Super Bowl Special

Thomas Bruckman is a big sports fan. The executive director of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research,Rochester, Minn., has been to the World Series, the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Preakness, but he's never been to the mother of all sporting events, the Super Bowl. Until now.

Participating in the inaugural online silent auction of the American Society of Association Executives, Bruckman bid $3,500 in September for an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl.

The trip was donated by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Bruckman won two tickets to the game, which will be played February 1, 2004, at Reliant Stadium in Houston. He will be watching the game with his fiancée, and they will have deluxe Houston CVB loge seats. He will also enjoy four free nights at the new Hilton near the stadium, as well as passes to all the pre-game weekend festivities.

“Going to the Super Bowl has always been on my list of lifetime things to do,” says Bruckman. As an added bonus, there's a good chance he'll be there cheering for his home state team, the Minnesota Vikings. “That really would make it extra special,” he says.

Lucky guy!

Paperless in Orlando

Orlando's Orange County Convention Center is reportedly the first facility in the country to go paperless. As of October 1, the OCCC allows exhibitors to place orders — all day, every day — using a customized web page and eliminating the need to fax or send forms. A toll-free phone number has also been set up for those who prefer to speak to a staff person. Shannon Cooper, communications administrator at OCCC, says the change was made to make the ordering process more convenient.

Exhibitors can place orders from the OCCC Web site (www.occc.net), or their show's Web site via a customized template. The first show to use the new service is the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, which came to town November 19 to 22. IAAPA opted for its own site (www.iaapaorlando.com/occc), which interested parties can visit to visit to see a live example.

Doggett Determination

Just five weeks into her new job as head of the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association, Leslie Doggett has made a big splash. Doggett, former deputy under-secretary of commerce in the U.S. Department of Commerce, landed the largest convention in the city's history when the National Baptist Convention USA Congress of Christian Education agreed to bring its delegation of 50,000 to Baltimore June 18 to 24, 2006.

The convention is a $41 million shot in the arm for the city. All 6,600 hotel rooms in the city have been booked, and a grand total of 25,000 room nights are blocked for the convention.

While efforts to bring the convention to town began before Doggett arrived in August, she sealed the deal after flying out to the group's annual meeting in Kansas City to make her pitch. Doggett says it was a group effort that brought the convention to Baltimore. She credits Mayor Martin O'Malley, the hotel community's competitive rates, and the local Baptist community's help in wooing the national Baptists to Baltimore. “The community came together as a team to win this piece of business,” says Doggett. She hopes it will help reposition Baltimore as a venue than can accommodate larger conventions.