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Matt Pizzuti

Mark Tester

Luther Villagomez

Interim Executive Director Oregon Convention Center Portland, OR

Director Austin Convention Center Austin, TX

Matt Pizzuti, CMP, has been in the hospitality industry since 1981 — the first 16 years in hotels and the last 20 at the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) in Portland. Moving into hotel sales in 1990, he became Director of Sales at the Red Lion Jantzen Beach/Columbia River Complex in November 1993. He joined the OCC in 1997 as the Director of Sales and Marketing, was promoted three years ago to Deputy Director and just recently was appointed the Interim Executive Director. Pizzuti joined the Association for Convention Marketing Executives (original name of CSPI) in 1997 and volunteered to assist with leadership in 2002. He was the President of ACME for two consecutive years and helped provide stability and solid footing to the organization. He was recently honored with the Shawn Corwin-Myland Award for leadership. At the OCC, Pizzuti’s charge is to create the greatest amount of revenue through events hosted at the center while maintaining the No. 1 focus, a positive customer experience for all. He focuses on developing partnerships that extend beyond business to friendships with staff and clients alike.

Mark Tester is currently the Director of the Austin Convention Center Department, an enterprise department of the City of Austin. He has been in his current position since January 2008, and oversees all aspects of the Austin Convention Center and Palmer Events Center. In addition, he serves on the Executive Committee of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau and as President of Austin Convention Enterprises (the Board that oversees the City-financed 800-room Hilton Austin). He is President of the Austin Convention Condominium Association, and Board Advisor to the Austin Hotel and Lodging Association. Prior to joining the City of Austin, Tester spent 13 years working in the Chicago convention community, holding senior positions at both the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (now Choose Chicago), and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the owner and manager at that time of McCormick Place, the Western hemisphere’s largest convention facility. He earned a B.A. in Communication from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

Chief Operating Officer George R. Brown Convention Center Houston, TX

Facilities & Destinations 2016-2017 Winter

Luther Villagomez has been associated with the George R. Brown Convention Center since 1985, and has directed day-to-day operations at Houston’s premier meeting place since 1990. He has been involved in many major events at the George R. Brown, beginning with its construction in the mid-1980s and its official opening in 1987. He has seen many shows, such as the International Quilt Show and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, grow along with the facility. The George R. Brown hosts more than 40 major conventions and more than 200 other events annually. Among the high points during Villagomez’s tenure include the completion of a $165 million expansion project to virtually double the size of the convention center in 2003, hosting fan festivals associated with the 2004 Super Bowl, 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, 2006 NBA All-Star Game and successfully converting the convention center into a humanitarian shelter after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His career with the city began as an Event Manager at Albert Thomas Convention Center, Jones Hall, Music Hall and Sam Houston Coliseum.


Profile for Facilities Media Group

Facilities & Destinations - Winter 2016-2017  

F&D's Winter edition, includes: Q&A with Atlantic City Convention Center's new GM, Dean Dennis. F&D A-List: Woman CVB Executives. Planne...

Facilities & Destinations - Winter 2016-2017  

F&D's Winter edition, includes: Q&A with Atlantic City Convention Center's new GM, Dean Dennis. F&D A-List: Woman CVB Executives. Planne...