PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Aug. 6, 2013) – Hospitality industry veteran Phil Campbell has been hired as facility manager of the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a city-owned $45 million special events center that will open in September.
Campbell began his hospitality career in 1981 and has been general manager of the MainStay Suites in Pigeon Forge since 1998. He earned credentials as a Certified Hotel Administrator from the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Educational Institute in 2005.
The position is responsible for the overall direction of the facility, including the selling and scheduling of events. Campbell starts Sept. 3.
“Phil Campbell knows and understands Pigeon Forge and has the skills to sell the LeConte Center and the city to event planners,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.
The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is part of the tourism department.
“Phil will work closely with Mike Wilds, who has consulted with us on the construction and initial sales efforts, as the building goes into full operation,” Downey said.
There is a dedicated event sales position reporting to Campbell that will be filled later.
“Phil has widespread contacts because of service on the Choice Hotels Owners Council, past Rotary Club activity and leadership of the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association, where he is the current president. He will be a great representative for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge,” Downey said.
Campbell is the second staff member hired for the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. Bobby Shultz started in May as operations director. His responsibilities include operation and maintenance of the 232,000-square-foot building.
The building’s primary feature is a 100,500-square-foot clear-span exhibit hall designed for large assembly events, trade shows and competitive events. It can seat 12,116 in a configuration with a raised center stage that has every guest within 137 feet of the stage.
The facility’s first booking is a 15-day block for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November.
That show will bring between 10,000 and 15,000 people to Sevier County and will occupy both the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and the Sevierville Events Center. Its promoters describe it as the largest show of its kind in North America.
Tom Adkinson, APR