Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

RONALD M. MELTON is executive vice president of services and operations for Travel Portland. In this role, Melton serves as Travel Portland's chief financial and operations officer, as well as oversee the agency's Education and Training Foundation, a nonprofit charitable entity that provides financial assistance to candidates training for hospitality industry careers. In January 2009, Melton also transitioned into the role of administrator for the Portland Metro Region's Visitor Development Fund (VDF).

With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Melton worked most recently as director of finance for the Conference Meeting & Assistance Corp. (CMAC) in Dallas, Texas. Prior to taking his position with CMAC, Melton had spent 10 years as executive vice president and chief financial officer for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. From 1988-1994, he was the director of finance and administration for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

KENDRICK J. MIDDLETON serves as vice president of Sales at the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Middleton joined the GHCVB in April 2003 to direct convention and tradeshow sales efforts of the fourth largest city in the country, after serving nine years with the St. Louis CVB and five years with the Indianapolis CVB.

In addition to a full-time staff of 15 National Account Executives and one Director of Sales and their supporting staff, Middleton also oversees the GHCVB satellite offices in Chicago, Washington DC, New York and Austin, Texas.

Middleton is a active member of ASAE, TSAE, PCMA, IAEE, NCBMP, CESSE, MPI, RCMA and DMAI . Middleton has been married to wife Naomi for 20 years and they have two children Blaize (18) and Ravyn (14) .

LEO HEZEKIAH MING, JR. is the vice president of Human Resources & Administration for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. Ming is responsible for the Human Resources and Administrative/Office services functions at the Commissions Marketing and Facilities departments. His role includes all human resources functional areas, such as recruitment, labor relations, compensation, safety and health and employee relations at the CVB and Convention Center complex/ Edward Jones Dome stadium, home of the RAMS football franchise. Ming holds a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management and a Bachelors Degree in Labor Management Relations from the State University of New York. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

MICHAEL MUNN was appointed chief of staff and director of Business Development for the Boston Convention Marketing Center (BCMC) in the Spring of 2004 by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. Munn is responsible for business management and developing programs in support of the BCMC and implementing diversity initiatives that focus on Boston's multicultural and multinational qualities. During his 20-plus years in the Meetings industry, he has held positions with the National Managed Health Care Congress; vice president of Sponsorship Programs, International Data Group (IDG); show director for ComNET DC and ComNET San Francisco and manager of Business Development & Partner Alliances at the Hurwitz Group, a strategic e-business marketing, research and consulting company.

LAURIE NELSON-CHOICE has been with VISIT Milwaukee since January 2000. As Director of Eastern Regional Sales, Laurie manages the satellite office operations in Washington, DC and generates leads for associations, corporations and government organizations in the Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland territories. In addition, Laurie also generates leads for the multicultural market all around the country. Prior to VISIT Milwaukee, Laurie worked with the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, both in Columbus, OH and Washington, DC.

Laurie has a BS in Communications from Ohio University. She is a founding member of two industry organizations: Just Because - a networking group for meeting planners of color in the Washington, DC hospitality industry and the Network of Latino Meeting Professionals, a not for-profit organization for Hispanic meeting planners. Laurie is a member of several other industry associations, including the American Society for Association Executives, Association of Meeting Professionals, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, Meeting Professionals International, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Professional Convention Management Association and Society of Government Meeting Professionals.

KEVIN P. OWENS serves as director of National Sales for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. Owens has strong hospitality industry credentials with more than 20 years of experience. Prior to joining the Dallas CVB in 2001, he worked at flagship properties for Wyndham, Westin and Hyatt Hotels, respectively.

As director of National Sales, Owens spearheads the citywide sales effort for the West Coast Corporate and Association, Religious and African-American Markets. His strategic initiatives have been instrumental in Dallas' prominent position as a Top 5 Destination for African-American Travelers.

Owens has led the bureau's charge in creating the new African American Visitors Guide and corresponding website, Owens serves as staff liaison in the bureau's long standing partnership with the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (the nation's oldest Black Chamber) to market Dallas as a preeminent destination for African American conventions and visitors.

Owens previously served as chairman of the Site Selection Committee for the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and served on the Advisory Board for the Christian Meetings & Convention Association.


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