Team Spotlight

 

 

 

Andy McNeill – Principle & Chief Executive Officer

Andy is a true veteran of the meetings and event industries, and has more than 25 years of experience in the profession. Andy’s weekly blog off the American Meetings website is one of the industry’s leading blogs, and was recently picked up to provide content to Meetingsnet and on Corporate Meetings Network. He is frequently interviewed for articles by journalist regarding trends in the event marketing and meeting management spaces. Developing meeting strategies is his expertise and his passion. He has assisted firms in a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare, consumer, sports marketing and investment banking to name a few. Andy brings a wealth of knowledge to the AMI team. He firmly believes in the strategic meeting marketing model, and provides consulting services to Fortune 100 clients on the practice.

After graduation from Florida State with a degree in Marketing, Andy began his career in the event marketing group at Florida State Athletics. Soon after, he launched his own event marketing company and after five years merged with a major sports marketing firm in 1995 out of Dallas, Texas.  Andy spent six years with NSG Corporation as the Senior Vice President leading the sales and marketing for the firm who produced events for over 200,000+ attendees annually in the United States and across the globe. Revenues exceeded 25 million a year. Andy and the NSG team worked with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to produce portions of the Opening Ceremonies. Following NSG, Andy secured the role as COO at Fanizzi Associates, one of the nation’s largest event pharmaceutical firms. There he managed the overall operations of the company who executed over 400 events annually for physicians and internal pharmaceutical clients. Revenues exceeded 40 million a year.  In 2002, Andy left Fanizzi Associates, and launched AMI with the vision of owning and operating a premiere event marketing and meeting management firm. Since 2002, AMI has grown into a multi-million dollar organization producing hundreds of events annually.  The firm has managed programs in more than 20+ industries for clients such as Novartis, Mars, Cleveland Clinic, J & J, Baxter, Pfizer and Office Depot.  Andy’s vision of keeping AMI on the forefront of meetings technology, theory and practice has made it an industry leader. The completion of AMI’s new state of the art, 5,000 square feet corporate facility, is a crowing accomplishment as AMI enters its decade anniversary in 2012.

Connect with Andy on LinkedIn


Todd Bludworth – Principle & Chief Operating Officer

Todd, along with an older brother and sister, grew up in a military family and spent his early years living in many places including Germany, Hawaii, Kansas and Florida before his Father retired from the military and became a lobbyist in Washington, DC. Calling northern Virginia home, Todd worked summers as a Page in the US Senate, and has the unique experiences of being in the Oval Office, Air Force 1, and at several State of the Unions and inaugural addresses. Todd attended Virginia Tech and immediately following graduation relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he managed fundraising efforts and candidate appearances for a state senate campaign.    

Following the election, Todd accepted a position as manager of special events and promotions in South Florida for Anheuser-Busch. Todd spent seven years working on some of South Florida’s largest and most successful events, including several Super Bowls, the World Series & some of the nation’s largest PGA & LPGA Golf Tournaments, helping Anheuser-Busch meet and exceed their marketing objectives.

In 2000, Todd accepted a position as Project Manager with one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical event marketing firms where he coordinated marketing strategy and executed events for some of the pharmaceutical industry’s largest companies. He led the event strategy of the blockbuster psychiatric drug, Risperdal, and developed KOL meeting strategies in therapeutic areas such as diabetes, oncology and gastroenterology. Everyone who has met Todd understands his incredible attention to detail and focus on client service.

In 2005, Todd joined the AMI team as their Chief Operating Officer, and became a principal owner in 2006. He continues to train and develop a superior staff and execute flawless meetings and events. Working with companies such as Novartis, Pfizer, MannKind, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Shire and Baxter, Todd and his team have successfully managed meetings, events and conferences throughout the United States and around the globe.  He is passionate about implementing new technologies into the event planning and execution process as well as giving devoted focus to the attendee experience.     

On a personal note: Todd is  married and in 2010 welcomed one son and one daughter who also happen to be twins.  As a family, they enjoy spending as much time as possible in northern Vermont and travelling internationally.  According to Todd, there is nothing better than enjoying cool summers hiking in the mountains and being outdoors. He has donated his time and talents to the United Way, Covenant House and the Humane Society for charitable events through the years.

Connect with Todd on LinkedIn


Julie Kartrude - Project Marketing Director

Julie Kartrude’s marketing experience began with an extensive back ground in retail advertising & marketing with an overlap of 8 years in the meeting planning industry.  She has been greatly involved with pharmaceutical and medical event marketing for clients such as Novartis & Novartis Vaccines,  Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis and Cleveland Clinic Florida as well as meeting incentives and destinations for a variety of other industries.

Julie attended University of Florida majoring in Advertising and Journalism and continues in this pursuit with her professional career.  She has a passion for travel, philanthropy and photography and often has the opportunity to do all of them at once with her volunteer work in Haiti.  Her ongoing volunteer efforts began pre-earthquake in 2004 where she lead efforts in Pro Bono Marketing and Special Project Fundraising for an orphanage, schooling and feeding program.

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Julie Kartrude - Project Marketing Director


John Totino - CMP Senior Vice President, Meeting Operations

John (JT) has more than 25 years of experience in product marketing, logistics and events marketing and meetings management. Upon graduation from Florida Atlantic University in 1985, with a degree in Marketing

JT owned and operated a multi-million dollar global marketing & distribution company focusing on health care and nutritional products. In 1999, he owned and operated a ground transportation and event logistics company serving South Florida. This company served many Fortune 500 companies, South Florida Convention & Visitors Bureaus and various events including the Super Bowl, NCAA Football National Championship, NCAA Bowl Games, PGA Golf Tournaments, USTA Tournaments and South Florida entertainment events.

After selling the company, JT became an event and logistics consultant and formed a relationship with a national pharmaceutical meeting planning company. Soon after, he was hired to be the Director of Operations and then the VP of Marketing & Meeting Operations. In 2009, JT became the SVP of Meeting Operations at AMI. Through his tenure in the meetings and events industry, JT has worked with companies such as, Johnson & Johnson, McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Pharma AG & US, MannKind Corporation, Shire and Schering-Plough. He has successfully planned, managed and executed multinational meetings and events throughout the world.

AMI Leadership Spotlight : John Totino, CMP – Senior Vice President, Meeting Operations


Kelly Cabitt - Vice President of Internal Operations

Kelly, who has been a key member of AMI for 10 years, also has the distinction of being the company’s first employee.

Upon graduation from Virginia Tech in 1996 with a B.A. in Communications and a Minor in Marketing Management, Kelly began her career with Aetna, the nation’s largest insurance carrier, as a Sales Support Specialist.  In this capacity, she formulated premium rates and generated proposal packages for prospective customers, and processed renewal plans for existing clients.  Because of her high-end interpersonal skills and leadership qualities, she was chosen to be the head trainer on the rollout of software programs integral to the company’s rating methodology.  Armed with the new program mastery, Kelly oversaw the training and development of all in-house users among multiple regional field offices.  In 1999, Kelly was promoted to Sales Support Consultant where she helped sustain high profile accounts including Fairfax County Public Schools, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments & the Nature Conservancy.  Her final move came in 2001, in the role of Account Manager, with sole ownership of 35 Select Market accounts (50-300 employee lives.)

After an illustrious career at Aetna, Kelly pursued her dream to relocate from Northern Virginia to sunny South Florida, where she joined AMI and quickly became an integral part of the new team as Vice President of Client Services.  Multi-tasking on the front lines, Kelly drove event sales, managed all client communications and piloted AMI’s tradeshows, expositions and seminars on-site.   The company grew rapidly, and so too did Kelly’s role.  She directed a programming team on the development of AMI’s proprietary event management software, Meetingsoft®, which over the years has had several tens of thousands of registrants pass through its virtual doors.  Kelly also built out the site for AMI’s promotional products division:  BrandIt Amenities & Promotions. Today, Kelly’s primary focus is overseeing internal operations, guiding all program closeouts through to reconciliation, and driving high-level event reporting to clients such as Shire, Office Depot, DHL, Novartis, MedImmune, Mannkind & Cleveland Clinic. She also administers the company’s HR and security policies, supervises the Accounting Department and liaises with AMI’s IT Support team. Kelly brings to the company her loyalty and expansive skills set.  To AMI’s clients, she brings her attention to detail, gold star customer service, and the ability to make their needs come first.

Kelly is recently engaged to her boyfriend of nine years, enjoys time with her family and is a die-hard Virginia Tech fan. GO HOKIES!

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Kelly Cabitt - Vice President of Internal Operations


John Cotter - Vice President, Meeting Operations

John was bitten by the event planning bug at an early age: In 1981, as a high school junior in upstate New York, he coordinated a summer tour of New York’s Big Apple Circus which benefitted local hospital auxiliaries.

This established a lifelong passion for event planning, as well as a desire to “give back” to his community.  While studying marketing at the State University of New York in Corning, he kept himself busy during summer breaks by building a successful event planning business that provided staffing for corporate sponsor events taking place at the Watkins Glenn International Raceway in conjunction with their NASCAR series. 

For the past 25 years, John has been a leader in the meeting and event planning industry, working with clients in a variety of industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical, consumer goods and publishing.  Before joining AMI, his clients included Dow Jones & Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Reynolds American, Mars, Inc., E&J Gallo Winery, McCormack Spice Company, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard and both the Democratic and Republican National Committees. In 1986 he joined Field Marketing, Inc., a California-based event marketing firm specializing in consumer product campaigns.  John has planned events ranging from marathons to political conventions.  He has executed programs at venues as diverse as the Norfolk Naval Air Station and Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival and has overseen meetings ranging from a dozen to several hundred attendees. Over the years, John has developed strong relationships with a broad range of clients and vendors and believes that these relationships are the foundation of his success.

John joined the AMI team in 2001.  His interests outside of the meetings and events industry include volunteering for the local Labrador Rescue organization, boating the beautiful waterways of Fort Lauderdale and the preservation of historic, mid-century architecture of South Florida.

John Cotter – Vice President, Meeting Operations


Josh Marx - Director of Marketing

Josh Marx is entering the AMI family with a wealth of experience in marketing, business development, and graphic design.  He has over ten years of experience working for companies such as Lamar Advertising, Edgewater Powerboats, Solo Pro Personal Fitness Studio, and his own marketing/graphic design business, JMarx Designs

Josh is an extremely self-motivated person who brings a “whatever it takes” mentality to get the job done.  He has an A.S. degree in Graphic Design from Santa Fe College, B.S. Degree in Marketing from Peru State College, and is currently finishing his M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern University.

In his spare time, Josh likes to spending time with his fiancée (Alicia), working out, playing basketball, and going to the beach.  He also enjoys spending time with his two dogs, Rocco (bulldog) and Tytan (boxer).

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Josh Marx - Director of Marketing


Deanna Izquierdo - AMI Project Manager

Deanna Izquierdo, one of American Meetings talented Project Managers, has over 12 years of meeting and event planning experience. Deanna is a dynamic and innovative professional with wide experience in customer service, logistical arrangements and project management.

She is quick on her feet and mind, has exceptional problem solving skills, offers strong organizational, inter-personal, and leadership abilities and produces positive results and client satisfaction.

Deanna has managed the growth of accounts with major pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Schering Plough, Merck / MSD, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Vaccines. In additional to her domestic experience, Deanna brings years of successful experience in Global Meetings throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Deanna, a native Floridian, enjoys spending all her free time with her 10 year old daughter Mya. She also enjoys practicing yoga, reading, enjoying the Florida sunshine, cooking, boating, snorkeling, and of course shopping!!!

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Deanna Izquierdo - Project Manager


Jared Stein - AMI Project Manager

Jared Stein joins AMI after 12 years working for marketing-driven companies like BellSouth and KPMG in both corporate communications and Internet-marketing strategies.  He is a seasoned travel director representing Fortune 500 companies, non-for-profit agencies and biotechnology associations.

His experience includes management and on-site logistics for product launches, sales incentives, advisory boards and trade shows. Though based in South Florida, Jared’s experience has taken him throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Central America.

Born and raised in the New York City area, Jared graduated from Binghamton University with  a degree in management and marketing. Since graduation, his thirst for knowledge continues with adult-education courses ... he is currently brushing up on his French for an upcoming corporate event in France. Though he admits to being a workaholic, when he finally slows down, he is a fan of reading, cinema, architecture, cycling, and gardening.

AMI Spotlight: Jared Stein - Project Manager


Rachel Fernandez - AMI Project Manager

With more than 8 years of event planning, Rachel brings her diverse background in large scale internal and external corporate events to American Meetings, Inc.   You name it, she’s done it.

Tradeshows, Customer Symposiums, Sponsorships, Sales Incentives, Client Entertainment, Sales Meetings and more.  Rachel’s energy, enthusiasm and project management skills make her the go to planner for all things complex.  Through her career she has managed events for several Fortune 500 companies.  Her ability to juggle events simultaneously and proactively anticipate the needs of her clients truly sets her apart from other event’s professionals and makes her an asset to your team.

 

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Rachel Fernandez - Project Manager

 


Matt Dillon - Accounting Manager

Matt Dillon is undoubtedly our most famous employee (at least by name association). Matt has 20 years of experience in corporate accounting. Originating from the Midwest, Matt graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1992, with a BS degree in Business. He majored in accounting and has a minor in economics. Matt has spent most of his career working for smaller privately held firms, but also has worked for a couple of the Fortune 500 businesses as well. Matt has held the role of supervisor/manager/controller for over 15 years now.

In 2009, Matt relocated to South Florida and became acquainted with the meetings and events industry. He served as an accounting manager for a destination management company in the Palm Beach area prior to joining the AMI team in 2012. Although there are a few nuances with any new business, the transition to a meeting planning company has been very smooth. Being the first full-time accounting staff with the AMI team, Matt’s experience will add value through financial reporting (both AMI & client level) as well as his strengths in holding overhead costs to a minimum. In addition, Matt has HR administration experience through many of his past employers that will assist the AMI team as well.

With Matt's solid and lengthy accounting background, he is proving to be an exceptional fit with the AMI organization. He has provided many large conglomerate companies with his accounting expertise. Some of the accounts he worked on were Bank of America, BMW, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Praxair and Walgreens, just to name a few!

Matt brings his vast experience and attention to detail to the company. His great communication skills will serve both AMI and their clients well for years to come.

Matt enjoys raising his three year old son James. In his free time, Matt also excels at billiards/pool. He has competed at the amateur level on and off for 23 years….so rack ‘em up!

 

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Matt Dillon - Accounting Manager

 


Karin Carriel - Project Manager

Karin Carriel is a Marketing professional with considerable experience in Branding, Event Coordination and Media Relations. With nearly 10 years in a challenging and often changing music industry, Karin has shown that she has an exceptional talent for evolving when necessary. Ms. Carriel has collaborated with internationally renowned artists and coordinated creative promotional events with major media outlets and impressive venues like NYC’s Madison Square Garden. Karin has stepped in and been an integral part of the planning process for one of AMI's major clients, PC Connnection. Karin has used her skill set to bring solutions to many areas of PC Connections events.

A proud graduate from Boston’s Emerson College, Karin is now ready to bring that creative energy to American Meeting Inc. Her talent in Marketing and Event coordination gives her all the tools needed to make any concept come alive!

 

AMI Leadership Spotlight: Karin Carriel - Project Manager

 


John Barone - Project Manager

Coming off of a 12 year run as Marketing Manager for the exclusive sales rep firm for American Express Publishing, and 18 years in the advertising and marketing world, John Barone joins the AMI family and brings his keen marketing savvy and strategic thinking to our team. “Publishing is a crazy and fast-paced industry, so I’ve fit right in as Project Manager at AMI”, says John. Managing client’s needs and expectations is one of John’s many strong attributes, and his personality shines though in any situation! His loyalty, dedication and very strong work ethic, make John a valuable addition. His exceptional background has made him a valuable asset to accounts he has and is currently working on with AMI. Some of these accounts include PC Connnection, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Vitamin Shoppe and BioFlorida.

John is a bit of a foodie and his love of travel was borne out of his many years working with the top travel, food and lifestyle publications. As many others, John in a New York transplant but has been a Florida native for the past 22 years. Although he enjoys the sun and the sand, he’s also at home barreling down a mountain of snow! He appreciates his down-time at home with a great merlot and with his friends and family (and sweet little Labrador, Dakota!)

 

AMI Leadership Spotlight: John Barone - Project Manager

 


Jenny Brito – Front-End Operations

Jenny is behind our Front-End Operations; Customer Satisfaction is her number one priority, and she takes that role very seriously. Born as the daughter of a motivational speaker in Caracas, Venezuela and raised by a family of musicians; Jenny grew up interacting with large groups of diverse people and has a strong understanding on the importance behind logistics and team work. Her experience living and working in two countries, her volunteer work and her time as a stay home mom, has also helped to shape her into a person who thrives on interacting with people. While she's self confident, motivated and driven, she is also empathetic and caring; mantaining a great balance of productivity and focus.

Jenny has worked with multimillion dollar organizations such as Mars, Inc., Cleveland Clinic Florida and Novartis, providing superior customer service, registration experience and meeting support.

Jenny is currently bilingual in English & Spanish, and is currently working on her Portuguese. She loves to travel as well as spending time with her family; has a strong passion for music, enjoys photography in her spare time, loves to do puzzles and is a proud victim of Social Media. Jenny values each one of her team members at AMI, and the opportunity to learn from the best; doing her part by maintaining a great attitude and giving it her very best every day.

 


Tracy Kuipers – Project Manager

Tracy Kuipers comes to AMI with over 20 years experience in meetings and events by way of the hotel and DMC industries. Tracy started her career with Hilton Hotels at the Hilton @Walt Disney World Village and as Convention Service Manager at The Fontainbleau Hilton on Miami Beach. From there, Tracy spent almost ten years in Convention Sales for the Hilton Atlanta and Towers where her primary market was corporate, specializing in pharmaceutical meetings. She was very successful bringing a variety of corporate and pharmaceutical meetings to Atlanta and the Hilton. As a top producer, she was honored as Sales Person of the Year for Hilton Hotels Corporation.

Wanting to use all that knowledge and experience to go back to the creative and planning side, Tracy then took a position with a local Atlanta destination management company as a Sales Manager. There, she spent four years creating, contracting, planning and executing hundreds of corporate and association events anywhere from small VIP groups of 20 to groups as large as 4,000 attendees. Today Tracy is using all her expertise working On-Site Logistics for AMI. She is based in Atlanta, is also a busy wife and mother enjoying her boy’s sporting events, Gator Football, tennis, the beach, sailing and going to concerts.

 

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Nastassia Santamaria

Born and raised in the South Florida area, Nastassia is no stranger to the intricacies of event planning and execution in a fast-paced metropolis. After graduating with a degree in Hospitality Management, Nastassia delved deeper into the field by achieving a Sommelier certification which aided her in her position at the Cellar Club, a high profile corporate members only club for Miami’s elite located at luxury hotel, The Biltmore. Aside from organizing member events, which included wine tastings, art exhibits and interactive lunches with celebrity chefs, Nastassia also led design and production of their quarterly newsletter. Nastassia has an avid passion for language and travel, speaking English, Spanish and enough French to get you around Paris and get you more than a pan du chocolat. Aside from being well-traveled, Nastassia’s competitive side has led her to train for and complete 2 half marathons and several obstacle course “mud runs”. She hopes to one day climb Kilimanjaro and hike to Machu Picchu.

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Alicia Palma

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Alicia has been working on events since her time as a student at Florida International University. Following her college graduation, she turned her event experience into a career as a Conference Services Manager at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. For six years, this position allowed Alicia to work on a wide variety of events ranging from small, high-end meetings to large conferences, fashion shows, book signings, and private culinary affairs. A foodie and fashion lover at heart, she recalls her favorite events as Ocean Drive Fashion Week, a book signing for Candace Bushnell, and an interactive luncheon for SoBe Wine & Food Festival.

Her love of events and travel led her to AMI, giving Alicia an opportunity to work on conferences in Miami Beach, Buenos Aires, and Scottsdale to name a few. Because she is bilingual, she has worked on Spanish-speaking conferences such as the MARS Latin American Sales Meeting, and the Argentinian Shale Gas & Oil conference.  

When she is not working on events, Alicia is working on her style blog, Bubbles & Ink (www.bubblesandink.com), focusing on art, fashion, and culture in and around Miami.

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Stephanie Uncapher, Meeting Operations Manager

Stephanie is has been a professional in the meeting planning and event industry for over 11years. Starting at the front lines with front office and registration, Stephanie is now  a seasoned meeting professional and an expert in all event systems, project management and customer service. From conferences, advisory boards to intricate series of lunch and learns, Stephanie has a broad range of expertise in the event marketing and meeting management. Stephanie began her career at one of the pharmaceutical industries largest meeting planning firms, Fanizzi Associates.

At this firm, she managed complex series of events for thousand of physicians and clinicians. She was soon promoted from front desk to office manager and then to meeting planning assistant. She worked with such industry leaders as Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Ortho-McNeil. From Fanizzi, Stephanie began her career at AMI. She continued to hone her meeting planning skills as well as be promoted to Meeting Operations Manager where she oversees thousands of registrations monthly and project manages conferences. Working with clients such as PC Connection, Novartis, MannKind and one of the Marine Industries largest conferences, she interacts with almost all of AMI’s clients.

Everyone who has been on the other side of the phone with Stephanie understands her incredible customer service skills, where she has the goal of leaving a smile on every attendees face. Stephanie personal life has been busy as well with a marriage and a new baby boy within the last 18 months. AMI is proud to have her on our team!

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