Testimonials

Main Ingredient in North American International Auto Show Successful Recipe

"Transition and change are not guarantees of success. Read any article about a sports team experiencing a coaching change and you are sure to see a quote to follow, something like: 'This will be a rebuilding year.' While the automotive industry continues to rebuild, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2011 experienced what many are calling the equivalent of a world championship. Such success is the result of many factors, but one cannot deny our venue, Cobo Center, plays a huge role for the NAIAS. Simply, it is our 'home field.' The dedication we as organizers of the NAIAS have seen from the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA) – particularly its chair, Larry Alexander – and this year’s addition of Thom Connors as the General Manager of Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center as well as Regional Vice President of venue management company, SMG, has been exactly what was needed.

We have seen and appreciated the 'sweating of the small stuff' that has increased and/or improved the customer experience at Cobo Center, and has been unmatched. Catering options, renovations to eateries like the addition of 'Eatsville USA,' and strategic vision for structural improvements are keeping NAIAS the global draw it has always been. The vision of SMG as a company specializing in the operation of convention and sports and entertainment facilities has brought new life to Cobo Center; they are a company with a track record of successful business revitalization and facility renovation and management more than 200 locations worldwide.

It is this type of experience that we at the NAIAS need to have to keep our show at the cutting edge. What is greatly appreciated is the methodic, realistic approach to short-term goals, keeping long-term objectives in sight. This is not a case of over promise and under deliver, rather, DRCFA and SMG provide experience-based recommendations and actions that fit within budgets, manage expectations and then exceed them. The future is looking brighter for the automotive industry, and as a result, many aspects of local, national and global economies as well. The ongoing changes and renovations we will see at Cobo Center under the DRCFA and SMG will keep our collective teams making noted championship runs for years to come.

Few events in the world can match the attention, traffic and impact of the NAIAS. A venue that allows us to house all the positive attributes of this globally significant event is critical. While transition and change does not promise success, the melding of NAIAS, SMG and the DRCFA under the roof of Cobo Center has delivered a winning season in its first year and is clearly set to establish the dynasty of championships our city deserves."

Rod Alberts
Executive Director
North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)

“Cobo Center and Centerplate staffs went above and beyond to help us deliver what is being called 'the best ITS World Congress' in the 21-year history of the event.  And that’s up against Paris, London, Tokyo, Beijing, Vienna and a boatload of “name” international cities. We told ‘em all along that Detroit was the best place to have a World Congress and you helped prove us right.”

Gerry Conover
Managing Director ITS America/PRC Associates
 

The past few weeks & months have been a true convergence of teams making it possible to ‘plant the flag in the moon and declare Detroit the capital of manufacturing’. We would like to extend our appreciation for all of your efforts and hard work put into making THE BIG M/RAPID a success. The attention to detail and care provided by each of you and each Cobo Center team member did not go un-noticed by our attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff.  SME is truly grateful for your involvement in bringing manufacturing back to Detroit. We look forward to our continued partnership in 2015.

Lauren E. Nastase
Show Operations Manager
SME

I wish to extend to you my sincerest thanks to Cobo Center for welcoming the 106th annual session of the National Baptist Congress to the great city of Detroit, Michigan.

On behalf of myself and the entire Congress staff, please know that we are very appreciative to you for providing your time and professionalism during our national event.

Dr. T.B. Boyd III
President and CEO
R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation
 

The Cobo Center Was Beautiful

When we were elected to represent our local union at the American Federation of Teachers convention, we were not excited to hear it would be held in Detroit.  The city created visions of dirty buildings, crime and danger.  We were so pleasantly surprised by how wonderful our experiences were!

The Cobo Center was beautiful.  The People Mover was efficient and really a great way to see downtown.  The waterfront, including a free concert was a phenomental place to experience a sunset.

The restaurants were fantastic - from tiny places like Cobo Joe's and Sweetwater to fancier places like Andiamo's and Joe Muer Seafood.  Our evening at the Detroit Institute of Arts was terrific.  The artwork was first-class.  In addition, every person we encountered was friendly and helpful.  

So, thank you, Detroit, for a wonderful experience.  We will be back.

Lynn Diagostino, Rachel Binda-Lis and Sue Raichilson                                                                                 Buffalo Teachers Federation                                                                                                                    Buffalo, N.Y.

"Thank you for your generous hospitality at the recent CAB meeting. I am a fan of Detroit before the meetings, but always leave being even more enthralled. It was especially great to see the changes that are on the horizon at Cobo. I look forward to working more closely with the staff for my 2015 event there. Congratulations on your vision and accomplishment. Cobo will be a showcase and centerpiece for the city on the rise."

Heidi Hagstrom, CMP
Director for ELCA Youth Gathering
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

"On behalf of NeighborWorks America, I would like to thank you and your staff for the service provided during our May 2011 NeighborWorks Training Institute. Your team was instrumental to ensuring that our program was an overwhelming success. They were extremely welcoming and provided a wonderful atmosphere for everyone involved.

The support we have received from Detroit has been tremendous. We appreciate the partnership and look forward to working with the Cobo Center again. All the best with your upcoming events!"

Andrea James
Director of Operations
NeighborWorks America

"Thanks for the extra effort you and your staff provided at Cobo. You exceeded our expectations and we appreciate the attention and service we received."

Darwin Beacham
Detroit NAACP

"The conference went very well and on behalf of NCSI and DoD, thanks for “making this happen.” You were instrumental in expediting this and handled every problem we had with a solution. The main session area looked spectacular and no one left thinking we “settled for an exhibit hall”! I know this is something you don’t normally do and we appreciated it…also, the exhibit hall also left a lasting impression on everyone."

John Skipper
Chief Executive Officer, NCSI
2011 Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems (DoDIIS) Worldwide Conference

"This was the 59th consecutive year for Autorama to be held in the City of Detroit, and the 50th Anniversary of the show being produced at Cobo Center. Autorama is truly “America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show” with over 100,000 automotive enthusiasts attending the three day event, 1,100 exhibitors participating in the show, 700,000 square feet of exhibit space and utilizing in excess of 2,000 room nights at the three downtown host hotels. With participants attending representing 27 US States and 3 Canadian Provinces the comments we received were without exception very favorable towards all aspects of the event including the facility, food, lodging and the quality and presentation of the event. We can honestly state that with SMG being signed as the facility management company for Cobo Center we are already seeing signs of positive change in the appearance and the management of the venue. We excited to return to Cobo Center for the 60th annual Autorama in 2012 and look forward to the improvements we’ll be seeing to the facility over the next two years and seeing Cobo restored to a world class facility."

Robert Larivee, Jr.
CEO
Championship Auto Shows, Inc.

"Michelin has sponsored the Michelin Media Center at the North American International Auto Show since 1989. Since the beginning, we have sought to raise the bar each year in regards to access, service, capacity, technology and amenities. This year was a clear high point. The support from the new management team at Cobo Center was excellent and a superb match to the world-class experience we were seeking to create for more than 5,000 international journalists."

Lynn Mann
Director of External Communications
Michelin North America

"I want to express our deep appreciation for the extraordinary efforts and generosity you and your team put forth to make our event extra special. From the red carpet to the table flowers to the table cloths to the outstanding service by your team, you went out of your way to help make it a great event. We were pleased so many Detroit area leaders were able to join us and enjoy your hospitality as well."

Steve Grigorian
Chief Operating Officer
Detroit Economic Club

"I have grown very fond of the people I work with in Detroit during the Bargaining/PA/PR Conference. I especially appreciate the way everyone came together during our recent date change. I also look forward to working with you on next year’s conference. Our working relationships grow with each year. Thanks again and I appreciate your thoughtfulness."

Chris Piggott
Michigan Education Association

"As part of our quality process we evaluate our suppliers on their performance...Congratulations, Cobo Center has scored (five of five) and has exceed our expectations for the Michigan Minority Procurement Conference....Kendra Cook helped us make a complex show a success.  We enjoyed working with her. Thanks to all who helped make things happen.  I look forward to working with your team on future projects."

Brenda Veit, Project Manager
The Harmon Group
Michigan Minority Procurement Conference

 

It was clear that everyone at Cobo was committed to making sure our convention was a success.  It was a pleasure working with all of you.  Good luck with the renovation.  We can't wait to see the final product!

Kitty Owens, Director AFT Meetings and Travel Dept.
American Federation of Teachers
 

I want to thank you and your amazing team for providing such wonderful service to the Michigan Library Association for their conference on Nov. 7-9th. Your team did a fantastic job meeting our needs, especially with such short notice. The City of Detroit has a “gem” for a convention location in Cobo.

Julie Farkas
Chairman
MLA Conference