Annual Industry Celebration to be Held April 11 During Business Events Industry Week

CHICAGO, IL (December 18, 2023) – The PCMA Foundation is pleased to announce the 2024 PCMA Visionary Awards Lifetime Achievement Honorees and Professional Excellence Finalists. The annual Visionary Awards, established to honor and celebrate the business events industry’s exceptional stars, will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2024, during Business Events Industry Week at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The 2024 Lifetime Achievement Honorees are:

  • Stuart Levy, Associate Professor of Management, George Washington University
  • Greg O’Dell, President, Venue Management, OVG360
  • Elizabeth Tovar, President, Turenlaces
  • Butch Spyridon, Former CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC)

2024 Lifetime Supplier Honorees: Greg O’Dell | Butch Spyridon

A longtime events executive and former PCMA board chair, Greg O’Dell is President, Venue Management with OVG360, recognized as an organization that is positively disrupting the hospitality, sports, and live-entertainment industry. He was instrumental in leading a working group that resulted in the unprecedented PCMA Board structure of one governing body inclusive of Directors and Trustees for both PCMA and the PCMA Foundation. As President and CEO of Events DC, at the onset of the pandemic, he allocated $25 million of the organization’s reserves to provide funding to the local hospitality community, including restaurants, hotels, community non-profits and undocumented workers.

During Butch Spyridon’s 32-years with the NCVC, “Music City” evolved into a top global leisure and meetings destination, generating over $8 billion in annual visitor spend. Butch was instrumental in shaping Nashville’s growth and success, from branding it as Music City to making it attractive to professional sports teams and corporate relocations to intentionally elevating the quality of life marketing the destination’s cultural assets and in voluntarily assisting community groups and projects.

2024 Lifetime Educator Honoree: Stuart Levy

Stuart Levy, MBA, PhD, CMP is an associate teaching professor of management and tourism studies at The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB). He teaches leadership, entrepreneurship, and event and hospitality management, all grounded in experiential learning methodologies. In 2013, he pioneered a mixed-method experiential approach and framework to evaluate customer experiences, and has since consulted with event, hospitality and tourism destination clients in the United States, Caribbean, Central and South America.

2024 Lifetime Business Event Strategist Honoree: Elizabeth Tovar

As the founder and president of Turenlaces, the leading PCO firm in the Dominican Republic, Elizabeth has demonstrated excellence in designing, executing, and managing business events for over 30 years. Her vision of professional education has been crafted around the notion that the way to elevate the business events industry is through education and professional development.

“The Visionary Awards raises critical funding for the PCMA Foundation and is made possible through the support of many event sponsors, table hosts, and participants,” said Meredith Rollins, PCMA Chief Community Officer and Executive Director, PCMA Foundation. “We’re thrilled with the group of Honorees and Finalists for this year’s event. Our Awards Committee was integral throughout the review process of numerous outstanding nominees. We appreciate their generous time and commitment to identify the standouts this year who are helping move our industry and the profession forward.”

The annual celebration will also recognize 21 Professional Excellence Finalists across seven categories for extraordinary contributions to their organizations and their impact on the professional development of others. The recipient in each category will be announced live at the April 11 celebration.

The categories and finalists are:

Business Event Strategist of the Year
Matthew Wales, CMP, CAE, Vice President, Event Services, American Trucking Associations
Stuart Ruff-Lyon, Chief Events and Sales Officer, RIMS
Anh Nguyen, CMP, Principal, Spark Event Management Inc.

Community Advocate of the Year
Dr. Michael Time, CEO, TIME TALKS
Anna Williams, Director, DMC Network
Dana Johnston, Director, Corporate Strategic Partnerships, American Gastroenterological Association

Digital Experience Strategist of the Year
Shawn (Yih-Hsiang) Cheng, Co-Founder, #EventProfsBreakShit
Emily Stephens, CMP, DES, Meetings & Special Projects Manager, American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
Sara Stehle, CAE, CMP, Owner, Independent Planner, Wow Moments Experience & Event Design

Event Designer of the Year
David Hidalgo Ayala , CEO & Co-Founder, Tree Alliance
Jasmine and Tyra Dyson, Founders, The Brand Xperience Lounge, Boss Up Girl Co.
Kathy Lovato, Director of Scientific Meetings and Events , American Physiological Society

Robin Troutman, Interim Executive Director, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
Beth Surmont, FASAE, CMP Fellow, CAE, Vice President of Business Event Strategy & Design,360 Live Media
Rory Archibald, Senior Business Events Manager, Visit Scotland

Outstanding Service to a Chapter or Region
Marcus Eng, CMP Fellow, DES, Director, Meeting Operations & Technology, American Public Transportation Association (Capital Chapter)
Jimmy Le, Event Program Manager, IEEE Communications Society (New York Chapter)
Shelby Candrea, CMP, Meetings Manager, ASTM International (Greater Philadelphia Chapter)

Supplier of the Year
Eric Kincaid, Vice President, Sales, Choose Chicago
Doug Bennett, Executive Vice President, Louisville Tourism
Yurii Land, CMP, Senior Strategic Account Director, Maritz

A variety of ticket options are available for the 2024 Visionary Awards celebration here. The 2024 PCMA Foundation Visionary Awards is presented by Visit Austin and the Austin Convention Center. Proceeds benefit the PCMA Foundation, which funds more than $750K annually in research grants and more than 150 scholarships benefiting emerging leaders, students, faculty, and professionals to advance in their profession.

For media queries from the Americas, APAC, EMEA, and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact: Meghan Risch, PCMA Chief of Staff, Vice President, Corporate Communications

About PCMA

PCMA, PCMA Foundation and CEMA educate, inspire, and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at pcma.org.

About PCMA Foundation

The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant-giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $700K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 2,500 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.7M in charitable giving.

About CEMA

The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) is the eminent community for senior event executives, association peers and industry partners and is an integral component of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) brand collective. CEMA promotes professional networking opportunities, facilitates peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and drives industry standards. Through strong relationships with strategic partners, CEMA fosters both finding innovative solutions to business issues and continuous focus on members’ career growth. For more information, please visit http://www.cemaonline.com.

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