Filed under: Conventions

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McPier acts to preserve McCormick Place overhaul

McCormick Place officials Monday asked a federal judge to suspend an injunction that invalidates state-imposed labor-rule changes at the convention center, pending appeal. Get the full story »

Court ruling threatens McCormick Place overhaul

In this photo from April 7, 2010, McCormick Place union representatives, including John T. Coli of the Teamsters, far right, testify in front of the Joint Committee on the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

The state-mandated overhaul of McCormick Place operations hit a legal wall Thursday, as two major labor unions won a federal court judgment that the National Labor Relations Act preempts states from enacting legislation that would interfere with the collective bargaining process.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman’s ruling in parallel cases brought by Teamsters Local 727 and by the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters has the potential to throw a major wrench into the revamped show-floor rules. The new rules give exhibitors the right to do much of their own booth set-up and tear-down work. Get the full story »

Salon, spa group adds trade show in Rosemont

The Professional Beauty Association is launching an annual trade show for the Midwest region in Rosemont this spring, hoping to attract more than 20,000 attendees in the spa and salon industries.

The PBA said it is North America’s largest association of professionals in the salon, spa and beauty industries. Get the full story »

2 more conventions to return to McCormick Place

Chicago has lined up two significant meetings at McCormick Place, the latest in a string of bookings in the wake of a new state law aimed at making the city more competitive with rivals.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists will return to Chicago for its 2016 convention, which is expected to draw 17,000 attendees and to generate $42 million in spending here. The organization last held its convention in Chicago in 2006 and will  hold its 2011 convention here in October. Get the full story »

McPier plans to cut most of staff

From Crain’s Chicago Business | The agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier will cut more than half of its corporate staff as it splits off management operations of Navy Pier and turns over management of McCormick Place to a private operator.

Chicago wins back lost trade show

A key health-care technology trade show whose departure helped trigger the overhaul of McCormick Place operations announced this morning that it is returning to the Chicago convention hall in 2015 and 2019.

The state-mandated reforms at McCormick Place were cited by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society as key factors in deciding to put Chicago back in its meeting schedule.

The changes could translate into cost savings of at least 25 percent, said H. Stephen Lieber, the group’s president and CEO. The estimate was based on talks with representatives from other trade shows that have taken place at the complex since the overhaul began last summer, he said. Get the full story »

Navy Pier to get own board

A southwest view from of Navy Pier from the Ferris Wheel, Nov. 9, 2010. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)

Navy Pier, the lakefront entertainment complex that has been joined at the hip with McCormick Place, will be leased to a newly formed not-for-profit corporation that will govern and manage the tourist attraction, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority announced this morning.

Sara Nava Garvey will serve as transitional chair of the new board. She also serves on the board of the authority, the state-city agency known as McPier that now owns and operates the pier and the convention center. Get the full story »

New convention chief lands bigger pay package

Donald P. Welsh at a press conference in Indianapolis, July 12, 2010. (Matt Detrich/The Star)

The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau will pay its new top executive $390,000 a year, with the potential to earn up to $78,000 more if growth objectives are met, the bureau’s chairman said Tuesday morning.

The package, which could total $468,000, will go to Indianapolis tourism executive Donald P. Welsh, whose hiring as the bureau’s new president and CEO was announced Monday evening. Salary information was not available at that time. He will step into the post in early February.

The salary package represents a substantial hike over the compensation paid to the previous top executive, Tim Roby, who resigned last month. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, he received a salary and bonus package of $362,652, of which $260,540 was base salary, bureau officials said. The remainder was incentive bonus and pay for unused vacation time. Get the full story »

Indy tourism exec to lead Chicago convention bureau

The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau’s board today hired Indianapolis tourism executive Donald P. Welsh as its new president and chief executive officer.

Welsh was hired away from the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Assn., where he was chief executive.

His hiring comes shortly after the resignation of Tim Roby, a hospitality industry sales and marketing executive who took the top executive post at the bureau in 2006. Get the full story »

McCormick Place bags nephrology society meeting

Chicago’s push to revive its trade show business got another boost Thursday with the announcement that the American Society of Nephrology will  bring its annual meeting to McCormick Place in 2016.

The meeting, which draws doctors, scientists and health professionals who specialize in kidney disease, is expected to bring 14,000 attendees and to trigger $342 million in spending locally and statewide. Get the full story »

Strike today at Palmer House Hilton

Workers picket outside the Palmer House Hilton Thursday. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Tribune)

In the second such demonstration at a Hilton property in two months, workers at the Palmer House Hilton are on temporary strike today.

The strike at the property at 17 E. Monroe St. is joined by similar strikes at Hiltons in Honolulu and San Francisco and follows a 3-day strike two months ago at Hilton Chicago.

Unite Here Local 1 union spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said workers are “outraged that Hilton finagled $180 million in bailout funds” while their expired contracts lingered. Get the full story »

McPier drops pursuit of potential hotel site

McCormick Place officials are abandoning a two-year effort to acquire a neighboring block for potential hotel development, officials said today.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority will drop legal proceedings aimed at acquiring several adjoining parcels through condemnation proceedings, said Renee Benjamin, the authority’s general counsel. Get the full story »

Chicago Convention & Tourism chief to resign

Tim Roby, president and CEO of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, speaks during a tourism rally at Navy Pier on May 12, 2009. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

Tim Roby, the president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Convention & Tourism bureau, will resign effective Dec. 22.

His exit comes at a time of transition for the government-subsidized non-profit, which acts as the sales arm for the McCormick Place convention center. A state-mandated overhaul of convention center operations required a restructuring of the bureau’s board, and the resulting new board took office recently. It includes some of the heaviest hitters in the city’s business community. Get the full story »

Chicago gets global solar energy conference

Chicago has nabbed a new piece of convention business, booking a 2013 global solar energy conference that is expected to draw more than 27,000 attendees to the city. Get the full story »

Chicago to keep restaurant show

While the National Restaurant Association announced Monday that its high-profile trade show will stay put in Chicago through 2016, the city is not quite on terra firma yet.

The association will keep a close eye on whether a new state law aimed at cutting exhibitor costs at McCormick Place is fully implemented — a progression that could be derailed if two trade unions prevail in their challenge of the law in federal court.

“If something changes and the legislation is not able to be enacted the way it was designed and exhibitor rights go away, it becomes more difficult to explain why we would be in Chicago,” Mary Pat Heftman, executive vice president/convention for the association, said after a press conference announcing the new pact. Get the full story »