The Wilmington Convention Center (WCC) is owned by the City of Wilmington and opened for business in November 2010. The City started development of this project in the mid 2000’s as an economic driver to attract conventions and events that would result in the creation of new jobs and businesses in and around Wilmington and New Hanover County.
The WCC Complex cost $62 million dollars to build and includes the 107,000 sf Wilmington Convention Center, a 578 space Public Parking Deck, a 12,000 square foot Event Lawn/Green Space along the Cape Fear River, and a 33,000 square foot surface site adjacent the Center slated for the Embassy Suites Hotel with 186 rooms, opening in 2017. Funding for the construction came from the 3% hotel room occupancy tax (ROT) of hotels located in New Hanover County and was created by legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2003. All L.E.E.D. items were also derived from the ROT funds.
Facility Management by SMG
The WCC is managed by SMG, the world leader in providing venue management, marketing and operation of publicly or municipally owned assembly facilities. SMG has been on the ground with WCC project since 2005, consulting the City of Wilmington and design teams on facility functionality and efficiencies. SMG’s Food & Beverage Division exclusively manages the food and beverage operation at the WCC titled: SAVOR…Wilmington. WCC’s dedicated staff works closely with the hospitality industry, Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, vendors/suppliers, and businesses to help facilitate events and deliver the best environment for planners and guests.
SMG was founded in 1977 with management of their first facility, the Louisiana Superdome. Now managing over 240 properties worldwide, SMG manages convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters, and specific-use venues such as equestrian centers. SMG’s clients benefit from the company’s depth of resources and its unparalleled expertise, leadership, and creative problem-solving. SMG’s successful growth has been built on the many partnerships, relationships, and resources they have developed with their clients — both municipal and private, that allowed SMG to define and refine the industry throughout its history.
For more information about SMG click here.
Meet Our Staff
Get to know our staff and all the talent, experience and knowledge behind your successful event. Our expertise is just one of the many benefits to planning your next event at the Wilmington Convention Center.
Fredia Brady, General Manager
Brady is a hospitality industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience in convention sales and marketing, business development, facility operations and event management, including serving SMG as a regional senior director of sales & marketing for SMG’s Southeast Region from 2008 to 2014. She most recently was the senior director of sales & marketing for the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center and served that venue previously as director of sales & marketing from 1999 to 2008. A graduate of both Brewton Parker College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and South University with an associate degree in hospitality management. Brady is a member of a variety of professional associations, including the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Professional Convention Management Association and American Society of Association Executives.
Danny Sujanani, Operations Director
Sharon Brock, Finance Director
Sharon Brock serves as the Director of Finance and oversees the budget and financial reporting for the WCC and Parking Deck. Sharon supervises the Accounting Manager and the A/P Payroll positions. Sharon has a wide range of knowledge having worked in manufacturing, health care, and governmental accounting spanning more than 35 years. She is a graduate of the UNC in Wilmington with a B.S. degree in Accounting. Prior to her career with the WCC, Sharon managed the general contracting company that she and her husband own. In her time away from work, Sharon enjoys traveling, volunteer work, and watching her son play professional golf.
Scott Frazzetta, Food & Beverage Director
Scott leads SAVOR…Wilmington, as the Food & Beverage Director and oversees all aspects of catering, kitchen and concessions management within the WCC. Scott, who served as the WCC’s Executive Chef for 4.5 years helped to open our facility in 2010. Scott has a myriad of culinary experiences which started in his father’s bakery until age 18. He attended Trident Technical College (TCC) Culinary School in Charleston and worked as a chef in several Charleston restaurants while teaching culinary arts at TCC. In Wilmington, he worked under Chef Robert McCarthy at Cape Fear Country Club, Executive Chef at Pine Valley Country Club and also at Corning, Inc. Scott fosters the creative juices of his staff while maintaining our excellent reputation for high quality of culinary experiences.
Elaine Tricarico, Sales and Marketing Manager
Elaine offers over 30 years of experience in staffing, catering, and the hospitality industry. Most recently, as Director of Catering for a 275 room Holiday Inn Hotel in Philadelphia, PA, Elaine touched on all her skills gained from previous experiences in planning and execution of large social and corporate events. She also worked both for a private Estate that featured Crossing Vineyards Winery and an off premise gourmet catering company during which she managed a myriad of weddings, parties, and events in venues and private homes. Elaine also offers her dedicated customer service approach that started in her first career as a Human Resource Management recruiter in assisting companies with their hiring process of temporary/interim personnel. Elaine served as Corporate IT Recruiter where she provided placement of technical network personnel for multiple locations nationwide, ultimately streamlining the hiring process. Elaine has a zest for life and is foodie at heart and loves art, as we see at some of our spectacular restaurants or local art galleries.
Mave Claire, Catering Sales Manager
Mave joined the team in 2013 and brought with her 14 years of experiences in the event industry including providing concert/event production assistance and 1st class movie catering service to artists and crews, venue management, marketing, and catering sales. One of a kind wedding celebrations, corporate events, and fundraisers have been Mave’s specialties since 2008 while working in Nashville (TN) for a large off-site caterer and event venue. A North Carolina native, Mave graduated from the UNC in Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. When time allows, she enjoys designing and creating one of a kind fashion accessories. Mave’s flexibility to adapt to changing environments and trends lends itself well to the hospitality industry. Let Mave guide you in planning your successful catered events in the Wilmington Convention Center.
Emma Quinnette, Catering Sales Manager
Emma Quinnette joined the WCC team as Catering Sales Manager in August 2016. Emma graduated from Radford University with a B.S. Degree in Tourism and Special Event Management. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry as Sales and Marketing Coordinator in the restaurant business in the D.C. area and was promoted to the Sales and Marketing Manager for the Northern Virginia location. Emma has hospitality experience for a variety of corporate, social, and non-profit clients and has since relocated to the beautiful City of Wilmington. In her spare time Emma can be found boating on the Intracoastal Waterway from Wrightsville to Kure Beach with her two black labs. Emma’s enthusiasm makes her a pleasure to work with when planning your event.
Nikki Fisher, Events Manager
Nikki has over 25 years of Marketing and Sales experience. He has managed a wide-variety of city, state and national conferences and events. As the WCC Event Manager, Nikki is focused on facilitating customer needs and exceeding expectations. Nikki also worked for U.S. Cellular for 18 yrs. in a multi-state Sales and Marketing role, where he ensured the successful execution of regional and corporate marketing programs. Nikki is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Sociology. He was a 1992 NFL draftee of the Chicago Bears. Nikki also serves on the Board for the Brigade Boys & Girls Club of Wilmington.
Lauren Newsome, Banquet Manager
Lauren, a Mass Communications graduate from the University of North Carolina Pembroke, has been working in the Food& Beverage Industry since 2001. Her journey started with a variety of experiences as a server, bartender, and marketing coordinator during which she worked with tour groups, philanthropic fundraisers, and high profile performers. Since 2011, she had worked in three popular LM Restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Now as Banquet Mgr. for SAVOR…Wilmington at the WCC, Lauren assists in executing all facets of catered events, coordination with customers, oversight of the beverage department, supervising banquet and bar staff, and completing each event to make it a special one.
Don Vilain, Executive Chef
Executive Shef Don Vilain is one of a kind. With a dynamic family background and an upbringing full of homemade food. Don chose to go on to the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh and a 24-year career in the food service industry. Following family, Don spent 15-years in North Carolina but most of which were spent in Wilmington as the Executive Chef of several establishments, including The Marriott Ocean Front, the Hula Grille and Jack Mackerel’s Island Grille. He was the People’s Choice Award winner at the Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off in 2007 and 2008 and won the same honor for Best Entree at the 2004 March of Dimes Chef Auction in Wilmington. His reputation has proceeded him, allowing him to be invited to restaurants throughout his career. Don moved back to his hometown of Clarksburg, WV where he was the Executive Chefof the Bridgeport Conference Center and Corporate Chef of Charles Pointe Hospitality. Don has recently returned to Wilmington, NC where he was a Chef for Circa Restaurant Group.
Ryan Parry, Operations Manager
Carolina Freites-Pino, Accounting Coordinator
David Young, House Crew Supervisor
Anita Hudley, House Crew Supervisor
Barbara Crawford, Human Resources/ Payroll Administrator
The Wilmington Convention Center (WCC) structure is reminiscent of Wilmington as an old “Port City.” The interior and exterior reflect the designers usage of angles and lines similar to that of a ship’s sail and hull, giving the Convention Center a classic, yet unique look true to our city’s historical beginnings. The WCC building site is on the north edge of the city urban core and adjacent to the Cape Fear River. Surrounding the Center and Event Lawn is the a River Walk that links guests to Wilmington’s historic downtown. The site itself resides on the former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad yard. The WCC, designed by LS3P based in Wilmington, NC served as the design architect of this project. Laura Miller, lead Architect of the LS3P team, incorporated her vision of clean lines, functional space, and environmentally friendly surroundings. The Center’s design also reveals its maritime relation in the rich woods, wave like terrazzo flooring, and unique Ballroom chandeliers resembling boat engine propellers. The WCC also includes wall photos and art imagery throughout linking the Center to a always vibrant working city on the North Carolina coast.
The WCC has been recognized for its architectural design, engineering, energy efficiencies, and environmental design. Since opening in 2010 and hosting over over 360 events, our staff and facility have also received awards for our culinary expertise and our superior customer service from meeting planners all over the southeastern region.