Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC), an AEG Ogden-managed facility, appointed a number of senior executives in preparation for its grand opening in 2016.
OCEC General Manager Trevor McCartney said the Sultanate of Oman was fast becoming recognized as one of the world’s most exciting emerging convention destinations, with the venue being the catalyst in attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from next year.
He said to assist in meeting the demands of business meeting organizers worldwide, OCEC expanded its business development, technical, finance and food and beverage teams.
The new appointments include Chanaka Fonseka as food and beverage director; Troy Reynolds as head of event operations; Sheikha Al Mugheiry as international business development manager; Thomas Joseph as business development manager for exhibitions; Derek Wilson as audio visual and production manager; Pieter du Plooy as systems administrator; and Mohammed Waheed Al Lawati as an executive assistant.
McCartney said as it approached its grand opening in early 2016, the center’s priority would be to grow awareness and interest in Oman as a serious contender for hosting large-scale conventions and exhibitions.
“A key part of that strategy will be recruiting staff with expertise in specific areas as well as nurturing and developing the local talent pool,” he said.
Chanaka Fonseka is an internationally experienced executive specializing in food and beverage operations. Fonseka is already part of the AEG Ogden family and has undertaken a number of leadership roles in his career in the hospitality industry.
Troy Reynolds, a Certified Meeting Professional of the Convention Industry Council, brings over 25 years of experience in the events and hospitality industry. His brings to the venue a passion for delivering remarkable meeting experiences which in turn leave an enduring impact on the local community and economy.
With six years in the local five-star hospitality industry, Sheikha Al Mugheiry’s experience within the international and regional market place will be critical to the OCEC’s relationship with the Omani community and in attracting major international conventions to Oman.
Al Mugheiry said it was a privilege to be a part of such a landmark development and being able to showcase the beauty that Oman has to offer the world.
“The OCEC is a key opportunity for young Omanis to be exposed to a thriving business events environment and advance themselves professionally, through the highest standards of training from an international venue operator, such as AEG Ogden,” she said.
Thomas Joseph has spent almost a decade in the local exhibition, business and live events industry, and will utilize these skills and his knowledge of the regional market to increase the Sultanate’s market share in this competitive arena.
Derek Wilson joined the OCEC with over 30 years of experience in providing technical services to the exhibition and events industry at some of Great Britain’s foremost convention centers and global events, including a managerial position at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Pieter du Plooy has developed an extensive knowledge base on business systems analysis over the past 25 years, working closely with unique, industry-specific software to provide a single solution to the fully integrated management of the events and meetings marketplace.
Mohammed Waheed Al Lawati brings to the OCEC a range of marketing and entrepreneurship skills. He has previously been involved in a number of large-scale national projects and previously served in a pivotal role with Injaz Oman, which is part of the internationally renowned Junior Achievement Worldwide organization.
McCartney said OCEC would continue its local and international recruitment drive with the aim of having more than 180 full-time staff by the end of this year.