HughE Dillon: PCVB Annual Luncheon

Tourism industry professionals mingle at three-hour cocktail party

On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau held its annual luncheon at the convention center. The event is the largest gathering of industry professionals and is regarded by many as one of the most important networking events of the year. Below: Michael Nutter, Greg Fox, chairman of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA), Ahmeenah Young, president and CEO of PCCA, Nick DeBenedictis, PCVB’s board of directors, and Jack Ferguson, president and CEO of PCVB.

For the 25th anniversary of the luncheon, the PCVB changed it up a bit, turning the three-hour, sit-down lunch into a fun, three-hour cocktail party catered by Aramark; with fewer speakers, there was more time for socializing. There were also a few exciting announcements, Danielle Cohn (below center) told me. One of the largest conventions to come through town this year, Lightfair, will be coming back in 2013. Plus, the PCVB unveiled its new tourism video as well as a full suite of mobile tools. Also below: Justin Rentzel, art director at 20/10 Solutions, and Joe Warner, 20/10 Solutions.

Below: Lawrence Treu, sales manager at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Pennie Oliver, DoubleTree director of sales and marketing, and Anthony Geistwite, associate director of sales at Sofitel Philadelphia.

Below: Brendan Monaghan, Constellation Brand, Mary K. Dougherty, of Nicole Miller Philadelphia, Linda Swain, Swain Entertainment, Kris Fair, The Ace Club, Danielle Smith, Constellation Brand, and David Lipson, Philadelphia magazine.

Below: Liz Sullivan, senior communications manager of PCVB, and Sarah Reese, PCVB. Liz tells me that today’s PCVB MeetUp cocktail party will be held in the new 55,000-square-foot convention conference room—the largest on the East Coast.

Below: Laura Foster, Please Touch Museum, and James Roebuck, Jr. were among a festive crowd that included Jim Cohn, Mid-Atlantic Events, Natalia Gamarra, PCVB, Seth Birch, 20/10 Solutions, Michael Steinberg, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Olivia C. Brown, Ritz-Carlton, and Karen Lewis, Avenue of the Arts.

Below: Getting into the spirit of Thanksgiving, Gary Miller broke out his turkey hat. With him are Michael Lyons, The Hub, Kristy Halliday, and Tony Forte, of Saul Ewing.

Below: Domenic Gallelli, president/CEO of Prodigal Private Security, Dan Konno, development coordinator at Prodigal, and Bryant Deinhardt, district manager at Prodigal. The guys were excited when Mayor Nutter announced that there would be free meter parking every Saturday after 11 a.m. for the holiday shopping season.

Below: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society reps reminded everyone that in March, the Flower Show debuts with “everything Hawaii” and handed out leis to Jeff Liebreich, PHS, Joan Rivera, the Spirit of Philadelphia, and Evan Urbania, co-founder of Chatterblast. I ran into Drew Becher, PHS president, and asked if his former boss, Bette Midler, would be making an official appearance at the show this year (she snuck in last year). He was tight-lipped, but his eyes said yes.