National industry leader begins management of Santa Clara Convention Center on March 18

Wednesday, Mar 18th 2020

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Spectra takes over Convention Center operations; Kelly Carr announced as new general manager

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Spectra, a national leader in venue management and hospitality, officially took over operations of the Santa Clara Convention Center on Monday, March 18. The City Council in February, through a competitive procurement process, awarded Spectra a multi-year contract to manage the 300,000 square foot facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. To oversee operations, Spectra has named industry veteran Kelly Carr as the venue’s new general manager.

“The location, size, history and services at the Santa Clara Convention Center position the facility and surrounding area for significant growth,” said John Wentzell, President of Spectra. “We’re honored to have been selected to take the venue into the next chapter of its history. And with Kelly in the driver’s seat, he and his local team will work with local stakeholders to help restore the convention center’s vibrancy and distinction to attract world-class events to a world-class city.”

Spectra will also work with the City of Santa Clara and the Tourism Improvement District to establish a new Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote the city, the region and the convention center.

“We are thrilled to have Spectra, a highly respected venue management leader, manage and operate one of our city’s best assets,” said Lisa M. Gillmor, Mayor of Santa Clara. “Spectra has distinguished itself as an operator that is aligned to the City’s mission and understands the significant potential and unmatched offerings in Santa Clara. Spectra’s innovative approach and mindset uniquely suits this partnership in the Center of What’s Possible. I am excited to work with Kelly Carr.”

Carr, a California native with deep background managing venues across the country, will oversee all aspects of the facility, including contract negotiations, business development, financial planning, and marketing initiatives. Previously, he served as general manager and in other leadership roles for major event facilities in Reno, Nev.; Fresno, Calif.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Syracuse, N.Y. He also has experience in sales, marketing and broadcast, having previously hosted a talk show on ESPN Radio/Fox Sports Radio-Fresno.

“I’m excited to be back home in California and honored to be at the helm of the Santa Clara Convention Center,” noted Carr. “We will be laser-focused on working with our partners in the building and the community, focusing on transparency for the city and innovation for our clients, and preparing the facility for the region’s evolution. We also look forward to bringing community events to the convention center.”

The convention center regularly hosts large conventions and trade shows, weddings and receptions, corporate meetings, banquets, and other events. With a significant capital investment from Spectra, the facility is poised to make some major enhancements.

“The Santa Clara Convention Center’s position in the nation’s technology epicenter, the facility’s outstanding layout and amenities, and Kelly’s leadership present a significant opportunity for a city with major growth on the horizon,” said Dave Anderson, Spectra’s Senior Vice President of Convention Centers.

Across North America and globally, Spectra currently operates 45 convention centers, such as: Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, Miami Beach Convention Center, Atlantic City Convention Center, Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, and Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company also manages a blend of services for a host of other facilities in California, including Avaya Stadium, Papa Murphy’s Park, Orange County Marketplace, California Exposition & State Fair, the LA County Fair, and more.