headquarters. The ;irst is
location. Because of recently completed tollways, the
drive times from downtown Dallas to DFW airport
or from Plano to DFW airport are approximately the
Secondly, suburbs such
as Plano, removed a bit from the core of the urban area, offer appealing
elements such as green space, a lot of upscale shopping options, restaurants and other amenities.
“A suburban location provides an area that is not as congested with
traf;ic, people and even buildings as what you will ;ind in the middle of
a typical metro area,” says Mark Thompson, CMP, executive director of
the Plano CVB.
Thompson says there are 45 restaurants—crossing the spectrum of
price points—within walking distance of the hotel Politi chose for the
Politi says the conference of CQIN, an organization which studies
corporate industry and public entity strategies for quality improvement
and how they apply to the academic world, was a good ;it for the Dallas area because several key participants in the conference are based in
and around Dallas. They include the Dallas Community College District
and its eight Dallas-area colleges; Navarro College of Corsicana, Texas;
Palo Alto College of San Antonio; and Tulsa Community College of Tulsa,
Okla.—all of which are members—and the City of Irving, which was a
learning partner making a presentation about its own Malcolm Baldrige
National Quality Award-winning improvement effort at the conference.
“We needed to be in the Dallas area because of the proximity of those
stakeholders,” Politi says. “But not necessarily in downtown Dallas.”
That’s why Plano made the ideal ;it, he says.
Another signi;icant area meeting venue, the Plano Convention Center—a 122,500-square-foot facility with its own in-house catering kitchen and staff—is undergoing a complete interior renovation this year.
“We won’t be adding space, but we will certainly be giving the building a new, lighter look,” Thompson says. ■
meeting space and lodging, and even the level of
enthusiasm by the destination itself for having
CQIN come to town for its event.
“When I talked to the representatives of the
Plano CVB, they made me feel that they genuinely wanted our conference in their city and were
willing to do whatever was necessary to make our
event a success,” he says.
And then there’s another technique that Politi
uses: he takes his wife with him on the site visit.
“The nature of higher education is that a large
percentage of its workforce is female, so I de;inite-ly want to get a good read on the female perspective of the destination I’m considering,” he says.
“And when I took my wife with me to the Marriott
at Legacy Town Center in Plano and we looked at
the hotel and all the shops and restaurants around
it and within walking distance, my wife said, ‘You can stop your search
now—this will be perfect.’”
And if that last step in Politi’s search process may seem a little sub-
jective, consider this: Entities no less important than Toyota, which is
moving its North American headquarters staff of 4,000 from California
and constructing a 2. 2 million-square-foot building in the Legacy com-
plex, did a massive analysis and came to that same “this will be perfect”
There are several other elements about Plano that make it both a
good choice for a 300-attendee meeting group such as Politi’s or a multi-
“A suburban location
provides an area that
is not as congested
with traffic, people
and even buildings
as what you will find in
the middle of a typical