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On the heels of a recent announcement by the American Industrial Hygiene Association that the group would be returning to Philadelphia for its 2018 conference as a result of changes at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, another group has signed to bring its conference back to the city.

The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) announced the selection of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Convention Center as the host city for its 2017 conference and exposition. One of the nation’s largest professional employment and development conferences, the event attracts executives, entrepreneurs, students and high-profile speakers.

The NBMBAA selection of Philadelphia comes as a direct result of historic work rule changes and expanded customer rights at the SMG-managed Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC).

According to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), the primary sales and marketing arm for the center, more than 8,000 attendees are expected to attend the NBMBAA Conference, using 10,541 total hotel room nights to generate more than $19.5 million in economic impact for the Philadelphia region.

“Philadelphia has been on our radar since we last held our conference there in 2003,” said Jesse Tyson, president and CEO, NBMBAA. “The city’s prime location along the east coast, its growing minority business community and its wealth of attractions, among other things, creates an ideal backdrop to host some of our nation’s top professionals.

“With more customer-friendly work rules now in place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, we are pleased to be bringing our Conference & Expo back to Philadelphia in 2017.”

Philadelphia was initially awarded the NBMBAA conference for 2014, but due to concerns about labor, a decision was made by the organization to delay bringing the meeting to the city. In late 2013, following the appointment of SMG as facility managers, Philadelphia was given another opportunity to bid for 2016, but lost despite SMG’s successes at the center.

The new work rules, expanded exhibitor rights and industry best practices implemented at the facility last month, provided the PHLCVB and the center an opportunity to renew discussions with the group.

“Bringing NBMBAA back to Philadelphia could only have been achieved with these customer-focused changes,” said Jack Ferguson, president and CEO, PHLCVB. “The PHLCVB, alongside SMG and the convention center, continue to move forward diligently in pursuing any and all opportunities to fill our convention calendar for the coming years.”

The announcements by AIHA and NBMBAA came following an outreach event in Washington DC hosted by the PHLCVB, SMG and the PCC to inform meeting planners about the changes at the center.

“The efforts made to improve the customer experience and lower customer costs are resulting in a rebirth of the Pennsylvania Convention Center as one of the premier convention center facilities in the nation,” said Gregory J. Fox, chairman, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority’s Board of Directors.

See related article: AIHA selects Philadelphia for conference, returns after seven years


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