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Got a Story Idea? . Events
Association Bisnow
May 8, 2008



The Reagan Building may feel like a fixture on the capital landscape (especially for you meeting planners), but not within memory its Pennsylvania Ave. site was an unsavory red-light district. When JFK called it a “blight” on the ride to his inauguration, his words fell on the ears of future Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who in 1987 pushed through legislation laying plans for the complex. The 3.1-million-square-foot building with DC’s largest parking garage (1,954 spaces) hosts 1,200 annual events, including 250 conventions for the likes of the AARP and the Washington Int’l Trade Association. With its 10th anniversary celebration coming in June, we decided to check in


Though it’s the largest government building on the planet after the Pentagon, we were able to locate John Drew, who manages it for GSA as CEO of Trade Center Management Associates. He tells us the building by James Ingo Freed (who also designed the Holocaust Museum) has played host to everything from 13 movie premiers (Morgan Freeman attended the recent opening of The Bucket List”) to an upcoming Indian wedding complete with elephants. At one event for a defense contractor, it even had nuclear missiles (unarmed of course) on display.


Standing under the building’s five-acre roof, John says his staff can do as much or as little as clients want, from just providing space to planning every detail. He’s particularly proud of his food offerings, which can be flown in from places like Vietnam if necessary and never see a heat lamp. The building also offers a green meeting package featuring corn-made cups and sugar-cane plates. For convention planners sweating details like transportation, he points out the Federal Triangle Metro stop on his doorstep and is happy to hook up large groups up with Metro cards (hey, can we get some of those?).      


Remember YHIP (Young Hospitality Industry Professionals), the cool-kid group we tipped you off to two months ago? When we returned last week for their third monthly happy hour at The Park on 14th, co-founder Dan Sherman of Transportation Management Services (the people who shuttle you around convention sites) told us RSVPs had tripled to nearly 150 and he’s already planning a June YHIP event in Chicago. With him are Mary-Kathleen Todd of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education; Cheryl Tishman, meetings guru for the Newspaper Association of America (smiling broadly after getting through a conference featuring all three Presidential candidates); and Derek Brinkman of Destination DC, the new re-branded name for the DC Convention and Tourism Corporation.

Arent Fox
Cardinal Bank
Congressional Schools of VA
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