ASM looking forward to Cox Center, OKC Convention Center management
An operational change is on the horizon for the Cox Convention Center.
The company known known as ASM Global will take over operations of the Cox Convention Center starting April 1. ASM is the new company that resulted from the merger of SMG and AEG, formerly the two biggest players in the convention-center operations industry.
ASM already operates the Chesapeake Energy Arena and will manage the new MAPS 3 Convention Center.
“We’re working on staffing up,” said Barbara Beaton, Assistant General Manager of the Cox Convention Center and the MAPS 3 Convention Center, as well as the Director of Sales.
“We’re already hired a director of event services. We’re going to have a job fair in a couple of weeks so we can fill our housekeeping, operations and food-and-beverage staff needs,” she said.
ASM is preparing to offer the high-caliber services that customers would expect from two well-known brands coming together.
The Cox Convention Center will have new tables and chairs. The kitchen is getting updated equipment as well.
When ASM takes over, food services will be taken over by ASM’s catering company, Savor. Oklahoma City Thunder basketball fans will recognize Savor’s quality, as the company operates the Budweiser Brew House Carvery, the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club and the concession stands on the first and third floors.
The customer service is getting updated as well, with several event managers getting added to the staff. Every event booked at the center will have a manager that works with the group from start to finish, even if the finish time isn’t until 2 a.m.
“Our management style is so customer-service oriented,” she said. “We do all we can to make sure our customers are happy, from the time we start working with them to the time they walk out the door. That’s part of our company culture.”
When the new convention center gets up and running, some of the Cox Convention Center staff will move to the new space, while others will work at both locations. Beaton said her team has clients that are excited about moving into the new space, while others are happy to stay at the Cox Center.
She said she’s excited to see what the new convention center will do for the city. She’s spent the last 13 years working for SMG at NRG Park in Houston, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans. The Tulsa-native said she jumped at the chance to come back to her home state.
“I think the new convention center will stimulate growth in the city,” she said. “It will be so exciting when people come here to see it. That whole area by the new convention center is just going to boom.”