New Orleans CityBusiness, a weekly business newspaper, has named three members of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority to its “Power 25” rankings, including Jerry Reyes, president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority and General Manager of the Westin Canal Place Hotel; Don C. Hubbard, commissioner of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority and proprietor of Hubbard Mansion Bed and Breakfast; and Michael J. Sawaya, executive vice president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority and MCCNO president. The “Power 25” represents the most influential people in the New Orleans Hospitality and Tourism industry.
Reyes, Hubbard and Sawaya were chosen for this honor through an anonymous nomination process and were ultimately selected for their long list of contributions to the New Orleans hotel and tourism industry as well as their contributions to the local New Orleans community.
Jerry Reyes (pictured right) is a seasoned hospitality professional with more than 20 years of hotel industry experience. He is an MBA graduate of the University of New Orleans, where he serves as an adjunct professor in the Hospitality Administration Department. Mr. Reyes currently serves as the general manager of the Westin Canal Place Hotel, a position he has held for three years. Under his leadership, the Westin recently completed a $30 million revitalization, including renovations to all 462 guest rooms and suites, architectural improvements and an interior redesign. He also hosts a podcast about the industry with his identical twin brother called “The Hospitality Twins.”
Don C. Hubbard (pictured left) is an esteemed civil rights leader, community activist and entrepreneur who owns and operates the Hubbard Mansion Bed & Breakfast on St. Charles Avenue. Through the years, he has received numerous leadership awards, including the Avery C. Alexander Civil Rights Award, Marlin Gusman “Living Legends Award” and New Orleans Chapter Urban League “Man of the Year.”
A 43-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Michael J. Sawaya (pictured right) came to New Orleans in 2018 from San Antonio, Tex. Since his arrival, he has been a shepherd of the New Orleans events industry, embarking on an ambitious $557 million five-year capital improvement plan—the largest in the facility’s 37-year history. Under Mr. Sawaya’s leadership, the MCCNO was named as a National Top Workplace for 2021, the only convention center in America to hold that title.
“I believe I can speak for Jerry and Don when I say that we are honored to be listed as three of New Orleans CityBusiness’ most influential people in the New Orleans tourism and hospitality industry,” says Michael J. Sawaya, MCCNO president. “It is through the collaboration of these talented individuals that the MCCNO is uniquely positioned to thrive in a post-pandemic environment. Our work on the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority is turning heads and blazing a trail that is sure to be an example for the tourism industry, not only locally, but nationally as well.”
With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country, features an award-winning staff, first class amenities, and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments. For more info, visit MCCNO.com
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 13-member board of commissioners, ten appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments. For more info, visit exhallnola.com