Convention & Visitors Bureau Hires CEO

Executive with Greater Fort Lauderdale convention bureau will replace retired Dave Heinl.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Denny Edwards, a longtime veteran of the convention and tourism industry, is the new president and chief executive officer for the Greater Raleigh Convention & Business Bureau.

Edwards, who most recently worked was senior vice president for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, will assume his duties in Raleigh on May 7. He has spent the past 10 years in Fort Lauderdale and has 25 years of experience in the convention and tourism business.

"I am extremely honored and excited about this tremendous opportunity," Edwards said. "Raleigh is an incredible destination for all types of visitors and is going through a renaissance that will position itself as a major player in the meetings and conventions market. With the opening of the new Convention Center and the attached Marriott hotel, it now has all the ingredients for conventions that are looking for a destination that is convenient, affordable, accessible and has an abundance of activities and dining options."

Edwards replaces Dave Heinl, who retired last August. Heinl launched the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1987.

"Following an extensive national search that involved many community and business leaders, Denny Edwards clearly emerged as the type of leader who will engage various stakeholders in further transforming Greater Raleigh into a more viable visitors and meetings destination," said Russ Smith, who is chairman of the board of directors for the Greater Raleigh bureau. He also led the CEO search process.

"Certainly Denny's strong meetings background and impeccable industry reputation will bode well for ensuring the new convention center is an economic engine for the entire region, and his quarter-century of tourism marketing experience will help enhance the Raleigh area's destination appeal along many fronts,” added Smith, who is general manager of the Embassy Suites hotel in Cary.

Edwards is the incoming chair for American Society of Association Executives Industry Partners Alliance Committee. He is a native of Iowa and received an undergraduate degree in arts with a major in public relations and minors in business and marketing from the University of Northern Iowa. He and his wife, Cindy, have two sons, Bryce, 15, and Drake, 12.

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