News

Spectra Announces Staff Promotions and New Hires for the Owensboro Convention Center

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

Josh Gann is the new Director of Sales for the Owensboro Convention Center. He brings over 20 years of sales experience with 10 of those in a sales leadership role to the team. “I made the decision to join the Owensboro Convention Center because I wanted to use my talent and experience in making a difference in our community and driving economic impact,” Josh stated.  “This role also gives me the chance to continue doing something that I really enjoy and that is developing others and helping them to succeed.” In addition, Josh enjoys fitness, golf, and time with family and friends.

J.T. Pedley has returned to the Owensboro Convention Center in the Senior Sales Manager role. He previously worked in the sales department at the Owensboro Convention Center for 4 years before moving over to Townsquare Media. J.T. is a graduate from the University of Louisville, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications in 2013.
“I am really happy to be back with the Owensboro Convention Center and to be working with some great people once again,” stated Pedley. “I am most looking forward to booking events on the new sports floor and cannot wait to see the continued growth of athletic events here in Owensboro.”

Kaitlyn Alvey recently graduated from Brescia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. Before this she graduated from Owensboro Technical & Community College and Apollo both in 2019 through an early college program. As the new Social Sales Manager with the Owensboro Convention Center, she is very excited to be working with people to bring their parties/weddings to life. When she is not at work, Kaitlyn loves to spend time working in her garden, playing with her dogs, running, and shopping.

Jerry Jeffries is the new Operations Manager for the Owensboro Convention Center.  He moved to Owensboro from Franklin, TN where he was the Director of Facilities for a beautiful wedding venue along with an amphitheater. Jerry said, “I am honored to be working with a wonderful team at the Owensboro Convention Center. Jerries is a a proud father of 5 amazing children and “J-Pop” for 7 awesome grandchildren.  In his free time, he enjoys playing any sport or working out.

Lexi Lundy joins the team as the new Event Coordinator. She obtained her degree at Murray State University in Nonprofit Leadership Management specializing in special event planning. “The ability to work in the event industry has always been a major goal of mine, despite whether or not it was through a nonprofit,” stated Lundy.  When she is not working, she loves to spend quality time with her husband and two kids.    

Rena Hamilton has been promoted to Banquet Manager.  She began working at the convention center as the team leader with a non-profit organization and later as a part-time bartender.  Rena says, “I am happy to be on board with the Owensboro Convention Center full time.  I love the co-workers and love meeting the clients that come in.”  Outside of work, Rena enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Laura Alexander Leaving Owensboro for New Position in Lexington

OAK VIEW GROUP FACILITIES NAMES KENTUCKY NATIVE LAURA ALEXANDER VP CONVENTION CENTER SALES AND OPERATIONS FOR THE CONVENTION CENTER AT CENTRAL BANK CENTER
 
SEASONED CONVENTION CENTER SPECIALIST TO LEAD EFFORTS TO LURE EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS TO NEWLY RENOVATED 200,000-SQUARE-FOOT CONVENTION CENTER

Laura Alexander, General Manager for the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter, is taking a new position with Oak View Group Facilities, managers and operators of Lexington’s expanded and renovated 200,000-square-foot Central Bank Center. She will become Vice President, Convention Center Sales and Operations on February 7, 2022, and lead Oak View Group Facility’s efforts to reopen and rebrand the convention center.

Alexander spent 10 years at the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter. During her time in Owensboro, she increased gross profit and bottom-line revenue year-over-year for both buildings, including creating 35 self-promoted events that generated over $500,000 in annual gross revenue and negotiated over $1.9 million in building sponsorship income.

“Laura has been a tremendous asset to the Owensboro Convention Center and the city over the last 10 years,” said Tim Ross, City of Owensboro’s Director of Public Events.  “Her vision and drive to reestablish Owensboro as a regional convention and meeting destination when we first opened the facility have proven successful with the multitude of groups that now bring their meeting to Owensboro.  Her leadership as GM of the facilities over the last 3+ years has further expanded the breadth of events while increasing revenues and hotel stays.  She will definitely be missed, but she has built a strong team that can continue the growth and trajectory that she has established.”

Alexander is a previous Generation Next recipient by Venues Now Magazine – an award given to young professionals who have made a difference in sports, music, conventions, family shows, and festivals. She is also a graduate of the International Association of Venue Management (IAVM) Venue Management School.

She also received the first Greater Owensboro Chamber Young Professional of the Year award in 2014 for the design and development of providing free wi-fi to the revitalized Smothers Park in Owensboro. In addition, she has served on the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a former Chair of Chamber Young Professionals. She is also a board member of Friday After 5, a 16-week free concert series hosted on Owensboro’s downtown riverfront.

She is a 2003 graduate of Western Kentucky University where she majored in Corporate & Organizational Communication with a minor in Marketing. Her first position post-college was at the Executive Inn Rivermont, where she was Director of Sales.

Oak View Group recently acquired Spectra, the provider of venue management services at the Owensboro Convention Center and Owensboro Sportscenter, to create one world-class, full-service live events company. OVG Facilities is successful in delivering new event content and programming opportunities for its clients. The company is experiencing a 587% growth since 2018, including opening the Seattle Kraken’s Climate Pledge Arena, and the New York Islanders’ UBS Arena, both of the National Hockey League; and developing the new arena in Manchester, England Co-op Live, the Moody Center on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, the Coachella Valley Arena in Coachella Valley, CA, and the new 9,500-seat Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA.

First Event Using Sports Floor Coming to the Owensboro Convention Center

Spectra, the provider of venue management to the Owensboro Convention Center, is excited to announce the first sporting event to be held on the new multi-purpose sports floor will be the Bluegrass Futsal Cup on Friday, December 17 through Sunday, December 19.

The movable sports floor and equipment, which can be used to host events such as basketball, volleyball, handball, and futsal, was funded by a partnership between Owensboro Health, Daviess County Fiscal Court, and the City of Owensboro.

“We are thrilled that Owensboro United Soccer Club is hosting our first-ever futsal tournament in the Owensboro Convention Center, and is the first event to utilize the new flooring and equipment.” said Laura Alexander, General Manager with Spectra Venue Management at the Owensboro Convention Center. “We are also in the works with finalizing another sporting event for 2022 that we hope to announce shortly.”

“SportsTutor and our futsal community is excited to host the inaugural Bluegrass Futsal Cup in Owensboro.  The community’s investment has made the Owensboro Convention Center a destination for indoor sporting events. We look forward to being the first organization to have youth players on-site for competition in this excellent facility,” stated Ty Stauffner, Owner of SportsTutor and Executive Director of Owensboro United.  “For years our area youth and adult players have enjoyed the fast- paced futsal game while developing unmatched technical skills with the ball and now we have a big stage in Owensboro to showcase players from our region.”

The Bluegrass Futsal Cup will be open to boys and girls U8-U19.  Registration is open now through Wednesday, December 8 through HTG Sports.  Cost is $425 per team or $13.50 per player (USYF Registration).  Daily admission for attendees is $5 for adults and $3 for children 8 and under.

For more information on booking an event at the Owensboro Convention Center using the sports floor, please contact sales.owensborocenter@spectraxp.com.

Make Plans to Join the Fun! Energy On Ice Rink to Open at the Owensboro Convention Center

A quintessential winter activity is coming soon!  Spectra, the provider of Venue Management to the Owensboro Convention Center, is excited to announce details for the 2021 Energy On Ice Rink, sponsored by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Atmos Energy, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, and the Staton Family Foundation.

Get ready for a merry good time on the ice!  The 80×60 rink made of synthetic ice will be located on the Kentucky Legend Pier behind the Owensboro Convention Center.  With picturesque views over the Ohio River and beautiful downtown Owensboro, the Energy On Ice Rink is sure to delight!

Admission is $10 including skate rental or $8 if own skates are provided.  Tickets will be sold at the rink.

Some tips for visiting the Energy On Ice Rink:

  • Wear layered, warm clothing that doesn’t restrict movement
  • Free parking will be available in the Owensboro Convention Center parking lot
  • Masks are not required outdoors at Energy On Ice, but are required inside the Owensboro Convention Center
  • Concessions will be available on site (warm up with some hot chocolate – sure to compliment any visit to the rink J)
  • Be safe and have fun!

Schedule of events:

Fri 11/26 – Grand Opening

  • 5:30PM – Ribbon Cutting with Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce
  • 6PM – 10PM – Public Skating

Sat 11/27

  • 1PM – 9PM – Public Skating

Sun 11/28

  • 2PM – 7PM – Public Skating
  • 5PM – Movie Night – Elf

Fri 12/3

  • 3PM – 7PM – Holiday Market located inside the Owensboro Convention Center
  • 6PM – 10PM – Public Skating

Sat 12/4

  • 9AM – 4PM – Holiday Market located inside the Owensboro Convention Center
  • 1PM – 9PM – Public Skating

Sun 12/5

  • 10AM – 3PM – Holiday Market located inside the Owensboro Convention Center
  • 2PM – 7PM – Public Skating
  • 4PM – Musical Performance by Suzuki Violin Studio of Adrienne Vallandingham
  • 5PM – Movie Night – A Christmas Story

Fri 12/10

  • 6PM – 10PM – Public Skating
  • Hot Chocolate Hop (as part of the City of Owensboro’s 12 Days of Christmas)
    • $3 White Hot Chocolate
    • $7 White Hot Chocolate (21 and over alcoholic version)

Sat 12/11

  • 7:30AM – 10AM – Breakfast with Santa sponsored by German American Bank
  • 1PM – 9PM – Public Skating

Sun 12/12

  • 2PM – 7PM – Public Skating
  • 5PM – Movie Night – The Polar Express

Fri 12/17

  • Santa’s Sweets (as part of the City of Owensboro’s 12 Days of Christmas)
    • $4 Christmas Tree Ice Cream Cone
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Discount
    • Wear an ugly Christmas sweater, receive $1 off skating
  • 6PM – 10PM – Public Skating

Sat 12/18

  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Discount
    • Wear an ugly Christmas sweater, receive $1 off skating
  • 1PM – 9PM – Public Skating

Sun 12/19

  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Discount
    • Wear an ugly Christmas sweater, receive $1 off skating
  • 2PM – 7PM – Public Skating
  • 5PM – Movie Night – Christmas Vacation

Mon 12/20 through Fri 12/31

  • Closed Fri 12/24 and Sat 12/25
  • Hockey Jersey Discount
    • Wear a hockey jersey, receive $1 off skating
  • 2PM – 7PM – Public Skating

Sat 1/1

  • Hockey Jersey Discount
    • Wear a hockey jersey, receive $1 off skating
  • 1PM – 9PM – Public Skating

Sun 1/2

  • Hockey Jersey Discount
    • Wear a hockey jersey, receive $1 off skating
  • 2PM – 7PM – Public Skating

Mon 1/3 (final day)

  • Hockey Jersey Discount
    • Wear a hockey jersey, receive $1 off skating
  • 11AM – 4PM – Public Skating

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.