metroConnections Announces Retirement of CEO Sam Thompson

metroConnections’ Founder and CEO Sam Thompson has announced he will retire from metroConnections effective Dec. 31, 2013.

David Graves, President, will assume the role of CEO, effective immediately. Thompson will continue to serve metroConnections in a part-time capacity to assist with the transition through the rest of the 2013 calendar year as well as serve as an ongoing member of the board of directors.  Thompson is leaving metroConnections after 30 years to spend more time with his family and pursue other business endeavors.

“It is time to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders,” Thompson said, “The strategy is in place and the momentum is strong which will carry metroConnections into its next chapter.”

A native of Minnesota with a passion for Twin City Tourism, Thompson has been active in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. He started metroConnections in 1984 in hopes of improving the tourism experience in the Minnesota area. Under Thompson’s ownership and leadership, metroConnections has grown into a $16-million/year leading Conference and Event services company that has received numerous awards including “Best Destination Management Company” and “Best Innovative Event,” as well as being designated a top 25 DMC by Special Events Magazine every year since 2006. In addition, Thompson has been a strong advocate for tourism and has successfully operated the Twin Cities Highlights Tour for more than 27 years. He is a past president of Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADME International), the international voice for the Destination Management Company (DMC) Industry.

“Thompson exemplifies strong leadership characteristics and encourages metroConnections employees to serve on councils, committees, and boards just as he has for numerous years, further supporting the growth of the industry,” said Graves. “We look forward to his ongoing advisory role as a member of our board as we continue to carry on his vision of being the premier conference, event, stage production and transportation services provider in the industry.”

Having joined metroConnections in 1988, Graves led the growth in event management and team building services and quickly became Thompson’s business partner. As president, Graves is currently responsible for ensuring that the company is operating efficiently and he directly leads the award-winning Event Services and Production Services divisions. Prior to joining metroConnections, Graves spent six years with the Marriott Corporation in Conference Management and Sales. In 2006, Graves was named Meetings and Events Magazine “Hall of Fame – Event Planner of The Year.”

Renee Splittgerber, Director of Transportation Services who has served under Sam Thompson for more than 23 years, will oversee the Transportation Services division.

“Renee has been running our transportation operation for the last few years and will continue the exceptional service based on the principals that Sam had put in place years ago,” confirmed Graves.  “She continues to also drive our national offering where she has created great success in transportation movements of 250 attendees or more across the US.”

About metroConnections
Recognized since 2006 by Special Events Magazine as a Top 25 DMC worldwide, metroConnections provides complete conference, event, production and transportation services for meeting and event planners nationwide. Since 1984, metroConnections has utilized its expertise and resources to specialize in the design and implementation of themed events, activities, transportation, tours and conference program logistics and meetings. The company,  headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., also offers audio/visual and production services and is the creator of Attende-Source®, a web-based solution that includes elements such as online registration and custom-built event websites. For information on planning conferences, events, productions, transportation logistics or group/companion tours, contact metroConnections at 612-333-8687 or visit www.metroconnections.com.

About: Since 1984, metroConnections has utilized its expertise and resources to specialize in the design and implementation of themed events, activities, transportation, tours and conference program logistics and meetings. For information on planning conferences, events, productions, transportation logistics or group/companion tours, contact metroConnections at 612-333-8687 or visit www.metroconnections.com.

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For Inquiries, Contact:
Sarah Warzecha
952.767.2907
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