SMG is looking to hire someone to replace Mark Leahy, the former General Manager of its Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and renowned Global Center for Health Innovation.

“SMG is moving forward aggressively with identifying the ideal candidate that will lead the team to build on the success of the center to date,” the Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corp., which oversees both the convention center and adjacent Global Center, said in a statement released to Amplify. “SMG will make an announcement on that candidate as soon as possible. SMG corporate staff will be supporting the operation in the interim to ensure continuity of service.”

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Leahy’s last day was May 3. The statement from the county offered little explanation for his exit, while Leahy himself could not be reached for comment. He had worked for SMG since 1998, and had been general manager of the convention center and Global Center since the two buildings opened in 2013. The statement said Leahy and SMG had “mutually agreed on moving forward with new leadership” for the buildings.

“Mark has been a vital player in the facilities’ accomplishments and growth, including hosting the Republican National Convention in 2016,” the statement said. “During these years, the complex has been recognized for various outstanding achievements in the areas of customer service and hospitality. SMG thanks Mark for his efforts on behalf of the center and his long service with SMG.”

The Huntington Convention Center and Global Center for Innovation is essentially two connected downtown buildings that had a $600 million construction price tag. While the Global Center is an iconic four-story building with a glass facade, the convention center is subterranean, with street level windows bringing in natural light to a below street level event floor. Its rooftop serves as green space along the city’s growing Lakefront.

Institutions like the Cleveland Clinic had led to a resurgence in medical jobs, with 700 new bio-medical companies setting up shop in the city in recent years. The Global Center combines a cutting edge LEED Gold facility with a showroom for showcasing medical technology that improves patient outcomes and lowers costs. The first floor, for instance, is dedicated to state-of-the-art homes with technologies that can help patients with Alzheimer’s or other disabilities avoid moving into assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The second floor is dedicated to caregivers, with showrooms by GE Health Care and Steris. The third floor is dedicated to clinical spaces and innovators like University Hospitals and Johnson Controls, while the fourth floor is dedicated to healthcare IT.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Convention Center, at 800,000 square feet, has exhibit halls, 35 meeting rooms and a grand ballroom. It offers perks aimed at attracting meeting planners, like super-fast broadband, 52-foot ceilings and a loading dock with 17 delivery bays that makes for easy load-ins and tear-downs. A considerable chunk of its bookings go to the health care industry.

“It’s a dream come true for meeting planners,” Dave Johnson, the center’s Director of Sales and Marketing, told Amplify in 2014.

Maggie O'Brien

Maggie O'Brien

Maggie O'Brien has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She's covered everything from from crime to politics to fitness. Writing about bands and shows takes her back to the days of going to punk rock shows in the Midwest.
Maggie O'Brien

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