“Breaking Through To The Next Level”
Chicago, Illinois, April 2015 … A record increase in membership, global expansion, a flourishing educational program, successful media outreach, and new networking opportunities marked 2015 as a year of exceptional achievement for the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC).
Speaking at the 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. The conference included a record number of first-time attendees.
The conference theme, Breakthrough: Take it to the Next Level, was built on the previous year’s notable success with a program designed to inform and inspire. 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 and most prestigious honor given to an IACC member for extraordinary contributions at a chapter and global level.
Leslie first became involved with IACC in 1998. She has served on both the Americas chapter board and also the Global board. Peter Stewart commented, "It is a privilege as Global President to be able to recognize Leslie's contributions to our association. She is a shining example of why we value our members, who volunteer so much of their time, their knowledge and their skills to advance the association.”
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 and Jason MaCeachen were presented with IACC-Americas Award of Excellence. 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. The award was established 12 years ago by the IACC Americas Board of Directors to underscore the association’s commitment to education and to give heightened recognition and visibility to those individuals who give of their time, talent and resources to expand and enhance IACC’s educational offerings.
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.
IACC not only reports on trends, it sets them, identifying the most important and potentially relevant developments. A case in point is the popular Copper Skillet competition. IACC was the first to identify the growing importance of food and beverage service to conference venues, establishing the Copper Skillet competition in 2004 to showcase the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member meeting facilities around the world. This year’s winners hailed from Australia and Denmark, reflecting IACC’s increasing global reach. 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 in 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. These students experience first-hand what it takes to plan and stage an IACC Meetings Experience and learn all aspects of planning and delivering a world-class event.
As the conference industry’s thought leader on the meeting experience, IACC represents its members by defining and promoting the IACC Meeting Concept and providing learning opportunities. IACC’s educational programs span training and learning certificate programs, staff exchanges, and surveys on industry trends and media outreach. IACC’s impressive progress in all program areas is reflected in the association’s unprecedented global expansion over the past 12 months. A record 58 new conference venues joined IACC, bringing its total membership to 355 facilities worldwide. In expanding its global reach, IACC added six new countries to its membership list, including, for the first time, meeting facilities in Africa and Eastern Europe. With a new presence in Kenya, Ukraine, Hungary, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy, IAAC Is now poised for greater expansion in these areas.
Photos of award winners: Leslie Vanderzwet and Peter Stewart; Sean Anderson and TJ Fimmano; Ken Misterly & Jason MaCeachen and TJ Fimmano; Tom Bolman was unable to attend.