Cleveland Medical Mart Appoints Staff, Establishes Industry Advisory Board

As the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center (Cleveland MMCC) nears completion in downtown Cleveland, the company charged with building and managing it has named two senior staff to its team and formed a special Industry Advisory Board to assist with marketing the new facility, it announced last week.

Chicago-based Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI) has hired Jim Bennett as senior vice president and Brian Milner as director of operations. Bennett, a resident of Cleveland since 1982, will provide the overall leadership and direction for Cleveland MMCC in close collaboration with Vice President and General Manager Brian Casey. Milner, meanwhile, will develop the staffing and operational aspects of the Cleveland MMCC's operations department, including the implementation of operations strategies, policies and practices.

"I am privileged to be part of the team that is working to make this exciting new community asset a driver of our hospitality industry in the years ahead," Bennett said. "I've been encouraged and energized by the support and commitment of everyone involved — the County leadership, Cleveland's health care community, a number of civic organizations, the business community, and my new colleagues at MMPI in Chicago and here at Cleveland MMCC."

County Executive Ed FitzGerald called the new appointments "a strong indication of the increasing momentum of the Medical Mart project and the continuing commitment of MMPI to make the project a success."

"The addition of Mr. Milner and particularly Jim Bennett, who brings 40 years of high-level management experience and long commitment to the Cleveland community, is an indication of the dedication of all parties involved to creating the best product possible," he said.

While Milner and Bennett will oversee operations at the new facility, MMPI said the newly created Industry Advisory Board will provide "a medical industry and customer perspective on the activities and tenants that would make the facility attractive to permanent showroom tenants and health care industry-related meetings and trade shows." The board includes executives from industry leaders such as Cisco, GE HealthCare, IBM, Invacare, Johnson & Johnson, Philips Healthcare, STERIS, Stryker, Smith & Nephew and Foundation Medical Partners.

"Our long-range plan has always been to continue strengthening our team as Cleveland MMCC progresses toward opening in 2013," said MMPI President Mark Falanga. "At the senior management level, this process started last year with the hiring of Brian Casey as general manager. It continued when Craig Thompson joined Tony Prusak on our sales team four months ago. Now, we're delighted to add two additional senior people with a combined six decades of proven industry experience to our staff and to announce the establishment of an Industry Advisory Board to further strengthen our Cleveland operations."

Scheduled for completion in September 2013, the Cleveland MMCC will have approximately 100,000 square feet of permanent showrooms available for lease by medical manufacturers, as well as 230,000 square feet of exhibit space and over 92,000 square feet of meeting space, including a grand ballroom overlooking Lake Erie. For more information, visit