket sales from 45 states and Canada on OwensboroTickets.com, the online regional ticketing provider powered by Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement and launched in August of last year.

“At Spectra, we transform events into experiences,” said Spectra’s Dean Dennis, General Manager of the Owensboro Convention Center.  “We are excited to enhance the customer experience at the Sportscenter by leveraging opportunities at both facilities.”

As part of the engagement of Spectra, plans are being made to update the concession area, staging, locker rooms, and scoreboards inside the Sportscenter. The City of Owensboro has agreed to use $120,000 from the Economic Development Fund along with $40,000 from Spectra.

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