People News: Visit Phoenix, The Shay, Hubilo and More Welcome New Executives, Promote Team Members

July 2, 2021

The deluge of hiring and promoting continues in the events industry, with a plethora of event-related organizations appointing new leaders and boosting existing team members up the organizational ladder. Check them out: 

Visit Phoenix

Following an extensive nationwide search, the executive committee of Visit Phoenix has appointed Ron Price as president and CEO. He brings 25 years of experience in the tourism industry to his leadership role, most recently serving as president and CEO of the Arlington Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau, and prior to that, as the assistant executive director of Visit San Antonio. Prior to his time in the DMO world, Price served more than 12 years as a Marriott International executive.

Price currently serves on the board of directors and executive committee for the U.S. Travel Association and the board of directors for Destinations International.

The Shay 

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker has been appointed general manager of The Shay, Destination by Hyatt’s first independent Los Angeles property set to open in Fall 2021. He will oversee daily operations of the hotel’s guestrooms and suites, onsite experiences, staff management and guest relations.

Parker’s 15 years of hospitality experience include serving on the board of directors of Visit Santa Barbara and Hospitality Santa Barbara, and general manager roles at boutique hotels including Highgate’s Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill and Kimpton’s Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara. 



Virtual and hybrid events platform provider Hubilo Technologies Inc. is continuing the exponential growth of its workforce, most recently with new leadership team members. They include 23-year marketing veteran Cathy Song Novelli as senior vice president of marketing and communications; 20-year sales expert Greg Volm as senior vice president of sales and success; 20-year human resources professional Anita Menon as senior vice president of talent and culture; 15-year finance veteran Abhishek Jain as vice president of finance; 13-year technology expert Sudip Mitra as senior vice president of engineering; and 13-year software professional Shailesh Hedge as head of product.

Visit Spokane 

Athena Qualls

Visit Spokane has hired two new senior directors of sales. Bringing more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry to her new role, Denise Bosmans will work in the CVB’s Washington D.C. satellite office. She has previously worked as an association meeting planner, a media rep for a tourism destination marketing company representing the Mid-Atlantic Region, hotel sales, destination convention sales and most recently, as the Northeast regional director of convention sales for Reno-Tahoe.

Based in Chicago, Athena Qualls will support the Midwest market for Visit Spokane. Her professional background includes 15 years of experience with Hilton Worldwide Sales, where she covered all group segments, specializing in the pharmaceutical and technology vertical markets.



MCI USA has hired Chris Williams as its senior vice president, registration and housing, responsible for leading its strategic events, meetings and incentives team in providing registration and housing services to some of the largest and most complex events in the trade show and meeting industry.   

He previously spent 25 years at leading registration services provider CompuSystems, where he served as its president for the last seven years, and prior to that, as senior vice president of sales for 15 years.  

Turtle Bay Resort

Clayton van Hoojidonk

Oahu, Hawaii’s Turtle Bay Resort has named 20-year hospitality veteran Clayton van Hooijdonk resort manager. He will oversee the resort’s guest-facing operations, including its new restaurants, bars, amenities and new guest experiences.

Previously, van Hooijdonk served as director of food and beverage for the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, California, where he oversaw the property’s F&B. Before that, he served as director of food and beverage at The Montage Beverly Hills as well as the Intercontinental Miami in Florida. For nearly a decade prior, he was executive chef at Ritz-Carlton properties including The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne in Florida; The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Arizona; and The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common in Massachusetts.



Global events industry veteran William Patrick Carlson has joined digital broadcasting company Digitell as its vice president of business development. He will be responsible for developing a framework to best serve the ever-growing digital and hybrid event needs of corporate, global and enterprise clients. 

Carlson brings more than 22 years of industry experience to his new position, including serving as global accounts director and vice president of global expansion at Gartner, and previous roles at event research companies including United Business Media and Obscura Digital.

Pechanga Resort Casino 

Tjeerd Brink

The Pechanga Resort Casino has promoted Tjeerd Brink as its new general manager. Tjeerd brings 30 years of experience in finance and the gaming industry to his new role at the Temecula, California casino-resort, where he has worked for 15 years and formerly served as vice president of finance and interim general manager.

Prior to joining Pechanga, Tjeerd held vice president, CFO and director positions at numerous casino properties in Las Vegas and St. Louis. He also served as controller for technology company Bennett Industries and senior internal auditor for one of the largest casino conglomerates. A certified public accountant, Tjeerd worked for the public accounting firm Arthur Andersen before entering the gaming industry. 


MSM Inc.

Live and digital experience agency MSM Inc. has made two key hires to drive growth and expand opportunities in its live and digital experience offerings.

As product/project manager, Erin Gongwer will be responsible for developing MSM’s suite of virtual experience solutions, while Meghan Schmidt has been appointed as human resources generalist, responsible for rebuilding and expanding MSM’s operations and production teams 


Erin Lee

Association, event and corporate marketing solutions agency mdg, A Freeman Company, has appointed Erin Lee to oversee the continued growth and transformation of its digital, data, and web departments. She will collaborate with Customer Journey Architect Marc Blumer, Freeman’s Senior Vice President of Data Solutions Ken Holsinger, as well as a team of strategists.



Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority

RSCVA President and CEO Charles Harris joined the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association. This new appointment is intended to help give Reno Tahoe an authoritative voice in addressing key industry issues in the post-pandemic tourism recovery and supporting the Washington D.C.-based organization’s mission to increase national travel.

“I’m honored to join such a prestigious organization and to support the recovery of the tourism industry across the U.S.,” Harris said. “The U.S. Travel Association will be a key player in the recovery of national travel, and I’m eager to be a voice for the destination of Reno Tahoe as we work to ensure a brighter future for our destination and for the industry as a whole.”

Vancouver Convention Centre 

Phil Adams

The Vancouver Convention Centre has welcomed Phil Adams as its new director of sales. He brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in business development and sales to his new role, including an extensive background in Canada’s major events, sports and entertainment industries. Most recently, Adams served as senior director, Western Canada Operations at Canadian Soccer Business.



IMS Technology Services 

Event staging and systems integration solutions provider IMS Technology Services has expanded its team with several promotions and new hires, including Mike Schisler hired as a senior project manager; Christopher Kissel hired as a national account manager; Chris Leonard promoted to director, technical operations; Brook Kebede promoted to production supervisor, and Brian Johnson promoted to warehouse supervisor.

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