972-252-7476 Ext 116
Seasoned industry veteran to oversee opening of $133 million facility
IRVING, TEXAS (October 14, 2010) - As the Irving, Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau and facility management company SMG prepare to push into the 90-day countdown to the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas grand opening this January, Charlie Beirne, SMG regional manager and former manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center, will take on the day-to-day project oversight.
Beirne takes the reigns from Thom Connors, who has served as general manager of the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas since October 2009. Connors, who is being reassigned to Detroit as SMG takes over operations at Detroit's Cobo Center, will remain involved with the Irving project as part of his regional oversight role with SMG.
The announcement was made by Pennsylvania-based SMG, a leader in facility management. SMG serves as the center's operator under the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau's (CVB) direction, and will share sales and marketing responsibilities for the facility with the CVB staff.
A 12-year SMG employee who has served as both a regional and facility manager, Beirne was point person on the Irving Convention Center until Connors' relocation here last fall.
"While I know we will all miss Thom a lot, he has put together an extraordinary team in Irving that I have complete confidence in to carry us through, as I do Charlie, who will be here to keep all the wheels moving and provide all the guidance and support we need to get to and through January," said Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Beirne will start in his new role on Monday, Oct. 18, and oversee the center's opening and first few months of operation. SMG plans to name a permanent general manager for the Irving Convention Center in Spring 2011.
"We are extremely pleased to be able to provide the Irving Convention Center and the Irving CVB with such a knowledgeable and experienced General Manager," said Wes Westley, president and CEO of SMG. "We know that Charlie will be an invaluable resource and committed leader, and a welcomed return to the Irving community."
Designed as a multi-functional building with high-end touches, the $133 million, 275,000 square-foot Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas takes a bold new design direction in a landscape of traditionally "institutional" facilities.
The center includes a 50,000 square-foot, column-free exhibit hall; a 20,000 square-foot ballroom; and 20 meeting rooms of approximately 1,000 square feet each. Clad entirely in a natural copper, the building stands approximately 130' high, the equivalent of a 13-story building, with the grand ballroom on the top floor offering panoramic views of the area's skylines.
The facility is registered for LEED certification, and incorporates a number of unique sustainability features, including the use of water from nearby Lake Carolyn for the building's greywater needs. Designed by New Jersey-based RMJM Hillier, the project's architecture has already won a Merit Award from the American Institute of Architecture.
In addition, Las Colinas Association Architectural Control Committee presented the Irving Convention Center its 2009 Award for Excellence in Project Design. The award promotes the values in design, construction and architectural enhancement to the Las Colinas community.
"I'm excited to bring to the market a project I had the privilege of working with in the conceptual and design stages" Beirne stated. "This center will be a prototype for future facilities in terms of scale, flexibility, design and internal service capability.
"It is an exciting addition to the competitive landscape and will be a unique product in the marketplace," Beirne continues. "The longer-term development goals of the city of Irving will provide ideal synergies to create a very marketable 'destination within the destination'."
For more information, contact the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau at 972-252-7476, 800-247-8464 or visit www.irvingconventioncenter.com.
About Irving, Texas
Located immediately adjacent to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and in between Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving, Texas, (www.irvingtexas.com) boasts more than 75 hotels and nearly 12,000 rooms. Las Colinas, a 12,000-acre master-planned community within the city of Irving, is known worldwide for its quality and uniqueness. The area has a total taxable base of more than $7 billion and is home to 8,000+ companies, 30 Fortune 500 companies, plus the world headquarters of four. In the next three years, the area will see more than $4 billion in hotel, retail, entertainment, office, residential and meeting facility development. For more information visit www.irvingtexas.com.
Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide, including arenas, stadiums, theatres and performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, convention, congress and exhibition centers, science centers and a variety of other venues. Across the globe, SMG manages more than 11 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) of exhibition space and over 1.5 million arena and theatre 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. 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 www.smgworld.com.