People Update

September 1, 2007

Darius Dunn Named SLU Arena General Manager

Saint Louis University and Global Spectrum have announced that Darius U. Dunn has been named general manager of the new Saint Louis University Chaifetz Arena. Dunn previously served as associate director of the Stephen O’Connell Center, home to the national champion University of Florida men’s basketball team.

At Saint Louis University Dunn will oversee all arena operations when the facility opens in the spring of 2008.

Prior to his stint at the University of Florida, Dunn was operations and events coordinator at the Stabler Athletic and Convocation Center at Lehigh University, and also worked at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Dunn also is very active in the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM), where he has chaired the Arena Managers Committee since 2001.

The new, 10,600-seat Chaifetz Arena will be home to the Billikens men’s and women’s basketball teams and will host other events such as concerts, family shows, trade shows, sporting events and commencements. The Arena also includes a two-court practice facility, new locker rooms and strength, conditioning and sports medicine facilities. The west end of the complex also will include new offices for the athletic department. Construction began in 2006 and the Arena is scheduled to open in March of 2008.

Dunn can be contacted through Jeff Fowler at (314) 977-2540.

Creative Producers Group Recruits New Staff to Manage Increase in Volume

Keith Alper, CEO of Creative Producers Group, announced two new members of his strategic communications team, Kate Sinclair and Aaron Unell.

Sinclair recently moved to Saint Louis from New York City where she produced more than 500 events and worked as a stylist and senior producer with Wolfgang Puck/Spago and the Miss America organization. She has already overseen a number of key initiatives for the firm including the Barnes Siteman Cancer Research Gala, which raised over $1.5 million. Kate has a degree from the Northwestern University School of Communications and has performed and toured with several Broadway productions including South Pacific and The Full Monty.

Aaron Unell has been brought on board to introduce both local and national companies to CPG’s strategic communications services. Unell will tap into his 10 years of management experience and his recent MBA from Webster University to assist companies with their strategic communications goals.

Creative Producers Group is a full-service corporate communications agency that specializes in the development and production of large-scale meetings and events as well as strategic communications, including branding, positioning and message development.

For more information, contact Lorie Raileanu at (314) 367- 2255 or  visit

Kinder Announces Bennett-Hazelrigg to Join State Tourism Commission

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has announced that Gov. Matt Blunt has appointed Marcia (Marci) L. Bennett-Hazelrigg of St. Joseph to the Missouri Tourism Commission.

“Serving as the executive director of the Buchanan Tourism Board, Marci understands the importance of tourism to our state and local economies,” Gov. Blunt said. “I appreciate her interest in serving on this important commission and working to promote the Show-Me State as an ideal vacation destination.”

Bennett-Hazelrigg, 47, is executive director of the Buchanan County Tourism Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She currently serves on the Missouri Lewis and Clark Commission and is executive director of the Missouri Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation for a term ending January 15, 2011.

Hal Leonard rejoins the Adam’s Mark Hotel

The Adam’s Mark in St. Louis welcomes back Hal Leonard for his second tour of duty. He previously served as the General Manager of the 910-room property in the mid-1990s.  Under his supervision the hotel received the St. Louis Hotel of the Year award.

Leonard has more than ten years of general manager experience.  He has held executive positions at seven hotels rated 4-star, 4-Diamond or higher. He has worked for Hyatt, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Crowne Plaza, Harrah’s Entertainment and the Las Vegas Strip’s New Frontier Hotel & Casino.

Leonard holds a B.A. in mathematics from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

Fitzpatrick achieves CHSC (Certified in Hospitality Sales Competencies)

Lagina Fitzpatrick, director of sales and marketing at The Resort at Port Arrowhead, Lake of the Ozarks, achieved her CHSC (Certified in Hospitality Sales Competencies) designation in May. The CHSC certification is administered by HSMAI. Lagina earned her CMP in 2002. She is currently the second Vice President on the National Board of Society of Government Meeting Professionals, a board member of the Tri County Lodging Association and a member of Meeting Professionals International and the Missouri Society of Association Executives.

Highest culinary honor goes to The American Restaurant chef

Celina Tio, Executive Chef at The American Restaurant in Kansas City, was named the Best Midwest Chef in the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards, one of the nation’s top honors for culinary professionals. Tio, a first-time nominee, bested four other finalists in the Midwest region.

The James Beard award is the crowning achievement in Tio’s young but highly decorated career since she arrived at The American in 2001.  Chef Tio has also been recognized by Wine Spectator, Chef magazine, the Kansas City Star and a host of other publications.

Steven Becker Fine Dining Announces New Addition to Staff

Steven Becker Fine Dining featuring the Coronado Ballroom is pleased to announce the addition of Alexa Goins to its staff. Alexa will be a Catering Sales Manager specializing in marketing and outside sales for the off-premise catering division as well as for the Coronado Ballroom.

Krauck named Special Events Director for the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre Complex

Larry Krauck’s new position as Special Events Director for the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre Complex in Branson is a return to event management. Before joining the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1999, Krauck worked for eight years in promotions and events
for FM radio in Miami, FL and Springfield, MO.

Boessen offers unique background to Sales manager position at the Resort  at Port Arrowhead

Shirley Boessen, Sales Manager for the Jefferson City and Columbia satellite offices for The Resort at Port Arrowhead, has a unique background to match the distinctiveness of the resort. Shirley has spent 30 years in the hospitality industry.

Prior to joining The Resort at Port Arrowhead, Shirley was Sales Manager at the Capital Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Jefferson City for six years.  She has served in the St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Columbia, and Indianapolis hotel markets.

Shirley’s past and present professional affiliations include the Missouri State Association of Executives, Society of Government Meeting Planners, Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, Meeting Planners International, Religious Conference Managers Association, and the Columbia Marketing Association. She has also served on the board of directors for The Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau, the American Red Cross and Metro Business College.

Shirley can be reached at (573) 645-6369 or [email protected]

Rigby joins sales team at Resort at Port Arrowhead

In May, Linda Rigby was named Sales Manager for the St. Louis satellite office of the Resort at Port Arrowhead at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Linda has an extensive background encompassing more than 30 years in the industry.

Linda moved to the Lake of the Ozarks in 1992. She commuted to Jefferson City as the Director of Sales for the Monroe Plaza. In 1998 she relocated to Myrtle Beach, S.C., as Director of Sales for a Sheraton oceanfront hotel. In 2000 she moved to Tampa, Florida where she was Sales Manager for Crowne Plaza and Wyndham hotels until her return to St. Louis in 2006.  She has been an active member of SGMP, MPI, NBTA, MSAE, AENC and SCSAE.

Dimmel Joins team at ProExpo Services

Douglas Dimmel has joined ProExpo Services. His responsibilities focus on sales and marketing of Poly-Teknology to the trade show and convention services industry. Dimmel brings 25 years of experience in television production, music production, public relations and sales. Dimmel has appeared on numerous television specials and toured with recording artist Barbara Mandrell.


Maria Davis of the Lodge of Four Seasons previously worked for the Station Casino in Kansas City (now Ameristar Casino). This information was incorrect in the summer 2007 issue of Missouri Meetings & Events.


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