Thom Connors Named GM of Detroit’s Cobo Center

DANICA TORMOHLEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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Detroit, MI – Industry veteran Thom Connors has been named general manager of the Cobo Center, which selected SMG to manage the facility in early October. Most recently, Connors served as senior regional general manager for SMG based in Irving, TX, where he has been working on the new Irving Convention Center, scheduled to open in early 2011. Additionally, he was overseeing SMG’s business operation in Puerto Rico, where he started up SMG’s Latin America division in 2006 while serving as resident general manager of the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

Home to the North American International Auto Show, the Cobo Center features 700,000 square feet of exhibit space and is ranked the 20th largest convention center in the nation, according to the World’s Top Convention Centers directory, published by Trade Show Executive. It will be the largest publically owned convention center to shift from public to private management, said Gregg Caren, senior vice president of strategic business development for SMG. Connors will manage this transition.

Connors grew up in the Detroit suburbs and is an alumnus of Michigan State University. “Thom is the right candidate for this job,” said Wes Westley, president and chief executive officer for SMG, which manages more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide, including 67 convention and exhibition centers with more than 12 million square feet of exhibition space.

From 1995 to 2006, Connors served on SMG’s corporate staff as national coordinator for the convention center division. From 1991 to 1995, he was the southeast regional vice president and general manager of the Miami Beach Convention Center and Jackie Gleason Theater. Prior to that, he was based in London as director of development for SMG International. He has managed public assembly facilities since 1978.

In addition, Connors has been involved in the planning of more than two dozen new projects, coordinating research, design input, pre-opening services, operating transitions and staff development. He is active in many industry organizations and has served on the board of directors of the Exhibition Industry Foundation.  Contact Thom Connors at (787) 648-7404 or tconnors@irvingconventioncenter.com; Gregg Caren at (610) 729-7922 or gcaren@smgworld.com