People Update

December 1, 2008

Missouri Meetings & Events Welcomes Gene Keeven as Director of Sales and Marketing

Gene comes to Missouri Meetings & Events with more than 20 years of experience in the sales and marketing industry. Gene’s most recent magazine experience was as sales manager for St. Louis Construction News and Real Estate, in St. Louis, Mo. At Missouri Meetings & Events, Gene’s responsibilities include sales and marketing for all Missouri meeting and event venues (including Missouri Meetings & Events Magazine, Resource Directory, Web site and Meet-TV). If you are interested in advertising, give Gene a call at (314) 781-8880, ext. 100, or e-mail him at [email protected]. For more information, please visit

Debbie Gold Comes Home to The American Restaurant

Gold Debbie

Renowned chef Debbie Gold, who won a James Beard Award at The American Restaurant in 1999, has returned to The American as executive chef.

Gold succeeds fellow James Beard Award winner Celina Tio, who is leaving Kansas City to open a restaurant on the east coast. This certainly marks a very rare occasion when a restaurant is able to have one James Beard Award-winning chef follow another.

Chef Gold headed The American’s kitchen from 1994 to 2001, along with then-husband and co-executive chef Michael Smith. Their tenure was highlighted by a 1999 James Beard Award (Best Chef: Midwest) and a bevy of other honors. The pair left Crown Center to open a restaurant in Leawood, Kan., but now Chef Gold is ready to return to the city’s only Mobil Four-Star restaurant.

For more information, visit

Global Spectrum’s Shura Lindgren Receives “Women of Influence” Award by Venues Today

Shura Lindgren, general manager for Global Spectrum at the Saint Charles Convention Center, has been recognized as one of the 2008 Venues Today “Women of Influence.” The honor was bestowed at the 83rd annual IAAM Conference in Anaheim, CA, on July 27 at a reception in honor of the 2007 and 2008 recipients.

Lindgren was one of five winners out of a list of 30 nominations. The recognition goes to women who have made significant contributions in the sports, entertainment, fair and convention industries. The finalists were selected by a vote of their peers in the industry.

Lindgren began her public facility management career as an event coordinator in 1987 with the Amarillo (Texaas) Civic Center. In 1988 she took the position of Director of the Midland Center (Midland, Texas) and was later promoted to direct the combined operations of the Midland Center and the Midland Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 2004, she became the General Manager for the Saint Charles Convention Center, overseeing construction, development and opening of the 154,000-sq.-ft. multi-purpose building. More than twenty years after her start, she is now a recognized leader in the industry.

She currently serves as second Vice President of IAAM, and is next in line to become president of the international organization in 2009 – 2010, becoming only the sixth woman to do so. She has served in various roles within IAAM. Her most notable post was with the Diversification Committee, where her focus was to increase female and minority involvement in public facility management.

Jones Joins America’s Incredible Pizza Company

Jones Lia1

Lia Jones has joined the America’s Incredible Pizza Company team as Event Sales Manager. Far from her native Oklahoma, Lia began her career in 1986 as a sales manager in Washington, D.C., organizing meetings and special events for conventions, international tour groups, corporations and other special interest groups. She gained a broad spectrum of knowledge in the event industry. Moving to St. Louis in 2000, she worked for The Fun Company and Sunshine Entertainment Group organizing entertainment and special events ranging from 200 to 1,200 attendees in the Midwest and California. Promoting family entertainment and paying attention to details has made her successful in her chosen career. To explore opportunities for a meeting, company outing, or special event at Incredible Pizza, please call Lia directly at (314) 842-0700, ext. 230.


Vittetau James Kanis Andrew

The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau recently welcomed two new VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members, James Vittetan and Andrew Kanis. Kanis and Vittetan moved to Jefferson City from Indianapolis, after graduating from Indiana University and Ball State University, respectively.

Kanis and Vittetan will perform a variety of duties during their term at the Bureau, but their main focus is to research and promote Jefferson City through its strong tie to the Missouri River.

Steve Picker, Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director, said that Kanis and Vittetan are welcome additions to the strong team already in place at the Bureau.

Kanis and Vittetan will work at the Bureau for a year. They said they are looking forward to their stint in Jefferson City, especially learning more about the community and promoting Jefferson City to residents and visitors.

In cooperation with the Missouri River Communities Network, the Convention and Visitors Bureau is partnering with the federal government VISTA program. The VISTA program is a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. The goal of the Missouri River Communities Network is to use the VISTA members to bring more visitors into the Missouri River Corridor, in turn creating more jobs and bringing people out of poverty.

For more information, contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau at (573) 632-2820.

Sheraton® Clayton Plaza Hotel St. Louis Adds Jeff Peters, CMP, as Director of Sales and Marketing

Peters Jeff

The Sheraton® Clayton Plaza Hotel St. Louis and Marcus Hotels & Resorts announced the recent addition of Jeff Peters, CMP, to their management team as director of sales and marketing.

Peters has more than 20 years of hotel sales and marketing management experience and has held similar positions, most recently with Interstate Hotels and Resorts at the Crowne Plaza St. Louis – Downtown. Peters was instrumental in the hotel’s recent brand conversion, and successfully led the hotel’s nine-person sales staff in exceeding financial goals while handling competitive citywide convention business.

Peters has served in a variety of sales and event management positions at various St. Louis area hotels. As director of sales at the Wyndham Mayfair Hotel, a boutique hotel in downtown St. Louis, he managed citywide conventions and various collegiate and professional sports teams’ events. While sales manager at the former Adams Mark Hotel, Peters handled corporate sales as well as state and national associations, consistently outperforming the hotel’s multi-million-dollar annual revenue goal.

Peters has been actively involved with hospitality industry and business organizations. His experience includes attaining his Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) designation, as well as membership with St. Louis Area Meetings Professionals International; the Missouri, Illinois and Texas Societies of Association Executives; and El Paso Hospitality Professionals. He received Manager of the Quarter recognition while with the Wyndham Mayfair Hotel.

For additional information on the Sheraton property, including rates and availability, please visit

MAC Meetings & Events Hires Mike Carmody as Corporate Sales Manager

MAC Meetings & Events, headquartered in St. Louis, an industry leader in event, meeting and destination management, has hired Mike Carmody as Corporate Sales Manager in the company’s Corporate/MedComm division. Carmody will be responsible for actively selling meeting management, destination management and incentive travel services to key corporate clients and continuing medical education firms.

Most recently, Carmody was a lead travel director at Maritz Travel where he worked for two and a half years in domestic and international incentive travel program operations. Prior to Maritz, Mike spent a year as a field crew leader for the Montana Conservation Corps, a division of Americorps National Service. Mike is a 2003 graduate of the University of Dayton with a B.A. in psychology.

For more information, visit


Hale Brian

The development team of The Chase Park Plaza Hotel proudly welcomes esteemed St. Louis chef Brian S. Hale to its staff as executive chef. Hale officially began his new role the week of Aug. 4, 2008.

Hale will drive the overall culinary direction for The Chase Park Plaza’s four dining areas: Café Eau, EAU Bistro, Chaser’s Lounge and The Marquee Café. He will also lead culinary efforts for hotel events within the property’s 70,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space. The Chase Park Plaza averages 150 events per week.

Hale started his culinary career in Milan, but has been a part of St. Louis dining for more than 15 years. His work has added to the tastes of several area restaurants: Al Baker’s, Harry’s Downtown, SqWires, and most recently, Monarch. During his time in St. Louis, Hale has been recognized by Sauce Magazine as Best Chef in St. Louis (2006) and Favorite Chef in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times (2006). As executive chef for SqWires and Monarch, Hale’s efforts helped each restaurant earn various honors for Best New Restaurant in St. Louis. Hale also won the first annual Iron Fork competition in 2007 and has been featured by prominent culinary magazines Bon Appétit and Gourmet.

For more information, visit

Executive Chef Adam Lambay Brings Local and International Flavor to Chaumette Winery

Lambay Adam

Chaumette Vineyards & Winery has announced the hiring of executive chef Adam Lambay. With a bachelor of culinary arts degree from Sullivan University, Lambay has spent the past ten years “chefing” at such St. Louis favorites as Café Mira, 12 North Café and Portabella Restaurant. He has consulted for ARAKA Restaurant and is currently a monthly chef instructor at Kitchen Conservatory in Clayton. Lambay directs all things culinary at Chaumette, including operations of the Grapevine Grill Restaurant; catering for weddings and private events; development of the poolside bistro at Belle Haven, The Spa at Chaumette, and a breakfast program for overnight guests at Chaumette’s villas. Chef Adam also works with Chaumette’s horticulturist to cultivate herbs for use in his menus.

“Contemporary American” is the most fitting category for Lambay’s menu which also includes French, Indian, Asian and Italian influences. Lambay uses local food products whenever possible from producers such as Ladd Family Farms for free range chicken, County Line Farms and Windrush Farms for produce, Flieg Family Farms for dairy and produce, Stonie’s Sausage Shop for meats, SayersBrook Bison, and Baetje Farms for goats cheese. Lambay is a supporter of the Mississippi River Hills Association, of which Chaumette Winery is a member. The association comrpises local food producers, wineries and craftspeople along the west side of the Mississippi River, to further promote the local foods and goods available within the region.

For more information visit

DeVaughan Joins The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
DeVaughan Sarah

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC) has hired Sarah DeVaughan as its Director of Brand Experience. DeVaughan is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating the training and development activities of employees in fields related to travel, tourism, meetings and events. She serves as a liaison to members of the St. Louis business community, hospitality industry and CVC members to support marketing efforts by delivering a consistent and branded service standard throughout the community.

Prior to the CVC, she worked for Harrah’s Entertainment in St. Louis and Bossier City, Louisiana, as customer satisfaction manager and senior talent development specialist. DeVaughan graduated from Southern Illinois University with a B.S. degree in hotel, restaurant and travel administration.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission is the official destination marketing organization for St. Louis city and county for visitors of all types. The CVC also operates the America’s Center® convention complex and Edward Jones Dome.



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The MEET® Family of Publications

The MEET® Family of Publications produces regional and national publications that keep corporate, association, medical, education, independent, and religious meeting and event planners informed about relevant industry suppliers, news, tech innovations, and resources that impact and influence how and where they plan their upcoming company function(s).