April 6, 2023

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority Elects New Board Officers

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority has elected new officers on its Board of Directors.

Joe Savarise, President & CEO of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association (OHLA), has been elected chairman. Geri Lombard, vice president of operations for First Hospitality and an OHLA Board officer, is vice chair. Jacquelin R. Lewis, a partner with Bricker Graydon, is treasurer and Greg Davies, CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, is secretary.

“To be successful, the FCCFA must be aligned with the hospitality industry as well as Experience Columbus and the Columbus Sports Commission. “Joe and Geri are industry leaders and will keep us fully aligned,” said FCCFA Executive Director Don Brown. “Additionally, Jacquelin adds public finance & bond expertise to the CFA’s leadership while Greg Davies brings his extensive local government experience to the table.”

As head of OHLA, Savarise represents the interests of a key sector of Ohio’s $38 billion travel industry. He won widespread recognition, including a national award from the International Society of Hotel Associations, for crisis leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. OHLA lobbied successfully for favorable legislative actions, spearheaded an employee assistance program for laid-off workers and kept hotel operators informed on frequently changing health directives.

Savarise has been a member of the FCCFA board since 2015, previously heading its public relations committee. “It is an honor to serve on an entity that has had such a positive impact, not only on the travel economy, but on the entire community and quality of life here,” he said. “The FCCFA will continue to work with the city and county and will be a positive force in the exciting growth that lies ahead.”

Said Savarise, “I join the other new board officers in recognizing and thanking the previous board leaders for their many years of work and dedication. They all helped produce the spectacular success we see in the convention and arena districts today.”

Savarise succeeds former board chair Sally Bloomfield, a partner with Bricker Graydon who has served on the board since its inception in 1988. Since then, the CFA board has overseen three major expansions of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, added parking for 2,100 vehicles, acquired Nationwide Arena, and developed the Hilton Columbus Downtown as a 1,000-room hotel.


Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter
Plan your next event in Columbus

Shopping for an event site

If you’re considering Columbus as an event site and have questions about hotels, attractions, transportation, or how to submit a proposal for your event, contact Experience Columbus.

Answers about the Greater Columbus Convention Center

If you’ve scheduled an event for the Greater Columbus Convention Center and have questions about scheduling, facilities or services, you can find the answers here.

Help with your sporting event

If you’ve scheduled a sporting event in Columbus, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission can provide additional information about sports facilities, hotels, transportation and area attractions. It can also help you promote your event.