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Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Welcomes Donald Welsh as New President & CEO June 20, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, Expansion & New Development.
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Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Names Donald Welsh as New President & CEO

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has named Donald P. Welsh as its new President & CEO. Welsh, 52, who has been the president and CEO of the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau, will assume his duties with the ICVA on Aug. 1. Welsh succeeds Bob Bedell who announced his retirement last December effective July 31. Bedell has served as president and CEO since 2002.

Welsh said he was attracted to Indianapolis by a mix of both professional and personal reasons. His arrival coincides with the opening of Lucas Oil Stadium in August, the opening of the midfield terminal at Indianapolis International Airport in October, the beginning of construction on expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and construction of the 1,600-room Marriott hotel complex anchored by the 1,000-room JW Marriott. He said Indianapolis is a “marketer’s dream come true.”

A veteran of more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, Welsh was chosen from a nationwide search that began with more than 100 applicants.

“This is a big deal for us,” said Jim Morris, the president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment and ICVA board member who chaired the search committee. “Don is one of the most extraordinary leaders of the convention, tourism and hospitality industry in all of North America. When he came here to visit, he displayed a genuine passion for our community and the importance of this activity for the economy of Indianapolis and Central Indiana.”

“Don’s qualities in particular and the number of exceptional candidates seeking this position reflect the nationwide recognition that Indianapolis is a convention, meetings and tourism destination with a great future,” said Jerry Semler, ICVA chairman of the board. “We have found absolutely the right man to lead the ICVA and the Indianapolis hospitality industry during this exciting phase of expansion and growth.

Prior to becoming president and CEO of the Seattle bureau, Welsh served as its senior vice president for sales and marketing from 2003-2005.

A native of Baltimore, Welsh has served in various sales and marketing capacities for the Westin Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas and Wyndham International.

In 2000-2001, he was president of the Continental Basketball Association, working with former Indiana Pacers coach Isiah Thomas. After the CBA ceased operations, Welsh returned to the hospitality industry as executive vice president for business development at Helms Briscoe, one of the nation’s top meeting planning companies. There, he managed clients such as Four Seasons, Starwood, Marriott and Hilton.
In 2003, he moved to the Seattle CVB as senior vice president of sales and marketing.

As president and CEO in Seattle, he has overseen a staff of 50 full-time employees and a budget of $11 million. In 2007, the 9,000 hotel rooms in the core of downtown Seattle had an occupancy rate of 75 percent.

Welsh successfully rebranded the Seattle CVB in 2006 with the current brand, “Seattle, Metronatural.” He also implemented a Tourism Matters campaign to raise awareness among local citizens and elected officials about the significant impact of tourism.

Welsh and his wife, Jean, have four daughters: Ashley, 24; Laura, 20; Amanda, 18, and Sarah, 14.

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth. The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience. According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shiffllet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

Contact: Bob Schultz, APR, 317-639-4772, bschultz@indianapolis.org


Media Tour/Media Availability: Pre-Season Training Camp for Marching Music’s Major League™ June 16, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Events.
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See them NOW – this Friday!
They won’t be back to Indiana until the World Championships in August!

Local/regional media is invited to be guided through the lifestyle of world class drum and bugle corps members about to embark on a more than 10,000 mile journey that will conclude this August in Bloomington, Ind. for the 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships event.

Collect b-roll, interview corps members, understand the phenomena.

Receive an inside look before Drum Corps International (DCI), the non-profit event producer of the world’s most elite and exclusive marching music ensembles, brings its World Championships to Bloomington beginning Thursday, August 7.

Come see Carolina Crown from Fort Mill, S.C., one of more than 40 competing marching ensembles, in an exclusive pre-season preview at their Bloomington, Ind. training camp area. Watch rehearsals and see how a 150-member ensemble lays camp inside a gymnasium, eats food prepared on a commercial size kitchen semi-trailer, and travels on charter buses that will take them across North America.

WHO: Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps from Fort Mill, S.C. http://carolinacrown.org

An opportunity to experience a 150-member world class drum corps’ training site, sleeping quarters, travelling kitchen trailer and tour buses.

Your best available time on Friday, June 20 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Practice: 9 – 12 p.m.
Lunch: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Practice: 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Dinner: 6 p.m.
Dress Rehearsal around 8 p.m.

WHERE: Binford Elementary
2300 East 2nd Street
Bloomington, IN 47401

HOW: See how they rehearse. See how they eat. See how they sleep. See how it intense it all is — on the professional level. Warm-up with one of the most elite groups of young musicians as they gather for an afternoon practice session led by world class instructors. Watch a team of volunteers feed 150 students and their staff from the back of a semi-trailer kitchen. Take a tour through their entire camp site to gather more information. Stay around past eight o’clock and be blown away by a full dress rehearsal performance.

About the 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships
The 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships is the pinnacle of 115 live competitive events that will occur across North America as part of the annual Drum Corps International Summer Tour. Between June and August, the tour will feature ensembles comprised of up to 150 brass, percussion and color guard students aged 14 to 22. These groups will travel more than 10,000 miles, rehearsing an average of 10 hours each day.

This August, Indiana will host the Drum Corps International World Championships in Michigan City, Indianapolis, and Bloomington from August 5-9, 2008. The semifinals and finals will take place in Memorial Stadium on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium will host the World Championships each year starting in August, 2009. Hundreds of volunteers are now being sought to help stage this August’s event. Tickets have gone on sale this week for this showcase of “Marching Music’s Major League™” at www.dci.org.

About Drum Corps International
Drum Corps International (DCI) is the world leader in producing events for the world’s most elite and exclusive marching ensembles for student musicians and performers. Founded in 1972, Drum Corps International has developed into a powerful, nonprofit, global youth organization with far-reaching artistic, educational and organizational influence. Drum Corps International is Marching Music’s Major League™. Learn more about the exciting world of Drum Corps International and its member corps on the Web at DCI.org, or call (317) 275-1212. Drum Corps International is located in Indianapolis, Ind.

Media Contacts:
Diane Peasel
Drum Corps International

Tosha Daughtery
Bloomington/Monroe County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bob Schultz
Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association

Post-Sept. 11 U.S. Airport Designs Specialize in ‘Security that You Can’t See’ June 6, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development.
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Nine bulky luggage scanners worth $1 million each wait silently beneath the new terminal, poised to check for explosives at a combined rate of 3,600 bags an hour.

Concrete bollards guard the main doors. Blast-resistant glass fills the front windows of the $1.1 billion terminal at Indianapolis International Airport, which will open this fall.

New and renovated airports have poured millions of dollars into safety upgrades since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, working advice from explosives experts into design plans that encompass everything from the most secure place for parking garages to more efficient security checkpoints.

“We haven’t had to dig a moat around the terminal or anything,” said Jay McQueen, deputy project director for the Indianapolis terminal. “It’s been an incremental set of changes to help make everything more secure.”

The Sept. 11 attacks, in which hijackers seized control of airliners leaving from Boston, Newark and Washington, triggered a massive re-examination of airport security. Passengers saw the formation of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration shortly after the attacks, and they’ve since become used to spending more time in security checkpoints having their shoes x-rayed and carrying only limited amounts of liquids.

But many other upgrades fly beneath their radar.

“We like to say around here that the best kind of security is the security that you can’t see,” said Ken Capps, vice president of public affairs for the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which opened a new international terminal in 2005.

In Indianapolis, those steps include the bollards, windows that will fold like a drape when broken rather than exploding into shards of flying glass, and a 240-foot-wide (72-meter-deep) strip of lawn that will separate the front entrance of the new terminal from its five-story parking garage.

The grassy median, which will be planted between the garage and a road leading up to the terminal, isn’t for pastoral effect. It’s the product of a federal mandate requiring all buildings that hold cars be kept at least 300 feet (90 meters) from an airport terminal. Blast analysis, which looks at how a building withstands an explosion, has become a routine part of airport design, said Tom Darmody, senior vice president of aviation and transportation for the design firm HOK.

“For the most part, people weren’t even thinking about this ’til after 9/11,” said Andy Bell, vice president of planning at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

Planners generally use bollards or cement piers to keep possible bomb-laden cars at least 20 feet (6 meters) to 30 feet (9 meters) from a building’s support beams, said Dick Marchi, a senior adviser with Airports Council International-North America.

“The real fear is that somebody will bring a building down,” Marchi said. “Turns out with blast protection, a relatively small distance (away) does an awful lot of good.”

Airports have spread out the cost of these upgrades using bond revenue, rent hikes and parking garage money, among other sources of income. Still, some of the expense filters down in the form of higher prices for a cup of coffee or a parking space.

“The passenger ultimately pays for everything,” Marchi said.

The Indianapolis terminal is one of the first airports designed and built since Sept. 11. Planners more than doubled the space provided for security equipment compared with the current airport. They added a room for isolating international travelers suspected of carrying a contagious disease.

They also spent $24 million to build an inline baggage screening system beneath the terminal’s main floor. The system includes about a mile of conveyor belts that feed luggage through scanners, which compare bag contents with properties found in explosives. Security personnel will keep watch from a nearby room, and they’ll be able to quickly divert any suspicious bags.

Since the government now requires all baggage to be checked for explosives, the Transportation Security Administration provided the scanners for Indianapolis. Previously, only luggage on international flights had to be scanned.

Dallas/Fort Worth plans a similar baggage screening system for its five terminals. Bell expects to spend about $140 million on it by the time it’s finished in 2010.

Construction started on that airport’s new international terminal shortly before the 2001 attacks. Planners adjusted their design to add $47 million in security upgrades.

They fortified walls with more steel and concrete, and they set up a separate road for deliveries. Drivers must pass a security checkpoint to get near the terminal. Shipments are then dropped at a central location and screened before they reach the vendor.

“This is really the trend of the future,” Bell said. “Everybody would be basically prearranging this so there wouldn’t be any strange beer truck that comes out of nowhere.”

Airports also hope to boost security by making passengers happier about the checkpoint process.

Indianapolis will use natural light to help improve the mood around its two checkpoints, and it plans to install monitors that tell passengers how long it takes to pass through checkpoints.

The Dallas/Fort Worth airport, meanwhile, plans to use video displays and recorded messages to direct passengers in a less irritating manner.

“In the past, the town crier TSA guy would, every five minutes, look up and start yelling at everybody to take out your liquids,” Bell said.

Bell also wants to set up parallel tables before the checkpoints so more people can remove their shoes and wallets for scanning. That will tame checkpoint waits and keep passengers calm, which makes it easier to spot potential problems.

“If everybody’s irritated and cussing,” Bell said, “it’s hard to tell who might be a person of interest.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ Extraordinary Collaboration Results in 2009 Egyptian – Indianapolis Showcase June 2, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Arts/Culture & Attractions.
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“Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” and new Children’s Museum permanent exhibit featuring Egypt to open in Indianapolis in June 2009

INDIANAPOLIS – What began as a joint effort with world-renowned archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass, the National Geographic Society and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to produce a new traveling exhibit in 2002 has developed into an extraordinary partnership with Egypt’s First Lady Suzanne Mubarak and the real “Indiana Jones” of modern Egypt, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Egypt.

As a result, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will host Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs for four months beginning in late June 2009; the museum will open a new $8 million permanent exhibit Global Perspectives featuring modern Egypt, also opening in June, 2009; and the museum will continue its successful collaboration with the country of Egypt to ultimately develop a new children’s museum in Cairo.

Treasures from King Tut’s tomb and other Pharaohs and Notables to be showcased
Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs will present more than 130 matchless treasures from the tomb of the celebrated pharaoh King Tut and additional ancient sites to visitors of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis from June 2009 through the end of October 2009. Nearly 4 million people visited an earlier King Tut exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs during a four-city U.S. tour from 2005 to 2007.

Dr. Jeffrey Patchen, president and CEO of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, “Our ability to secure this magnificent exhibit in Indianapolis evolved through our ongoing partnership with Dr. Zahi Hawass.”

New Global Perspectives exhibit offers interactive experiences of modern-day Egypt
When it opens in June 2009, the new Global Perspective exhibit will allow visitors to “arrive” in modern Egypt and experience city and rural life with all of their traditions and celebrations. Visitors will have the opportunity to shop in a modern marketplace, understand how the environment and its care are crucial to modern Egyptians, participate in a traditional Egyptian celebration, and learn about Egyptian music and artistic traditions.

John Lechleiter, president and chief operating officer for Eli Lilly and Company, said, “Global Perspectives will be a powerful, invaluable opportunity allowing millions of families to feel they have left Indianapolis and are actually participating in the daily life of a new culture. “The exhibit will foster understanding in a way that goes far beyond textbooks, television or even the Internet.”

Planning for the new $8 million 13,000 square-foot international changing exhibition space started in 2003. Global Perspectives opens in June 2009. Every two to three years, the exhibition’s focus will change to another culture.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis helps design new Suzanne Mubarak Children’s Museum in Cairo
In commenting on the collaboration between The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the planned Suzanne Mubarak Children’s Museum, First Lady Mubarak said, “The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is giving us a wonderful message and service for family-oriented museums. We do hope that we’ll be able to gain and learn and share the experiences of your museum, and in a sense, enrich our own museum.”

Mubarak is known throughout Egypt for her dedication to children, libraries and women’s issues, and she views revising the current children’s museum as an extension of her work and commitment on behalf of children. She said, “We want to share with Egyptian children and make them understand there are other cultures and values out there; but at the end of the day, we all share the same values. We want to care for each other, love each other and live in a peaceful world. And that is our message.”

Hawass said, “Mrs. Mubarak would like this museum to be the best for children and families, and this is why we need The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.” The new Suzanne Mubarak Children’s Museum will be the beneficiary of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ approach to family learning across the sciences, arts and humanities. The new museum is being planned on the site of an existing children’s museum that is 15 years old.

Patchen and Jennifer Pace-Robinson, Vice President of Experience Development and Family Learning The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis are serving as exhibit design advisors and continue to meet with Mubarak and Hawass to discuss proposed exhibit themes. Patchen and Robinson have also reviewed preliminary plans for the architecture and exhibit layout at the new museum and early designs including a ground floor exhibit based around three seasons with a hands-on area, activities table and a touch screen.

“It was such an honor to be invited to meet with Her Excellency,” Patchen said, “We are extending our reach far beyond the boundaries of the United States to benefit the children of Egypt. Sharing The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ approach to family learning with Her Excellency, touring Egypt to assist in the creation of a permanent exhibit here that shows Egyptian life today in Global Perspectives, and having the King Tut exhibit in Indiana is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Tutankhamun: The Golden King and The Great Pharaohs is organized by National Geographic, AEG Exhibitions, and Arts and Exhibitions International, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. Global Perspectives, a permanent exhibit developed by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is made possible through funding from The Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation and The Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Donna Lolla
Director of Public and Media Relations
(317) 334-4003
(317) 363-9840

Construction underway on breathtaking JW Marriott Indianapolis June 2, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development.

Groundbreaking Begins Development of Premier Convention Headquarters Complex

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – May 29, 2008 – White Lodging, Whiteco Industries and REI Real Estate Services today celebrated the groundbreaking of the $425 million JW Marriott Indianapolis development featuring 1,623 rooms in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

With shovels in hand, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, White Lodging Chairman and CEO Bruce W. White, REI Real Estate Services President Michael W. Wells, along with community leaders gathered at the seven acre site near the White River State Park to break ground on the largest JW Marriott hotel in the U.S. based on the number of rooms.

The dynamic hotel development will include the city’s largest, full-service convention hotel. In addition to the JW Marriott Indianapolis featuring 1,005 rooms, the hotel property includes the Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown (294 rooms), the Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown (168 rooms), and the Indianapolis SpringHill Suites by Marriott Downtown (156 rooms).

“This is a signature hotel development for White Lodging. I am proud to be a part of shaping the downtown skyline on property our company has owned for more than 20 years,” said Bruce W. White, president and CEO of White Lodging.

The unique crescent moon design of the JW Marriott Indianapolis featuring a blue-tint glass curtain wall system will extend the city skyline to the West of downtown next to the White River State Park. With 34-floors and standing 375 feet tall, the JW Marriott Indianapolis tower will be the tallest hotel in Indianapolis. The more than 105,000 square feet of meeting space includes one of the world’s largest Marriott hotel ballrooms – an enormous Grand Ballroom totaling 40,000 square feet.

“This is one of the largest Marriott developments in the country,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International. “The commitment from Indianapolis leaders to grow the hospitality and tourism industry has created an environment for the JW brand to be the centerpiece of an unprecedented development that will serve countless guests and visitors in this vibrant downtown area.”

The four Marriott hotels will serve as an anchor for the Indianapolis convention and tourism industry which totals more than $3.25 billion a year. In addition, the JW Marriott Indianapolis development is critical to Indianapolis hosting the 2012 Super Bowl and future NCAA events.

Hunt Construction Group is leading the construction management team. Architects on the project include Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK) and CSO Architects.

The JW Marriott Indianapolis sales office, headed by Director of Sales and Marketing Cory Chambers, is actively booking advance group sales for this premier hotel development in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. For more information, contact Cory Chambers at: (317) 573-6534 or by e-mail at cory.chambers@whitelodging.com

March 2010 is the anticipated grand opening for the Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown, and Indianapolis Springhill Suites by Marriott Downtown, in addition to, the grand re-opening of the popular T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant. The JW Marriott Indianapolis grand opening is planned for March 2011.

The spectacular $425 million JW Marriott Indianapolis development will feature 1,623 rooms and include the JW Marriott Indianapolis, Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown, and the Indianapolis SpringHill Suites by Marriott Downtown. Once completed, the luxurious and spacious hotel complex will serve as the premier convention headquarters hotel in Indianapolis with more than 105,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and exhibit space and one of Marriott’s largest hotel ballrooms in the world totaling 40,000 square feet. This landmark hotel development will serve as an anchor for central Indiana’s convention and tourism industry. Located on a seven acre site overlooking the White River State Park, guests are steps away from a thriving downtown with numerous, exciting entertainment attractions. The grand opening for the Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, and the T.G.I. Friday’s is March 2010. The JW Marriott Indianapolis will open in March 2011.

Established in 1985 and headquartered in Merrillville, IN, White Lodging is a fully integrated developer, owner and manager of premium brand hotels – a recognized leader that consistently delivers superior leading brand hotel experiences and premium returns on investment among mid-to-large scale hotels across the country. With over 20 years of expertise and future development projects of $1.5 billion over the next three to five years, White Lodging continues to break ground as one of the fastest growing independent hospitality companies in the country. Their managed portfolio of 130 hotels in seventeen states encompasses representation of the following leading brands: Marriott; Residence Inn by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott; SpringHill Suites by Marriott; Renaissance; Radisson Hotels; Intercontinental Hotel Group; Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Starwood. For more information about White Lodging, visit http://www.whitelodging.com

Located in Carmel, IN, since 1995, REI Real Estate Services is a complete real estate services company that owns, builds, develops, leases and manages a portfolio of office, hotel and mixed use developments throughout the United States. REI owns over 1.5 million square feet of office space and operates more than 3 million square feet in the Indianapolis area alone. They have developed such high profile projects in downtown Indianapolis as Emmis Communications Headquarters, Anthem Operations Center and the Marriott Downtown Indianapolis. REI extends well beyond its hometown market with major office, mid-to large-scale hotels, and high-rise residential ownership holdings and developments underway in: Austin, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Louisville, KY; Salt Lake City, UT; Miramar, FL and internationally in Belize.

Hunt Construction Group was established 1944 in Indianapolis, and is ranked by Engineering News-Record as one of the nation’s top commercial construction management / general contacting firms. Hunt is no stranger to hospitality construction. Throughout the state of Indiana alone, Hunt has completed four major hotels including the Conrad Hotel and Residential Tower and the Marriott Convention Center Hotel both in downtown Indianapolis. Hunt has also completed numerous Marriott hotels including JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ; Grande Lakes Resort & Spa (JW Marriott & Ritz-Carlton) in Orlando, FL; Marriott Downtown Hotel in Louisville, KY; Marriott Hotel, Marina & Convention Center in San Diego, CA; and the Marriott Hotel in Bridgewater, NJ. With over 55 hotel projects completed across the country, Hunt is proud to be ranked #2 by Engineering News-Record for Hotel & Convention Center construction.



Jeremy Stephenson
Director of Development
REI Real Estate Services
(317) 573-6050

Cory Chambers
Director of Sales and Marketing
JW Marriott Indianapolis
(317) 573-6534

Roger Harvey
Vice President
Bose Public Affairs Group
(317) 684-5416