CAMARILLO NAMED DIRECTOR OF THE LAKELAND CENTER
LAKELAND, FL (March 27, 2015) -- The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce Anthony (Tony) C. Camarillo as the newly appointed Director of The Lakeland Center. Camarillo succeeds former Lakeland Center Director Mike LaPan, who retired in January.
Camarillo most recently served as Director of Sales and Services at Navy Pier working for SMG, the largest manager of Convention Centers and Arenas in the US. Navy Pier Chicago originally opened as a shipping and recreational facility in 1916 and has evolved into a premier family entertainment center. It also provides state-of-the-art space for meetings and trade shows. With over 250,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Navy Pier accommodates public shows, tradeshows, concerts, meetings and events.
Camarillo has over 20 years experience in the event management industry; he began his career with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in 1990 as an Event Manager at McCormick Place, at the time the largest Convention Center in North America. Camarillo has consistently advanced within the management team, as McCormick Place and Navy Pier both changed management structures.
Camarillo said, “I am ecstatic about this incredible opportunity. The Lakeland Center has a great reputation in the industry and I can not wait to be a part of the team.” He added, “There are a number of similarities between Navy Pier and the Lakeland Center including the meeting space the ballroom. The facility has the distinct advantage of having four separate buildings under one roof and I consider myself lucky to lead The Lakeland Center’s great staff into the future.”
City Manager, Doug Thomas said, “We conducted a national search and we were very pleased with the quality of the pool of applicants. A selection committee that included several City of Lakeland senior staff in addition to Mark Jackson, Director of Tourism and Sports Marketing for Polk County (Visit Central Florida), Jackie Johnson, Senior Vice President, Convention & Visitors Bureau (Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce) and John Ball,Director of Volunteers and Events, First United Methodist Church and former General Manager, Hyatt Place all came to the same conclusion that Tony is the right fit to carry The Lakeland Center into the future. We were all impressed with his track record at Navy Pier, and believe his sales experience, demonstrated partnership development, energy, and personal enthusiasm for the profession will contribute to the success of the Lakeland Center going forward."
The Lakeland Center was originally built in 1974 and received a major face-lift in 1996 with a renovation project that included the addition the Exhibit Hall as well as a redesign that connected all four buildings under one roof. The Lakeland Center includes the Jenkins Arena, Youkey Theatre, Sikes Hall and the Exhibit Hall. The facility offers over 100,000 square feet of convention and exhibit space, a grand ballroom, a 2,296 seat theatre, a 10,000 seat arena and an all suites on-site hotel.
Camarillo who is 48 years old, graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Leisure Studeies/Program Management from the Department of Applied Life Studies. His wife Adele and his three daughters will be joining him in Lakeland at the conclusion of the school year. Camarillo will start as Director of The Lakeland Center on April 13th and will be paid a yearly salary of $130,000.