The event program was emceed by Chicago broadcast legends Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano and sponsored by Choose Chicago, the Professional Convention Management Association [PCMA] and the PCMA Education Foundation; with additional support from the Chicago Area Chapter of MPI, Midwestern Chapter of IAEE and the Greater Midwest Chapter of PCMA.
The program opened by spotlighting the substantial value derived from business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions by connecting people and driving positive business results throughout the continent.
During his opening remarks, Don Welsh, Choose Chicago CEO, showed off the proclamation, from Chicago Mayor Emanuel, proclaiming April 16, 2015, North American Meetings Industry Day in Chicago. According to Welsh, “the meeting industry welcomes an average of 3 Million attendees to the Chicagoland area annually, generates nearly $5 Billion in annual direct economic impact and supports over 133,000 hospitality industry employees.”
The highlight of the program was the presentation of the Chicagoland Four Star Awards. The award nominations were submitted by local meeting professionals with finalists selected by small group of industry executives.
The Chicagoland Award winners were:
Most Attentive Hotelier (the Chicagoland Hotelier who takes service to the next level) - Patrick Donelly, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Chicago
Best Industry Advocate (the Meetings or Trade show Executive who assists in elevating the industry) – John [Jack] Patronski, Executive Vice President - Industry Development, Global Experience Specialists [GES]
Four Star Service Award (the Convention/Event Services Professional who has saved the day) - Cindy Payne, Director, Client Services, Choose Chicago
Most Tasteful Restaurateur (the Restaurateur who exemplifies hospitality and is a positive representative of the local culinary scene) - John Colletti, Managing Partner, Gibson's Restaurant Group
Positive Footprint Award (the corporation or association whose event or meeting gave back to the local community) - Susan Katz, Director of Corporate Events & Travel, True Value Inc.
“This Chicagoland North American Meetings Industry Day event was just one of 60 different events happening today throughout North America,” said Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and CEO. “Our mission today was to put a spotlight on the substantial impact the meetings industry has on every Chicagoland citizen, honor our Chicagoland industry heroes and have a little fun – by all measure it was a huge success.”