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Winning team Featured

5:45am EDT June 29, 2005

By Todd Shryock

A successful event requires careful planning and a great effort by a team of professionals.

Bruce Harris has applied the same strategy to growing Conferon, a meeting and event services firm, into an industry leader: Combine careful planning with a strong executive management team whose members work well together.

With the help of Harris' team, Conferon has set several industry standards and continues to lead in areas of ethics and disclosure. For example, Conferon discloses exactly what its commission is in every contract so that all parties know exactly who is getting what. Others in the industry don't follow that practice and have come under scrutiny as a result.

Innovations have come from throughout the executive management team, and Harris says the firm's success is largely attributable to the contributions of its members.

Dave Lutz, president of the company and long-time Harris associate, is known for pioneering the standardized hotel meeting contract.

Harris also relied on the expertise of Michael Guerriero, the company's CFO, to fold four acquisitions into the Conferon family. In the late '90s, Harris wanted to change the sales process and brought in David Peckinpaugh, who created an independent sales force that produced a 10-fold increase in new account sales. Peckinpaugh attributes much of his success to the leeway Harris gives him to do his job.

This team has earned the respect of the hospitality industry. Its members have been named to the industry's 25 Most Influential Executives list for the past 11 years. They have also been inducted into the Convention Industry Council Hall of Fame and won the industry's highest honor, The Spirit of Hospitality Award.

"My greatest contribution was hiring people of superior values who also had a thirst for high quality and industry leadership," says Harris.

How to reach: Conferon, (330) 425-8333