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City of San Jose endorses Team San Jose and convention operations

Following a year of strong organizational changes with the City’s Convention operator and tourism organization, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and the City Council unanimously approved the City Manager’s recommendation to discontinue work on a Request for Proposal for management of the Convention Center and Cultural facilities.

The vote was a resounding endorsement of the positive changes made by Team San Jose, which manages the Convention Center, various theaters and the Convention and Visitors Bureau services.

“This is a great signal to our customers and the community that Team San Jose is here to serve their needs. Today’s vote of confidence is a positive move forward,” said Bill Sherry, CEO of Team San Jose. “With a new state-of-the-art Convention facility coming online in 2013 that proudly reflects our position as the Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose has a lot to offer convention planners.”

In voting to halt the RFP process, City leaders cited Team San Jose’s strong performance results and structural changes to the organization that have increased focus and accountability.

“I support the vision and goals of Team San Jose’s new leadership,” said Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose. “This extension will allow Team San Jose to build on its recent progress in bringing business to our Convention Center that will generate new revenues, hotel room nights and jobs in our community.”

In August 2011, Team San Jose announced its performance results for FY 2010-2011, surpassing seven of nine performance measures established by the City of San Jose.  Key positive performance indicators include:

– Despite a challenging economic environment, Team San Jose grew revenue to $18.7 million, $4.8 million over the adopted budget;

– Customer service continued to be strong, with an end of the year result of 98 percent overall customer service rating;

– Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue, which supports Convention Center and theater operations, exceeded the budgeted goal by 8.7 percent;

– Fund 536, the reserve fund for TSJ, finished at significantly higher levels than assumed in the adopted budget because of added TOT growth and improved TSJ operations. The Fund ended the fiscal year $3.3 million higher than anticipated.

In early 2011, the City and Team San Jose announced the appointment of a new CEO, Bill Sherry, an administrator with more than $4 billion in construction project management experience and a strong background in public accounting and public administration.

Team San Jose also announced a new chief operating officer, Dave Costain, who has more than 35 years of hospitality operations experience, working with well-known hotel brands like Hilton and Wyndham. A new chief financial officer, Janette Sutton, has improved financial reporting and increased partnership with various city departments. In addition, the Board of Directors restructured internal oversight, increasing transparency and board engagement.

“We are extremely gratified that the Mayor and City Council have endorsed the changes we’ve made in the past year,” said Chuck Toeniskoetter, chairman of the Board of Directors at Team San Jose. “The City is a key partner in this community-oriented organization, and with the expanded and renovated Convention Center we will continue to further improve on our recent successes.”

In addition to the overall organizational changes, the City also hired CSL (Convention Sports and Leisure) as the City’s hospitality industry advisor to help evaluate San Jose’s service model against other destinations. CSL’s best practices report served as a catalyst in the City’s decision to remove the RFP and continue working with Team San Jose.  The additional reporting, enhanced transparency and renewed focus of Team San Jose prompted City Manager Debra Figone to recommend discontinuing the development of the RFP.

“The City has seen positive results working with Team San Jose,” said Debra Figone, city manager of City of San Jose.  “With the Convention Center expansion and renovation underway, we have an opportunity to capture more convention business and help grow our local economy.”

In April 2011, the City of San Jose and Team San Jose officially announced plans to move forward with a $120 million expansion and renovation project for the San Jose Convention Center with Sherry at the projects’ helm. The Convention Center will remain open throughout the project, with the newly remodeled and expanded Center to debut in Fall 2013. Sherry recently oversaw the $1.4 billion Mineta San Jose International Airport’s terminal modernization program, which finished ahead of schedule and under budget.

Posted in Southwest News
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