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Industry leaders present Navigating the Facility Management Industry panel

By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: April 3, 2014
Topics: In the News, Industry Partnerships, STHM School

Three leading executives from the facility management industry visited the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management for an Executive Panel on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.  The panelists explored a variety of issues ranging from the economic impact of increased tourism to improving the customer service model at their facilities, all with the intent of emphasizing the importance of convention business to Philadelphia.

Bob McClintock, COO of SMG’s Convention Center division, kicked off the discussion after initial introductions.  McClintock has over 27 years of industry experience.  He was joined by Lorenz Hassenstein, General Manager of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Michael Hill, Managing Director of Synterra Partners.  The discussion was deftly moderated by John Kroll, President of Keating Hospitality and a member of the STHM Dean’s Council.  John McGill and Mary Logue, two seniors majoring in tourism and hospitality, performed introductions for all the visiting executives.

SMG is the world leader in venue management, marketing and development and has corporate headquarters located in Conshohocken, PA.  They manage over 233 facilities that include convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters, and specific-use venues.  In Philadelphia, SMG is charged with improving the customer experience and operations in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  They took over management of the building in January of this year.

The candid discussion touched on SMG’s perspective and strategies in facility management and the ancillary projects that Synterra Partners anticipates will come with the Convention Center’s continued success.  Hill spoke about the SMG and Synterra partnership as a “Partnership with a Purpose”, further underscoring the commitment to inclusion and outreach in subcontracting and employment practices.  SMG and Synterra have developed a unique strategic partnership to improve the center’s commitment to access and diversity for employers, subcontractors, and service partners.

Students also learned more about the recent $800 million dollar renovation the Pennsylvania Convention Center underwent and how the increased capacity allows it to host the largest conventions and trade shows, and most importantly multiple events at the same time.  Much of the discussion also focused upon the PHL Alliance, the term McClintock used for the key stakeholders involved in growing the center’s business.  Each panelist spoke about the collaboration necessary between Aramark, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the city’s major hotels, and SMG in order to continue the long term success of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.