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SMG Names Ron King as GM of Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Global Center for Health Innovation
SMG, the convention center and facility management firm hired by the Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corporation (CCCFDC) to manage operations for the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and the Global Center for Health Innovation, has named Ron King as the new general manager, effective Wednesday, September 13.
“Ron has been an outstanding leader of multiple large convention center complexes in Dallas and San Diego, as well as leading SMG’s efforts in Salt Lake City and San Juan,” said Gregg Caren, executive vice president, SMG. “Ron brings more than three decades of experience, including opening two separate convention facilities, into a tremendous facility in Cleveland that is a major part of the city’s reemergence as a convention destination.”
King comes to Cleveland after leading the two-million square-foot Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas for the past six years, working directly with the City of Dallas and the Dallas City Council as the Executive Director for the Convention and Event Services Department for the City of Dallas. King also served as contract administrator for other city-owned facilities and organizations, including the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 1,001-room Omni Convention Center Hotel, American Airlines Center (18,500 seat arena, home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and NHL’s Dallas Stars), and Union Station, the city’s transportation hub.
Named after former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2013, the two-million square foot facility includes one million square feet of exhibit space, 88 meeting rooms, a 9,816 seat arena (the former Dallas Memorial Auditorium), a theatre, heliport, 3,000 parking spaces, and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail station.
“Attracting a nationally-known convention center general manager like Ron King validates the quality of this facility and Cuyahoga County’s emergence as a major destination for conventions, trade shows, and meetings,” said George Hillow, executive director, CCCFDC. “The CCCFDC board looks forward to working with Ron and the SMG team as we continue to attract major events into the city of Cleveland.”
“Cleveland is one of the nation’s hottest destinations in the convention industry right now and I’m very excited to rejoin the SMG team and work with our partners, including Destination Cleveland, the city of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County to land major conventions and trade shows in the future,” said King. “Having had the pleasure of opening and expanding two SMG facilities in Salt Lake City and San Juan, I’m ready to bring my enthusiasm and three decades of experience to Cleveland at a time when the community has shown it can attract and successfully host major events such as the 2016 Republican National Convention.”
King served as Event Services Director for the San Diego Convention Center from 2006-2012 before assuming his current position in Dallas. He previously served as General Manager for the SMG-managed Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, overseeing the opening of the 600,000 square foot facility in 2005, and General Manager and Director of Operations for the SMG-managed Salt Palace Convention Center and South Towne Exposition Center (1997-2004) in Salt Lake City, leading the opening of South Towne Exposition Center in 2000.
During his time at the Salt Palace, King worked directly with the International Olympic Committee to prepare the facility to serve as the International Media and Broadcast Center during the 2002 Winter Olympics. He began his career in Tulsa, Oklahoma with the Tulsa Convention Center (1993-97) and Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra (1989-93). King earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1984.
About the Global Center for Health Innovation
The Global Center for Health Innovation was built in Cleveland to serve as the focal point for healthcare innovation, conventions, and industry-specific meetings, and is home to internationally-recognized brands such as GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips Healthcare, Cisco Systems, Cardinal Health, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) along with Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. The Global Center is home to 45 of the world’s leading healthcare brands and more than 300 industry meetings annually. Each tenant partner space displays innovation and technology contributing to the overall mission of improving patient outcomes and lowering costs for healthcare providers and consumers.
About the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland
The Huntington Convention Center provides 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 32,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, 35 meeting and breakout rooms, a robust technology package, an expansive truck loading dock, and a 12.5-acre green roof with spectacular views of Lake Erie. The attached 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown Hotel features a 32-story tower filled with guest rooms, meeting space, ballrooms, and multiple dining and entertainment options.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary and founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 230 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, amphitheaters, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 million square feet of exhibition space and more than 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 McCormick Place & Soldier Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s NRG Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering companies, currently serving more than 140 accounts worldwide. For more information visit www.smgworld.com.
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