Friday, March 12, 2010

Amita Patel New Ontario Convention Center Director of Sales and Marketing


Amita Patel has been promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing for the Ontario Convention Center. Photo by Dave Earhart

(ONTARIO, Calif.) Amita Patel has been promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing for the Ontario Convention Center and the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Every day is different in my job,” she said. “And I am a very driven person who enjoys seeing things come together, especially on the regular basis when we help our clients plan conventions that exceed the expectations of their delegates and board members.”

Patel has been on the sales and marketing staff for both the convention center and the visitor’s bureau since 2002, but for some of those years, sales and marketing were regarded as separate functions.

Last year, the staff began a new approach in working to bring more events to Ontario, and this new approach ties sales and marketing more closely together, explained General Manger Bob Brown.  It also closely aligns the mission of the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau with that of the Convention Center.

“The Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes all of the opportunities in Ontario, including the Convention Center, the Citizens’ Business Bank Arena, local hotels, restaurants and stores,” Brown explained. “We now consider ourselves a one-stop shop for Convention Center clients.”

That is where the marketing skills of Amita Patel come into play. 

“I determine what the clients’ needs are,” Patel said. “Then I work with the sales staff, which I continue to oversee, so we can customize a proposal that addresses the needs of the client, increasing our opportunity to confirm the business for the city .”

Patel also develops marketing materials to inform potential clients how Bureau services can assist them in planning an exceptional event at the Ontario Convention Center, and oversees creation of press releases and other promotional materials.

Patel was born in England, but moved with her family to California in 1976. She now lives in Ontario.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the University of Oklahoma and began her career in hotel sales and marketing shortly thereafter.

Patel says she loves challenges. Her competitive spirit drives her along with her sales team to develop value enhanced bid proposals to secure business for the city of Ontario's hotel community and the Ontario Convention Center.

Her love of challenges led her to pursue science in college. However, due to a desire to pursue something very different, she was able to obtain a rewarding entry-level position as the sales manager of the historic Galvez Hotel in Galveston, Texas.

As director of Sales and Marketing at the Red Lion Hotel - Ontario Airport, she transitioned the brand to the Doubletree Hotel in 1996. With this experience, she was hired at the Holiday Inn Pasadena in Pasadena, CA in 1997, where she was the director of sales and marketing.

In 2000, the hotel was transitioned to the Sheraton brand. While there, she oversaw a campaign to transform the hotel from a mid-level brand focusing on the needs of tourists and other travelers, to an upscale hotel that hosted conventions and meetings.

The hotel grew in revenue after the transformation, Patel said, because even though room rates increased from $63 to $115, “we repositioned the hotel to generate more profitable business as a convention-based property than it did as a tour/travel based hotel.”

The Ontario Convention Center is a contemporary design building, encompassing 225,000 square feet of space that can be configured to meet a variety of convention and other meeting needs for groups of less than 100 and up to 10,000. All areas of the Ontario Convention Center contain advanced communications technology, including wireless Internet access and video conferencing.

The Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau assists event planners to create conventions of any size in Ontario, whether at the Ontario Convention Center, at other venues in the city, or a combination of both.

For a tour or more information, call Amita Patel at (909) 937-3000 or toll-free at (800) 455-5755, email or go to

Thursday, March 11, 2010

San Bernardino Celebrates 200 Years With Parade

Parades have been celebrated in San Bernardino for many of the 200 years the city has been known by that name. A parade marking San Bernardino's Bicentennial  takes place Saturday, May 22.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (March 8, 2010) The City of San Bernardino continues its 200th anniversary celebration with a parade marking the city’s Bicentennial.

The parade, which is being organized by the Bicentennial Parade Committee, starts Saturday, May 22 at 7th & “E” Streets, ending at Meadowbrook Park. The festivities begin at 12 noon and conclude at 9 p.m. The parade itself begins at 4 p.m.

Entries may include floats, marching bands, horse drawn vehicles, marching groups such as drill teams, drum squads, walking groups, mascots, vintage vehicles, re-enactors and equestrian groups,” said Jane Sneddon, chair of the Parade Committee. For an application go to or call Sneddon at 909.289.2730.

A Rich History, A Bright Future” the overall Bicentennial Celebration’s theme, is also the theme of the parade,” said Rabbi Hillel Cohn, Bicentennial Committee Chairman. “This history begins with the presence of the Serrano Indians, the indigenous Native American population. In 1810 Father Dumetz came to the valley and named it. The parade will portray the early history as well as more recent history and will end with San Bernardino’s bright future.”

Entries currently include floats of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a depiction of the first Mass in 1810, the arrival of the Mormon pioneers, the Jewish community and African-Americans.  There will also be an entry from the National Orange Show, a 1910 buggy used by the mayor in the city’s centennial parade and five marching bands from the San Bernardino Unified School District. 

Throughout the day there will be food and merchandise vendors, a mini-carnival and entertainment provided by the Redlands 4th of July Band, San Bernardino High School Jazz Band and The Main Street Community Band.  After the parade, floats will be on display at the park.

Other upcoming Bicentennial Celebration Events:

In March and April of 2010, the city will conduct beautification events including spearheading the planting of 200 trees.

On March 17, California State University at San Bernardino hosts the 23rd Annual Morrow-McCombs Memorial Lecture, which will explore “Can’t We All Get Along?” Bicentennial Committee Chairman Rabbi Hillel Cohn’s reflections on 200 years of the city’s religious life.

April 12 will take a look at “Indigenous Pre-Hispanic People of San Bernardino” at the university’s Pfau Library.

On May 1, the San Bernardino Symphony will perform a “Celebrate America” concert at the California Theatre of Performing Arts in honor of the city’s birthday as well as for the centennial of the Community Hospital of San Bernardino.

More music will highlight May 7 and 8 with an adaptation of Mozart’s opera “Cossi Fan Tutte” at the University’s P.A. Recital Hall.

May 8 and 9, the celebration debuts Railroad Days at the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum at the historic Depot. “We’ll be bringing in steam locomotive Santa Fe  3750,” Cohn says, “which actually used to serve the city.”

May 15th will launch a “countdown” celebration with an elaborate gala at the National Orange Show Events Center, with the 16th capped by a Bicentennial Mayor’s Run and Youth Safety Expo at Arrowhead Credit Union Park and a Festival of Faiths at the Western Region Little League Stadium.

There will be a Centennial Monument rededication as well as a Bicentennial Monument dedication on May 20 at Inland Center Drive and “I” Street.

June 17-18 will see another unique event when the city introduces the “San Bernardino’s Got Talent” competition at a location to be determined.

The Bicentennial festivities continue on July 4th at the 66ers Stadium in the Arrowhead Credit Union Park, the 4th of July Extravaganza with a fireworks display unlike any the city has previously seen.

The Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous, the Western Regional Little League Tournament and other events taking place in the latter part of 2010 will also feature a tie-in to San Bernardino’s Bicentennial, keeping the celebration alive throughout the year.

Rabbi Hillel Cohn is the chairman of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee, and Erin Brinker is the chair of its Public Relations & Marketing and Independence Day Extravaganza committees. Other Bicentennial Celebration Committee members are Jim Smith (chair of the Community Engagement committee), Cheryl Brown (chair of the Youth Council, Intergovernmental and Arts committees), Beverly Bird (chair of the Legend of the Arrowhead committee), Steven Shaw (chair of the History committee), David Smith (chair of the Finance committee), Jane Sneddon (chair of the Parade committee) and Martha Pinkney (chair of the Gala committee.) The mayor and members of the San Bernardino Common Council appointed these members.

Additional community volunteers who have taken on leadership of other committees are: Trudy Freidel (Festival of Faiths), Edward Martinez (Leadership Cabinet), Peggi Hazlett (Mayor’s Run), Dr. Charles “Skip” Herbert (Coloring Books for Schools), Karen Blanco (Media) and The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire (Design).

For additional details, contact Erin Brinker at (951) 323-9337 or go to


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Donations Needed For New Hospitality House

Salvation Army Advisory Board Member Carl Dameron, Salvation Army Band Leader Stephen Yalden and daughter Sophie Yalden, in the kitchen of the newly-relocated Salvation Army Hospitality House. This new kitchen is substantially larger than the one in the Hospitality House’s previous location at the San Bernardino Corps’ Headquarters building, and in order to make best use of it, the Army seeks donations of additional kitchen items. It also has an ongoing need for personal items for the shelter residents. Photo by Chris Sloan

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The Salvation Army seeks donations of kitchen supplies and personal items to help residents of its new Hospitality House emergency family shelter.

“We need some items to help us make better use of our new larger kitchen,” said Co-Director Capt. Nancy Ball. “We also have an ongoing need for toiletries and other personal items.”

The needed kitchen items are:
  • Six 6” deep rectangular pans
  • 10 4” deep rectangular pans
  • 20 2” deep rectangular pans
  • One 10-piece knife set, including cleaver
  • Four large spatulas
  • 10 serving spoons, both regular and slotted
  • 20 large cookie sheets
  • Two 6” deep, 18” wide and 24” long pans
  • Three 16” diameter, 24” tall pots
  • Six large plastic storage containers with lids
  • Six small-medium plastic storage containers with lids
  • Four large serving trays
  • Four large serving bowls
  • One large strainer
  • One small strainer
  • 10 medium tongs
  • Meats and other food items

The needed personal items are:
  • Diapers (all sizes)
  • Baby formula
  • Tampons and sanitary pads
  • Combs and brushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Dental floss
  • Body/Hand Soap
  • Deodorant (men’s and women’s)
  • Shampoo
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Twin sheets
  • Hand lotion
  • Towels
  • Wash cloths
  • Socks (men’s women’s and children’s)
  • Band-Aids
  • Pens and pencils

Hospitality House, the Salvation Army’s emergency family shelter, moved to its new location on Tenth Street on Feb. 1, after operating for more than two years in the San Bernardino Corps’ headquarters building, and for about 50 years prior to that at a now-demolished location on Kingman Street.

To make a donation, call the San Bernardino Corps Headquarters at (909) 888-1336 or drop off the donations at the Headquarters building, 746 W. Fifth Street, San Bernardino.

About the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps
The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church, and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY.


Intern Jeniece Lee Joins Inland Empire African American Chamber

 Jeniece Lee, a student at California State University, San Bernardino, assists the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce in its marketing efforts through an internship with Dameron Communications. Photo by Chris Sloan
(San Bernardino, Calif.) California State University, San Bernardino student, Jeniece Lee, joins the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce.  Working under Carl Dameron, she will be organizing events for The Chamber, assist in the development of press releases, coordinate and arrange promotions, and assist with media relations and client research.

“This is going to be a great experience and a wonderful opportunity,” Lee said.  “I am excited to learn more about the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce.”

Jeniece Lee began her marketing major in September 2005.  Now as a senior at Cal State San Bernardino, she hopes to break into the marketing world soon after graduation in June 2010.

During her time at Cal State, Lee joined Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, was on the Activities Committee for Associated Students, Inc., and was the Vice President of Afrikan Student Alliance.  She also volunteered for the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House Charities and The Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino.

Lee is still an active member in Afrikan Student Alliance and an alumnae member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.

Carl Dameron, President of the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce and Dameron Communications said, “Jeniece Lee is a brilliant, young professional who is an asset to the work we’re doing with the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce.  We look forward to her contribution to our chamber to help us increase our service to our members.”

Monday, March 8, 2010

Convention & Visitors Bureau Offers Discounts From Southern California Merchants

Left to Right: Bruce McCall, Elite Reward Team, Amita Patel, director of sales and marketing for the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau; Bill Martinez, Robert Saiz and Christina Cardenas present Elite Reward Cards,  a discount card offered by the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, offering discounts to businesses in Ontario and throughout southern California. Photo by David Earhart

(ONTARIO, Calif.) Inland Empire residents and visitors to the city and the Ontario Convention Center can now receive discounts of up to 25 percent at local businesses, including Ontario Reign games, retail stores and local restaurants.

“The Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau's Reward Card is fun, fresh and new,” said Amita Patel, director of sales and marketing for the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Ontario Convention Center, which oversees the program. “Our partnership with Elite Reward Cards LLC allows us to target not only Ontario residents, but also the meetings/ conventions and consumer shows markets. Businesses from Twin Peaks to Laguna Nigel are on board already, and we know the interest in this will grow.”

Besides giving the card holders great deals, the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau's Reward Card program benefits area businesses too, because anyone who buys a card will become aware of what the participating merchants have to offer. Each merchant decides what benefit the card holders will receive, but it can be up to 25 percent off a purchase.

“The card is designed to bring business to merchants,” Patel said. “Many are struggling, so this serves as a stimulus program for them. We want to keep and drive business into Ontario, while also addressing the needs of the visitors who come from out of town when attending an event at the Ontario Convention Center or one of the local hotels.”

The Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau has primarily recruited businesses in the West Valley and Pomona Valley areas, but over the next two years will broaden the outreach to include more of San Bernardino County, as well as Orange County and Riverside County. After 2011the Bureau plans to expand into other parts of California, then to other states.

Those nearby areas will also reap some economic benefit in the first phase, because the cards will also recommend places to visit, such as Temecula’s wine country and Big Bear Lake. Convention visitors from outside the Inland Empire often plan side trips, and even if they stay near Ontario, want recommendations on where to eat or shop.

“With this card, they will have more reasons to enjoy their stay in Ontario,” Patel said. “It will give them ideas they had not previously considered.”

Starting with the IE Super Show April 10-11, all delegates and guests of the event at the Convention Center will receive a free limited-time Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau's Rewards Card and an offer to purchase the annual card for $35, said Patel.

Soon after, the Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to market this card in selected Inland Empire neighborhoods. The cards can be purchased by calling the Sales Office at the Ontario Convention center: 909-937-3000 or online at

The IE Super Show is an open to the public convention that combines four unique shopping experiences – the Home and Pet Expo, the Pool and Spa Expo, the Successful Aging Expo and the IE Food and Wine Festival. The Ontario Convention Center expects 10,000 to 15,000 visitors during this show.

The Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau's Reward Card will offer discounts on many of the products for sale at the IE Super Show, as the show’s merchants also received an opportunity to participate in the card program.

About the Ontario Convention Center
The Ontario Convention Center is a contemporary design building, encompassing 225,000 square feet of space that can be configured to meet a variety of convention and other meeting needs. All areas of the Ontario Convention Center contain advanced communications technology, including wireless Internet access and video conferencing.

For a tour or more information, call Amita Patel at (909) 937-3002 or toll-free at (800) 455-5755, email or go to

About Elite Reward Cards
The Elite Reward Cards program is designed to promote economic development within our local communities by providing instant discounts to consumers on a wide variety of goods and services they use every day. At the same time, the program encourages consumers to shop locally and build loyalty with businesses in our community.

Launched at the 2009 RECon – The Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Elite Reward Cards program now has over 25,000 cards in distribution and over 100 local merchants in Ontario, La Verne, Covina, Fontana and other surrounding communities. The Elite Reward Card can also be used for fundraising in schools and non-profit organizations. Contact us at 909.944.5750 for more information or e-mail us at