With the closure of Trump Plaza, Showboat and Revel Resort in September, some say Atlantic City is old news. But not Jim Wood, president and CEO of Meet AC, a private nonprofit sales agency started in June 2014 and funded by the CRDA luxury tax. Meet AC’s raison d’être is to drive meeting and convention business to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Convention Center and surrounding hotels. Wood spent 10 and a half years as president of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and four and a half years at the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, so he knows a thing or two about courting visitors, but he’ll rely on a team of 26 to market the city as a meeting and convention destination. “We’re starting a new company and building a team. It’s an exciting challenge,” says Wood.

In addition to a sales team focused on various segments of the meetings and convention markets, Meet AC will function as a full-service Destination Marketing Organization. “We’re a one-stop shop for meeting planners,” Wood says. “Our sales team can assist with everything from proposals and site inspections to room blocks, while the marketing team can help with social media and other efforts to drive attendance to your event.”

Though he’s only been a local since the early summer (he resides in nearby Egg Harbor Township), he’s bullish on AC. “The closings get a lot of press attention, but we expect some or all of those hotels to return. Atlantic City is a prime meetings location,” Wood says. “It’s a year-round destination. We have a tremendous amount to offer from a fabulous beach and boardwalk to world-class hotels (there are 18,000 rooms in the city) and entertainment. Where else can you get all of that in one place?"

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?

 

From Baltimore to Boston to brainstorming, Ralph Weaver has never been one to say “no” to trying something new. After studying communications and marketing at Boston University, the Baltimore native made his way to New York City where he worked with a public relations agency, allowing him to dip his toes in the world of event planning.  

And he hasn’t looked back since.