Tag Archives: Phoenix Convention Center

Arizona Centennial

Arizona Centennial Events: Where Will You Be?

Arizona is celebrating its 100th birthday February 14, 2012 — so where will you be? Check out what’s happening around the state for the Arizona Centennial.


Arizona Centennial Events:


Central Arizona

Arizona Centennial Best Fest, Phoenix

Arizona Centennial Best Fest will take place in downtown Phoenix and include an “Arizona World’s Fair” exhibit, kids zone, performance stages and food stations hosted by some of the best Arizona restaurants, wineries and breweries. Admission is free.

Saturday, February 11 from noon to 10 p.m.
Sunday, February 12 from noon to 6 p.m.

Arizona State Capitol
1700 W. Washington Street
az100years.org

A Tale of Two Cities Parade & Festival, Goodyear & Avondale

The cities of Goodyear and Avondale will host a joint parade on Saturday, February 25. The parade will celebrate Arizona’s Centennial with floats, bands, vintage cars, horses, gymnastic troops and dance troops and will begin at 10 a.m. on Litchfield Road; travel east on Thomas Road and end at Dysart Road.

Carefree Sundial Centennial Time Capsule, Carefree

The Carefree Sundial is the largest sundial in Arizona. In honor of the Arizona Centennial, Carefree will place a Centennial Time Capsule into the Sundial that will be opened in 2059, the Sundial’s Centennial. The placing of this capsule will be held on February 14th at the Sundial.

Fandango! Arizona Gala

This centennial gala will be held by the Arizona Centennial Commission. Cocktails, dinner, silent auctions and appearances by Hugh Downs, Harvey Mackay, Rex Allen Jr., Gov. Jan Brewer and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be part of this celebration. Tickets start at $250. The gala will take place on Tuesday, February 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Phoenix Convention Center
North Ballroom, Third and Jefferson streets
az100years.org

Mesa Takes Flight Festival

This celebration features aviation and aerospace. Fun activities, such as an interactive Flight-O-Vation performance, a paper-airplane competition and an original play about the Wright brothers, will be part of the festival. Admission is free.

Friday, February 10 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m
Saturday, February 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, February 12 from noon to 4 p.m.

Mesa Arts Center
1 E. Main Street
(480) 644-6500
mesaartscenter.com


Northern Arizona


Arizona Centennial Train and Centennial Sweetheart Dinner, Williams/Grand Canyon

Never been on a train? Never been to the Grand Canyon? This is your chance to ride a 1923 Harriman coach to one of the seven natural world wonders. After the train ride, treat yourself to a Centennial Sweetheart Dinner at the Sultana Theatre, built in 1912. Proceeds from the dinner will be donated to the local Historical Society. Train departs at 9:30 a.m.,  dinner will be held at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, February 14
Call (928) 635-0273 for reservations
Tickets are $50 per person

Great Pine Cone Lowering for Centennial Statehood Day, Flagstaff

On February 14, the Weatherford Hotel will repeat its New Year’s Eve festivities by lowering the Great Pine Cone at 7 p.m. This will be followed by a LED light show of the state colors in celebration of Arizona’s 100th birthday.

Arizona Centennial Quilt Project 100 Years — 100 Quilts Exhibit, Sedona

The 100 Quilts Exhibit will showcase 100 quilts entered from around the state. Each quilt is unique and most represent the communities the quilters live in. The highlight of the exhibit will be the Arizona Centennial Quilt.

February 18, 2012 – December 2012

Arizona Historical Society Museum
949 East Second Street
520-628-5774
arizonahistoricalsociety.org

Sedona International Film Festival

The Sedona International Film Festival will feature “100 Years of Film in Arizona.” The film festival is a celebration of independent film from around the world. More than 145 films will be featured during this nine-day festival (February 18-26). For ticket information call (928) 282-1177.


Southern Arizona


Tucson Symphony Orchestra: Arizona Centennial Celebration

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday with a program of music, dance, spoken word and a performance by R. Carlos Nakai — the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute.

Friday, February 10 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 12 at 2 p.m.

Tucson Symphony Center
2175 North Sixth Avenue
(520) 882-8585
tucsonsymphony.org

Arizona’s Centennial Celebration, Tucson

Taste colonial food and listen to historical stories about Tucson. Parking will be free on the nearby streets. This event takes place on Saturday, February 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Tucson Presidio
133 W. Washington
downtowntucson.org

Tucson Gem & Mineral Show

The largest gem and mineral show in the United States will celebrate the Arizona Centennial the weekend of February 9 – 12. The show is open to the public and will offer educational exhibits. Proceeds from the show will be used to support mineral knowledge and appreciation. Tickets may be ordered through ticketmaster.com] or by calling (800) 745-3000.

Thursday, February 9 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, February 10 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, February 11 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, February 12 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tucson Convention Center
260 South Church Avenue
tgms.org

Have more events you’d like to add to this list?
Let us know in the comments section!

National League of Cities Gathering

Phoenix Hosts National League Of Cities Gathering

Phoenix impresses peers as host of National League of Cities Gathering

Inviting municipal leaders from across the nation to spend nearly a week in your city requires great measures of confidence and hospitality. It is bold exercise in peer review, not unlike inviting Martha Stewart and Miss Manners to attend a dinner party you’re hosting, or inviting renowned golf architects Pete Dye and Tom Fazio to play a round on links you’ve built.

So last month, when the City of Phoenix welcomed more than 3,500 mayors, city councilpersons and municipal planners to town for the National League of Cities’ 2011 Congress of Cities and Exposition, it was no small undertaking.

The event, held at the Phoenix Convention Center, featured four concurrent conferences―Green Cities, Economic Development, Infrastructure and Your City’s Families. Civic-minded attendees heard from prominent speakers and issue experts, participated in leadership training sessions, attended leadership training sessions and visited mobile workshops across metropolitan Phoenix.

“Mobile workshops highlighted everything happening in Arizona cities, from sports to sustainability,” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said.

When all the educational sessions and site tours and were over, Phoenix’s peers left impressed.

“We had a great time in Phoenix,” said Bluffton (Ind.) Mayor Ted Ellis, who was elected as the new president of the National League of Cities during the congress. “Coming to Phoenix allowed our members a number of opportunities to explore innovative ideas and programs in the city and the surrounding area. Between various workshop sessions and mobile tours, the city and the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau provided an in-depth exploration of the most pressing challenges cities are facing today.”

The mobile workshops took participants to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Civic Space Park and Downtown Public Market, and several City of Phoenix leaders leant their voices and expertise to the cause. Mayor Gordon and Councilman Michael Johnson spoke at the opening general session, Councilman Bill Gates spoke at Green Cities Conference opening session, and Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark spoke at the biomedical campus mobile workshop.

Phoenix Art Museum hosted 300 attendees at the Board of Director’s Dinner, and the Arizona Science Center was the site of the congress’ closing event on Nov. 12. Spouses of attendees were treated to tours of Desert Botanical Garden and downtown, and youth delegates experienced “Zoo Lights” at the Phoenix Zoo.

Attendees also got an up-close look at some of downtown’s newest developments, including the expanded Phoenix Convention Center, METRO light rail, Arizona State University’s Downtown Campus, CityScape, and the Sheraton and Westin hotels.
“This event was almost a decade in the making, and what better time to showcase downtown Phoenix than right now?” said Councilman Johnson, who, as the President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, led tours and spoke at a number of events. “The feedback I received from conference attendees has been overwhelmingly positive. National League of Cities attendees were impressed with the quality of conference workshops, tours and other amenities Phoenix offers our visitors.”

The 2011 Congress of Cities generated an estimated $8.7 million dollars in direct spending for the city. It also gave city leaders the opportunity to demonstrate to their peers that Phoenix is a diverse and welcoming destination for meetings and conventions―a fact that has been clouded by the national debate over Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law.

The National League of Cities expressed opposition to Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law last year, and the group had felt pressure from some corners to pull the 2011 Congress of Cities out of the state. Instead, it chose to conduct the event in Phoenix as planned, and took the opportunity to add Immigrant Integration training seminars to the agenda. These seminars allowed attendees to learn about different programs and policies to integrate immigrants into the community―economically, socially and culturally.

Rebuffing critics who called for a boycott, the National League of Cities reaffirmed its decision to host the Congress of Cities in Phoenix, citing the following reasons:

To support Phoenix and Arizona cities and towns. The City of Phoenix and Arizona cities and towns have actively opposed to the state’s actions. As the nation’s oldest and largest organization representing cities nationally, we are going to Phoenix to support the efforts of the City and other Arizona cities and towns.

To promote and encourage constructive local action to integrate immigrants into the economic, social, and cultural fabric of cities through conference programming, training, and education.

As a continued call for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

For more information about the National League of Cities, nlc.org.

GoGreen Conference '11

GoGreen Conference ’11 Emphasizes Sustainability Education, Patience

Whether it’s educating attendees of green and sustainability in the workplace or the speakers’ efforts to educate public and private entities of sustainability in their community, “education” was the buzzword and couldn’t have been stressed enough at the GoGreen Conference ’11 this past Tuesday, November 15. Well, that and a lot of patience.

“It’s not just about being and going green,” said Ed Fox, chief sustainability officer for APS.” It’s about educating and sustaining it.”

Dr. George Brooks, owner of Southwest Green and NxT Horizon Group, agreed: “There’s more to sustainability than solar panels,” he said. “If you want to make sustainability and its process sustainable, you need to make it useful.”

More than 50 speakers from all over the state were in attendance for the first GoGreen Conference ’11 held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Furniture IKEA donated to the panel discussions will be donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

This all-day conference held back-to-back panel sessions with leaders of sustainable business, who educated attendees on the latest sustainable practices for their respective businesses.

City of Phoenix Major Phil Gordon announced that this was possibly his last opportunity to speak as an elected official about his and the city’s green efforts. He said that although mayor elect Greg Stanton was unable to attend the GoGreen Conference, Stanton is committed to “help build Phoenix as the greenest city.”

Gordon also shared Phoenix-area, sustainability-related statistics and accomplishments over the years, including:

  • Phoenix is home to the only solar light rail stop (near the U.S. Airways Center) in the nation, “maybe in the world.”
  • The city has raised more than $1M in incentives to businesses and homeowners for their sustainability efforts.
  • Through Solar Phoenix, the Valley has more than 425 solar-installed homes. These homeowners have saved 10 percent on utility bills, on average.
  • By 2025, 15 percent of the city will be powered by fossil fuels. And also by 2025, 25 percent of the city will be shaded throughout with canopies and palm trees.

Maria Baier, commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department, provided opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of supporting universities and higher education seeking research dollars for its sustainability efforts. She continues to speak about how to not only go green, but also stay green.

“In order to go green and stay green, we need to keep our product legitimate,” Baier said. “We need to continue to defend it and improve reliability and dependability.”

Rounding out the first session of the conference was Al Halvorsen, senior director of environmental sustainability of Frito-Lay North America.

Halvorsen spoke about Frito-Lay and PepsiCo’s environmental sustain/ability journey — how they were able to confront their challenges (reducing its environmental impact), become an “embracer” of sustainability instead of a “cautious adapter,” and view sustainability as a competitive advantage — incorporating it into PepsiCo’s business with the following strategies:

  • Move Early: Over time, your business will evolve.
  • Balance Short/Long Term: Achieve near-term wins with long-term vision. Your business needs a foundation to help push longer-term envelopes.
  • Focus Top Down and Bottom Up: Track and monitor usage every day.
  • Measure Everything: By 2020, Frito-Lay predicts it will cut its diesel fuel usage in half.
  • Value Intangible Benefits
  • Be Authentic and Transparent: Share your business’s wins, losses and challenges.

“Sustainability for us is a journey and by no means are we there,” Halvorsen said. Jonce Walker, sustainability manager for Maricopa County agreed: “We are nowhere near done,” he said. “We still have so much left to do.”

Check back for part II of the GoGreen Conference ’11 coverage on AZNow.Biz.

For more information about the GoGreen Conference, visit www.gogreenconference.net.

 

Best Public, Commercial Buildings - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

Arizona's Biggest, Best And Most Memorable Public And Commercial Buildings

Steel, Glass and Marvelous: A look at the biggest, best and most recognizable public and commercial buildings in Arizona

OK, so we don’t have the skylines of L.A., New York or Chicago. But for a state barely celebrating its first centennial, Arizona — Metro Phoenix in particular — is home to some fairly impressive commercial and public buildings.

Arizona doesn’t have the 110-story Chicago Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) … but the Chase Tower in Downtown Phoenix looms as the tallest building in Arizona at 40 stories.

We don’t have New York’s swanky Plaza Hotel … but the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa — The Jewel of the Desert — is a world-famous travel destination.

The Los Angeles Coliseum? … Nope, we don’t have that either. But University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale already has played host to one Super Bowl and two BCS National Championship Games.

As part of AZRE’s Arizona Centennial Series, a look at the biggest, best and most recognizable public and commercial buildings in the state.

Best Sports Venue

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale
Contractor: Hunt Construction
Architect: Peter Eisenman
Year built: 2006

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale - AZRE September/October 2011One might say that the Arizona Cardinals scored when they found their new home in $455M University of Phoenix Stadium. With a multi-purpose design, the 63,400-seat stadium is host to not only football and soccer games, but to an array of events including motor sports competitions, trade shows and concerts. While the stadium may pride itself on its innovative versatility, the building’s design is equally as impressive. The exterior of the stadium, with alternating reflective metal panels and the iconic “Bird-Air” retractable fabric roof, was designed to replicate a barrel cactus. The interior features artistic elements including nostalgic photos and a series of murals representative of Arizona.


Tallest Building

Chase Tower - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011Chase Tower, Phoenix
Contractor: Henry C. Beck Co.
Architect: Welton Becket & Associates
Year built: 1972

Chase Tower certainly stands out in the Phoenix skyline with its modern use of glass, steel and concrete. This 40-story financial establishment was originally constructed for Valley National Bank, which after a series of mergers is today Chase Bank. In addition to its contemporary style, the tower strays from tradition with its underground, retail entry level, as opposed to the traditional commercial lobby space used in other buildings of its type. Aside from the tower’s primary use as an office space, Chase Tower offers restaurants, retail and, of course, banking services.


Oldest Commercial Building

Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix
Contractor: J.E. Rickards and Harry Nace (renovation Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011by Huntcor, phases 1 and 2; Joe E. Woods, Inc., phase 3)
Architect: Lescher & Mahoney
Year built: 1929

As the only designated historic theater and last remaining example of theater palace architecture in the Valley, the fully restored Orpheum Theatre leaves little to the imagination when it comes to envisioning the grandeur of drama and cinema in America’s Golden Age. The original Spanish Baroque style theater was built by J.E. Rickards and Harry Nace as the final major construction project before the Great Depression. Once dubbed the “Grand Dame of Movie Theaters,” the Orpheum was originally intended for film and vaudeville performances. Though ownership of the theater has been passed down from Paramount to cinema aficionado James Nederlander to the City of Phoenix in 1984, its elegant, 1,364-seat Lewis Auditorium and glamorous marquee at Second and Adams prove that the “Grand
Dame” status has survived.


Best Hospitality Property

Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011Architect and builder: Albert Chase McArthur
Year built: 1929

Albert Chase McArthur certainly called upon the teachings of his former instructor, Frank Lloyd Wright, when he designed “The Jewel of the Desert,” The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. The resort’s construction features McArthur’s signature concrete “Biltmore Block,” whose geometry mimics the surrounding palm trees. In its early days as the preferred resort of celebrities and heads of state, the Biltmore was owned by William Wrigley Jr. With expansions and renovations including two golf courses, a spa, the Paradise Guest Wing and Pool, ballrooms and additional meeting spaces, the resort retains its status of elite hospitality and one of the largest hotels in Arizona.


Phoenix City Hall - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011Best Government Building

Phoenix City Hall
Contractor: Hunt Construction Group
Architect: Langdon Wilson
Year built: 1993

In relation to its surroundings, and rising up 22 stories, Phoenix City Hall can be classified as one of the Valley’s few skyscrapers. The building, also called the Phoenix Municipal Building, replaced the Old City Hall, which was located in the Calvin C. Goode Municipal Building. The building is home the City of Phoenix and the origin of legislation regarding public safety, transportation, recreation and sustainability. Phoenix City Hall is the common stomping ground for the governments of the city’s eight districts.


Most Expensive Commercial Building

Most Expensive Commercial Building - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011CityScape, Phoenix
Contractors: The Weitz Company and Hunt Construction
Architect: Callison Architecture
Year built: 2010

The phrase “never a dull moment” is often reserved for people and places that provide some source of endless entertainment—and that’s exactly what CityScape offers. The $900M, mixed-use development hits the perfect balance of work and play with its collection of commercial towers, entertainment venues, retail and restaurants spanning two city blocks. The mixed-use facility may be one of the few places Valley residents and tourists can exercise, have a relaxing morning in Patriot’s Park, grab sushi or burgers for lunch, grocery shop, buy that new dress, attend a baseball game and finish the day off at a swanky restaurant or bar—all without getting in a car.


Best Medical Facility

Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Contractor: Kitchell
Architect: HKS
Year built: 2011

TPhoenix Children's Hospital - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011he visual spectacle that is now the Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s new main building impacts countless drivers on State Route 51 with its lights and seamless architecture. And with the 11-story tower capable of serving 425 patients, the hospital hopes to impact equally as many children. With the new tower comes additional clinic space and operating rooms, a new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and a separate Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit in response to the hospital’s successful Children’s Heart Center. The hospital’s recent makeover was not limited to the construction of the new tower, but included renovations to the existing buildings and new of satellite centers.


Best Public Building

Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix
Contractor: Ryan Companies US
Architect: RSP Architects
Musical Instrument Museum - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011Year built: 2010

Former Target CEO and African art collector, Robert J. Ulrich, was inspired to found the Musical Instrument Museum after visiting a similar museum in Belgium. The museum’s modern design is meant to compliment its surrounding desert landscape. MIM’s interior features a tile path, “El Río,” that flows to connect each of the museum’s galleries, as well as structural lines designed to echo those of common musical instruments. The museum boasts a unique collection of 14,000 musical instruments from 200 countries, with an emphasis on those of Western origin and includes pieces which once belonged to music legends including John Lennon and Eric Clapton.


Biggest Commercial Building

Phoenix Convention Center
Contractor: Hunt-Russell-Alvarado
Phoenix Convention Center - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011Architect: HOK Venue
Year built: 2008 (final phase)

Home to countless trade shows, conventions and formal events and weighing in at 1.9 MSF, the Phoenix Convention Center is among one of the largest of its kind. The many structures of the convention center are built with stones and materials native to Arizona and designed to emulate our southwestern landscape and culture. Each building combines innovation and tradition with state-of-the-art technology services for vendor presentations and art from nationally recognized artists that highlight Arizona’s cultural identity.


Most Recognizable Building

Biosphere 2, Tucson
Builder: Space Biosphere Ventures
Architect: Phil Hawes
Year built: 1987, 1991

Biosphere Tucson - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011Biosphere 2 is the much-anticipated sequel to the original biosphere made famous by years of evolution—Earth. The facility functions as a world within a world, separated from the outside by a 500-ton steel liner. Under its 6,500 windows and 7.2M cubic feet of sealed glass, self-sufficient ocean, wetland, grassland, desert and rainforest ecosystems thrive. In addition to the awe-inspiring glass dome structure, it includes the Technosphere basement floor and the Energy Center with electrical and plumbing services to maintain climate and living conditions within the dome. Biosphere 2, originally  funded by a $30M gift from the Philecology Foundation, is now managed by the science program at the University of Arizona.

AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

 

Arizona Multihousing Association, Property Management Career Fair, Phoenix Convention Center

Arizona Multihousing Association To Host Property Management Career Fair

The Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA) will host a career fair for jobs in property management on Oct. 11 in Phoenix, the apartment trade association announced.

Representatives of more than 20 property-management companies will interview applicants at the Phoenix Convention Center from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m in room 101 of the West Building.

“We are always looking for bright, hard working individuals,” says Pam Shelton, principal with Allison-Shelton Real Estate Services. “We find that many people outside of our industry don’t know about all of the opportunities we have.

“There are always new positions being created at our properties and we are looking for dynamic people we can train for a lifetime career opportunity.”

Apartment businesses need new employees at every level of their organizations, including leasing and sales agents and maintenance workers.

More information can be found at azama.org and on the Arizona Multihousing Association’s Facebook page.

Phoenix Convention Center, GoGreen Conference 2011

GoGreen Conference Comes to Phoenix, Educating Business Leaders with Sustainability

Deciding to make your business more sustainable can be a challenging task, especially when profitability is in question. Luckily, Phoenix will be hosting its first GoGreen Conference come Nov. 15 at the Phoenix Convention Center, where business leaders and owners will have a chance to be inspired and educated on sustainable business practices.

The GoGreen Conference is a one-day sustainability event for business owners and leaders. This event program addresses key issues pertaining to sustainability, and gives businesses and organizations a chance to learn how to take these tools and use them in their business practices, according to Ericka Dickey-Nelson, founder of GoGreen Conference and president of Social Enterprises, Inc.

The conferences have been taking place for the last four years, with a goal to educate business leaders with the most recent sustainability practices, and in turn, to put their businesses on a sustainable path.

Derrick Hall, President/CEO Diamondbacks, GoGreen Speaker, Photo: Brian FiskeThe event works with all types of businesses, and each previously held event has been sold out, with each conference educating 600-1,000 attendees.

Some of Arizona’s most successful business leaders working in sustainability will be speaking at the GoGreen Conference, as well as promoting some of the best business practices and tactics to achieve sustainability.

Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has been chosen to be a keynote speaker for the event in Phoenix.

“It’s a challenging task to pick a keynote,” Dickey-Nelson says. “Keynotes are a big deal, and we have to choose the ones that are the best. We chose him because of the industry he is in.”

Hall is known for his green tactics, which include the new solar shade outside the Chase Field that generates solar energy for the stadium.

Of course, there have been challenges in promoting sustainability practices and the GoGreen Conference in this improving, yet rocky economy.

“I think the most important thing is relating sustainability practices to businesses,” Dickey-Nelson says. “It deals with money, and we make sure in every session we address profitability and long-term saving.”

The conference has plans for business leaders and owners to leave with an idea of how to successfully change their business practices.

“We want to make your business more sustainable,” Dickey-Nelson says. “We want you to walk away with a tool chest of strategies.”

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If You Go:

GoGreen Conference ’11 Phoenix:
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phoenix Convention Center, West Building
www.phoenix.gogreenconference.net[/stextbox]

Phoenix Comicon Brings In Over 23,000 Attendees, Photo: Jonathan, LightningOctopus.com

Phoenix Comicon 2011 Brings In Over 23,000 Attendees

Call the fire marshal; Phoenix Comicon 2011 was too hot to handle.

While the size of the convention exploded at last year’s 2010 convention when it was moved to the downtown Phoenix area, this year’s convention on the exhibition floor surpassed its maximum capacity of 10,000 people on Saturday — therefore causing the fire marshal and police department to get involved.

The four day event, which took place at the Phoenix Convention Center, brought in 23,001 people, not including children under 12 who got in for free.

Jillian Squires, marketing manager for Phoenix Comicon, says the attendance was a great success for the convention, as it was a giant leap from last year’s 14,000 attendees. While the overcapacity was an obstacle for the convention committee to overcome, they were thrilled this was the only hindrance.

According to Squires, Matt Solberg, convention director, handled the situation rapidly and gracefully. Although the floor regulation lasted about four hours, attendees waited no more than 20 minutes to enter the exhibition floor, and around 6 p.m., attendees were able to freely enter the area once again.

Solberg posted a formal notice about the situation on the Phoenix Comicon’s homepage, informing the public of what happened and apologizing for any inconvenience.

Squires says that the committee’s largest goal is to strive for honesty with their attendees, and this is what sets them apart from other conventions.

As for the reason for this year’s success and high attendance, Squires says its due to the event’s all-star guest list and four new marketing techniques.

Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy and George Takei, Chuck star Adam Baldwin, and the man who made comics what they are today, Stan Lee, among other guests, transcended different cultures and genres, attracting a wider audience range than ever before, Squires says.

Nimoy proved to be the event’s most popular attraction; his panel “Spotlight on Leonard Nimoy” filled the 5,000 ballroom to its maximum capacity. The other aforementioned guests’ panels attracted crowds almost as large, with popular web series The Guild and Paul Cornell, writer for Doctor Who yielding some of the largest turn outs as well.

“There was not a single panel with no turn out,” Squires says. “There was something there for everyone.”

From science fiction authors to Anime to zombie musicals at the PC Film Festival, the event provided a wide range of events to expand its demographic and attendance.

Through Squires’ efforts, the committee increased attendance further through effective and thorough use of social media, commercials, billboards, a 20-page brochure with College Times — as well as with the support and advertising through local companies in the Valley.

Although it hasn’t reached the capacity of the San Diego Comic-Con, Phoenix demonstrates equal success for its unique goals.

“[San Diego Comic-Con has] a different vision than we do, and theirs is great, but we just have different goals and purposes for our convention,” Squires says.

Squires says Phoenix Comicon aims to be a family event and to ensure accessibility, entertainment and comfort to all those who attend. Phoenix Comicon also intends to keep the prices affordable at $40 for a four-day pass.

Squires hopes to get even “hotter” next year with at least 30,000 attendees.

Want to secure your spot for next year’s conference? Memberships are already for sale online.

Steve Moore, GPCVB, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Q&A Steve Moore, President & CEO of Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

Steve Moore
President and CEO
Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau

What is the outlook of tourism in Arizona and the Valley as you see it?

Tourism is a $17 billion industry here, and it is strong enough to have absorbed some body blows over the past couple of years. The recession hurt. The “AIG effect” hurt. Backlash from SB 1070 hurt. People are still worried about the economy, and large groups are still a little trigger shy.

But we are seeing a few positive signs. Business travel is inching upward. Room rates are rising a little. In Phoenix, the metric we use to assess the financial performance of our hotels indicated improvement in 2010 versus 2009. So far this year, the BCS Championship Game gave the Valley’s hotels a boost in January, spring training provided its annual injection of visitors in March, and the MLB All-Star Week is going to be a huge asset for us in July. But the outlook is not as rosy as it’s been painted in some media accounts. We still have a lot of ground to make up.

How is the Greater Phoenix CVB performing in this environment, and how would you define the CVB’s role in the local economy?

In fiscal year 2010, our sales staff booked over 400,000 future delegates into the convention center and hotels across the Valley. These delegates will spend over $525 million when they get here — that’s direct spending, and it doesn’t include what the family and friends who accompany them will spend. If you were to look at the CVB’s future bookings in terms of corporate portfolio, that “portfolio” would be valued at $2.4 billion. That’s how much direct spending is attached to the future delegates we’ve booked, and that’s the price you could expect to get for the CVB if it were “sold.” Of course, we’re not for sale — we’re a nonprofit. But I think the analogy helps people get their heads around how vital the visitors industry is to the local economy.

What obstacles are currently facing the visitors industry, and what are some future challenges for the Greater Phoenix CVB?

The economy’s signs of recovery give us reason for optimism — but that optimism has to be tempered with a measure of caution. Group business may gradually climb back to pre-recession levels, but spending probably will rise at a slower rate. In that way, this recovery will somewhat mirror the industry’s post-9/11 recovery, albeit with a more gradual climb out of the bottom, because the recession affected all industries, not just ours.

Also, as the cost of oil continues to rise, so does the cost of air travel. Airlines have gradually decreased their capacities, switching to smaller planes and fewer flights. This can increase the cost of air travel and inflate travel times, both of which factor into a business’ decision about where to hold a meeting or convention. It’s something we play close attention to because Phoenix is a fly-in destination. Another challenge for us arose this past September, when the GSA recommended that federal agencies substitute teleconferencing and webcasts for face-to-face meetings whenever possible. Suppliers will likely follow suit, and that’s not good for our industry.

Within the CVB itself, one of our greatest challenges is budgetary. The formula funding we created back in 1998 will yield a million dollars less for us in the next fiscal year than it did in this fiscal year. We have lost four sales people this year, and we have not been able to replace them. We also lost half of our Prop 302 funds to the Legislature, which hinders our ability to market the destination to a national and international audience.

Has the Greater Phoenix CVB seen improvements since the passing of SB 1070? How so?

It’s been about a year since SB 1070 was passed, and in that time we’ve lost six definite conventions. We’ve lost only two since last July, when (federal) Judge (Susan) Bolton’s ruling blocked some of the bill’s most controversial provisions. Our sales team spent a lot of time and energy holding onto some of our large conventions and rebooking others. It’s the pipeline we are most concerned about, and at the close of the calendar year, our booking pace had slowed by 36 percent over last year’s pace — and last year was a recession year.

The fact that 19 other states have introduced immigration bills similar to SB 1070 has taken a little of the heat off us. It’s hard to quantify how much convention business we aren’t even getting considered for due to concerns over the bills. We do know that large, diverse associations are more risk averse than smaller, corporate meetings. Those smaller meetings have started to return to the Valley.

How will the All-Star Game and the MLB FanFest at the Phoenix Convention Center impact Phoenix’s economy and tourism?

The All-Star Game and the events surrounding it — the Home Run Derby, the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, and FanFest at the convention center — are expected to inject $67 million of direct spending into Arizona’s economy. This estimate does not include local production expenses by national and international broadcast media, nor does it take into account hospitality expenditures by sponsors for receptions, parties and banquets.

The fact that All-Star Week arrives in town during summer, our traditional low season, magnifies its economic benefit to the community and provides us a grand-scale opportunity to show leisure travelers and meeting groups that visiting Phoenix in summertime is fun. And it’s the latest in a growing list of mega sporting events whose presence here proves that large and diverse groups and events are welcome and successful in Arizona.

What are your thoughts on the Arizona Office of Tourism’s “In One Word — Arizona” marketing campaign that launched in November?

Well, using just one word is economical, and that’s a good thing. Seriously, though, it’s a beautiful campaign that dramatically captures the beauty of our state. The existence of such a campaign is absolutely essential. Tourism is a $17 billion asset for Arizona. That asset must be trumpeted; that asset must be leveraged; that asset must be cared for. We all know AOT has been devastated by state budget cuts. If there’s one word that should be applied to AOT’s funding, that word is “restoration.”

What are your thoughts on the new Westin Phoenix Downtown and the rest of the downtown hotels and how they can potentially attract more tourists and business travelers?

Westin is a trusted brand, and the new hotel is a wonderful addition to downtown. Many of the conventions we book at the CVB are what we call “citywide conventions.” What that means is, they are big enough so that their attendees and their families spread out to multiple hotels. With the addition of the Westin, there are now more than 2,700 guest rooms within walking distance of the convention center. And more are on the way: A boutique Kimpton hotel — another trusted brand — is scheduled to open in CityScape early next year. So we’ll have the Sheraton, the Hyatt, the Wyndham, the Westin and the Kimpton right in the city’s core, all near the convention center, all near stops for the light rail, all near CityScape. For years we tended to talk about downtown in the future tense — as in, “It’s going to be great.” Downtown is now all about the present tense. It is great, and the catalyst to making it that way was the visitors industry.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011