jump to navigation

Public Invited as City Leaders “Kick Start” MotoGP Week Leading up to the Red Bull Indianapolis GP September 8, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Arts/Culture & Attractions, Events.
comments closed

WHAT:  As Indianapolis prepares to host the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP this weekend  at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,community leaders and city officials will gather to showcase the many signature events happening during this high-profile week. The “Indy Kick Start Celebration” will celebrate the plans and activities to host and service thousands of national and international motorcycle racing enthusiasts and visitors.  

This very visual, public kick-off event will bring together event organizers for Indy’s weekend celebration of motorcycles, speed and culture.  Hundreds of motorcycles will parade onto Monument Circle from South Meridian Street led by the talented and dynamic Red Bull Rookies Cup Riders.  Following remarks, event organizers will be available to showcase such cornerstone events as:

  • Red Bull Indianapolis GP Pit Walkabout, qualifications, and support races and events
  • Red Bull Broad Ripple Street Party (Thursday evening, 9/11)
  • XDL Sportbike Freestyle Championship Round 4 (Friday evening, 9/12 near Veterans Memorial Plaza
  • Motorcycles on Meridian (Friday and Saturday evenings, 9/12-13 – “see and be seen” atmosphere)
  • Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Flat Track Grand National (9/13 at Indiana State Fairgrounds)
  • Plus info on other major city events happening this week and weekend

 Opportunities will also exist for the public to get up-close to professional motorcycles racers
WHO:  Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis 
            Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
            Tamara Zahn, Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.
            Bob Schultz, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association
            Event Organizers for all motorcycle events in Indianapolis this week
WHEN:  Tuesday, September 9 
                        11:30 a.m.  – Event commences
                        11:45 a.m.  – Motorcycles arrive onto Monument Circle
                        11:55 a.m.  – Officials’ remarks
                        Through 1 p.m.-  Motorcycle exhibits, music on the Circle, food booths, etc.
WHERE:  Monument Circle – Southside

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Bob Schultz, ICVA, 317-639-4772

                                 Ron Green, IMS, 317-492-6480






Inaugural MVP Jerry Rice Celebrates 25th Annual Circle City Classic with Return to Indianapolis; Future NFL Hall of Famer to receive Chase Major Taylor Award September 4, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Events.
comments closed

Future NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who earned Most Valuable Player honors at the inaugural Circle City Classic, will receive the Chase Major Taylor Award in Indianapolis as part of the 25th Annual American Family Insurance Classic Weekend. The 2008 edition of the Circle City Classic will feature the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs and the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers in Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, October 4.

Rice, who will also serve as the Grand Marshal of the American Family Insurance Classic Parade, will be honored with the Chase Major Taylor Award at the Indianapolis Colts Classic Coaches Luncheon on Friday, October 3. Tickets to all Classic events are available by calling the Circle City Classic office at (317) 237-5222.

The Chase Major Taylor Award, named in honor of prominent Indianapolis cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor, is a tribute to African-American athletes, coaches, athletic administrators and officials who have made significant local and national contributions to youth while encouraging excellence in future generations.

“We are honored to have Jerry Rice return to Indianapolis as the 2008 Chase Major Taylor Award winner,” said James Perkins, chair of the Major Taylor Award committee. “Jerry, along with his Mississippi Valley State teammates, generated an excitement at the first Circle City Classic that continues today. There is no better way to celebrate our 25th Classic than by honoring our most successful Classic alum.”

Rice earned MVP honors in the 1984 Circle City Classic as he led Mississippi Valley State to a 48-36 win over Grambling State, finishing with eight receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers (16th overall) the following year.

In his 20-year NFL career, Rice set 38 NFL records, was voted to 13 Pro Bowls, and won three Super Bowls (XXIII, XXIV, and XIX). His numerous accolades include the Super Bowl XXIII MVP, 1995 Pro Bowl MVP, and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team Member. Rice accumulated NFL records of 1,549 receptions for 22,895 yards and a total of 208 touchdowns during his NFL career.

“It is an extreme honor to have someone the caliber of Jerry Rice return to the Classic,” said William Mays, co-chairman, Circle City Classic. “I was at the first Classic game and could tell he was a special player who would enjoy a successful career. It is fitting to have him back as we celebrate our 25th anniversary.”

“We are honored to have had a legendary athlete such as Jerry Rice be a part of the Circle City Classic during the inaugural game,” Indiana Black Expo President and CEO Tanya Bell said. “It’s truly a blessing to have him return to celebrate the 25th Anniversary with us in the new Lucas Oil Stadium.” 

Past recipients of the Major Taylor Award are: Ray Crowe (1987), James Perkins (1988), Anita DeFrantz (1989), Eddie Robinson (1990), Bill Brooks (1991), Dr. LeRoy Walker (1992), Clarence “Big House” Gaines (1993), Florence Griffith Joyner (1994), Mel Blount (1995), Reggie Williams (1996), Doug Williams (1997), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1998), Carolyn Peck (1999), Earl Woods (2000), Daniel Boggan, Jr. (2001), Mike Davis (2002), Muhammad Ali and Rev. Charles Williams (2003), George McGinnis (2004), Dominique Dawes (2005), Shani Davis (2006), and Tamika Catchings and Tony Dungy (2007).


John Dedman, Indiana Sports Corporation – (317) 237-5016

Justin Bryant, Indiana Sports Corporation – (317) 237-5028

Rachele Salary, Indiana Black Expo – (317) 923-3042

Red Carpet Rolling Out for Fans at Red Bull Indianapolis GP August 21, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Events.
comments closed

Indianapolis will embrace motorcycle riders and celebrate the two-wheeled lifestyle in September when MotoGP comes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP, as a joint community effort is producing a festival of exciting, world-class activities for riders and enthusiasts.

Officials from the City of Indianapolis, Town of Speedway, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA), the Red Bull Indianapolis GP Local Organizing Committee and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are coordinating many motorcycle-oriented events to celebrate the return of two-wheeled competition to IMS for the first time since 1909, the year the fabled facility opened.

“The sense of anticipation and excitement is building every day for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP,” said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. “The organization and effort by the community surrounding this race is very similar to that during the month-long celebration of the Indianapolis 500 every May. This will be a memorable, world-class event for riders in every way.”

The Red Bull Indianapolis GP Local Organizing Committee, formed in February 2008, is comprised of representatives from these organizations: LDI Ltd., Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., Indiana Office of Tourism Development, International Center of Indianapolis, Simon Property Group, regional and national motorcycle enthusiasts and IMS.

The Local Organizing Committee is overseeing the coordination of local special events, local and regional riding opportunities for motorcycle enthusiasts, local hotels and restaurants, and public safety and security.

In conjunction with the Committee, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development has created “Live Indiana: Motorcycle Rides,” a special promotion with an interactive Web site and blog featuring favorite motorcycle routes throughout the state. The Web site, found at www.LiveIndiana.net, features opportunities for riders to blog about their favorite Indiana restaurants, activities and entertainment along the routes, as well as maps and directions.

Committee officials also are working closely with ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) of Indiana, a not-for-profit, safety, educational, charitable and advocacy motorcyclist organization. ABATE of Indiana, which has a membership of more than 27,000, is working as a liaison with visiting riders during race week, promoting area bike-oriented events and rider safety.

Much like the impressive lineup of activities surrounding the Indianapolis 500 during the Month of May, multiple events around the area will create a festival atmosphere during Red Bull Indianapolis GP race week, including:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 9: Kick Start Celebration press conference, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis.
  • Thursday, Sept. 11: Red Bull TNT Freestyle Motocross, 8 p.m. in the popular entertainment district of Broad Ripple. The event will take place on 62nd Street between College and Guilford Avenues, as Red Bull TNT Freestyle riders will perform aerial tricks and stunts after launching themselves high into the air from huge ramps. Special motorcycle parking and street closures in the area will create a festival atmosphere.
  • Friday, Sept. 12: XDL Sportbike Freestyle Championship at Indy, 7-11 p.m. in downtown Indianapolis. This high-energy, high-thrill motorcycle stunt/drifting event will take place on North Street between Pennsylvania and Meridian Streets.
  • Friday, Sept. 12 and Saturday, Sept. 13: Motorcycles on Meridian, starting at 7 p.m. in downtown Indianapolis. Meridian Street in downtown Indianapolis will be open only to motorcycle traffic and parking between Maryland and South Streets, providing a perfect opportunity for riders and fans to check out the exciting restaurants and downtown nightlife.
  • Saturday, Sept. 13: Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Flat Track Grand National, 7 p.m. at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St. in Indianapolis. The top national flat-track motorcycle racing series returns to the famed “Indy Mile” dirt oval for the first time since 1999. The top flat-track riders in the world will slide through the corners while racing handlebar-to-handlebar around the track.

“Indianapolis is ready for all the exciting events surrounding the Red Bull Indianapolis GP,” ICVA President and CEO Don Welsh said. “We’ve worked hard to create and sustain our city’s reputation as America’s premier sporting events destination. This week-long festival celebrates that reputation coupled with everything about motorcycles.”

The world’s best motorcycle road racers in the MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc classes will provide high-speed, side-by-side action all day Friday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 14 on the 2.621-mile road course at IMS. The MotoGP stars of the future also will compete in Red Bull Riders Cup and Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup events during the weekend at IMS.

But there also is plenty of non-racing entertainment planned at IMS.  Manufacturer displays, manufacturer demo rides and a Vendor Marketplace featuring many types of motorcycle equipment and accessories will be available to fans all weekend at IMS. Pre-race entertainment on Sunday, Sept. 14 will include stunt riding, sky divers, the always-inspiring military flyover during the national anthem, and more.

IMS is accommodating motorcyclists with several areas of motorcycle-friendly parking, with nearly 16,000 spaces spread over 26 acres at the facility.

Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14, 2008.  Tickets can be purchased either online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time; on the phone by calling (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office on the first floor of the IMS Administration Building at 4790 W. 16th St. in Indianapolis from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All tickets for this event are three-day tickets, with both reserved and general admission seating available.

Media Contacts: Ron Green, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, (317) 492-6780, rgreen@brickyard.com
Paul Kelly, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, (315) 673-0184, pkelly@brickyard.com
World Wide Web: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Indy Officials to Welcome World’s Most Elite Drum Corps; Inaugural “Indy Drum Off” To Sound Start to World Championships August 5, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, Events.
comments closed

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and local officials will welcome the 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships to Indianapolis this week as the 2007 reigning world champions, Blue Devils from Concord, Calif., will demonstrate their percussive skills and challenge local Indianapolis participants in an exhilarating street drumming competition.

A Welcome Press Conference and Inaugural Indy Drum Off will usher in “Marching Music’s Major League™” with the 43 competing drum and bugle corps traveling from across the country to Central Indiana.  Additionally, the drumming skills of local Indianapolis personalities and sports mascots assembled will go head-to-head against the 2007 reigning world champion Blue Devils drum line.  The event will kick off the Drum Corps International Individual and Ensemble contest at the Indiana Convention Center featuring members from the world’s most elite marching music ensembles as they showcase their talent and musical skills all day here in downtown Indianapolis. 

Press Conference Participants:

  • Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis
  • Dan Acheson, President & CEO of Drum Corps International
  • Don Welsh, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association

Drum Off Participants:

  • Reigning 2007 World Champion Blue Devil drum line
  • Rowdy from the Indianapolis Indians
  • Bowser and the Pacemates from the Indiana Pacers
  • Freddy Fever of the Indiana Fever
  • Representative(s) from the Indianapolis Colts (invited)
  • Area media personalities

The press welcome press conference and the Indy Drum Off will take place on the Indiana Convention Center’s Capitol Avenue Plaza, directly across the street from St. John Catholic Church along Capitol Avenue.  The area is adjacent to the large steps leading up to the RCA Dome.  A rain location is set for the Serpentine 2 area on the second floor of the convention center adjacent to the escalators nearest the skywalk that goes to the Hyatt. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 11 – 11:30 a.m.

Free to the public, the Drum Corps International Individual and Ensemble contest is one of seven events taking place during the 2008 Drum Corps International World Championships. The world championships will feature events in Michigan City, Indianapolis and culminate with final performances at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, August 7 – 9.


  • Tickets for the world championship events at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington can be purchased online at www.DCI.org/Indiana08, Ticketmaster.com or at the box office on the day of the show.
  • SPECIAL GROUP RATES are available for organizations, companies or any group 20 persons or more. For special group offers contact Mike Henn at 317-842-9637 or hennmike@gmail.com.  

About the Drum Corps International World Championships
The Drum Corps International World Championships are the pinnacle of more than 115 competitive events taking place across North America as part of the annual DCI Summer Tour. From June through mid-August, the tour features ensembles comprised of up to 150 brass musicians, percussionists and dance performers ages 14 to 22. Each of these elite groups will travel more than 10,000 miles, rehearsing an average of 10 hours daily in order to compete at the highest levels of musical and performance excellence in venues which include the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the Alamodome in San Antonio and INVESCO field at Mile High in Denver.

The semifinals and finalsof the Drum Corps International World Championships will take place in Memorial Stadium on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington on August 7-9, 2008. Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium will host the World Championships each year starting in August, 2009. 
Bob Schultz
Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association
317-639-4772 (work)
317-442-2155 (cell)

Diane Peasel
Drum Corps International
317-275-1221 (work)
630-400-3547 (cell)


Local Tourism Leaders Showered With Awards; Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Receives Three National Awards This Month July 23, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
comments closed

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has recently received new awards and recognition from three national convention trade publications, the Meetings and Conventions Gold Service Award, Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award and Association Convention and Facilities Distinctive Achievement Award.

Award recipients were all selected based on similar criteria of professionalism of staff, quality of destination and convention centers, support on hotels and site inspections, ground transportation planning, supplier information, housing assistance, guidance on local attractions and liaison with local venders and services.  Selections from each publication were made solely based on votes from subscribers. 

The ICVA has been honored with the Gold Service award 12 times and the Pinnacle Award 14 times before this year.  Association Convention and Facilities, however is a new publication and this was the first time the Distinctive Achievement Award was given.

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.


New Airport Features Impressive Mix of Local Favorites and Top National Brands July 18, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development.
comments closed

When it opens November 11, travelers and visitors passing through the new Indianapolis International Airport will instantly recognize more than 40 new and returning national brands, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, CNBC, Brooks Brothers, Harley-Davidson, Borders, Pacific Outfitters, Au Bon Pain, Qdoba, Brookstone, Johnston & Murphy, and Cold Stone Creamery.
They will also be able to enjoy one-of-a-kind shopping and dining experiences that showcase some of the city’s top restaurants, arts and cultural institutions, and sports organizations.
In an announcement made yesterdat by the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Board President Randall L. Tobias explained, “When we began planning the types of shops and restaurants needed at the airport, we felt it was important that the true feel and flavor of Indiana be evident. We also wanted to be sure the selections would satisfy the needs, tastes, and lifestyle preferences of contemporary business and leisure travelers.”
The result is a hometown line-up featuring a number of major players, including:

—  The first-ever Indianapolis 500 Grill, a sit-down restaurant which will be accompanied by a Brickyard Authentics apparel and collectible store and an Indianapolis 500 museum.

—  One of the nation’s first and most comprehensive local museum stores, Cultural Crossroads, is a ground-breaking partnership offering merchandise and displays from eight leading Indianapolis museums and cultural institutions, including: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; Conner Prairie, a nationally acclaimed living history museum; Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian & Western Art; Indiana Historical Society; Indiana State Museum; Indianapolis Art Center; Indianapolis Museum of Art; and the Indianapolis Zoo.
—  Harry & Izzy’s restaurant in Concourse A will offer the iconic shrimp cocktail made famous at St. Elmo Steakhouse as part of its classic-but-casual menu.

—  Café Patachou, Indianapolis’ favorite bistro, will open Patachou on the Fly, a take-off of the city’s beloved neighborhood establishment voted “Best Place for Breakfast” by Indianapolis Monthly for 15 years running.

Joie Chitwood, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was among the speakers at the event. “Creating a restaurant that expresses the history and drama of the Speedway has been an idea in search of the right location. With all of the visitors that flow through the airport, we are excited about this unique opportunity to expose them to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brand.  When travelers grab a seat in the new Indianapolis 500 Grill, they will instantly know they are in Indy, the world’s racing capital,” he said.
Noted Craig Huse, president of Harry & Izzy’s, “The namesakes of this quintessential Indianapolis restaurant were an important part of the excitement of driving the city’s early growth, so we are tremendously proud to participate in this bold new chapter in city history.”
Jeff Patchen, president and CEO of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, represented the eight local museums and cultural institutions that join forces for the Cultural Crossroads store. “The new Indianapolis International Airport is the first in the U.S. to provide one store highlighting such a large cross section of local cultural treasures. Each of the institutions represented plans to host exhibits and demonstrations that will ensure even regular airport visitors always have fresh and diverse experiences.”
Mandy Swift, who co-owns Broad Ripple’s Just Pop In gourmet popcorn shop with sister Carly Swift, also spoke, noting that as “A small-business owner, I am excited about the opportunity to launch a new store at the airport that has the potential to reach millions of passengers each year.”
Other well-known local and state brands will operate out of the new terminal when it opens later this year:

—  Shapiro’s Delicatessen, Indy’s famous kosher-style delicatessen, will follow its tradition of offering piled-high corned beef sandwiches and other generous portion sizes at modest prices, at the new airport.

—  Home of the “Build Your Own” hot dog, King David Dogs will bring its downtown Indianapolis flavor to Concourse B.

—  96th Street Steakburgers, one of the city’s favorite retro-cool burger joints, will serve its top-notch, juicy burgers and other fare.

—  Indianapolis’ well-known downtown pizzeria, Giorgio’s Pizza, will serve its signature New York-style pies by the slice.

—  Vera Bradley, the famous Hoosier maker of colorful cotton, silk, and denim handbags, totes, duffels, backpacks, and more will offer its exclusive line of signature gifts and merchandise.

—  Growing chocolatier South Bend Chocolate Company will offer its one-of-a-kind chocolates, premier ice cream, and other treats to take home or enjoy before leaving the airport.
The new 1.2 million-square-foot terminal, with two 20-gate concourses, has given the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) a rare opportunity to be creative and still meet the everyday needs of air travelers, Ambassador Tobias said.  “We decided to negotiate individually for each concession concept and tenant rather than turn the entire operation over to one airport concession company. We believe our customers will enjoy the results,” he added.
Some of the new airport’s restaurants, news and gift stores, specialty shops, and other service providers have individual contracts with IAA. Others are partnering with major airport concession operators, including Areas, HDS Retail, HMS Host, Paradies, and SSP America.
The dining and shopping center of the airport will be Civic Plaza, which will offer approximately 25,000 square feet of restaurants and specialty retailers. Each of the two concourses will have approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Indianapolis Tourism Leaders Launch Expanded Online Marketing July 1, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in ICVA Business.
comments closed

Indianapolis Tourism Leaders Launch Expanded Online Marketing
Updated Web 2.0 Site and Social Media Efforts, Lead Nation in Destination Promotion

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has launched a redesigned Web site at www.indy.org, offering new, engaging interactive features and incorporating user-generated content. The look of the new site reflects the citywide brand and reinforces the ICVA’s established brand slogan “so easy to do so much.”  Already averaging 130,000 monthly user sessions and 1.2 million monthly page views, the new features and functionalities on the site include:

  • internally and externally generated blog content; 
  • expanded photo and video offerings, including submission opportunities through FlickR and YouTube;
  • hotel, restaurant and destination user/customer reviews;
  • user-friendly partner and event listings; 
  • online version of our award-winning visitor guide; 
  • meeting planner’s toolkit, the first of its kind developed by any CVB in the country.

Additionally, the ICVA is among the first CVBs in the nation to have a staff person dedicated to destination promotion through the use of social media.  Karissa Rittmeyer, manager of communications and social media for the ICVA, is responsible for identifying, creating and maximizing social media communications strategies to expand the awareness of Indianapolis’ tourism assets via online resources.  Specifically, Rittmeyer will manage the ICVA’s corporate blogs, synthesize external blogs onto the ICVA Website, penetrate social networking sites on behalf of Indianapolis tourism and utilize social bookmarking and latest technologies to maximize search engine optimization.  

ICVA had already stepped out on the new media forefront of CVBs with the debut of “Doing Indy,” ICVA’s video podcast.  This week marks the 100th episode of the popular podcast since it launched in March, 2006.  Viewership has steadily increased to the current 25,000 monthly iTunes subscribers.  “Doing Indy” also has its own presence on such social networking/sharing sites as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. 

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

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

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, Expansion & New Development.
Tags: ,
comments closed

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.
comments closed

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.
comments closed

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.