APEX to Get New Chair

Washington — Along with the release of the latest version of its meeting-planners' tool kit and the formation of the Education Advisory Council, some of the biggest news out of the Convention Industry Council's (CIC) Accepted Practices EXchange (APEX) group is the leadership change from Mickey Schaefer to Theresa (Terri) Breining plus five new commissioners beginning Jan. 1.

There is no drama regarding Schaefer's departure; her term as chair ends in January, and she played a vital role in Breining's selection as her replacement. "I recommended her. She has great business sense and is extremely thorough," said Schaefer, president of Mickey Schaefer & Associates LLC in Tucson, AZ.

Breining is a 30-year veteran of the meetings industry, with the past 19 spent running Concepts Worldwide, a meetings management firm in Carlsbad, CA. In 2000, Breining served on the original APEX commission, which creates recommended practices for meeting and event coordination, but eventually stepped down to devote herself as chair of Meeting Professionals International. Following that tenure, Breining returned to APEX to serve in various capacities that included interim chair.

The commissioners stepping down in January are: Richard Green, vice president of industry relations and association sales at Marriott International (Housing Industry Segment); Carl Mitchell, president of Shepard Exposition Services (Service Contractors Industry Segment); Jack Withiam Jr., executive vice president and general council for George Little Management LLC (Exhibition Management Industry Segment); Brian Findley, Director of Event Management at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel (Food & Beverage Industry Segment); and John Christison, president and general manager of the Washington State Convention & Trade Center (Facilities Management Industry Segment).

"We all said we would give it five years and then turn it over," Schaefer explained, but at the end of 2005 Schaefer, Green, Mitchell, and Withiam realized that they were at a critical time in the evolution of APEX and leaving could be disruptive, so they stayed on for one more year. "The new terms are going to be three years; five years is a long time," said Mitchell.

The new commissioners, who have high expertise in technology, are Shawn Pierce, director of infrastructure at Hanley Wood Exhibitions; Gregg Talley, president of Talley Management Group; Ty Helms, vice president of sales for Hyatt Hotel Corp.; and Mike McCool, director of technology services for The Freeman Companies. One commissioner has yet to be finalized.

The outgoing commissioners and Schaefer are ready to hand over the reins. "It's time for me to step off," Schaefer said. "I think it's best for Terri to run the shop; I'll be around if she needs anything." Schaefer will take on an ambitious new project — a certification program for hospitality employees. See story.

That is a sentiment echoed by CIC president Mary Power, who said a seamless transition will be effected not only through meetings with new commissioners, but also through the dedication of outgoing commissioners. "Our commissioners have been so good and so committed and will be there if we need them," Power said.

"APEX is Mickey's vision," said Breining. "I hope to take her vision and bring it closer to reality so eventually APEX is as expected a part of the meeting planning process as computers and e-mail."

Contact Kinley Levack at [email protected]