San Diego Convention Center Wins IAVM Venue Excellence Award

The San Diego Convention Center has been honored with the 2017 Venue Excellence Award presented by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) during the 92nd VenueConnect annual conference and tradeshow held in Nashville, Tennessee.

The prestigious Venue Excellence Award is an international recognition of outstanding achievement in the management and operation of public assembly venues. In the conventions and meetings industry, the award equates to the Super Bowl Championship or Stanley Cup Title. Each year, IAVM recognizes several venues and individuals who have demonstrated leadership and innovation within the industry.

The San Diego Convention Center Corporation's President & CEO Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe, CFE, Executive Vice President & General Manager Karen Totaro, CFE and Senior Vice President & CFO Mark Emch accepted the Venue Excellence Award on Wednesday, August 9, during an awards ceremony in Nashville.

The San Diego Convention Center is one of five recipients in the world recognized for excellence in these key areas:

  • Operations
  • Team-building and Professional Development
  • Safety and Security
  • Service to the Community

IAVM is a highly-respected organization in the venue management industry known to provide leadership, advanced education, supportive advocacy and networking opportunities for venue professionals around the world. A committee of IAVM members chooses the finalists, and winners are approved by the IAVM Board of Directors.

"It is an honor to be a part of the team that earned this year's Venue Excellence Award and to be acknowledged by our peers in the industry," said Rippetoe. "We congratulate our staff and celebrate their hard work. We are told time and time again that people choose the San Diego Convention Center because we go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service. Our venue carefully balances our commitment to guests with the relationship of our surrounding community and regional stakeholders, while maintaining a positive and encouraging environment for our esteemed staff."

The San Diego Convention Center has had other notable recent achievements including:

  • Receiving several sustainability recognitions for environmental leadership, most notably, LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council
  • Securing a historic $25.5 million state loan that is being used to finance several vital infrastructure projects as part of the largest series of upgrades in the building's history
  • Combining SDCCC's award-winning communications strategy with a newly launched community outreach plan to educate the impact of our facility on the local economy and helps support our transparency.

Also recognized at the Nashville event were SDCCC Event Manager Daren Smylie and Facilities Services Supervisor Bahiah Odeh-Eppig. Both were both named among IAVM's 2017 class of 30 Under 30 award, a program that focuses on identifying and developing the talent of venue industry professionals 30 years of age and under. In an effort to nurture the growth and development of our staff, the SDCCC team advocates for industry-wide education.

SDCCC has multiple graduates from IAVM's Venue Management School, IAVM's Academy of Venue Safety and Security and IAVM's Senior Executive Symposium. Rippetoe currently serves on three different IAVM committees and Totaro is a past board chair of IAVM. Many of SDCCC's senior staff sit on a number of industry boards and committees and readily volunteer their insights for future generations. Convention center staff is working to share best business practices with IAVM's brand new Energy Management Council, setting policy for green meetings all around the world.

The purpose of the San Diego Convention Center is to be the region's premier gathering place, hosting conventions, trade shows and community events that economically benefit the City of San Diego and advance the convention and tourism industry.

The team at the center prides themselves with the promise to provide excellent customer service, exceeding expectations, so that clients and guests want to return over and over again. And they do, with nearly 70 percent of the convention center's annual business being repeat business.

Recently, San Diego was named the fifth top meetings and conventions destination in the United States, according to a survey by Cvent. San Diego was the only West Coast city to land in the top 10.

Barbara Moreno's picture
Posted by Barbara Moreno, on August 9, 2017
Meeting Planners, News and Developments

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