When making the announcement, Ms. Kurie cited Mr. Owen’s 25 years of experience in hospitality that includes food & beverage, catering, convention and banquet services, and operations. His background includes nine years with Starwood Hotels, three years with the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, and most recently with Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Kurie noted that Owen’s accomplishments in hospitality are spot-on appropriate for Gastonia Conference Center as he brings valuable experience in complex, multi-unit food and beverage operations. He also has extensive experience in the meetings segment and has served in regional management positions in the meetings and conventions market. Kurie also noted, “Bill excels at operational management and fostering a strong working relationship with the local community and other strategic partners on many levels. This will be very appropriate in helping to cultivate a strong bond with the local business community in Gastonia.”

As General Manager, Bill will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the facility, which is registered for LEED-Gold certification by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). He will also be responsible for sales and marketing, accounting and purchasing, food and beverage, housekeeping and facility maintenance, catering and conference services, audio/visual and technology, and the environmental sustainability programs on property.

Gastonia Conference Center, which opened in November 2011, has successfully established a solid foundation of support from the local business community through civic, not-for-profit, and local corporate business which is consistent with the goals set forth by management team at The Wilderman Group. Kurie said, “As this foundation expands, the local community prospers and grows. Under Bill’s direction, the Gastonia Conference Center Partners Program will continue to develop as manufacturing and engineering business expands in the greater Charlotte area.” The Wilderman Group projects that as these new firms move into the area, Gastonia Conference Center will continue to work closely with those organizations as partners with Gaston County to help establish roots and plan their strategic growth in the County and strengthen economic development.

Bill will be instrumental in cultivating organizations that conduct meetings in the region and bring their business to Gastonia Conference Center as their preferred event venue. Repeat business continues to be very strong and reflects solid support for the conference center and its operation. Kurie notes, “when we bring meetings and events to the conference center, that brings additional revenue to the community via hotel rooms, restaurants, stores, and services. A win-win situation.”