Convention Bureau Fills Top Spot

August 7, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired Douglas Small as its new president.

Small, with 26 years of experience in the hospital industry, comes to Grand Rapids from Denver where he is senior vice president of that city's Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has an annual budget of $16 million and 63 full-time employees.

Small directs convention services, group sales and sales of convention services in Denver and manages 31 staff members. Last year, the Denver bureau established all-time records for hotel room bookings and convention business.

"A search committee of 11 people did a great job, along with our consultant from Hiring Solutions, Sandy Soltysiak," said Kathleen Ponitz, chairwoman of the CVB board of directors. "We are so happy about this unanimous appointment."

Prior to taking the Denver position, Small was president of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors bureau in Syracuse, N.Y. He also spent 10 years with the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority in Palm Springs, Calif., and before that four years with the CVB in Dayton, Ohio

Small, a native of Ohio who wanted to return to the region to be closer to his family, will take over the bureau's top spot on Sept. 15. Steve Wilson held the position for two decades, leaving in March to become the executive director of the Ruth Mott Foundation in Flint, his hometown.

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