June 27, 2023 Minutes-Michael Krouse, President and CEO, Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Center -Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Michael Krouse, President and CEO, Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Center

Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Dr. Sam Gibbs, Rebeccah, Goldware, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Steve Lambert, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Cid Pinedo, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Kristine Scott, Eric Ustation and Michael Wells.

Announcements: 1) The grant application portal for the Inland Empire High Road Transition Collaborative (IE HRTC) will close on July 7, 2023. Applicants reaching the shortlist should expect to be called for an interview the week of July 10th and the Award announcement is expected by July 17th.    2) Registration for the Regional Resilience Grant Program (RRGP) application workshop for the Inland Desert will be held on Monday, July 17, 2023.  The grant will fund public entities, California Native American tribes, community-based organizations, and academic institutions that form regional partnerships to plan and implement projects that advance climate resilience.  Applications for funding must be submitted by August 29, 2023.  For more information please go to  https://opr.ca.gov/climate/icarp/grants/regional-resilience-grant.html  3) The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) will hold a three-day virtual conference on Bridging California’s Digital Divide on July 18, 19 and 20, 2023.  For more information, please go to https://www.ppic.org/event/bridging-californias-digital-divide/ 4) The Inland Empire Community Foundation will hold their 3rd Annual Policy & Engagement Forum to Offer In-Person Collaboration on August 9, 2023, at the Riverside Convention Center.  For more information please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/iecf-2023-policy-engagement-forum-tickets-629491635427?aff=oddtdtcreator 5) The 17th Annual BIA Southern California Water Conference-Responding to Water Extremes, will be held on Friday, August 11, 2023, from 8:00 a.m-1:00 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Ontario. To register please go to https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ejoro2bp3cb7150f&oseq=&c=&ch= 6)The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the combined programs of Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access and Equity.  Under the combined program the USDOT will offer three types of grants: Capital Construction, Community Planning and Regional Partnership Challenge. To apply for grants, look for the NOFO to be posted on https://www.grants.gov/

Kevin Dyerly, Chair and Michael Rivera, 1st Vice Chair presiding.

Motion by W. Lemann/Second/Passed: Minutes from June 20, 2023

The Riverside Community College District requests that LaShe Rodriguez, Director of Government Relations, External Relations & Strategic Communications serve as their Alternate representative, replacing Rebeccah Goldware.
Motion by T. Rice/Second/Passed

 Steve Lambert introduced Michael Krouse, President & CEO, Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Center who joined us in person.  Michael also serves as the Regional Vice President for ASM Global, the leading venue management company with over 350 venues worldwide. Local venues include Toyota Arena, Ontario Convention Center and CA Welcome Center.   ​

Built and owned by the City of Ontario, the Toyota Area which opened in 2008 has been managed by ASM Global since 2016.  ASM Global committed to improve content by booking top 200 artists, make capital improvements, add sporting competitions (Ontario Reign-Hockey, Empire Strykers-professional indoor soccer team, and Ontario Clippers-a professional basketball team in the NBA G League. Their successful management for the 11,000-seat capacity resulted in 300 active days per year with ticketed events, private events, filming, rehearsals, and graduations ​and is now ranked #3 in their national portfolio. ​

The Ontario Convention Center, which was built and is owned by the City of Ontario, is also managed by ASM Global. It celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.  This 225,000 sq. ft. building has a 70,000 sq. ft. column free exhibit hall to host conventions, and plenty of spaces for conferences, meetings and public and private events.  They have both national and international visitors, including many meeting planners and have a level of business activities that are back to pre-pandemic levels.  New markets include sporting competition planners for US Table Tennis, US Fencing, Pickleball and more.

The Greater Ontario Sports & Entertainment Authority (GO Sports) represents Inland Empire venues to planners to create awareness, provide contacts and suggested hotel bookings.  They are advocating for State of CA funding to bring sporting competitions to our region as there is a significant economic impact from these events.  The California Sports Hall of Fame, established in 2006 by Christian Okoye, former running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, is a non-profit organization promoting education through sports. The group recognizes athletes, coaches, and members of sports media who have made a “lasting impression to California sports”.

Greater Ontario California (GOCAL) a non-profit organization is the official designated marketing organization to promote the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga to visitors domestically and internationally. As destination experts they provide leisure, meeting groups and meeting, professionals with an unbiased, comprehensive resource when booking a tour, convention, meeting or event.  Their total marketing and distribution offer some 6,200 hotel rooms that all carry a 2% assessment fee that creates funding for marketing the Inland Empire.  They operate the CA Welcome Center at Ontario Mills and visitor guides distributed locally, nationwide, and digitally at GO-CAL.org. The average annual economic impact to our region is $80M.

As the fifth-largest economy in the world, California cannot afford to lose the benefits from the State’s thriving tourism economy. Visit California and the State’s tourism industry have successfully galvanized the California brand around the world and will continue to experience economic vitality and spending growth.​ ​ Travel and tourism is one of the biggest job creators and economic drivers in the IE​.  Travel and tourism spending across the two-county regions (Riverside & San Bernardino) jumped by nearly 25% last year, to $14.3 billion (according to data from Visit California). This trend has continued through the first five months of 2023, putting us essentially back to pre-pandemic levels. Spending generates $1.2 billion a year in local and state tax revenues and supports 180,000 jobs in the hospitality sector. In April 2023 southern California jobs had increased to 52,100 and the leisure/hospitality sector added 11,000 jobs.  Tourism, meetings and conventions in Greater Ontario alone are projected to generate more than $80M in economic impact for the fiscal year ending June 2023 and a 2022 study placed Ontario International Airport economic impact at $3.8 billion per year.​

We can continue to improve our local economy and destroy negative perceptions by working together and unifying our voices with clear messaging.

Q & A period followed
Meeting adjourned 8:27 a.m.