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Twenty cyclists rode in the 2016 ASAE Foundation Bike Ride on Sept. 18, in Shepherdstown, W.V. covering distances ranging from 27 to 100 miles and raising $14,500. Shown here (left to right) three 100-mile riders: Matt Coffindaffer, CAE, Manager, Volunteer Relations, ASAE; Robert Olcott, CAE, FASAE, Managing Director, ORION Investment Advisors; and Al Rickard, CAE, President, Association Vision. Photo by Jenna Worley.

MPI Eliminates 15 Jobs, Fires 10 in “Realignment”

By Todd McElwee

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has fired 10 members of its staff. The association eliminated what it described as 15 roles while creating four new positions.
Board leadership was notified on or about Friday September 16 and affected staff were told on Monday September 19.
Asked by USAE on Sept. 21, how many had been laid off, Paul Van Deventer, President & CEO, said15 positions had been eliminated with four created as part of a thorough organizational restructuring designed to improve the association’s efficiency and long-term stability. MPI also confirmed its staff had been reduced from 89 to 78.

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Fla. Governor Declares Wynwood Free of Zika Virus

By Jonathan Trager

Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood has been declared Zika-free, focusing virus-fighting efforts on Miami Beach, where the infection zone has recently tripled in size.
On Sept. 19, Gov. Rick Scott touted the success of the aerial spraying program used in Wynwood. The use of insecticides Naled and Bti had proven to be effective, he said, as he called for more travel to the arts and entertainment district.

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Final Approval at Last: Marriott and Starwood
Become One

By Dan Bennett

Chinese antitrust regulators last week approved the merger of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, allowing the two hotel giants to become a single company before the stock market opened Sept. 23. Marriott and Starwood announced the final approval in a joint press release.
“As this was the last regulatory approval required to complete the merger, Marriott and Starwood are now able to proceed with closing the transaction, and expect the transaction to be completed before the market opens on September 23, pending satisfaction of customary closing requirements,” the statement reads. “Upon closing, Marriott will solidify its status as the world’s largest hotel company.”

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After Violent Unrest in Charlotte, City Tries to Get Back to Business

By Dan Bennett

The violence and unrest September 21 in Charlotte, N.C. has not yet had a noticeable effect on visitors and meetings, Charlotte tourism and convention leaders said late last week, though the conflict affected some hotels and the convention center, and one conference was postponed.
Much of the action involving a clash between protestors and police in riot gear happened in front of the Omni Charlotte Hotel. This included the release of tear gas against protestors, then the shooting of a protestor close to the nearby Ritz-Carlton hotel, an event now under investigation. Numerous police officers and protesters were injured, and dozens of protestors were arrested.

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HOTS needs a break from politics. And the best vacation from this seemingly everlasting election cycle’s vitriolic atmosphere appears to be business trips: DMAI’s Annual Convention and ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition.

Of course politics feature on both events’ agendas and will be discussed by attendees. (USAE has convention coverage in the current issue.) HOTS however is confident nobody will be screaming “Lock her up,” during an Opening General Session at either event.

HOTS is also certain DMAI and ASAE will be a far better time than either the Republican or Democratic National Conventions; and that’s not a reflection on either Cleveland of Philadelphia. Standing on an arena floor holding signs for speech after speech sounds hideous, though not as torturous as actually navigating security to get to said arena. Also, are delegates afforded free food and drink like they are at DMAI or ASAE attendees, or are they paying premium stadium prices?

Sure, the future president is not appearing in Minneapolis or Salt Lake City, but these meetings do have a significant economic impact. And HOTS has never seen a protester outside an association event.

The election is roughly three months away and at the moment reasonable political talk between colleagues and friends gets HOTS’ vote.

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