New Leader at Convention and Visitors Bureau

The board of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired a new President and CEO. It will be something of a homecoming for this individual, as Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.

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Greg Ortale comes back to Houston after 20 years as CEO of Meet Minneapolis, that city's convention and visitors agency. He moved to Minneapolis from Houston in 1987, after a stint as vice-president and general manager of the Houston C&V bureau. Ortale says he has a reason for coming back to Houston.

"Well first of all, I always wanted the job. And this was the first logical opportunity."

In Minneapolis, Ortale grew his agency from a small staff of only 17 employees, to 70 employees and a nine million dollar a year budget.ξ He played major roles in attracting everything from the Super Bowl to NCAA Final Fours to next year's Republican National Convention. He says Houston has the same kinds of opportunities, and his recent visits convinced him of that.

"And I was just kind of blown away by what had happened in 20 years. The infrastructure product, and certainly the Brown being a cornerstone of that, and Hilton Americas, and of course Toyota Center, Reliant Stadium, and Minute-Maid, those are things that people in other communities salivate over."ξ

Ortale says Houston has everything it needs to succeed, and he can't wait to get to work when he moves into his new office December third.ξ Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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