Dallas-based Meeting Professional International's 2006 World Education Conference, held in Dallas in July, drew a record attendance of more than 3,600, according to MPI officials, who said that 40 percent of registrants were planners.

At the convention, Sally Goldesberry, CMP, CMM, senior manager of meetings and exhibitions for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, was named MPI's International Planner of the Year. Barb Taylor Carpender, CMM, was named International Supplier of the Year. She is founder and chief alliance officer of Taylored Alliances.

In other news, MPI announced it had surpassed the 20,000-member mark in July, making it the largest association of meeting professionals in the country. MPI is still conducting its search for a new chief executive officer, following the sudden resignation earlier this year of Colin Rorrie Jr. But Christine Duffy, outgoing MPI board chairperson and president and CEO of Maritz Travel Inc., said that a decision would be made within 90 days. Mark Andrew, CMP, of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, who has been serving as interim MPI CEO since March, stepped down July 1 from that position when he began his term as MPI's chairman of the board.

Andrew announced at the opening session that Houston has been selected as the host city for the 2008 Professional Education Conference — North America, February 3 to 5.

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