Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Facilities Update
Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority Selects SMG For Cobo Center - Thom Connors Named General Manager

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA) has selected SMG, the global leader in managing major venues, to manage Cobo Center, the nation’s 20th largest convention center. The move follows the creation of the new multi-governmental authority last fall, and advances its mission to improve financial stability and customer service, and reestablish Cobo Center’s standing in the national convention and trade show market place.

“Cobo Center is one of the most vital links to fulfilling our regional business tourism objectives, as well as to helping ensure that downtown businesses continue to build and thrive here,” said Larry Alexander, the Board’s chairman and president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have already focused efforts on a number of physical plant initiatives and other service providers, but elevating our management and staff through the most respected firm in the business will really help take us to the next level.” Company president and chief executive officer Wes Westley stated how pleased and gratified he was by this selection and also announced that SMG veteran Thom Connors has been named general manager of the historic venue. For Connors, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs and is an alumnus of Michigan State University, this is a welcome opportunity. “Thom is the right candidate for this job,” added Westley.

SMG is responsible for the management and marketing of more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide. The company has built a specialized Convention Center Division, including 67 convention and exhibition centers. SMG’s seasoned executive team works actively with municipalities, convention bureaus and hospitality partners in offering first class service and fully integrated management and marketing systems. At 700,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space, Cobo Center, is home to the North American International Auto Show, and the largest publicly owned convention center ever to transition from public to private management. According to Gregg Caren, senior vice president of strategic business development, “while we actually now manage seven of the country’s top 35 centers, we also bring significant relationships to markets looking to expand their profile.”

Through a competitive bid process conducted by the DRCFA, SMG was unanimously selected as the most qualified firm to take on the challenges of managing through renovations, increasing revenue, and enhancing service levels at the facility.

About SMG
Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition cen¬ters, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 12 million sq. ft. (1.2 million square meters) of exhibition space and over 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s Reliant Park and the Louisiana Superdome. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering company SAVOR, currently serving more than 100 accounts worldwide. For more information visit
Meet Brilliantly