A Day in the Life: Director of Marketing & Sales at the BCC

From the desk of the Bayfront Convention Center’s Director of Marketing and Sales:


I am Lisa Di Luzio, the Director of Marketing and Sales at the Bayfront Convention Center.

The BCC has intrigued me since its opening, and for the past two years I have had the opportunity to work with such a diversified and unique building with endless capabilities.

With more than 28 consecutive years in the sales and hospitality industry, I merge classic professionalism with innovative ideas for meeting and convention needs. Daily, I am posed with availability and capacity questions, logistical inquires, and the task of bringing reoccurring and new business to the BCC. With the support of my team, I continue to problem solve to get the most for our building and the Erie community by providing optimal cliental for economic growth and impact. Quite often I am faced with fitting a 1000 person event in a room while executing a 400 person one in another with no interruption in customer service and experience. My insight into maximizing the “lay of the land” (as I like to call it) and the market segments allows for best sales practices, endless growth, and continued opportunity for Erie’s public and prosperity.

Some of the events myself and my team have facilitated include the annual UPMC Hamot Gala, the Barber Ball, the LECOM Student Auction, countless consumer shows and expos, social and daily meetings, and city-wide conferences and conventions. I have also brought the Polish National Catholic Convention, many non-profit organizations, educational sessions, military affiliations, and more to the BCC. Moreover, I look forward to introducing the Courtyard by Marriott Bayfront Hotel for future conventions and city-wides.

I am very appreciative to work for a productive and professional team that collectively holds a common goal. Our goal is to provide top service and quality products not only to host an event but to offer every guest an experience. I have strong passion for the business, the building, and the overall direction of bolstering Erie.

I’m ready to Get Up and Go!

Get Ready for the Harlem Globetrotters in Erie February 3rd!

Zeus McClurkin from The Harlem Globetrotters made a special stop in Erie Wednesday. Zeus, an Advance Ambassador for the team, came to town to help promote next week’s game on February 3rd. He had a full day of television appearances and radio interviews along with a school visit to Harding Elementary school. He presented a program called the “ABCs of Bullying Prevention.”  Zeus, 6-foot-8, is from Columbus, Ohio and in his rookie year with the Globetrotters.

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Tickets are still available for the game which starts at 7pm at the Erie Insurance Arena. They can be purchased at www.erieevents.com, by calling (814) 452-4857 or by visiting the box office at 809 French Street.

A Day in the Life: BCC Director of Operations

A day in the life of Mike Kelly, the Director of Operations for Erie Events. He describes his role and how he contribute:

I started with the Erie County Convention Center Authority, now commonly known as Erie Events, in 2007 as the Convention Center’s Director of Food & Beverage. In 2008, I moved over as the Director of Operations, while still leading the food & beverage operations.  Recently, I was asked to lead the food and beverage operations for Erie Events.  This morphing of roles has taught me a great deal about the Bayfront Convention Center and Erie Insurance Arena businesses and has led to some very memorable experiences.

WE handle events from 3,000 to 5,000 people at the Convention Center at any given time;  Corporate business meetings, sporting events, consumer shows, weddings and wedding receptions, large banquets and even larger cocktail parties.  Many times events are happening simultaneously!   At Erie Insurance Arena, that number can range anywhere from 500 people for small sporting events to 8,000 for large concerts.

It’s a big job and people ask me how I manage to keep all these events straight on a daily basis. My answer is very simple; I have amazing co-workers!  A constant, concerted effort is made across the Authority by many employees to produce events, keep our establishments clean and safe and provide great hospitality and experiences for our guests.  Some days can be very trying as one could imagine, but the satisfaction of knowing we successfully produced an event that exceeded someone’s expectations is the reward!

Two Show Announcements!

“Weird Al” Yankovic is coming to Erie to perform at the Warner Theatre this summer. Yankovic will perform July 10th at 8pm at the Warner as part of his “Mandatory World Tour.” Tickets for this show go on sale January 30th.

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Plus, Slipknot with special guest Hatebreed will bring it’s epic “Prepare For Hell” world tour to the Erie Insurance Arena on May 12th. Presales are now available with general on-sale this Friday at 10am.


Get all ticket information at http://www.erieevents.com, by calling the box office at 814-452-4857 or by visiting the box office at Erie Insurance Arena.


A Day in the Life: Concession Operations Manager

Beth Wilkinson is still fairly new to the Erie Events management staff, but not new to the Food Service industry.  When asked how long she’s been in the business, she responds “Since I was tall enough to reach a sink.”

A graduate of Mercyhurst University, Beth has worked many years in the field, finding her true passion as the Concession Operations Manager at the Erie Insurance Arena. Events are exciting and upbeat. The time goes by quickly when it’s such a fun atmosphere.

The focus for this season, aside from always providing exceptional customer service, is trying new menu items.  This season’s new menu items are caveman pops (turkey legs), arena chips and brownie sundaes. If you haven’t yet, make sure you try one of them when you’re at the Arena.

The Food & Beverage Department has four full-time employees, 51 part-time employees and six volunteer groups.  It takes hard work from everyone to get ready for an event.  We are definitely a great team and enjoy serving our patrons!

School Kids Enjoy Lake Erie Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

The Warner Theatre is playing host this weekend to a holiday favorite — the Nutcracker. The 56th annual production is Saturday night at 7pm and Sunday at 2:30pm. But before the performance this weekend for the general public, hundreds of school children got to see the show. It’s a Lake Erie Ballet production that’s a tradition in the community. There were around 1,200 students at the first performance this morning, followed by a special performance for around 100 autistic children. If you’re interested in coming to the show this weekend, get your tickets now at http://www.erieevents.com.

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A Day in the Life: Bayfront Convention Center General Manager

Jeff Esposito, the Bayfront Convention Center general manager, talks about local champions:

Usually when people learn that I am general manager of the Bayfront Convention Center I get lots of questions. That’s great – I love talking shop. One of the more frequently asked questions is how do you bring conventions to Erie? I usually respond by saying it’s with the help of people like you.

The Bayfront Convention Center has a sales and marketing department whose job it is to generate sales. We also team up with several other groups such as VisitErie, the Sports Commission, our hotel partners, Presque Isle Downs & Casino as well as other local attractions. We all work together to bring out-of-town groups to Erie. Yet, you have an even louder voice.

If you are a member of a group, you can bring the group to Erie. Next time you get an email notifying you of the upcoming year’s convention ask your group why are they not considering Erie as a location for the convention. Introduce us to the group and watch how surprised the event planners are after they have a tour of Erie and see for themselves all that we have to offer. You become a “Local Champion,” a person who brings a group home to Erie – along with its positive economic impact to the region.

Consider that even a small convention can bring more than $300,000 in economic impact to the region. That’s a great return and all it requires is your providing your group a positive recommendation about your hometown. So, the next time you get an email or flyer in the mail give us a call at 814-455-1260.

TBT: Erie Events Employees Team Build while Bowling

Erie Events employees had a great night team building event while trying to roll a good game at the Polish Falcons Club bowling lanes. The team building exercise turned into a friendly-competition as each team wanted to come out on top with the highest score, giving them the chance to hold the bragging rights!

action shot Beth cheryl and dave Dawn ed and chuck everyone score board

The most competitive of us all might have arguably been our executive director, Casey Wells. The teams were selected at random, but Casey lucked out when he landed on a team with the best bowler, Reine. That was essentially an automatic win considering most of the other employees weren’t the best bowlers! Martha, Casey and Reine took home the win, defeating everyone else.


It was an enjoyable night for everyone who participated!

A Day in the Life: Publicity, Promotions & Special Events Coordinator

From the desk of Dawn Betza:

In my role as the Publicity, Promotions & Special Events Coordinator, I get to do many fun and exciting things. My main focus is to work with show promoters and help them facilitate their advertising and public relations campaigns. I create marketing plans, write press releases, place media buys, schedule radio/tv interviews, arrange meet & greets, etc. The bottom line…it’s all about getting the word out, but most importantly, it’s about putting butts in seats. Show promoters rely heavily on in-house marketing help since most are not familiar with the Erie market. They need advice and recommendations as to where to spend their marketing dollars, so I help make sense of it all – at least I think so anyway! Spending money on radio, tv, newspaper and online is the most effective way to get the message out, but it also opens the doors for other types of media opportunities. Promoters love these additional opportunities because they are absolutely free! They include ticket giveaways, special promotions, enter to wins, on air interviews – all great ways to extend the marketing message without any cost.

So, here is one of those great opportunities that I wanted to share with you. The Harlem Globetrotters have a program where they send a player, known as an Advance Ambassador, to town about one month before their game to do all sorts of media interviews, school visits and general public relations. My job is to escort the player to each location and to make sure each event is properly executed. While this is very interesting and a unique opportunity that most will never experience, it is also a very busy day loaded with events that start in the wee hours of the morning. Below is an example of an Advance Ambassador schedule – enjoy!!


TIME                      EVENT                                                                   NOTES TO PLAYER

5:45am                 Pick-up player at hotel                                   bring 2 basketballs for the day

6:00-7:00am       WSEE-TV/WICU-TV                                         live interviews morning news, be prepared to spin ball

7:30-8:00am       Connoisseur Radio                                          multiple live interviews on Star, Rocket, The Wolf

8:30-9:30am       Erie Day School                                                 175 student assembly, interviews afterwards

10:00-10:30am   Cumulus Radio                                                  multiple live interviews on Classy 100, Nash & Z102

11:00-11:30am   WERG Gannon Radio                                      recorded interview

11:50-1:00pm     WSEE TV/WICU-TV                                          live interviews afternoon news, also weather segment


2:00-2:30pm       Erie Insurance Arena, JET-TV/FOX            shoot basketballs to record promo, also interview

3:00-4:00pm       Youth Development Center                        meet & greet, sign autographs, pictures

4:30-5:30pm       Emerson-Gridley                                              200 student assembly

6:00-7:00pm       JET-TV/FOX                                                        multiple live interviews evening news

7:30-8:30pm       CiCi’s Pizza                                                          meet & greet, sign autographs, pictures


The Harlem Globetrotters return to the Erie Insurance Arena on February 3, 2015 @ 7:00pm. Tickets on sale now.

Check out this cool video – a Harlem Globetrotter shatters the Guinness World Record for the farthest basketball shot made backwards!


The e Cultural Loop Starts Saturday

A new, free, park-and-ride trolley service will launch this Saturday, December 13th. A downtown “Cultural Loop” will provide new options for audiences of many downtown arts and cultural venues. A partnership between EMTA, the Erie Downtown Partnership and Erie Arts & Culture, the Cultural Loop will provide Saturday evening services from 5-11pm as a pilot program to encourage residents and visitors to spend more time downtown in our cultural district. “Park-and-ride services have been a successful tool in encouraging participation at summer activities along the Bayfront. Our season ticket holders and subscribers have voiced a similar need for park-and-ride services throughout the year to our major venues,” states Amanda Sissem. Service will begin with Saturday evenings with the opportunity for expansion as interest grows.

Free parking for the Cultural Loop is located at the Intermodal Transportation center with indoor waiting in the Rotunda. The route travels South on French Street to 14th Street, West on 14th to State, North to 11th Street, West on 11th to Peach, North on Peach to 10th Street, East on 10th to State, North on State to Perry Square, and around the Square and North on State, returning to the Intermodal Transportation Center via the Bayfront Parkway.

“Erie Events is excited and proud to partner with Erie Arts & Culture to include the beautiful, historic Warner Theatre in the Culture Loop,” said Elizabeth D’Aurora, the Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations for Erie Events. “The Warner Theatre is home to the Erie Philharmonic, Lake Erie Ballet and the Erie BROADWAY Series, all of which go hand-in-hand with the Erie Arts & Culture initiative.” Main stops along the Cultural Loop include the Intermodal Transportation Center, the Warner Theatre (French Street side with access to the Erie Insurance Arena and main entrance on State Street) and the Erie Playhouse. Optional stops dot the entire route encouraging passengers to visit additional arts and cultural venues, galleries and downtown restaurants. The service runs approximately every 30 minutes between 5-11pm.

“This new service will be a great addition to our downtown,” commented John Buchna, CEO of the Erie Downtown Partnership. “We’ll be able to provide safe, timely transportation to those who support arts and cultural programs by linking them to venues and other establishments. Arts and cultural programs are key to our downtown. This new service is a way for patrons to enjoy creativity and support their downtown as a whole. It’s a great new program and we’re thankful to Erie Arts & Culture and EMTA for making this trolley service a reality.”

To access the Cultural Loop schedule and map visit http://www.erieartsandculture.org/events or check routes and fares at the EMTA website http://www.emtaerie.com.

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