Convention Center earns good report after papal visit

Listen
 Nuns walk to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to attend the World Meeting of Families conference last month in Philadelphia. The event was one of several, Convention Center officials say, that illustrate a resurgence of the facility. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Nuns walk to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to attend the World Meeting of Families conference last month in Philadelphia. The event was one of several, Convention Center officials say, that illustrate a resurgence of the facility. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Pennsylvania Convention Center has been in the spotlight as part of the World Meeting of Families and, more recently, the Forbes Under 30 Summit.  

The building is doing better since a labor agreement designed to make it easier for convention planners took effect, experts say.

Gregg Talley of Talley Management Group ran logistics for the late-September World Meeting of Families, which set up its security screenings and media headquarters at the Convention Center.  

There was a “can do” attitude by everyone there — including the unions, Talley said.

“We didn’t hear ‘no’ in that building as we were going through the process at any level, whether it was from labor or management or anywhere within the structure,” he said. “What we heard was. ‘What are you trying to accomplish? Let us give you some other ideas of how that would be possible’ if my idea wasn’t necessarily the best way.”

The World Meeting of Families and Forbes summit are two examples of big events that went off without major problems, said Greg Fox, Convention Center board chairman. The center is winning back old customers, he added.

“For example, Lightfair had been with us in the past and showed a great deal of hesitancy about coming again, but now they’ve signed with us for 2017 and 2019,” Fox said.

Ten big shows and two dozen smaller gatherings have been booked for next year, he said. Efforts are  under way to continue booking the space.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.