Hotel Online  Special Report


The International Association of Conference Centers Celebrates 25 Years
with Honors and Awards; Bob Johns Recipient of the Mel Hosansky Award
St. Louis, MO - 12 April 2006 - The Silver Anniversary Conference of the International Association of Conference Centers, "Remember. Imagine. Achieve", was highlighted by the presentation of awards and honors to recognize members who have served with distinction and made extraordinary contributions to the success of the organization.

Jeff Farina, Chief Development Officer, Benchmark Hospitality International and President of IACC-North America, presided over the three-day event at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. 

Farina presented IACC's most prestigious award, The Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service, to Bob Johns, who retired in December 2005 after 17 years at the Babson Executive Education Center and a quarter century in the conference center industry. 

Johns served as the first Chair of IACC's Technology Committee and as a member of the Annual Conference Planning Committee. A past member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of IACC-North America, Johns went on to serve as President of IACC-Global. Johns is credited with visiting all IACC chapters and more than 120 member conference centers worldwide. 

Established in 1985, the Distinguished Service Award annually acknowledges one individual who has given the most to IACC and the conference center industry. Originally called the Distinguished Service Award, it was renamed in 1990 in memory of its first recipient, Mel Hosansky, a longtime editor of Meetings & Conventions Magazine and later, Successful Meetings, Hosansky was an early supporter of IACC and its activities. 

Bob Johns
Recipient of the Mel Hosansky Award
David Hosansky, son of the late Mel Hosansky, delivered poignant remarks about his father prior to the presentation of the prestigious award to Johns by IACC President, Jeff Farina. Upon receiving the award, Johns said, "this is an incredible culmination of 25 years with IACC. It was never about recognition; it's just been a lot of fun working within IACC and furthering the association's goals."
IACC's Award of Excellence was presented to Sean McLaughlin and Victoria Todd-Smith. The award was established four years ago by the IACC Board of Directors to underscore the organization's commitment to education and to give heightened recognition and visibility to those who give of their time, talent and resources to expand and enhance IACC's educational offerings. 
McLaughlin, General Manager at Glen Cove Mansion in Glen Cove, NY, served on the Board of Directors, the Quality Committee and as Chair of the Communications Task Force. For two years, he served as Co-Chair of the IACC Learning Network. Under his leadership, IACC hired a Director of Training & Development and increased its regional programming tenfold.

Todd-Smith, F&B Manager of the Professional Education and Conference Center at Kent State University Stark Campus, served on the Board of Directors and the Annual Conference Planning Committee. Todd-Smith was recognized for being single-handedly responsible for the creation and development of the Copper Skillet Conference Center Chef of the Year Competition which is one of the most popular events at the Annual Conference. 

Farina presented IACC's highest educational honor, the Pyramid Award, to Ellen Sinclair, Vice President, Benchmark Hospitality International. The Pyramid Award was established to shine the spotlight on members who demonstrate exceptional commitment to IACC education. Sinclair is a past member of the Board of Directors and, as Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee, she substantially increased the overall quality of IACC's core competency courses and training programs. 
Brendan Slaven, Executive Chef, Glen Cove Mansion, Glen Cove, NY, became the first American to win the Copper Skillet Conference Center Chef of the Year Award. Slaven won out in an Iron Chef-type cook-off which included the national chefs of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom. Slaven has cooked for presidents, heads of state, diplomats and ambassadors and his Provencal-themed dish won top honors in this year's Copper Skillet Competition.

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 400 guests cheered as Chef Slaven was presented the award by Peter Stewart, General Manager, MGSM Executive Hotel & Conference Center of Australia and President, IACC-Global. Stewart noted that the competition gives greater recognition to the food & beverage programs and the phenomenal chefs who are associated with IACC-member conference centers around the world.

Celebrating its Silver Anniversary, the International Association of Conference Centers, founded in 1981, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the conference center industry. Active members meet a stringent set of Universal Criteria and agree to a Code of Ethics. Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, France, England, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Japan. For more information, visit the website at 


The International Association of Conference Centers 
243 North Lindbergh Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63141
314 993 8575

James M. Mahon
Global Director of Marketing
and Public Relations, IACC
914 548.5835

Also See: Bob Prewitt Presented the International Association of Conference Center's Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service / April 2005
ARAMARK Harrison Lodging’s Jack Kealey Named Recipient of IACC’s Mel Hosansky Award For Distinguished Service / April 2003


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