Ontario, CA – The Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau announced on August 24th that veteran SMG manager Bob Brown has taken the helm as Executive Director and General Manager of the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Ontario Convention Center, located 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Philadelphia-based SMG manages both the Ontario CVB and convention center. Dick Walsh, former Executive Director, will serve as a consultant to SMG.
Brown comes to Ontario from Reliant Park in Houston, where he was Director of Sales and Assistant General Manager of SMG’s Reliant Center, Reliant Stadium, Reliant Arena and Reliant Astrodome. His background includes management roles with the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas; The Interface Group, which produced the COMDEX series of shows; the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority; Convention Management Group, Inc.; the International Communications Industries Association, Inc.: and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
His goals are to build the city into a second-tier convention hub for the West Coast and international business, and attract a convention headquarters hotel adjacent to the convention center. Brown said the growth of the Inland Empire positions Ontario to become a bigger player in the convention and trade show market. “We’re well-positioned to capture national trade show business.” He envisions Ontario as an incubator for new shows and regional shows spun off from larger shows.
Factors that play in Ontario’s favor, he said, include its international airport, operated by Los Angeles World Airports; the convention center, which offers 225,000 square feet of total exhibition and meeting space of which 70,000 square feet is prime exhibit space; and nearby convention hotels. In addition, Ontario recently approved plans for an 8,500-seat arena that will be managed by AEG. “The development in Ontario adds to its credibility as a convention destination,” he said.
Brown said the business growth opportunities and the city’s willingness to support convention growth attracted him to the position.
Reach Bob Brown at the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau at (909) 937-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.