The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls enters the 2012 conference season with a new team of professional employees, who will collaborate to bring more events and more commerce to the downtown Niagara Falls area.
"We've added a well-rounded group of directors throughout the past year that not only completes our administrative team, but allows us to reach loftier goals in 2012," said Ryan Coate, general manager of the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls.
Coate himself was recently named as the general manager of both the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls and Old Falls Street, USA. In this position, he is responsible for the overall management, promotion and operation of the facility. He came to this position after serving as the director of convention and event services at the facility, and has also worked at both the Convention Center and the Adam's Mark Hotel in Buffalo. A resident of Buffalo, Coate also is a lecturer at Buffalo State College. He earned a Master's of Arts in organizational leadership from Medaille College, a Bachelor's of Science in hospitality administration from Buffalo State College, and is a certified meeting professional. He is also the newly appointed chairperson of the Downtown Niagara Falls Business Association.
Heather Figler, director of finance, oversees all financial aspects and reporting, as well as human resources functions for both the CCNF and Old Falls Street, USA. Before coming onboard at the facility, she worked as the senior accountant for Sodexho Marriott Services. A resident of Grand Island, Figler earned a Bachelor's of Science in accounting from the University at Buffalo.
Melissa Gearheart was named the director of sales and marketing, where she oversees all sales efforts for the facility. Prior to this position, she served as the senior catering sales manager at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. A resident of Buffalo, Gearheart earned a Bachelor's of Arts in broadcast communications/business administration from Buffalo State College.
Gearheart directs a sales staff including two veteran sales managers, Tom Acara and Linda Persico, CMP. A resident of Amherst, Acara handles consumer shows, concerts and the social, military, education, religious and fraternal events at the facility. Prior to working at the CCNF, he held positions with the Hyatt and the Hilton in Buffalo. He earned a Bachelor's of Science in hotel administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
A certified meeting professional, Persico handles sales activities for regional, state and national associations, government entities and union meetings. The Williamsville resident previously worked at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, and as the director of sales for both Hart Hotels and the Radisson Suites in Buffalo.
Susan Swiatkowski was recently named as the director of marketing for both the Conference Center and Old Falls Street, USA. In this new position, she oversees all advertising, public and community relations functions for the facility and the street. Prior to this position, she served as the sales and marketing manager at the Hard Rock Cafe - Niagara Falls, USA, and also held communications management positions at the Buffalo Museum of Science, Niagara University and D'Youville College. A native of Niagara Falls, Swiatkowski holds a Bachelor's of Arts in communication studies from Niagara University.
Jason Murgia, director of events, supervises and coordinates all conferences and events, box office and exhibitor services for the CCNF. The Niagara Falls native was previously a Niagara County Legislator and owner of The Orchard Grill restaurant. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina - Costal.
Ted Coy, director of operations, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility as well as the HVAC, electoral and plumbing systems. Prior to moving to Niagara Falls, he was the division manager of Facility Services at the Colorado Springs World Arena & Ice Hall, and the associate director and operations manager at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Global Spectrum (global-spectrum.com) manages the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls and Old Falls Street, as well as more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20 million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world's largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider; New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities; Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.