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Brian Stevens, President & CEO of ConferenceDirect, hosted the annual President’s Award Trip recognizing the company’s top performing associates at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in late September. The five associates recognized were Daniel Valha, Peter Green, Fred Mitzner, Brian Melton, and Kristin House. Pictured here (left to right): Jerry Horan, Chief Operating Officer; Valha; Melton; Stevens; Lisa Messina, Chief Marketing Officer; Green; House; and Mitzner.

L.A. Hotel Workers Receive Minimum Wage Increase

Hotel workers at larger hotels in Los Angeles will now receive one of the highest minimum wages in the country.

The Los Angeles City Council voted last week to raise the minimum wage to at least $15.37 an hour. The decision followed a spirited debate that saw labor groups rally behind the proposal and business groups and some hotel owners warning that the raise would inevitably lead to layoffs.

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Philadelphia Carpenters Union
Continues Push for Convention Center Work

Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters Local 8 is waging a full-scale campaign to be reinstated for work at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Several hundred union protestors gathered outside of the convention center on Sept. 20, brandishing signs that said “End the lockout” and “We signed, let us work.” The latter refers to a 10-year customer service agreement (CSA) instituted in May.

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IAEE Announces Awards Honor Roll

Shining a light on professionals who have made exceptional contributions to events and exhibitions, IAEE announced this year’s class of individual award winners on Sept. 23.

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ALHI Raises $2,689 for Navy SEAL Foundation

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) members really stepped up for our nation’s servicemen during its Industry Advisory Council (IAC).

From Sept. 11-14, attendees donned pedometers tallying their steps as they strolled the idyllic grounds of the Hotel del Coronado, San Diego as part of the IAC Walk for a Cause. Raising a dollar for each mile traveled, ALHI donated $2,689 to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

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Centerplate Completely Caves in to Zealots

By Jonathan Trager

As has been reported by numerous news sources by now, Des Hague, former CEO of Centerplate, was recently fired from his job after surveillance video showed him kicking and lifting his dog by its leash in a hotel elevator. Apparently, he was frustrated by the dog’s unruly behavior when he tried to take it out for a walk.

Seeing someone physically lash out at their pet isn’t a savory sight. Nor should Centerplate, after the incident came to light, have initially sent out a statement that it was merely a “private matter,” which also gave the impression that it couldn’t care less about the treatment of animals. But now it seems that the pendulum swung all the way to the other side.

Consider this: Many parents remember a time when they regrettably struck their child in a fit of anger and frustration. And many of them have felt guilty about doing so afterward. Should they also lose custody of the child? Should they be fired for it?
I watched the video online. The dog wasn’t killed or seriously injured in an act of wanton brutality by a sadist; it was a reaction by an annoyed pet owner who has no record of violence. In almost all such cases, it would’ve been over and done with immediately.

But not this time. An unidentified hotel employee was reportedly so disturbed by the video that he or she found it necessary to give it to the authorities—and the media. If that was the right approach, then why hasn’t this person already stepped forward?

Eventually, Centerplate said Hague, whom the company admits has been highly successful since taking the helm in 2009, would be assessed a $100,000 fine and given 1,000 hours of community service. I don’t know exactly what Hague’s personal financial situation is, but we’re not talking about Bill Gates or Warren Buffet here. Not to mention the embarrassment of having the incident plastered on newspaper pages, television screens, and websites.

Maybe it’s too much to ask that a company that’s experiencing mounting public pressure to refuse to completely cave in to the demands of an army of angry, self-righteous zealots. But it would be nice to see the company stick to a reasonable response instead of just waving the white flag and ruining a man’s career.




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