Claude Molinari has been elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA,) the governing five-member board authority of Detroit’s convention center, Huntington Place. Molinari is the CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, known as Visit Detroit.
Molinari was appointed to the DRCFA Board by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2021. He has over 30 years of experience in the convention and meetings industry and over 10 years of experience in expanding tourism as an economic driver in the region and state.
“We are very fortunate to have Claude serve as Chairman of the DRCFA, especially with his deep experience in operating our Convention Center in Detroit and other centers in major cities throughout the U.S.,” said Patrick Bero, CEO, and CFO, DRCFA. “His experience in building partnerships and the destination, as well as building Huntington Place to one of the top 20 convention centers in the country, is a major advantage for us going forward.”
Molinari’s position as board chairman brings the same rich synergy to the DRCFA dynamic that his predecessor, Larry Alexander, did. Alexander was the first chairman of the DRCFA and held the position from 2009-2021. Before retiring in 2021, Alexander was also President & CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau for 25 years.
“As the 16th largest convention center in the country, Huntington Place is a major driver of visitors and economic vitality for metro Detroit and the state of Michigan,” said Sr. Director of Communications for Visit Detroit, Chris Moyer. “Claude’s leadership on the board of the DRCFA helps ensure that Visit Detroit is well positioned to be a strong partner for the convention center as we both work to bring more meetings and events to the region.”
Like most major metropolitan convention centers, Detroit’s visitor’s bureau and convention center work closely to bring in major events that have a significant economic impact on the region and bring jobs to local residents.
“There has never been a better time to bring meetings and conventions to metro Detroit, and I am honored to support the work of Huntington Place,” said Molinari. “I look forward to building on past Chairs Larry Alexander and Lisa Canada’s success as we bring new business to one of best convention centers in the country.”
Molinari was the General Manager of now Huntington Place from 2016-2021, and prior to that served as Assistant General Manager for six years. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, The Parade Company, SEMCOG, the Engineering Society of Detroit, Destinations International, and the US Travel Association.
Molinari provides the leadership and direction necessary to enable Visit Detroit to bring meetings, conventions, leisure, and business visitors to metropolitan Detroit and to accelerate economic growth. He leads the creation of the annual sales and marketing plan which outlines Visit Detroit’s direction to attract tourism and meetings business to the region. He also oversees the development of the annual budget.
In his role overseeing the Detroit Sports Commission (a Visit Detroit subsidiary), Molinari leads a team responsible for securing amateur sporting events throughout the region.