Shuford Says 2012 Down A Little, But 2013 Looking Up At Convention Center

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chattanooga Convention Center Executive Director Mike Shuford said 2012 was down a little, but 2013 is looking up.

 He told the Hamilton Place Rotary Club that 35 conventions were hosted by the center last year, and 40 are on the books this year - with the possibility of adding a couple more.

Mr. Shuford, who has been at the center for 29 years since before it opened, said there were 648 event days last year and 795 set this year.

He said Chattanooga has the smallest convention center of the state's four largest cities, but he said it is the only one that is all on one level.

Nashville is spending between $650 million and $700 million for a giant center that will put it in direct competition with Atlanta, Chicago and other metropolitan areas.

The Nashville center will have 448,000 square feet of rentable space, while Chattanooga has 142,160. Knoxville is at 250,000 and Memphis at 350,000.

Mr. Shuford said the deficit at the Chattanooga center is about $300,000 per year, but it's expected to be $4.8 million in Nashville. It's $1.5 million in Knoxville and $2 million in Memphis.

The speaker said the local center, which was expanded in 2003, fills up 40,000 hotel rooms a year. He said the economic impact last year was $38 million.

Mr. Shuford said the local facility features natural lighting, which he said is more cheerful for convention goers and saves on utility bills. He said rainwater from the lengthy roof goes into a cistern that is used by the city to water downtown plantings.

The center has a recycling program and gives its left-over food to the Food Bank, he said.

Mr. Shuford said the center operates its own food service, which helps in control of costs and quality.   



Sandler Training CEO Completes Devine Assessment Certification, Used By Fortune 500 Firms To Hire Smarter Talent

Lisa Nausley, owner and CEO of Sandler Training, has completed her certification in a suite of talent assessment tools developed by The Devine Group for Fortune 500 companies and other employers. "This prestigious designation from Sandler Training’s international partner shows Nausley’s commitment to continued education as an expert in Devine assessments for the entire employee ... (click for more)

Urban League Entrepreneur Power Luncheon To Feature Dr. Randal Pinkett

This year’s keynote speaker for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga 5th Annual Entrepreneur Power Luncheon will be Dr. Randall Pinkett, founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners. EPL is a fiscally charged business luncheon designed to empower Chattanooga’s small, minority and women-owned business owners and entrepreneurs, said officials.  Dr. Pinkett is an entrepreneur, ... (click for more)

City May Make It Easier For Food Trucks To Operate In Chattanooga

The City Council is considering action that would make it easier for food trucks to operate in Chattanooga.  City Attorney Wade Hinton said cities like Austin and Portland have thriving food truck operations and Chattanooga is studying those models. He said, "It's truly an industry there." He said a 2013 food truck ordinance was limited and did not allow food trucks on ... (click for more)

Magistrate Says She Was Fired Because Philyaw Did Not Want To Be Seen With Someone Openly Gay

A former magistrate at Juvenile Court said she was fired because Judge Rob Philyaw and Court Administrator Sam Mairs "wanted me gone because I was openly gay." County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said Elizabeth Gentzler was not the only gay at Juvenile Court and Hamilton County government, indicating that may be part of the county's defense. Attorney Stuart James, representing Ms. ... (click for more)

The Panhandling "Tax" On Gunbarrel

I’ve been reading about the panhandling problem in downtown; it is a huge problem in the Gunbarrel area, too.  It’s commonplace to be accosted by panhandlers when walking from your parked car into a commercial establishment.  And often they are aggressive.  I look carefully around my car before getting out, but sometimes someone will be lurking in between cars and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Sheriff’s Request

Jim Hammond will talk to members of the Hamilton County School Board on Thursday afternoon and, just like any police officer in the United States, he will request that everybody “stay in their own lane.” Some school board members tend to believe they need to help decide the best methods of protecting our children. They believe this is one of the things they were elected to do in ... (click for more)