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Peter Lombardi Retires from Rosemont CVB; Grant Bailey Named Acting Executive  Director

Trade Show Executive
February 26, 2006
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Rosemont, IL – Peter Lombardi, executive director of the Rosemont Convention Bureau for the past 21 years, has retired. Grant Bailey, Assistant Executive Director of Sales/Marketing for the Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center in Rosemont,   is moving over to the convention bureau to take over the reigns.

Lombardi had been executive director  at the Rosemont Convention Bureau since June 1, 1985 and received "The Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions" in December from the International Association for Exhibition Management.

He has retired to his second home in Bonita Springs, FL.   Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens said,  “We are grateful for his many years of service to the Village of Rosemont.” Jim Freeman, executive director of the convention center said, “Peter made many friends on behalf of Rosemont and helped keep our name top of mind in the meeting and convention industry. We will miss him, and wish him well.” 

Bailey’s First Exposure to Expositions Was at the Dinner Table

Bailey’s well-rounded career has immersed him in all sides of the business, from servicing shows to assisting in managing  the facility. But his earliest education was at the dinner table. His father, the late Howard Bailey, was executive vice president of Freeman, and  one of the most respected industry pioneers.  “I once told my father that there was no way I would ever work in this industry.” Now he says, “I am very happy that I couldn’t have been more incorrect in that assessment.  It’s a terrific industry, and it is a privilege to be a part of it.”

Grant began his career as a teamster in Rosemont  in 1981.  “Thanks to my early experience here, I know the physical ramifications of moving shows in and out of an exposition center,” Bailey said.  “I am keenly aware of factors that can make a show a success or make it founder.”

Three years later, Bailey was promoted to account executive at Rosemont Exposition Services, the in-house service contractor at the Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center.  In 2002, he was named assistant executive director of marketing and sales for the convention center, reporting to Jim Freeman, executive director of the center.

“We always consider promoting from within our own employee base,”  said Mayor Stephens.  “Although recruiting executives from outside our town has been beneficial, candidates from Rosemont have the distinct advantage of knowing the product inside and out.”  Freeman said Bailey is a good choice. “This business is in his blood.  Additionally, his talent and experience are a good match for the Rosemont Convention Bureau.”

The Village of Rosemont -- All of its 2.5 Square Miles  -- Has Become a Top Trade Show Site

Since its convention center was built in 1976, Rosemont has grown into one of the major convention destinations in the country. Today, the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center offers 840,000 square feet of prime exhibit space, having expanded 16 times in 30 years. The most recent expansion—a 40,000-square-foot addition to the conference center—opened in 2004. The convention center hosts roughly 80 to 100 events a year, bringing almost 2 million people to Rosemont. 

Rosemont Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Over 1,700 people attended a dinner dance staged by the Village of Rosemont on January 20th in honor of its 50th anniversary. Among them were about 30 trade show managers whose conventions have helped turn Rosemont into a major convention destination. To mark the golden anniversary, a laser light show was staged over River Road in the heart of the Village throughout the week.


Reach Grant at (847) 993-4608 or

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