Callan Hamann recently was named general manager of the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, managed by Westmont Hospitality. The hotel features 18,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and 259 guest rooms. Hamann relocated from Dallas, where he managed branded and boutique hotel properties.
The Manhattan (KS) Convention & Visitors Bureau has added Luke Wiggins as convention sales manager. He will provide assistance to planners in their bid processes, and help set up complimentary destination services.
Previously, Wiggins worked in new business development at the Sheraton and Westin hotels at Crown Center in Kansas City. He accepted the CVB position after graduating from Kansas State University and majoring in entrepreneurship.
The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau in Osage Beach, Mo., has added Darren Rucker as a marketing consultant. A native of the Lake area, Rucker graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.
He worked in radio promotions and advertising in the Kansas City area before accepting the CVB position in April 2015.
The Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau (OPCVB) is pleased to announce the appointment of its new President, Dana Markel. “She served as executive director of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2005 until this year. As a member of the Omaha Mayor’s Cabinet, Markel worked with key city leaders to develop and enhance Omaha as a tourism destination.
“As we come off of the best year on record in terms of total hotel room nights sold, Overland Park is very excited for Dana’s energy and experience,” said Bruce Boettcher, general manager of the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel and OPCVB Board Chairman. “Our City offers a tremendous package for meeting planners, sports tournament organizers and visitors alike, and with her leadership, we look forward to taking our efforts to the next level.”
“The Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park Soccer Complex, Museum at Prairiefire, TopGolf , national and regional corporate headquarters and much more position Overland Park as a destination for sporting groups, corporate conventions and tourism,” said Mayor Carl Gerlach. “Dana’s experience and knowledge in similar competitive markets will be truly beneficial to Overland Park.” This is a homecoming for Markel who is originally from the Kansas City metropolitan area. “It is an honor to join the Overland Park travel and tourism community, and I look forward to representing the destination and bringing value to its future strategic direction. Many opportunities abound for tourism growth and development, and as an added plus, I’ll be close to family again,” said Markel.
Markel assumed her duties as OPCVB president on March 30, 2015. She succeeds Dr. Jerry Cook, who retired at the end of 2014 after serving as the OPCVB’s president for 19 years. Leawood-based executive recruitment firm EFL Associates conducted the national search for the position in partnership with the OPCVB Board of Directors Search Committee and the City of Overland Park staff. With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Markel has worked in convention sales in Omaha, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Miami. In 2001, Markel joined Omaha’s Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) as the convention center director of sales and marketing. She was also one of five individuals who spearheaded the business strategy of Omaha’s convention center and arena. Markel has served on the Executive Committee of the Omaha Sports Commission, the Omaha Metropolitan Hospitality Association and the Omaha Downtown Improvement District. She was also appointed by former Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman as a State Tourism Commissioner.
Tan-Tar-A Resort at Lake of the Ozarks recently named Paul Bashinski director of food and beverage. He oversees the culinary experience for all of the resort’s restaurant, event and catering guests. Bashinski formerly served 13 years as Tan-Tar-A’s executive chef, orchestrating dining services for its more than 100,000 square feet of banquet and event space. He attended the Culinary Institute of America, and has held past executive chef positions at major hotels including Clarion, Radisson and Sheraton properties. (Editor’s note: Bashinski’s new job title was stated incorrectly in the Spring 2015 issue. MM&E regrets the error.)
Experient, a Maritz Travel company, has named Sue Heley CMP, CMM, national account manager. Heley sources hotel room blocks and meeting space around the globe for corporations, associations, government entities and special event groups. She has more than 15 years of planning and production experience, and another 15 years in hotel catering and convention sales and operations. She has owned an independent conference and event business for more than a decade, and also worked at a veteran owned conference planning firm that managed U.S. government programs. Recently, Heley worked in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as an independent meeting and event contractor for international corporations. She earned a degree in psychology, with emphasis in graphic design and Latin American studies, from the University of Kansas.
The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark recently named Larry McAfee general manager. McAfee joins the property during a multi-million-dollar renovation effort that began in 2014.
Most recently, he was general manager of the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas, where he oversaw extensive renovations as well. His previous industry experience includes hospitality and culinary positions in Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina, as well as independent consulting work. The Lodge of Four Seasons offers 359 guest rooms; more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space; 36 holes of golf; a full-service marina; Spa Shiki; and five restaurants.