News

Owensboro Convention Center Honored with ConventionSouth Readers’ Choice Award for Sixth Time

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center, honored to announce they have received the 2021 Readers’ Choice Award from ConventionSouth, the national multi-media resource for planning events in the South.
 
Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events, including convention centers, CVB’s, and hotels. 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. The Owensboro Convention Center was one of only 15 total winners throughout the entire state of Kentucky.
 
“Our team continues to strive for excellence and provides over-the-top customer service to our clients during a time when the world is changing at a very high pace,” said Spectra General Manager, Laura Alexander.  “They have maneuvered through government restrictions and provided new, innovative solutions to problems that have never been presented in our industry, and have excelled.  I couldn’t be more proud of the dedication and perseverance of the Owensboro Convention Center team.”
 
“ConventionSouth readers and fans have voted to decide the best meeting sites in the South, and it is no surprise to us that Owensboro Convention Center has been selected to receive our annual Readers’ Choice Award,” said ConventionSouth Associate Publisher Ashleigh Osborne. “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 Owensboro Convention Center indeed displays the commitment to professionalism, creativity and service that they require.”
 
Since creation in 2001, this is the sixth time that Owensboro Convention Center has received the award, and the venue will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2021 Awards Issue of ConventionSouth magazine.

Owensboro Spectra Team Implementing Industry Leading Commitment to Health and Safety

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter, is excited to announce that it has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, a Division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention in its venues.

As the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation, GBAC STAR™ helps organizations establish protocols and procedures, offers expert-led training and assesses a facility’s readiness for biorisk situations. The program verifies that the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter implements best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.

“GBAC STAR accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to maintain clean and healthy environments,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “By taking this important step to pursue GBAC STAR, the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter has received third-party validation that it follows strict protocols for biorisk situations, thereby demonstrating its preparedness and commitment to operating safely.”   

To achieve GBAC STAR™ accreditation, the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter was required to demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. Learn more about GBAC STAR accreditation at www.gbac.org.

About GBAC, a Division of ISSA 
Composed of international leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis, mitigation, response and recovery, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, provides training, guidance, accreditation, certification, crisis management assistance and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate, quickly address and/or recover from biological threats and real-time crises. The organization’s services include biorisk management program assessment and training, Forensic Restoration® response and remediation, the GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation program, training and certification of individuals and consulting for building owners and facility managers. For more information, visit www.gbac.org.

About ISSA 
With more than 9,300 members—including distributors, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, wholesalers, building service contractors, in-house service providers, residential cleaners and associated service members—ISSA is the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry. The association is committed to changing the way the world views cleaning by providing its members with the business tools they need to promote cleaning as an investment in human health, the environment and an improved bottom line. Headquartered in Northbrook, Ill., USA, the association has regional offices in Mainz, Germany; Whitby, Canada; Parramatta, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; and Shanghai, China. For more information about ISSA, visit www.issa.com or call 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800. 

Owensboro Convention Center Named One of North America’s Top Convention Centers

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center, is honored to announce the distinction of being named one of EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2022 Centers of Excellence, honoring North America’s top 30 convention centers for trade shows and events.

“It is a huge honor for the Owensboro Convention Center to be named one of the top 30 convention centers in North America, especially during a pandemic when there is a labor shortage and constant changes,” stated Laura Alexander, General Manager with Spectra Venue Management. “We have been working to receive this distinction since opening the building and am extremely proud of our team for working together to achieve this award.”

The 30 highest-scoring venues were named among EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2022 Centers of Excellence, and they will be featured in the October/November issue of EXHIBITOR, as well as via an online portal where readers can learn more about each of the 30 facilities that qualified for this honor. The portal, housed within the Find It – Marketplace website, enables face-to-face marketers to quickly and easily research potential event venues and learn more about the convention centers that are hosting the trade shows and exhibitions on their annual calendars.

“From day one when we opened the facility, our staff has strived to provide exceptional service to everyone who enters the venue,” stated Tim Ross, Director of Public Events with the City of Owensboro.  “Gaining repeat business from so many of our valued clients who continue to bring their events back year after year has shown that the staff is accomplishing that goal.  Being recognized as a Center of Excellence is a tremendous honor that we are very proud to receive.”

Applicants were evaluated using an objective algorithm and rigorous grading scale based on five primary categories:

  • Facility & Functionality
  • Location & Accommodations
  • Service & Execution
  • Expansions & Upgrades
  • Honors & Awards

The evaluation also included a survey of event planners, show organizers, and exhibit managers who have recently hosted (or exhibited at) trade shows and events within each facility, as well as a review of entrants’ event spaces, primary selling points, nearby attractions, and innovations, conducted by a panel of corporate exhibit managers.

“While individual exhibit managers rarely have a say in where their trade shows are held, they are often the ones most impacted by that decision. This is their opportunity to give credit where credit is due and celebrate the exhibitor-friendly venues that do their part to make trade shows and events as smooth, successful, and painless as possible,” said Travis Stanton, editor of EXHIBITOR magazine.  “Simply by virtue of being included in this list, these facilities have proven their ability to host trade shows and events of all shapes and sizes while providing world-class service and state-of-the-art accommodations.”

In addition to being named one of North America’s 30 best venues for trade shows and events, the Owensboro Convention Center is also in consideration for the Best Customer Service & On-Site Support special award.  EXHIBITOR will be announcing the finalists on November 23 via a virtual ceremony with the winners being announced during a second virtual ceremony on December 6 held in conjunction with IAEE’s Expo! Expo!

The Owensboro Convention Center joins fellow Spectra venues Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas on the list of 2022 Centers of Excellence.

Spectra Offering Fundraising Opportunities for Non-Profit Organizations

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter, is excited to provide fundraising opportunities for area non-profit organizations!

If your non-profit organization is looking to participate in a fun, fast-paced environment while earning money for your organization, come partner with us!  Spectra is looking for volunteers to assist with concession stands and select  catered events at the Owensboro Sportscenter and the Owensboro Convention Center.

Organizations will be receive a donation of 10% of net concession stand sales plus any tips earned or $50 per volunteer for catered events.  The more events staffed, the higher the potential to earn money for your organization!

“Fundraising opportunities are vital to our community non-profits,” said Spectra’s Laura Alexander, General Manager.  “We are honored to offer these opportunities to assist them in furthering their mission and contributions to this community.”

Groups need to recruit 5 to 15 volunteers for concession stands and 1 to 20 volunteers for catered events.  All volunteers must be 16 years of age or older.  No alcohol sales.  Training is provided.

For more information, please contact Spectra’s Director of Food and Beverage, Mark Pruett at Mark.Pruett@spectraxp.com or at 270-687-8922.

Spectra Adds Staff at the Owensboro Convention Center

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center, is pleased to welcome two new Sales Managers to their Owensboro team.
 
Jacob Whitfill has previously been with Spectra in the Food and Beverage department.  He graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Brescia University in 2018 and is happy to be part of the Spectra team once again.  Jacob stated, “I look forward to using my experience in events to benefit the Owensboro Convention Center guests in my role as Sales Manager.  I already enjoy working with the members of the Owensboro community and beyond, and this position allows me to do that even more.”
 
Megan Howard began her career in the event industry while studying Integrated Strategic Communications at the University of Kentucky where she worked for country clubs and wedding and event planning companies, as well as property management here in Owensboro. As Sales Manager, she is very excited to be the first point of contact for several events that will be held at the Owensboro Convention Center.  When she is not working, she loves to spend time with friends and family, traveling, and reading.
 
“We are excited to welcome our new team members and look forward to their valuable contributions to continue our success here at the Owensboro Convention Center,” stated Spectra’s Dave DiSalvo, Director of Sales.
 
For more information about the Owensboro Convention Center, please visit OwensboroCenter.com.

New Executive Chef in the Kitchen at the Owensboro Convention Center!

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center, has its first female top chef.  Michelle Pessia is now the Executive Chef for food services and hospitality for the venue.  She will be the first woman to lead the team since the venue opened in 2014.
 
A 2011 graduate from the Culinary Program at OCTC, she began her career with Spectra as the Kitchen Supervisor in 2017. She quickly showcased her skills as a saucier and pastry chef and was promoted to Sous Chef in 2019.
 
Her experience and creativity for elevating food beyond what is considered to be typical convention center food has been highlighted at the venue’s signature five course Cork and Cuisine dinners. WBKR’s Chad Benefield, who has been guest emceeing the events, stated, “Michelle is always pushing the envelope and coming up with dishes that you can’t really experience anywhere else in Owensboro.  She’s pretty fearless in the kitchen.  And, I still stand by this…If I could legally marry that bowl of maple soup I had recently, I would be on paternity leave raising a maple child.”
 
“Michelle has worked hard for this opportunity, and I am proud she has chosen to elevate her career and expand her skills at the Owensboro Convention Center,” said Spectra’s Director of Food and Beverage, Mark Pruett.  “She truly deserves this, and I look forward to seeing her growth in this exciting new role.”
 
“I am truly honored and excited to take on this role at the Owensboro Convention Center,” said Executive Chef, Michelle Pessia. “From an early age, I learned to cook from my mother and grandmothers for Sunday dinners and holidays.  This led me to pursue a culinary career.”  When asked what one of her favorite items to make on the menu is, she said, “One of the many things I love to make are my made from scratch soups that are featured at the Kentucky Legend Café.”
 
Ready for a taste?  The Kentucky Legend Café is open Monday – Friday from 10am-2pm, and the next Cork & Cuisine is set for Thursday, July 29 or plan your next meeting, banquet, or wedding reception and enjoy in-house catering by Michelle and our culinary team.  Choose from healthy and diet-restricted dishes to comfort foods and decadent desserts.
 
For more information about booking an event at the Owensboro Convention Center, the Kentucky Legend Café, and Cork & Cuisine, A Taste of the Olympics, please visit OwensboroCenter.com.

Spectra Announces New Staff Members for the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter

Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter, is pleased to welcome new members to their Owensboro team.

Thomas Dyer is the Operations and Custodial Manager of the historic Owensboro Sportscenter.  He is in charge of the upkeep and cleaning of the venue as well as overseeing all event setups and tear downs.  “I am excited to be joining the Spectra team,” said Thomas.  “I look forward to learning more about the events industry and continuing to grow within the organization.”

Brad Bailey joins the team as Ticketing Manager.  Brad has been with Spectra since 2019. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Graphic Design at Doane University in Lincoln, NE.  Ticketing has always been a passion of his, and he is very grateful to be able to bring his skills to Owensboro.  When Brad isn’t working an event, he is probably enjoying himself at one, whether that be sports or most likely music.

Kasia Koontz is the new Social Sales Manager.  She began her career in the events industry by working for the Hyatt Regency Hotel from 2001-2004 in her hometown of St. Louis, MO.  In 2004, she joined Wolfgang Puck Catering and in 2009 was promoted to Catering Sales Manager.  She later managed several restaurants including Missouri’s only Peruvian restaurant.  After getting married in 2017, Kasia moved to the Tri-State where she worked as Catering Sales Manager from 2018-2021 for ASM Global at Old National Events Plaza in Evansville, IN.  Kasia stated, “I am thrilled to be a part of the Owensboro Convention Center and am looking forward to creating positive experiences for all our guests.”

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

The Owensboro Convention Center is an Eight Time Facilities and Destinations Prime Site Award Winner

Spectra, the providers of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center, is proud to announce they have again received the Prime Site Award presented by Facilities and Destinations magazine.  This is the eighth time the venue has been a recipient of this prestigious award which are given annually to the top convention and exposition centers in the United States.

Facilities and Destinations is a quarterly trade publication for the meetings and events industry.  Voting for the Prime Site Awards is done primarily by association and corporate meeting planners and tradeshow professionals.  The award recognizes that clients have determined that these venues and organizations are standouts in the highly competitive meetings market. 

Given the unusual circumstances of last year, nominations were based upon:

  1. Experience working with the venue prior to March 2020; and/or
  2. The venue’s implementation of COVID safety measures and service to the community during these challenging times.

“The team at the Owensboro Convention Center continues to focus on the safety of our attendees and putting our client’s needs first when hosting an event,” stated Laura Alexander, General Manager with Spectra Venue Management at the Owensboro Convention Center. “We have embraced the mentality of becoming part of the planner’s organizational team and reaching the goals they have for the event versus a simple vendor/vendee relationship.”

The Owensboro Convention Center will be featured as a Prime Site Award recipient in the upcoming 2021 Facilities and Destinations SuperBook issue publishing in late July.

Planning a Wedding? The Owensboro Convention Center Has Your Special Day Covered, Rain or Shine!

Outdoor weddings trended heavily in 2020 and with the beginning of Spring wedding season now underway, that trend looks to continue. If you’re looking for an outdoor wedding venue that is sure to impress, say “I Do” to the views at the Owensboro Convention Center.  

Make your wedding an experience by tying the knot at the Kentucky Legend® Pier over the Ohio River!  There’s nothing like soaking up some sunshine on your wedding day, and with the scenic natural backdrop, your outdoor wedding on The Pier can be a fun and picturesque event!

Choose from one of our Wedding Packages and enjoy the ease and convenience of our in-house services, including catering, decorating, and more!  Don’t stress the details on your wedding day – that’s our job :-)

Plus your out-of-town guests won’t have to go far to attend your ceremony.  The venue is adjacent to two newer downtown hotels – the Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront and the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Owensboro/Waterfront.

And if Mother Nature happens not to cooperate, the Owensboro Convention Center is a highly customizable facility that can offer an inside option for you and your guests.  Choose rooms with panoramic views of beautiful downtown Owensboro!

Enjoy the same amenities if you need to book a rehearsal dinner and wedding reception!  Create an exceptional dining experience for your guests with our custom catering menus – from healthy dishes to comfort foods and decadent desserts, we have selections sure to please the palate of every member of your wedding.  A variety of bar options are also available, and ask our event staff about offering a specialty drink for your guests!

For all of your wedding and reception needs, the OCC is the place to be!  For more information, please visit OwensboroCenter.com/weddings or call 270.687.8800 to inquire about available dates, current COVID precautions, pricing, and to arrange a tour of the venue.

Looking for a Lunch or Meeting Spot? Come Try the Kentucky Legend Café!

Tired of fast food?  Need a location for a lunch meeting or want to meet a friend for a bite?  Come by the Owensboro Convention Center and give the Kentucky Legend Café a try! Conveniently located downtown just moments away from attractions and shopping, plus ample free parking.

The Kentucky Legend Café is open for lunch from 10am to 2pm Monday through Friday and during special events at the venue.  The menu includes sandwiches, wraps, house-baked pastries, and more that are prepared fresh daily.  In addition, soups of the day are offered each week and often daily lunch specials too.  Those items are featured on our social sites, so following the Owensboro Convention Center on Facebook and Twitter is the only way to stay in the delicious know 🙂

Examples of daily lunch specials themed for some National Days this month will include:

  • Tuesday, March 9 – Meatball Sub for National Meatball Day
  • Wednesday, March 17 – Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day
  • Wednesday, March 24 – Cheesesteak Po’ Boy Sandwich for National Cheesesteak Day

All major credit cards are accepted and prices include tax.  Dine in and carry out options available.  Please note that due to COVID-19, a limited menu is currently being served.  Please review it here.

The indoor dining set up allows the room to space out for proper social distancing.  “Our saying has been we’ve got the space to space you out,” said Spectra’s Laura Alexander, General Manager.  “It’s perfect for a lunch meeting or grabbing a bite with a friend so you aren’t in a booth with limited space or at a table that may not be set for social distancing.”

So next time you’re in the downtown area around lunch time, check out the convenient dining option located on the first floor of the Owensboro Convention Center!