New Pa. Convention Center management team faces big task

 The Pennsylvania Convention Center is seen in view of City Hall (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

The Pennsylvania Convention Center is seen in view of City Hall (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

A new management team begins Monday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center with a mission of bringing new business to the facility in Philadelphia.

SMG management of Conshohocken has been hired to turn around the sagging fortunes of the center in Philadelphia, which doesn’t have many shows and events booked over the next few years.

Lorenz Hassenstein has been chosen to run the facility and SMG’s Bob McClintock, who oversees the company’s 72 convention centers, said a great many changes are in the works.

“The Pennsylvania Convention Center is a fantastic facility and a great destination. We have suffered from a perception in the industry of service challenges, some with labor on the trade show floor, some in the building,” McClintock said. “Our No. 1 goal is to make doing business at the Convention Center easy.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

That goal won’t be easy, he said. Unions aren’t willing to give ground; they went on a one-day strike this summer instead of ceding to demands to make it easier for people to set up their own booths.

With experienced management, McClintock said he’s hopeful something can be worked out.

“And, at the end of the day we all have the same goal,” he said. “If we don’t get shows, we aren’t employed. That’s trade union members, that’s SMG. Our contract is short. We have to put points on the board immediately, and it’s all based on bringing shows to Philadelphia.”

SMG has a three-year contract to manage the convention center.

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

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal