Summer 2015


September 9
Atlanta Diversity Career Fair

September 11-13
The Fall Atlanta Home Show

September 19

September 19-20
The Franchise and Own Your Own Business Show

September 25-27
Anime Weekend Atlanta

September 30
North Cobb Diversity Job Fair

October 10-11
Celebricktion: A Celebration of the LEGO Brick Building System

October 18-19
The Cobb Show

Click here for more events!


Octavious Brown, Housekeeper

Calvin Davis, Set Up Attendant

Eddison Dunkley, Set Up Attendant

Mohammad Kashefi, Banquet Server

Aisha Mohamad, Contract Billing Coordinator

Michael Nelson, Stewarding Supervisor

Patrick Plummer, Engineer

Keddrick Ragland, Engineer

Alemayehu Retta, Housekeeper

Katy Sall, Banquet Server

Muluembet Tadesse, Housekeeper

Nicole Welch, Housekeeper


Brett Reising, Show Services Supervisor

Randolph Scott, Public Safety Officer



Michele Swann

Our employees take center stage in this issue of Centre Focus. While we continually have exciting news to report from Cobb Galleria Centre, it’s always our staff that constantly pushes the envelope of excellence to make our convention center everything it is today. To recognize and celebrate their many successes, we dedicated July EMPLOYEE APPRECIATON MONTH. They deserve the highest praise and will always have my sincere appreciation.

Since 2005 our convention center staff has worked seamlessly with our in-house audiovisual and production provider, ONsite (formerly Tech Rentals). The ONsite service philosophy is consistent with ours insofar as going the extra mile to exceed our guests’ expectations. We consider ONsite part of our convention center and performing arts center family. They work in concert with our staff to transform every client’s vision into reality.

It seems like three times is the charm for Georgia. After three tries, the bid to host the 68th National Square Dance Convention was awarded to Cobb County. This is a huge win for Cobb Galleria Centre and our local hospitality community. It was a coordinated effort between Cobb Travel & Tourism’s Chris Colbert, Cobb Galleria Centre’s Marion Welsh and local square dance committee co-chairs, Louis and Angie McClure.

And finally, we wish Michael S. Taormina, Managing Director of Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, all the very best as he retires at the end of this year. Michael came to CEPAC during the construction phase of the project and he is leaving behind a significant legacy.  We are extremely grateful for his leadership over the past nine years and look forward to honoring him on Friday, September 18 at our ArtsBridge Foundation Annual Gala.

Michele Swann signature
Michele L. Swann
General Manager and CEO


Cobb Galleria Centre has been chosen to host one of the world’s largest square dance gatherings: the 68th National Square Dance Convention, scheduled for June 26-29, 2019. Georgia has bid three times on this national event, this time making history in being selected as the host.

The 68th National Square Dance Convention expects to draw 6,000-8,000 dancers of all ages and leaders from across the globe to stay in the area and experience the four day event of dancing and dance education. 2019 Convention General Chairmen Louis and Angie McClure and the National Executive Committee (NEC) selected Atlanta and the Cobb Galleria Centre over numerous competing cities and venues.

“With its 320,000 square feet of event space, close proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and connectivity between the convention center and the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, the Cobb Galleria Centre is the perfect place to host our event,” Angie McClure said. The Bid Committee, known as the Georgia Peach Pits, has invited dancers from around the world to “Come Dance & Explore Georgia in 2019.”

The convention also presents an extensive educational program through panels, seminars, and workshops, all together providing fun and fellowship to dancers and leaders from around the world. For more information on this event, please visit


ONsite logoThe Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority is proud to announce the continuation of its relationship with ONsite (formerly Tech Rentals) audiovisual services. ONsite is the recommended in-house audiovisual and service provider at Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. A full-service audiovisual rental and staging company, ONsite has supported meeting and event planners, associations, conventions and tradeshows at Cobb Galleria Centre since 2005. For more information on how ONsite can enhance your next event, please visit


The Best Friends National Conference called Cobb Galleria Centre and the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel home this July for four days of education and networking. Held at the convention center for the first time, the attendance of 1,500 exceeded organizer expectations and generated over 1,200 room nights.

Best FriendsAnimal welfare leaders and nonprofit experts from all across the country came together to gain the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to help Save Them All. Most of the attendees were vegan, giving our culinary team the opportunity to showcase their creativity in developing the menus for nearly 20 hosted food functions.

"As an animal welfare organization, Best Friends always strives to serve food at our events that has the least impact possible on animals,” said Cathie Myers, Senior National Events Specialist for the Best Friends Animal Society. “On-menu, plant-based food options from convention centers can be tough to find, so we're always dependent on the Chef and staff being open to new ideas. It takes some creative thinking in order to serve food that not only meets our ethical standards, but is also pleasing to our palates. Chef (Nick) Walker and his team created a wonderful series of buffet-style menus that not only met our stated goals, but also had our attendees raving.” 

To learn more about Best Friends, please visit


For the 20th consecutive year, the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

The Authority, which governs Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Galleria Specialty Shops, won the award for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). According to GFOA, the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.


Bassem Maarouf

In 1997, Bassem Maarouf moved from his original home in Lebanon to Atlanta, obtaining his first job in the United States at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Eighteen years later, he remains a vital part of many events and was recently promoted to Banquet Manager. Maarouf says it’s his goal to serve all guests who walk through the doors with immaculate and unparalleled hospitality.

Besides working with guests, Maarouf also particularly enjoys working with the kitchen crew. “In the kitchen, everyone works as a team all of the time,” he said. “We are always communicating, working together, and looking out for one another.” Maarouf enjoys the annual Georgia Poultry Federation dinner for the same reason: “The whole Cobb Galleria team, including staff at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, sets aside their own jobs to get involved and help put on this banquet for over 3,000 guests,” he said. “It is great what we can accomplish when we work together.”


Blade Show

Each, June, the Cobb Galleria Centre welcomes the world’s largest knife show and 11,000 blade enthusiasts. A little known fact is that the BLADE Show generates the highest attendance of any tradeshow held at Cobb Galleria Centre. And while visiting our community, the exhibitors and attendees contribute “new” dollars to the local economy. Originating in 1982 in Kentucky, the show came to the Renaissance Waverly hotel in 1992 and grew into the convention center in 1997. The BLADE Show now occupies over 200,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space throughout the convention center.

"The 2015 BLADE Show was the largest show to date and continues to grow year over year," said Alicia Newton, Group Show Director for F+W, owner of the BLADE Show.  "We had nearly 2,700 room nights occupied over the course of the event.  Our attendees/exhibitors travel from all over the U.S. and internationally.  The vast majority of our attendees visiting the BLADE Show hail from the southern region; however we have representation from over 45 states as well as Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and other countries."

For more information, visit


Garden Team 

A  team of Cobb Galleria Centre employees recently polished their green thumbs by re-planting and replenishing the Centre’s own on-site garden for the spring/summer season. Located directly behind the kitchen for easy access, the garden yields ingredients used by the venue’s own chefs during the summer months. Producing herbs, vegetables and fruits, the garden has proven to be a unique amenity to the Centre  by providing a source of local food; making the venue more environmentally friendly; and creating a fun, team-building opportunity. 

To read more about the garden, click over to our blog.


Michael TaorminaMichael S. Taormina, CFE, Managing Director of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and a 40-plus year executive in the venue management profession, plans to retire at the end of this year.

Taormina came to Atlanta in 2006 to complete building construction, develop venue programming, hire staff and open the new Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Under his leadership the Cobb Energy Centre has become a major regional asset achieving national recognition for the Centre known for its diverse programming, outstanding arts education programs, the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, as well as providing a permanent home for The Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet.

Centre Focus is the official newsletter of Cobb Galleria Centre. Centre Focus is a free service designed to inform our clients, business partners and the community about upcoming events and the latest news from the Centre. Cobb Galleria Centre does not share its e-mail list with any individual or organization.

©2015 Cobb Galleria Centre. All rights reserved.

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Cobb Galleria Centre · 2 Galleria Parkway · Atlanta, GA 30339 · USA