ESPA Annual Conference

Full Throttle!

January 11-13, 2019
Westin Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina

We will have great sessions for maximum interactivity and discussion among members! Look for ample breakout opportunities to find the right session for your interests. New for 2019: A leadership track with sessions custom planned for the interests and needs of attendees at Associate Director level and higher.

ESPA offers valuable continuing education credits! As a CMP Preferred Provider, our aim is to make the earning of credits seamless for you! Sessions are pending approval from the Events Industry Council and will be noted on the schedule once approved.

Again this year we will have opportunities for people in similar disciplines to network together – Small, medium, large CVB, Center and Hotels – as well as great common spaces for one-on-one networking and meeting new services friends. Mobile workshops will take you out of the classroom for interactive learning.

Check back soon to learn what our community support initiative will be in 2019!

Featured Speakers

Opening Keynote
David Rendall
Presents:  The Freak Factor

Closing Keynote
Mike Rayburn
Presents:  What if…?

Sunday Opener
Rachel Sheerin
Presents: F this S…

Interested in sponsorship? Email ESPA HQ for details today.

  • All
  • 2019 Elite Sponsors
  • 2019 Event Sponsors
  • 2019 Premier Partners
Visit Houston
Arlington CVB
Dallas Logo NEW
David L. Lawrence
Fort Worth

Registration & Earning Credits

Please note to receive Continuing Education (CE) Credits for attending sessions, you must pre-select all sessions during the registration process. Only sessions listed on the agenda with a CMP Credit noted will be eligible for CMP Credit. You may add/delete sessions prior to the conference. You will only receive CE Credits for those sessions you selected. Additionally, following the conference, your sessions will be listed in the My ESPA Portal under the “My ESPA” drop down on the “My Continuing Education” page and on the new Event Industry Council portal.

Registration Rates

The following are the ESPA Conference Individual registration fees: (Note: Members whose companies are Organizational members of ESPA, and who are registering 3+ people see below for group registration fees.)

Participation in the optional Leadership Track:  $75 fee

Advanced Rate (valid through November 10) General
Active ESPA Member $675 $785
Non-Member $735 $835
One Day Member (Either Saturday OR Sunday) (You may only register at this rate for one day) $299 $325
One Day Non-Member (Either Saturday OR Sunday) (You may only register at this rate for one day) $325 $350
Student Rate (must provide proof of student status upon request) $250 $250

ESPA Organization Member registration fees:

Organization and Corporate Member group registrations fees are listed below. In order to register at the group registration fees, your company must be an Organization or Corporate Member of ESPA. Download the group registration form here.

# of People attending from your company Advanced Total Rate (valid through November 10) General Total Rate
3 people $1,989 $2,319
4 people $2,620 $3,060
5 people $3,225 $3,775

Conference registration cancellations received in writing by December 3, 2018 are eligible for a 50% refund on the ESPA Registration fee only. There are no refunds for cancellations received after this date; this includes cancellations that occur due to weather or other day-of air travel delays / cancellations as it is understood that ESPA has already included you in counts for F&B and other arrangements and is therefore is responsible for all costs related to attendance.



This brochure describes the value of professional development and education for services managers. Print this out and provide it to your manager – it contains quotes from meeting planners about the value they place on their CSMs, including when making re-booking decisions.

ESPA Optional Tours

ESPA is offering four great options to experience the Queen City.

Three are on Friday – two tours are Friday afternoon and we have one option for post-Welcome Reception.

And Sunday night we will have a fun off-site dinner at Strike City.

Please note there are no refunds for tours once registered. 

Optional Tour – Fee $59 (sign up through the ESPA registration process)

Charlotte may look brand new yet, we are celebrating our 250th birthday this year. We invite you to celebrate with us on this tour and experience Charlotte’s rich history, heritage and most recent accomplishments. Your group will learn how the nation’s 17th largest city started out as a small village in the now bustling “Uptown” area, with unique skyscraping architecture and quaint historic homes. You will pass by places where vibrant lights, light up the night and the city rallies around all our favorite sports teams! Charlotte is now a “foodie” and “craft beer” paradise!

Check out why some people consider Uptown urban living to be some of the finest. On the tour, we will stop at the Seventh Street Station, which is an interactive architectural masterpiece filled with local, fresh goods and the Historic Duke Mansion with its newly renovated 4.5-acre garden. The last stop on the tour will be at the Levine Museum of the New South. All participants will be admitted to the museum where you will learn about the transformation of Charlotte from cotton fields to skyscrapers!


Optional Tour – Fee $50 (sign up through the ESPA registration process)

Enjoy this tour that provides a fascinating look at architecture new and old. This tour will take you back in time to experience life the way it was from the 1880s to the 1930s. Whatever you fancy, you are sure to find Charlotte’s historic homes to be both beautiful and interesting. From their wonderfully designed construction, to their historic backgrounds, you are sure to find a favorite. We will visit the Historic Hezekiah Alexander Home, the oldest still existing home in Charlotte. Historic Rosedale– The home of Archibald Frew, an early Charlotte tax collector. The gardens have recently been restored to their original patterns. Lastly, VanLandingham Estates, built in 1913. The California style bungalow still holds original furnishings. The gardens are one of the oldest in Charlotte and are maintained year-round.

Optional Tour – Fee $75

Registration Link – sign up for this tour directly through Charlotte Brewery Tours.

This tour provides a unique experience in Charlotte, NC, as the city becomes a Craft Brewery town. After the Welcome Reception wraps up Friday evening, join other ESPA friends for an evening out and experience the craft brewery scene and have some good eats too. We will visit three breweries, and you will learn about the craft beer making process, along with the history behind each individual brewery from one of our certified tour guides! Our guides are also standup comedians so there will be plenty of laughs along the way!

Optional Dinner – Fee $69 (Sign up through the ESPA registration process)

Let’s wrap up our visit to the Queen City with a fun group outing of dinner, cocktails, and some friendly competition with bowling, corn hole and more. This is a modern bowling venue with lots of TVs, games, bars and a fun vibe. Join us! (Dinner and non-alcoholic beverages are included; cash bar)

Hotel & Travel

ESPA Host Hotel – The Westin Charlotte

ESPA Group Rate: $169

Cut-off Date: December 15

Online Reservations

The Westin Charlotte offers a relaxed hotel retreat in the heart of the city’s bustling uptown district. To stay healthy during your stay, the hotel features the WestinWorkout Fitness Studio, an indoor pool, RunWESTIN, and Gear Lending with New Balance. As part of their commitment to wellness, The Westin Charlotte also currently houses 50,000 bees on the hotel’s third-floor rooftop to produce local Charlotte honey.

Ideally situated in the city’s cultural and entertainment district, the Westin provides convenient access to a wide range of fun things to do. The Westin is within walking distance to an abundance of restaurants including Charlotte’s premier entertainment complex, EpiCentre, a lively venue with activities ideal for all ages – including dining, shopping, live music, unique night life venues, and movies.

Travel Information

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is just 7 miles – about a 15 minute drive – from the hotel.   There are various options to get to the hotel from the airport – the hybrid Sprinter Bus runs from the airport to the City Center and is just $2.50 each way.  Taxis, Uber and Lyft are also readily available.

Meet Charlotte

The 16th largest city in the nation, Charlotte is home to 850,000 people and counting. Yet even after claiming a top spot on Forbes magazine’s list of “America’s fastest-growing cities” in 2016, it’s the Queen City’s unmeasurable amenities—our friendly and welcoming attitude, our longstanding tradition of hometown pride—that attract newcomers to our neighborhoods.

A hard-working banking town that enjoys letting loose, Charlotte’s community comes together over good food and cold brews, at gallery crawls and home games. (We have six professional teams, including NFL, NBA, baseball and hockey.) Whether you experience Charlotte through its arts, eats, venues or people, you’ll feel the undeniable energy of a city on the rise.

Plus, with walkable Uptown streets and the LYNX Blue Line light rail connecting Center City to trendy neighborhoods nearby, you’ll have easy access to any of the locales below.

Can’t-Miss Crown Jewels:

Dining – Although Uptown boasts 200-plus dining options spanning regional, national and international flavors, there are tributes to Southern fare on every block. Restaurants like The King’s Kitchen, The Asbury, Stoke Charlotte and Mert’s Heart & Soul serve mouthwatering biscuits, fried chicken and North Carolina catfish, and sides galore.

Nightlife – Charlotte’s nightlife is as diverse as its neighborhoods. When the sun goes down, head out to EpiCentre or AvidXchange Music Factory for themed nightclubs and see-and-be-seen dance floors.

Rooftop Bars – To enjoy striking views (and social-worthy shots) of the twinkling skyline, sip sky-high cocktails at Fahrenheit-Charlotte, City Lights Rooftop Bar, the new Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, or the new dual-branded AC Hotel and Residence Inn at the EpiCentre.

Craft Breweries – Dozens of craft breweries call the Queen City home. Enjoy the spacious biergarten at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Charlotte’s first craft beer producer, or head over to Triple C, which is flanked by other popular breweries.

Sports – Root for one of Charlotte’s home teams. The NBA Charlotte Hornets, NFL Carolina Panthers and Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights play at Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium and BB&T Ballpark respectively. Bojangles’ Coliseum, where the AHL Charlotte Checkers skate, is also minutes away.

NASCAR Hall of Fame – Experience the thrill of NASCAR racing from start to finish. Walk through a hauler, practice a pit stop, test your skills in a racing simulator, or pay your respects to racing legends.

… and So Much More! Visit for all the amazing details.



Is your manager committed to excellence in Convention Services?

Each year at the Annual Conference, ESPA recognizes an executive for his or her commitment and dedication to the profession of event service and to giving key support and leadership to members of their services team. As a member of ESPA, if you feel your organization has an executive who is a mentor, an ESPA supporter and convention services advocate, if he/she encourages your team’s professional development, submit your nomination!

Please fill out our online Nomination Form – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • Nominee supports staff participation in ESPA
  • Nominee must be an executive of an organization which has an ESPA member. Executive is defined as a VP or higher at a CVB; a member of the executive committee or GM at a hotel; or a VP, GM or Executive Director at a Convention Center.
  • Nominee personally and consistently supports quality assurance in the organization’s convention services operations.
  • Nominee supports staff development, growth and continuing education

2018 Recipient: Doris Sims, Louisville CVB


This award was designed to recognize the hard-working meeting professional who exhibits personal and professional characteristics that create an environment that focuses on team work, as well as shows support for the event services profession.

This is your chance to recognize a planner that represents the best of the best! Event Service Professionals know better than anyone when a planner is prepared, shows professionalism and is a great leader when producing an event or meeting. Why not recognize them for their dedication and hard work?

To submit a planner for consideration, please fill out our online Nomination Form

– winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • You must have worked with meeting planner during the past year
  • Shows superior leadership and management qualities before, during and after the meeting
  • Recognizes the importance and supports the role of the CSM in the meeting planning process

2018 Recipient: Linda Finnerty, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)


Recent CMP recipients – Apply to attend the ESPA Annual Conference on a Scholarship!

Have you earned your CMP Designation within the last five years?

The Annual William H. Just CAE, CMP Memorial Award recognizes an ESPA member who has earned their CMP certification within the last five years and remains in good standing with the association. The award was established in honor of the late William H. Just, CAE, CMP who founded ACOM (now ESPA) in 1988. Just also played a key role in the establishment of the CMP program. Bill Just embodied valuable attributes including being a visionary, incorporating creativity, professionalism and leadership into his endeavors. This award recognizes these qualities in its recipients.

ESPA members can submit an application which includes an essay on how the CMP designation has been beneficial to them, why they decided to receive this certification and details on their industry and community involvement. The winner will receive a complimentary registration to the next ESPA Annual Conference which helps to support their CMP continuing education status.

Download the application – Due November 16


Conference Chair:

Jamie Huckleberry

Jamie Huckleberry

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Conference Chair

Vice Chairs:

Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM

Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM

Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau

Vice Chair, General Sessions

Tiffany Eck, CMP

Tiffany Eck, CMP

Visit Denver

Vice Chair, Leadership Track

Denise Reid

Denise Reid

Immediate Past President

Vice Chair, Breakouts

Jerrine Lee

Jerrine Lee

Richmond Region Tourism

Vice Chair, Breakouts

Beth Butler

Beth Butler

Visit Charlotte

Vice Chair, Social

Event CSM:

April Montez
Committee Members

April Montez

Brenda Wasnok
Committee Members

Visit Anaheim

Fidel Mitchell
Committee Members

Arlington CVB

Rose Moreno
Committee Members

Visit Houston

Susan Breen
Committee Members

Bloomington CVB

Vanessa Kane
Committee Members


Kelli Gibson
Committee Members

Visit Knoxville

Lissa Hutchinson
Committee Members

Visit Denver

Tamara Sprude
Committee Members

Meet Minneapolis

Sonya Henry
Committee Members

Visit Anaheim

Cassie Poss
Committee Members

Fort Worth CVB

Courtney Ryan
Committee Members

Sheraton Fort Worth

Michael Mulhern
Committee Members

Visit San Jose

Lindsay Clapp
Committee Members

Raleigh Convention Center

Lauren Callahan
Committee Members

Grand Rapids - Devos Place

Aly Fernandez
Committee Members

Discover the Palm Beaches

Sara Simkin
Committee Members

NYC & Company

Lorrie Larson
Committee Members

Visit Saint Paul

Sue Cline
Committee Members

Meet NKY

Christina Clayton Sullivan
Committee Members

Visit Knoxville

Marie McLean
Committee Members

Oregon Convention center

Sharon Levine
Committee Members

Experience Columbus

Stephanie Andrews
Committee Members

Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council

Jolene Campbell
Committee Members

Visit Anaheim

Janice Telstar
Committee Members

Discover Philadelphia

Erin Degulis
Committee Members

Providence Warwick CVB

Jenny Wilson
Committee Members

Visit KC

Marilyn Healey
Committee Members

Hyatt Regency Orange County

Liz Hudock
Committee Members

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Partner corner

For sponsorship and partner opportunities, click here.