The Event Service Professional Association (ESPA) representing event service personnel throughout North America has named Una Garvey, Tampa Convention Center & Tourism Director and Suzanne Seder, Convention Services Manager, the recipients of the 2020 ESPA Leadership in Services Award and Member of the Year Award, respectively. The spirit of the Leadership in Services Award is to recognize Event Service Professionals who have demonstrated leadership in 2020 and have been proactive and positive in the face of adversity. With the many obstacles that COVID has presented this year, the award recognizes individuals who took the lead to keep the well-being of our industry or of their own destination or community top of mind.
“Under Una and Suzanne’s leadership the Tampa Convention Center has set a new standard for excellence in event center operations and innovation during an incredibly dynamic year,” said Carole Post, City of Tampa Administrator for Development and Economic Opportunity. “When the pandemic hit, the Convention Center team sprang into action to work with clients to adapt and re-schedule events. They alsolaunched the ‘TCC Ready’ campaign to perform facility improvements and maintenance work during the COVID down time. This team was more active than ever to make the most of a challenging situation which has resulted in making TCC a gold standard for post-COVID events. You can truly say that our convention center team is ready for whatever life throws at them.”
Tampa Convention Center has successfully remained open for business during the pandemic while creating an environment that embodies a multi-faceted approach to providing a safe and sanitized venue. By repurposing the facility with local, community events, Tampa Convention Center continued to stimulate the economy and retain employment for all sectors of the convention business. Additionally, setting the facility up for future success by acquiring the Gold Star GBAC Certification and launching a $38M expansion and remodeling program and 5 year master plan.
“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the entire Tampa Convention Center team,” stated Tampa Convention Center & Tourism Director Una Garvey. “We will continue to be a top leader in the industry as we return to the business of hosting events.”
The Member of the Year Award recognizes an ESPA Member who has been outstanding in his or her constant enthusiasm and support of both ESPA and the Event Services profession. Suzanne Seder, Lead Convention Services Manager and past ESPA Board Member, is recognized for her support of the continued development of Tampa’s talent year after year but specifically this year through educational initiatives targeted toward Post-Crisis Management. Suzanne’s ongoing involvement in the creation of workforce development that extends throughout the industry is impressive and her ability to involve team members and local partners in the education of all members is deserving of the Member of the Year Award.