gilbertThe Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau gets down to business with the appointment of convention and sales executive Gilbert Villard as Convention Sales Manager. In his new position, Villard will be responsible for International group business, along with the southern United States including Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as corporate business in Florida.

This appointment comes on the recent "Hello Sunny" marketing campaign for 2013 announcement by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau which plans to expand its geographic reach for group and leisure business, targeting traditionally strong markets domestically and internationally, opening new operations in Brazil and Germany, as well as new emphasis on the Midwest, including Chicago.

"Gilbert's extensive background is vital in welcoming international conventions, meetings and exhibitors to our sun-kissed shores," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Greater Fort Lauderdale's appeal to the international market was further enhanced with the recent news that the Broward County Convention Center became the first convention center in Florida to be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified and one of only three in the nation to achieve LEED Gold for an Existing Building. Greater Fort Lauderdale is banking on the convention center's green practices drawing world-wide attention.

Villard comes to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau from the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau where he was National Sales Manager for South East Market for the past four years based in Broward County. Prior to that he spent more than 14 years at Caribbean Exhibits lastly serving as Director of Sales selling tradeshow and special event logistics to event and meeting professionals bringing conventions to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. While there, he was awarded salesperson of the year.

Villard, fluent in English, Spanish, French and Creole, received his Business Administration degree with concentration in tourism specialization in conventions at the Universidad Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico, where he was the president of the Tourism Association, student counsel treasure and received the Portico Award. Currently, he resides in Pembroke Pines and is a board member of the MPI South Florida Chapter currently serving as Director of Membership Care and SITE.

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