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People in the News

Chris Schimek

Chris Schimek is now the Chief Operating Officer, Event & Exhibit Services at Freeman Company, where he has worked for 25 years. In his new role, Schimek will give strategic direction for regional warehouse operations, local event logistics, fabrication, graphics production and custom exhibits across North America. Prior to this role, he was Executive Vice President, Delivery & Brand Experience.

Mario J. Bass

Visit Orlando announced that Mario J. Bass has been appointed to Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Bass will be responsible for the oversight of internal operations, leading and implementing strategic initiatives, strategic plans and annual business plans. Most recently, Bass was the Chief Sales Officer at Visit San Antonio, where he spent five of his more than 25 years in the hospitality industry.

Denise Reid

Denise Reid is the new President of the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA). Reid is the Event Planning Manager at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter (HCFQ), a position she had held since 2009. In her role as President of ESPA, Reid will be focused on rebuilding the association’s membership and ensuring ESPA is an inclusive advocate for all stakeholders in hospitality.

Throughout her career, Reid has won the 2022 Smart Women in Meetings Visionary Award, 2018 HCFQ Manager of the Year, 2018 HRI Properties National Manager of the Year and 2018 ESPA Member of the Year awards.

Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM, the Destination Services Manager at the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the outgoing President.

Butch Spyridon

Butch Spyridon will retire from the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC) on June 30, 2023. Spyridon has served as CEO of NCVC since 1991, and spearheaded the city-wide branding of Nashville as Music City. He has served as Chair of Destinations International and on the board of the Professional Convention Management Association among others. He was also named a Hall of Leaders inductee by the Events Industry Council in 2022. Deana Ivey, the current President, will take over as President and CEO on July 1.

Ben Veechai

jwc GmbH appointed Ben Veechai as Managing Director for the company’s operations in Southeast Asia. In this role, Veechai will grow and coordinate projects in the region on behalf of jwc. Veechai has been in the B2B space for years, serving as Regional Director International Marketing at UBM Asia Ltd., Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Asia for Informa Markets and as CMO for venueScout, a jwc GmbH subsidiary, among other roles.

Rachael Riggs headshot

Rachael Riggs, CMP, DES, SEPC

Maritz Global Events appointed Rachael Riggs, CMP, DES, SEPC as General Manager, Environmental Strategy. In her role, Riggs will lead the sustainability initiatives across the organization, which include initiatives to manage and implement emissions reduction strategies. Riggs has served as the company’s WellBeing Leader since she joined Maritz Global Events Design Studio in 2018. She also serves on the Net Zero Carbon Events Measurement Working Group, the Events Industry Council APEX Commission and the Global Wellness Institute’s Workplace Wellbeing Working Group.

Reach Rachael Riggs at (636) 827-0536 or


Joshua Hoover

Custom Registration Inc. has promoted Joshua Hoover to Vice President. Hoover has been with Custom Registration since 2016, and he has served as the Director of Operations since 2019, a role in which he was involved in daily business operations and software development. Hoover also has worked at the company as a National Account Manager.

Reach Joshua Hoover at (817) 277-7791

Rich Kanefsky

Rich Kanefsky was promoted to Managing Director at JEGI CLARITY, a pre-eminent M&A advisory firm for the global media, marketing, information and technology industries. Kanefsky joined JEGI in 2015 as an Associate, and worked his way up the leadership ladder over almost nine years, serving as Senior Associate, Vice President and Director for the company. He advises clients on mergers, acquisitions, corporate divestitures and capital raises and has completed more than 25 transactions.

Reach Rich Kanefsky at


Rocsean Spencer

Rocsean Spencer is the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s first Chief Diversity Officer. In this newly created position, Spencer will support the organization’s policies that mitigate bias, increase equitable outcomes, foster inclusion and ensure that the communications and People Services programs reflect the organization’s DEI goals. Most recently, Spencer was the ENMCC’s Small and Emerging Business Program Director, which was a position created to support and promote small and diverse business inclusion.

Reach Rocsean Spencer at


Brett Mufson

Fontainebleau Development announced Brett Mufson is President and CEO of Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which will open near the end of 2023. Mufson has served as the President and Chief Investment Officer for Fontainebleau Development. In the role of President and CEO at Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Mufson will lead the development of the construction project, and he remains the President of Fontainebleau Development.