Louisville, Ky., opened an expanded, updated, and renamed meetings and events facility in mid-2018 after a two-year, $207 million renovation project, and this summer the Kentucky International Convention Center welcomed Blake Henry as its new general manager. Henry brings 20 years of experience as a facility executive, most recently as general manager of Cross Insurance Center Arena and Convention Center Complex in Bangor, Maine. We asked him to share some thoughts on the experience he brings to the job.
MeetingsNet: Looking back over your career, what have you learned about what conference planners need from facilities that you didn’t know when you started the business?
Henry: Keep your venue unique and interesting, and emphasize the experience. A majority of travel planning is motivated by experiencing something new. Every time you connect a visitor with an authentic, local experience, you’re heading in the right direction.
MeetingsNet: What’s the most memorable conference experience you’ve ever attended from the perspective of conference design?
Henry: We recently had the pleasure of hosting professional development conference for meeting professionals here at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The expo hall layout really allowed activation and engagement with their guests. From a “puppy lounge,” to a coffee shop, a skateboard ramp, and a rock-climbing wall, the design encouraged guests to make meaningful connections while having memorable experiences.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Henry: I’m an avid yogi and also a pilot!