Winter 2015


January 10
Truck Driver Job Fair

January 30 - February 1
Discover the Dinosaurs

January 31 - February 1
The 404 Twisted Tour

February 5
BNI Business Expo

February 7
Kids Business Expo

Click here for more events!


William Landrum, Purchasing Assistant



Patrick Boakye, Lead Cook

Brittany Coley, Senior Event Coordinator

Joe Green, Chief Engineer

Mamadou Ly, Facility Services Manager

Bassem Maarouf, Banquet Manager

Salim Maarouf, Beverage Supervisor

Arthur McDowell, Director of Facility Services

Caitlin Ramsdell, Event Services Assistant Manager

Alemneh Teshome, Housekeeping Supervisor




Annual Report Cover

Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre recently released their joint Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report, which celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the convention center.

Both Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre recorded operating profits, and based on an economic impact study performed by an independent consulting firm, the venues created a total of 1,390 jobs in 2014 and generated more than $147 million in overall economic impact for Cobb County and the State of Georgia. Approximately $7.7 million in sales, income, local option, hotel/motel and liquor by the drink taxes are directly attributable to events held at the convention center and performing arts center.

In 2014, the Cobb Galleria Centre produced a total of 614 events with attendance of 363,400. The Cobb Energy Centre hosted a total of 250 events with attendance of 273,800. ArtsBridge Foundation, the education and community outreach arm of the performing arts center, saw unprecedented engagement in the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Shuler Awards) with 59 schools from 23 counties participating. This year over 30,000 students and teachers were exposed to live entertainment experiences thanks to the generosity of our dedicated supporters and the ArtsBridge Foundation Board of Directors.


Michele SwannThe holiday season reminds us of how fortunate we are to have clients, staff and preferred contractors that have been with us for more than 20 years, and it is with great pride and appreciation that we reflect on Cobb Galleria Centre’s history. Earning the trust and loyalty of clients who return to our convention center year after year is what we are most proud of.

The cover story of this newsletter focuses on our Annual Report for fiscal year 2014. Since opening in 1994, Cobb Galleria Centre has been an economic catalyst by returning value to the citizens of Cobb County and the state of Georgia, increasing the tax base and making a substantial contribution to the overall well-being of our local community by serving as a venue for education, commerce, entertainment and recreation.

The past twenty years have been exciting and challenging, and we expect nothing less from the years ahead. The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority, both past and present, remained true to the Authority’s mission and their vision continues to steer initiatives forward. Our opportunities going forward are many. The development of SunTrust Park will shine a light on Cumberland’s economic development opportunities, and we look forward to 2017 with a tremendous sense of optimism.

Michele Swann signature
Michele L. Swann
General Manager and CEO


The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority recently received a prestigious designation for its financial reporting.

The Authority was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). This is the 19th consecutive year that the Authority has achieved this honor.

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.


ConventionSouth, the national multimedia resource for planning events held in the South, recently presented Cobb Galleria Centre with a 2015 Top New or Renovated Meeting Site Award.

"ConventionSouth readers are constantly seeking information on the newest and like-new meeting sites in the South in order to offer their attendees the most modern facilities available, and this is why we are honored to bestow Cobb Galleria Centre with a Top New or Renovated Meeting Site Award," said ConventionSouth Associate Publisher Marlane Bundock. "After a lengthy review of what Cobb Galleria Centre now has to offer meeting planners and attendees, we feel it indeed displays a superior commitment to providing groups with the top-of-the-line amenities and service that they require."

Cobb Galleria Centre is among an elite list of 50 meeting facilities located across the South to receive this year’s Top New or Renovated Meeting Site Award. In 2013, Cobb Galleria Centre completed a three-year renovation that included new carpet and wall coverings throughout the facility, modern restroom transformations, LED lighting and major wireless network upgrades.

Celebrating 30+ years as a leading meeting planning resource, ConventionSouth magazine is distributed to more than 18,000 meeting professionals located across the country that book meetings held within the South.


Chef's Table

Executive Chef Nicholas Walker recently had the honor of taking his culinary offerings into a private home for a very unique dinner party. Chef Walker was “auctioned” in August as part of Safepath Children’s Advocacy Center’s Good Eatin’ Great Cause Culinary Tour, held here at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren was the high bidder for an in-home chef’s table by Chef Walker.

On the menu: Celery Soup with Cornbread Crouton and Crispy Celery; Pickled Shrimp, Watercress, Parsnip, Red Onion Jam and Breakfast Radish; Seared Salmon, Buttered Hazelnuts, Swiss Chard, Sweet Potato, Blood Orange and Sorghum Vinaigrette; Asher Blue Cheese, Cranberry Ginger Compote and Homemade Smoked Sea Salt Pecan Cracker; and Chevre Honey Cake with Almond Lace Cookies, Persevered Figs and Creme Fraiche.

Pictured, from left: Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren and wife, Penny, Tom Palmer, Chef Nicholas Walker, Linda Palmer, Cobb County Sheriff Lt. Colonel Robert Willard and wife, Debbie.


Palmer Wood

Palmer Wood, the new Director of Audiovisual for the Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Centre, is a music guy at heart. When your career is all about quality sound and visual presentation, a love for music definitely is symbiotic.

Wood oversees the sales, operations, client relations and a team of five staff members for ONsite (formerly Tech Rentals), the in-house audiovisual provider at our venues. He started in this role in September, but his career spans everything from hospitality to managing a night club. Most recently, Wood handled sales for Mixify, a live-streaming service for DJs. Previously he worked in audiovisual for the Omni Hotel at CNN Center and the Tampa Convention Center and as a partner at Spring4th Complex. For 14 years, Wood was a freelance audiovisual technician, where he traveled around the country for numerous corporations and trade shows.

At ONsite, Wood assists clients with everything from simple podium and microphone requests to large ballroom audiovisual productions, and all things in between. “This is a great convention center, I love the atmosphere here,” he said. “Everyone works together so well, they’re willing to help each other, and they do their jobs with happiness.”

But Wood’s passion for audio doesn’t just stay at the office. His Decatur home features a recording studio in his basement, perfectly suited for his singer/songwriter wife. A native of Tampa/St. Petersburg, Wood has four children ranging in age from 27 to 6.


Harvest Celebration

For 20 years, the Cobb Galleria Centre has been privileged to host the annual Harvest Celebration, a gala that benefits the advocacy efforts of the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

Each year, 800 people gather on the Friday evening before Thanksgiving for a unique, Georgia-sourced meal and A-list entertainment. The 2014 Celebration featured country music’s six-time Vocal Group of the Year Diamond Rio.

"Agriculture in Georgia is a $73 billion industry that provides 318,000 jobs, and it's very diverse, from poultry to peanuts to peas," said Bryan Tolar, President of the Georgia Agribusiness Council. "This event is the only one of its kind that draws all aspects of the industry from across the state to celebrate."

According to Tolar, the Council returns to Cobb Galleria Centre year after year due to the professionalism of the staff, the size and diversity of event space, the complimentary parking, the safety of the area and the hotel package provided by the Renaissance Waverly Hotel. "From the banquet servers to the Chef to (Director of Catering) Oscar Riddle, we know they care about our event."

Through the years, the Harvest Celebration has been known to attract top entertainment, with highlights including country artists Lady Antebellum, Lee Ann Womack and Darryl Worley.

The mission of the Georgia Agribusiness Council is to advance the business of agriculture through economic development, environmental stewardship and education to improve the quality of life for all Georgians.

For more information, visit


Braves Groundbreaking

It has been one year since the Atlanta Braves announced their plans to move across the interstate from the Cobb Galleria Centre, and construction on both the stadium and accompanying mixed-use development is well underway. In September, the Braves held a groundbreaking ceremony where they also announced the name of the stadium: SunTrust Park. Helping to turn the dirt was Chairman of the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority, Jerry Nix, pictured on the far left. The ballpark is set to open for the 2017 season.


Chris ColbertChris Colbert, Director of Trade Show Sales at Cobb Travel & Tourism, was recognized in November as the “Volunteer of the Year” at the PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) Southeast Chapter annual meeting.

Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA represents 6,500 meeting industry leaders throughout the globe. With 17 chapters in the United States, Canada and Mexico, its members include planner and trade show/exhibit professionals, suppliers, faculty, students and Emeritus. Congratulations, Chris!


Sheraton Suites

Congratulations to the Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta for recently completing a $9 million room renovation! Connected by pedestrian sky bridge to the Cobb Galleria Centre and adjacent to Cumberland Mall, the Sheraton Suites is a full-service property with 278 suites.

Key elements of the renovation include upgrading all guest rooms, construction of a Sheraton Club lounge, upgrading of the indoor/outdoor pool and pool deck, and a sizeable expansion of the on-site fitness center. In the last phase, owner Olshan Properties will undertake the upgrading and redecoration of all food and beverage facilities on the ground-floor level, including the addition of a sleek new cafe and a Starbucks kiosk.



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.

©2014 Cobb Galleria Centre. All rights reserved.

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