How's this for a performance agreement--a promise of one million dollars if the facility you are booking does not complete its promised expansion?
It was an offer that the folks at PITTCON, the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, couldn't refuse. The all-organization agreed to hold its 50th anniversary celebration at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on the condition that the building finish its $467 million, 750,000-square-foot expansion on time. Tom Ackert, OCCC executive director, says that when he unveiled the guarantee idea, his board thought he was crazy, I said, 'Do you want this event or don't you?' " he recalls. "Sometimes you've got to take a risk."
The risk was well worth it, Ackert says. Not only did OCCC nail down a commitment from PITTCON, one of the country's top 50 shows, but the agreement improved their relationship. As part of the guarantee, signed in 1992, PITTCON members visited the site yearly to check on the project's progress. And the ending was a happy one. The project was actually completed early, in January 1998, says Ackert, in plenty of time for the March 1999 convention. And so it was with smiles on all sides that Ackert (above, right) and PITTCON president Tom Conti (left) displayed the voided check during the conference's closing reception.
OCCC is currently developing plans to build an additional wing across the street, which would add one million square feet of exhibit space, bringing the total to 2.1 million square feet. The new building is slated for a spring 2003 opening.