Detroit’s Convention Business Makes A Comeback
By Carol Cain
The city’s convention business is making a comeback as evidenced by Cobo Center where events have doubled from three years ago, Tom Connors, general manager of Cobo and regional vice president for SMG, said during taping of “Michigan Matters.”
Connors, who has run the facility the past four years, said conventions at Cobo has jumped from six three years ago to 14 so far this year.
“It’s the highest level in many years,” said Connors, who gave credit to the Detroit Regional Convention Authority, the Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, a customer advisory board, and much needed renovations.
Connors appeared with Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Delaers Association, who is also on that Cobo advisory board. The DADA stages the North American International Auto Show there, and Denise Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Enterprises, also was part of the panel.
Alberts, who fought off efforts of other auto shows to take the “international” part of NAIAS away, praised the changes.
“The $300 million in Cobo improvements over last three years has helped to ensure that that the auto show can continue to bring over $350 million annually to our Southeast Michigan economy,” said Alberts.
He added, ” Now that’s what I call a solid return on investment!”
Also appearing on the program was Mark Craig, newly hired general manager of the Plymouth Whalers, the Ontario Hockey League junior team that plays at the suburban Detroit arena.
Craig and Peter Krupsky, who does broadcasts and handles communications for the team owned by Peter Karmanos, talked about the franchise which has made the playoffs 23 years in a row. Both men discussed changes at the team and the next season which kicks off in late September.
You can hear the conversation by watching “Michigan Matters” 11:30 am Sunday on CBS 62.
(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer/Host of CBS 62’s Michigan Matters. She also writes about politics and business in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)