Rosemont, Illinois Mayor Donald E. Stephens announced that William Anderson, formerly with the village’s public safety department, has been named the new general manager of the Rosemont Convention and Tourism Bureau, succeeding Christopher R. Stephens.
Mr. Stephens has been named the new general manager of the Donald E. Stephens Convention and Conference Center, in Rosemont, succeeding James Freeman, who has retired but is staying on with the center in a consulting capacity.
“At a time and in an atmosphere where everyone is concerned about security, choosing a former public safety official, to head a convention bureau, promoting a center that just happens to be located adjacent to the world’s busiest airport, is a good idea,” the mayor commented. “We have great confidence in Bill’s managerial abilities and look forward to introducing him to convention center clients and client prospects.”
Prior to his new appointment, Mr. Anderson was deputy superintendent of the Village of Rosemont’s Public Safety Department, managing more than 500 public safety professionals who provided a full range of services, including supervision of security for the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and the surrounding hotels.
“I am extremely enthusiastic about my new position,” exclaimed Mr. Anderson. “I have lived more than 50 years in Rosemont and watched the community grow from a rural area with dirt streets to one of the top 10 meeting/convention capitals in the nation, thanks to the leadership of Mayor Donald Stephens.
“We have aggressive new business goals,” he continued. “We look forward to welcoming many more than the one million visitors we currently host. Between the current renovations, the development of the $500 million Rosemont Walk entertainment district and all the new facilities it will encompass, we have nothing but opportunity here in Rosemont. Rosemont has one of the most exciting business climates of any municipality in the U.S.A.”
He continued to explain that the Stephens Convention Center is one of few municipally-owned meeting/convention facilities in the nation that returns revenues without any subsidies.
James (Jim) Freeman has headed the center for 30 of its 32-year history. He has guided its growth from a small 150,000 square-foot facility in 1976, to its current 960,000 square feet.
“We have the best of both worlds,” commented the mayor. “We are keeping the experience, the contacts and the expertise of a 30-year veteran, while tapping the bright young talent of Mr. Stephens. We are grateful to Mr. Freeman for his dedication and leadership, and we are delighted that he will be staying on in a consulting capacity.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the Village of Rosemont throughout the past 30 years as executive director of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center,” said Mr. Freeman. “It was a privilege to observe the continual growth of the facility. I appreciate the support that Mayor Stephens and village board have given me over the years.”
Mr. Freeman has extensive hotel, meeting/convention and hospitality experience. Prior to his tenure at the Stephens Center, he was sales and convention manager at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. He also served as sales manager at the McCormick Inn Hotel before joining the Hyatt Regency. He began his career at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, where he was convention and exhibit manager.
Christopher Stephens has worked in the convention/hospitality arena for the Village of Rosemont in several capacities over the past 10 years. He began his career in 1997, as an account executive for Rosemont Exposition Services, learning the show and exposition side of the business. In 1999, he became a sales manager at the convention center in Rosemont. He was promoted to assistant executive director of the center in 2004, and then moved to the Rosemont Convention Bureau in 2006 as executive director.
“I am leading one of the most successful convention centers in the nation,” he explained. “Following someone with the accomplishments of Jim Freeman could be daunting; but the good news is that he is staying on to serve us as a consultant. He has set a highly successful stage for us. This facility may be the only municipally-owned center of its kind in the nation that returns revenues to its home community and state, and we intend to keep it that way.”