N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. Signs Multi-Year Contract With Wilmington Convention Center

N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. Signs Multi-year Contract With Wilmington Convention Center 

Press Conference Held to Announce First Contract Signing for New Wilmington Convention Center

Wilmington, NC (April 16, 2010) — At a joint press conference held by the City of Wilmington, the Wilmington Convention Center, and the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau (WCFC CVB), it was announced today that the North Carolina Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. (NCHEA) has signed a multi-year contract with the new Wilmington Convention Center. The contract signing is the first for the Wilmington Convention Center which is slated for opening late this fall.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo led the afternoon press conference held at City Hall. The announcement included speeches by Mayor Saffo; Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau; Susan Eaton, General Manager of the Wilmington Convention Center; and Donald Bayse, President-elect of the N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. A contract-signing ceremony was held during the press conference.

“The city has worked long and hard to make the center a reality because we know the positive economic impact it will have on our community and we are now starting to reap the dividends of those efforts,” stated Mayor Bill Saffo. “Not only Wilmington but all of New Hanover County will benefit from the convention center. We look forward to getting the center open and attracting more conventions so we can show off all the great amenities our area has to offer.”

Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB, announced the N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc.’s contract signing and provided economic impact figures for their four events, which include a spring 2011 meeting, as well as future annual conventions in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Today we celebrate a major success that results from the collaborative marketing efforts between the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB, the City of Wilmington, and SMG—the management company for the Wilmington Convention Center. The N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association has made a commitment to hold multiple meetings at the Wilmington Convention Center that will create a total economic impact of over $2.5 million dollars,” said Hufham. “We’re also pleased that NCHEA will be working with travel partners throughout New Hanover County.”

Susan Eaton, General Manager of the Wilmington Convention Center, spoke about the many “firsts” this contract represents.

“Today we celebrate many ‘firsts’ for the City of Wilmington and its hospitality community. The ‘first’ North Carolina group to sign the ‘first’ contract, which is also the Wilmington Convention Center’s ‘first’ multi-year deal,” said Susan Eaton, General Manager of the new Wilmington Convention Center.

Ms. Eaton also introduced the N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. president-elect Donald Bayse, who thanked her and John Sneed, the CVB’s Convention Sales Manager, for their assistance. Bayse also introduced fellow association members William Baird, president, and Dona Noblett, event coordinator, and thanked New Hanover County travel partners who are providing accommodations and offsite event services.

“The Hilton Wilmington Riverside and Blockade Runner Resort are excellent choices of hotels to house our members and vendors,” said Bayse. “The Wilmington Trolley Company will provide needed transportation for our members, vendors and their families.  Also, we believe that Porters Neck Country Club is an excellent choice for our annual Golf Tournament.”

The N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. previously held coastal meetings out-of-state because the North Carolina coast did not have a facility large enough to host their events.

“We are pleased and excited to be coming to Wilmington, North Carolina for our 2014, 2016 and 2018 Annual Conferences. The Wilmington Convention Center is large enough to handle our educational needs along with an area appropriate for our vendors to showcase their products and services,” said Bayse. “We believe that relocating our Annual Conference to Wilmington will be a positive move for our organization and our vendors.”

Bayse also praised Wilmington and its citizens: “We’ve found that the people we contacted here are friendly, helpful and really painted the picture of how Wilmington and the facilities located here could meet our needs professionally. We were also drawn to the Wilmington area by the excellent family-friendly environment that the city and beach offers so that our engineers and vendors will be able to bring their families to the conference.”

According to economic impact figures provided by the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB, the N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association’s first 4-day meeting in Spring 2011 will create a raw economic impact of approximately $111,200. By using a conservative 2.5 multiplier, the CVB estimates that the total economic impact from the Spring 2011 event will be $278,000.  The N.C. Healthcare Engineers Association has also made a commitment to hold three larger annual conferences at the Wilmington Convention Center in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Based on estimated attendance figures and room nights provided by the event organizers, the four events will create a total economic impact of over $2.5 million.

The North Carolina Healthcare Engineers Association, Inc. (NCHEA) was founded in 1952 as an affiliate of the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE). NCHEA currently has 837 members and its purpose is “….to promote education for healthcare engineers on a variety of subjects as they relate to the healthcare engineering field….”  For more information about NCHEA, visit www.nchea.com.

According to Kim Hufham, the CVB and SMG are currently working with seven events that have verbally committed and should be signing contracts soon. They are also working with another 21 events that are considering the Wilmington Convention Center.

The Grand Opening of the City of Wilmington’s 107,000 square-foot state-of-the-art, riverfront Wilmington Convention Center is slated for late fall 2010. Green design and construction elements, including sand filtration systems, are being implemented in order to qualify for LEED certification. SMG is the management company for the Wilmington Convention Center. For more details about the Wilmington Convention Center, contact General Manager Susan Eaton at 910-251-5101, via email seaton@businessmadecasual.com, or visit www.businessmadecasual.com.

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County that stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism. For information about meetings and conventions in Wilmington & North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast, contact John Sneed, Convention Sales Manager, at 910-341-4030, ext. 125 or via email jsneed@capefearcoast.com. For visitor information, visit www.gocapefearcoast.com.

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NOTE TO MEDIA: Electronic images of the press conference and the Wilmington Convention Center (under construction) are available. To obtain images, please contact Connie Nelson at cvbpr@capefearcoast.com or call 910-341-4030, ext. 120.