Professor Packard, 61, led the successful bid to host the Congress of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) at the time that Glasgow City Marketing Bureau celebrates the 25-year anniversary of its Conference Ambassador Programme, the first programme of its type developed in the UK.
This month, more than 1,500 heart disease experts will travel from around the globe to attend the world-leading meeting anticipated to generate more than £1.6million to the local economy, a significant financial boost to city businesses.
The conference will get under the skin of hot topics in the field of atherosclerosis research, with the announcement of scientific discoveries, new clinical guidelines and cutting-edge interventions. This high science will create a platform for discussion for some of the world’s most influential leaders in the field.
One of those influencers is Professor Packard who has had a career spanning 40 years in medical research with specific focus on cholesterol, statins and heart disease. He was part of the team responsible for the discovery that statin treatment is also beneficial to people with high cholesterol but who haven’t had a heart attack.
His excellence in this field is underpinned by the three prestigious titles he holds; Research and Development Director, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board; Honorary Professor of Vascular Biochemistry University of Glasgow and; Consultant Clinical Scientist, Dept. of Biochemistry, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board.
Professor Packard was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), for services to Clinical Science in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2014.
He said: “I have spent the majority of my career working in Glasgow both in a hands-on capacity in the NHS and in academia to try and discover the causes of, and new treatments for, heart disease.
“It is widely known that heart disease has always been and still is the biggest killer in Scotland, so this is very much an issue close to home.
“It was important that I used my influence to attract such an important medical meeting to Glasgow. Not only is the subject matter relevant and current but Glasgow is a natural fit for a conference like this.
“We’re the perfect size, with the capacity and capability to handle a meeting of this magnitude at our national convention centre, the SECC. We have the perfect networking environment for our guests, the city is known for its affordability; and we’re well connected to most major cities in Europe.”
Professor Packard is one of the city’s 1670 local ambassadors who have played a pivotal role in attracting meetings to Glasgow.
In the last calendar year (January to December 2014), Glasgow conference ambassadors secured 176 conferences worth more than £82 million to the city’s economy. Ambassadors are instrumental in securing approximately a third of the events.
Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “Like Professor Packard, our city ambassadors are our shining lights, continually beaconing business to the city.
“As a city with a history of innovation and with the largest academic community outside of London, it was natural that Glasgow established the first Conference Ambassador Programme in the UK 25 years ago.
“We focus heavily on our ambassadors and we provide them with a level of support that is unavailable in other cities in Europe.
“By assisting our ambassadors we maximise the impact of the conference whether it’s in terms of policy, public interaction and economic benefit. We have strategic relationships to work in partnership at the highest levels in the universities.
“Our support framework includes us having a university employee, representing the higher and further education sector, based in-house in GCMB. Universities play a fundamental role in the strategic economic direction of the city and are pivotal to growth in business tourism.”