Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism appoints new CEO
A Midlands leader in promoting the region’s accommodations, restaurants, facilities and attractions has chosen a new president and CEO.
The Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism announced Feb. 18 that Bill Ellen is stepping into the role and will head up the organization. The private, nonprofit corporation is funded primarily by revenue generated by visitors through accommodations taxes and is the parent organization of Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Columbia Regional Sports Council.
“Bill’s passion for and experience in the hospitality and tourism industries will be strong assets in accomplishing the organization’s overall mission and vision,” said MACST board chair John Hardee. “We are thrilled to have Bill in this role and know he will serve MACST well.”
Ellen is taking over for former President and CEO Ric Luber who retired after leaving the post.
As the primary tourism agent for the Columbia region, MACST includes daily operations of Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Columbia Regional Sports Council.
Before being named CEO, Ellen served as the organization’s board chair. His duties will include developing a comprehensive and strategic plan for MACST, increasing the economic impact of the region’s tourism, fostering relationships with area partners and more.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working with such a strong and dynamic team,” Ellen said. “Over the years the organization has been instrumental in raising the perception and awareness of Columbia, SC, locally, regionally and nationally, and I’m eager to see these efforts continue and expand in the future.”
Currently, Ellen serves on the executive boards of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, as well as the Columbia Area Hotel and Lodging Association.
He officially will be ending his tenure as general manager of The Clarion at the end of February.