Linda M. Jones, CMP Celebrates Silver Anniversary at the PA Convention Center

    By Linda M. Jones, CMP, HMCC, Sales Manager, Pennsylvania Convention Center/SMG


    As an original employee of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, I have many outstanding memories stretching back over the last quarter of a century. Perhaps my fondest recollection was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Center that coincided with the Welcome America festival. It was amazing how the 12th and Arch Street intersection was transformed into a dazzling array of red, white, and blue. Excitement was truly in the air as thousands of people lined the street to catch a glimpse of Vice President Al Gore as he cut the ceremonial ribbon signaling the opening of the $522 million center. It would take until 1994 for the old Reading Terminal Train Shed to become the exquisite Grand Hall. I personally served as an official “Whistle Stop Conductor” welcoming visitors and encouraging them to experience the amazing transformation of the train station.

    Another favorite memory was Hall F, which was converted from “raw” exhibit space into the site of the official dinner of the Grand Opening. Hall F and the Grand Opening Gala rivaled a presidential inaugural dinner. As a highlight of the event, the world-famous Chef Georges Perrier used a saber sword to pop the champagne cork and fill a champagne tower of goblets.

    Of course, there have been many amazing events and activities hosted by the PCC over the years: the Republican National Convention and Politicalfest, seeing Robert Redford and Michele Pfeiffer shoot their scenes for the movie “Up Close and Personal,” watching the Grand Hall transform into an airport for the film “12 Monkeys,” the PCC’s expansion in 2011, and the PA Conference with Michelle Obama and over 12,000 attendees, just to name a few. It’s not just the building that made these memories, it’s the people involved. I’ve had the privilege of working with exceptional colleagues. The camaraderie and Team PCC approach has been a common thread throughout PCC’s successful history. What an opening it was and what a place it continues to be!

    In summary, the 25 years I have spent at the convention center has produced a wide array of indelible memories. It truly was an exciting time to be downtown when the Pennsylvania Convention Center opened in 1993. The opening signaled the start of a cultural revival for the city, and Philly was once again becoming noticed as a tourist and meeting destination. All along, the Pennsylvania Convention Center has been right there to promote, and benefit from, the best the City of Philadelphia has to offer. While it seems like just a short time ago, the opening of the Convention Center ultimately reinforced the standing of Philadelphia as a world-class city. And the gleaming, modern facility that is the Convention Center proved that we had the capacity to handle major events, with convenient access to hotels, fine dining, cultural landmarks, and transportation facilities. I am just glad to have been a part of the glorious history!

    Linda Jones 1994 

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