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Gwinnett Center names new director of sales and marketing

DULUTH -- A Lawrenceville resident will join the staff at the Gwinnett Center as the new director of sales and marketing.

Laura Zacharias will take over the position vacated by Cheryl Gee, who recently resigned after 16 years with the events facility to take a similar job at the new Mobile Bay Convention Center in Mobile, Ala.

"We knew we had big shoes to fill finding someone to follow in Cheryl's footsteps; she was simply one of the best in the business," said Joey Dennis, Gwinnett Center General Manager. "However, we have found a great fit with Laura. Her experience, industry knowledge and long-lasting client relationships were just the beginning. She radiates honesty and integrity, and I feel that she is going to be a great fit at Gwinnett Center."

Zacharias has been the director of sales for the Hilton Garden Inn Sugarloaf for the past seven years, working closely with Gwinnett Center staff to organize conventions and business meetings. In her new role, she will be a strategic member of the executive management team, overseeing all center sales efforts, marketing concepts, trade shows and additional development of sales and marketing initiatives.

"I consider this job an opportunity of a lifetime," Zacharias said. "As a hotelier, I recognize what a demand generator and economic engine Gwinnett Center is for this county, and it is a chance that I just could not pass up."

Zacharias was named the 2007 and 2008 "Friend of Tourism" award winner by the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, an award given to the hoteliers who partner most closely with the GCVB to increase tourism and convention business. Her hotel has also won numerous awards under her direction, including Noble Investment Groups 2008 Small Hotel Group Award for Increased Revenue Production and the Top Rover Lead Hotel for all Hilton Garden Inns. Recently, the hotel was awarded the Small Hotel Group Community Pillar Award, given to the hotel that worked with community projects donating time and services to improve the communities in which they do business.