Our History

MPI D/FW Chapter Historical Timeline


  • Ron Trammell meets with four friends at Holiday Inn Central to plot the beginning of the MPI D/FW Chapter.
  • Metroplex Chapter chartered with Meeting Planners International in 1977 with four members.
  • President – Ron Trammell


  • President – George Gallagher


  • Nov 12 1979 under Charlotte St. Martin’s presidency the first issue of the Current, the Chapter’s newsletter, was published. Suzie Oliver was the Secretary.
  • The chapter was known as MPI Metroplex Chapter and had 115 members.
  • Chapter meetings were $7.50 per member.
  • At the MPI conference that year, there were about 600 delegates and the board decided to raise dues to $125.00 per year.
  • Greg Elam as was in charge of the first national conference held in Dallas. The first time to have 1000 in attendance. D/FW Chapter was initially shown alphabetically in the MPI International Directory under “M” for Metroplex. Chapter listing was revised to its current alpha location, “D”.
  • President – Charlotte St Martin


  • June 1980 George Gallagher was elected V.P. of Communications for MPI International, first time that a member of the Executive Committee had come from the Metroplex chapter.
  • MPI reached 3,330 members worldwide in 25 chapters.
  • President – Greg Elam


  • Nov 1981 Membership in D/FW was 133.
  • During this term was the first time to schedule regular monthly board meetings.
  • President – Harmon Hodge


  • April 1982 D/FW Chapter Treasury balance was $ 3,922.20 and membership was 162.
  • Doug Heath named Executive V.P. Nov 1, 1982.
  • MPI Worldwide approaching 5,000 members.
  • Chapter monthly luncheon registration fee was $ 12.00 and dinner registration fee was $ 15.00.
  • Over 20 D/FW members attended Educational Conference in New York City Dec 5-8 1982
  • President – Sally Gibbons


  • April 1983 Joint MPI retreat with Houston, Texas Hill Country & D/FW Chapters at Woodcreek Resort, Wimberley, TX.
  • Texas Hill Country becomes the 31st chapter formed in MPI’s eleven year history, making Texas the first state with three affiliates.
  • June 1983 A DFW record turnout of 128 attended the monthly meeting at the Registry Hotel out of a membership of 206.
  • New monthly meeting reservations procedure was implemented.
  • Most successful membership drive in Chapter history brought in 25 new members.
  • Chapter breaks 200 member threshold.
  • President – Jerry Swiggart


  • Feb 1984 Annual Dues increased to $150 per year. Worldwide membership has grown to 5979.
  • Oct 1984 A task force headed by John Greenslit is established to study feasibility and possible location of a new home for MPI headquarters.
  • MPI DFW Chapter develops program within chapter to recognize Chapter Planner & Supplier of the Year. First awarded in 1985 were Sally Gibbons, Supplier and Greg Elam, Planner.
  • Sept 1984 DFW had 234 members.
  • 151 people attended the Dec 1984 Christmas Fantasy meeting at the Registry Hotel.
  • President – Ellen Beckert


  • Chapter had its first Chapter Board installation on “horseback”, hosted at the Circle R Ranch.
  • Membership roster is computerized for the first time.
  • Monthly meetings generate approximately 82 persons at each meeting out of a 247 membership.
  • President – Latrell Smart, CMP


  • Feb 1986 Membership in DFW reaches 285.
  • MPI D/FW increases board from 10 to 12 members in 1986. Betty Garrett replaces Connie Gray as VP of Finance in March 1986.
  • Aug 11, 1986 MPI relocates headquarters to Infomart from Middletown Ohio. They added 16 new staff members locally bringing total employee count to 21.
  • October 1986 the D/FW chapter was the 8th largest of 40 current chapters with 302 members.
  • December 1986 D/FW formed the Job Bank & Chapter of the Year Committee’s. Membership was at 312.
  • President – Pat Smith, CMP


  • January 1987 it was suggested that Meeting Planners International be changed to Meeting Professionals International to be voted on by the International board during the June 1987 conference in Winnipeg.
  • The CMP Study Group was established and attended by 28 Chapter members.
  • May 1987 D/FW Chapter establishes a standing committee called the PGA committee.
  • June 1987 DFW MPI has 293 members.
  • July 1987 Comel Tiller of Suite Executives is hired as the first paid staff member for the DFW Chapter to assist with Chapter Administration.
  • Sept 1987 Over 180 members and guests attended the monthly meeting at Harvey Hotel DFW making it the largest attended monthly meeting in our history.
  • President – Norb Dettmann, PhD, CMP


  • March 1988 D/FW establishes the Suzi Fiveash Award.
  • May 1988 membership in D/FW hits 331.
  • August 1988 with installation of the officers and board the DFW Board increased to 6 officers and 9 Board of Directors.
  • D/FW Chapter receives both Excellence in Education and Excellence in Membership awards at the MPI Annual Conference in Seattle.
  • First ever Executive Workshop was offered.
  • Richland College Meeting Planning I course becomes a reality.
  • Bill Boyd, CMP, CMM


  • May 1989 Norb Dettman, PhD, CMP is awarded Planner of the Year and J. William Boyd, Jr., CMP, CMM is awarded Supplier of the Year.
  • DFW has 357 members.
  • Host facility of the year award introduced in July 1989.
  • 207 members and guests attended Nov 1989 meeting at Doubletree Park West. D/FW Chapter has 380 members.
  • President – Mary Jo Malone


  • March 1990 D/FW Board created position of Director of Education under VP of Education & Programs.
  • March 1990 D/FW hit record of 400 members.
  • Doug Heath resigns as Executive V.P of Meeting Professionals International after 8 years and bringing an organization of 4,200 members up to 9,500.
  • First annual “Kids Charity Ball” held at the Anatole, raised over $20,000.00 to support Chapter Charities.
  • President – Judy Love Rondeau


  • Ed Griffin, CAE becomes New Executive V.P & CEO of MPI International.
  • Concept of the Mentor Program was developed.
  • “Retired Membership Status” category was approved for D/FW Chapter.
  • New Member Orientation began at all Chapter meetings. O.D. O’Donnell was the Chair and developed the program.
  • A revision was made to the Chapter “Policies and Procedures” to better reflect the needs of the membership, such as: 12 monthly educational meetings versus 11. Also, the Chapter newsletter, Current, was extended to 12 issues.
  • Chapter celebrated its 15th anniversary.
  • March, first annual Give Kids the World Gala Charity Ball raised $17,500 for MPI’s official charity, the largest donation ever given by a single chapter of MPI. The Chapter also raised over $5,400 for Love for Kids by selling specially created Christmas Cards.
  • March 10, 300 members internationally in 31 countries. 428 members locally in D/FW.
  • President – Lisa South, CMP, CSEP


  • July 1992 Gracie Hilton becomes Editor of Current.
  • Membership in D/FW rose to 475.
  • Aug 1992 Fred Knieberg is granted retired membership status. The first member of our chapter to be granted this status.
  • President – Mary Cowart


  • Feb 1993 Membership reaches 522 and growing.
  • March 1993 D/FW Board votes to split program and education committees into two V.P. positions and at the same time created the president-elect position on the board. This become effective with the start of the 1994 administrative year. This brought board up to 17 members.
  • June 1993 D/FW reaches 569 members.
  • Average attendance at the monthly Chapter meetings grows from 175 to 197.
  • President – Lesley Meyer, CMP


  • March 1994 D/FW reaches 594 members.
  • Bill Boyd named President of MPI International.
  • O.D. O’Donnell becomes Chair of the Chapter Yearbook Committee.
  • During MPI PEC the MPI Board of Directors approved MPI Utah, MPI North Florida and MPI Netherlands, bringing the total number of MPI Chapters to 50.
  • As a result of a membership survey, Chapter charitable efforts were combined into one project. ACE” Annual Charity Event, which became officially known as “The Kids Charity Ball”.
  • Eleven D/FW MPI Members visit MPI Italia in First Gemelli Joint Chapter Seminar.
  • President – Diane Smith, CMP


  • June 1995 D/FW membership at 603.
  • D/FW Announces Associate Membership category for $60.00 annual dues.
  • Dallas Board of Directors approve the POD program “Professional Opportunity for Development” in August 1995.
  • July 1995 Sherri Cook, CMP and Mollie Wallace, CMP were named “Tomorrow’s Leaders of MPI” at the Annual Convention in Chicago.
  • MPI, in Partnership with Richland Community College, a member of the Dallas County Community College District, announces fall classes toward a two year Associates Degree program in meetings management.
  • MPI D/FW publishes its first cookbook, just in time for MPI PEC in Dallas November 1995. It was the second time Dallas was the host city. The cookbooks were used as a unique amenity for PEC participants as well as sold cookbooks to contribute $5,000.00 to the MPI Foundation, plus approximately $2,000.00 for Chapter educational projects.
  • Current, the monthly newsletter of the D/FW Chapter of MPI, was named Best Overall Editorial & Design in the medium to large chapter division of MPI.
  • January 1996 D/FW Chapter wins second consecutive Award of Excellence.
  • President – Phyllis Firebaugh, CMP


  • D/FW MPI plays host to 20 members of MPI Italia at the Garrett Creek Ranch Oct. 19-21-1996.
  • October 1996 D/FW Chapter membership at 701.
  • D/FW MPI Board accepts contract with Don Dillon Associates for Administrative Services.
  • President – Mary Lynn Novelli, CMP “Focus on the Vision”


  • Dana Nickerson named Chair of Chapter Yearbook Committee.
  • Feb 1997 Subscriber membership annual dues are increased from $60.00 to $100.00.
  • June 1997 marks MPI D/FW Chapter’s 20th anniversary.
  • The Circle of Commitment pins, created and developed by O.D. O’Donnell, were awarded to chapter members who have been with MPI 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. A total of 178 members were recognized for long term membership, continued involvement and support of the chapter.
  • Seventy-six industry professionals attend inaugural Texas Legislative Action Day in Austin.
  • May 1997 twelve graduating seniors from three Dallas Independent School Districts High Schools are the recipients of one year scholarships to the Travel, Exposition & Meeting Management program at Richland College made possible from proceeds of the Kids Charity Ball.
  • May 22 1997 MPI D/FW members whisked away in a private Miami Air Jet to Austin for the monthly meeting. • Membership in D/FW is 733.
  • President – Gregory Pynes “Involvement Through Service”


  • Feb 1998 MPI D/FW introduces the Smart Card to Chapter.
  • Longtime D/FW Chapter contributor and previous board member Jan Pollard, died of stomach cancer February 5, 1998. MPI D/FW renames the PGA as the Jan Pollard Award for Professional Growth.
  • Mar 1998 MPI D/FW Chapter members volunteer for KERA/KDTN Public Radio/television Telethon.
  • MPI/DFW, thanks to funds raised at the MPI Kids Charity Ball provides Richland College scholarships for eleven Dallas area students.
  • Membership June 98 at 780; 107 MPI D/FW Chapter members attended the 1998 MPI WEC in San Diego.
  • May 1998 Kids Charity Ball raises $153,266.00.
  • June 1998 D/FW Awards Doug Heath and Ted Olson are awarded 25 year Circle of Commitment Pins.
  • August 1998 Eric Johnson, CMM, CMP becomes the first D/FW MPI Chapter member to achieve the Certification in Meeting Management “CMM” designation.
  • August 1998 MPI Kids Charity Ball 1998 raises $153,266. • September 1998 Membership reaches 803.
  • October 1998 D/FW MPI Chapter starts accepting credit cards for monthly meeting registration.
  • November 6-8, 1998 118 D/FW MPI Chapter members attend second annual TEC in Galveston.
  • November 1998 Randie Charnes assumes the responsibility of Chapter Secretary.
  • March 1999 MPI D/FW participates in pilot program for new educational series “Platinum Series”.
  • President – Colleen Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP “Involvement Through Service”


  • May 1999 Membership reaches 840.
  • May 1999 MPI D/FW Board of Directors voted to approve funds for the development of a chapter web site scheduled to go online in the summer.
  • MPI D/FW Establishes $7000.00 Endowment with Dallas County Community College Foundation.
  • July 1999 Louis Phillips and Associates approved to conduct an independent professional Educational Needs Assessment Survey.
  • August 1999 MPI D/FW introduces the chapter web site.
  • MPI D/FW closes out 1999 with a Holiday gala at the Southfork Ranch. This was described by most in attendance as the very best Holiday Gala in the Chapter’s history.
  • President – Steven G. Foster, CMP “Impact the Legacy”


  • January 2000 introduction of the brand new masthead for Current.
  • February 2000, First annual Supplier Showcase features the largest attendance in the chapter’s history with 440 in attendance.
  • April 8 2000 Chapter has “Family Picnic” at the Stockyard Station in Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District.
  • June 2000 D/FW Chapter membership dips to 803.
  • July 2000 Incoming President Steve Kemble introduces talk show format for the monthly meetings to the D/FW Chapter.
  • October 2000 D/FW Chapter has first breakfast meeting in fifteen years.
  • October 2000, the newly created “Spirit of MPI Award” was awarded to Stephanie Schroeder of Starwood Hotels and Nicole Northrop of the Omni Mandalay Hotel. This is awarded to an individual who has displayed a “Can Do Attitude” and has been a team player in helping the chapter achieve its goals. The award is in the form of an eagle which we thought was fitting as it exemplifies leadership qualities and soaring above and beyond.
  • November 3-4, 2000 D/FW is host for TEC 2000 at the Westin Stonebriar Resort. This is the second year that D/FW has been the host. A record of over 250+ were in attendance.
  • December 2000 D/FW celebrated one of the most impressive Holiday Parties ever at the Adams Mark Dallas. Over 300 in attendance were impressed with the sumptuous sushi bar and dessert bars.
  • President – Steve Kemble “Action”


  • February 2001 Second annual Supplier Showcase with 422 in attendance.
  • February 2001 Membership reaches 910, setting another record for the chapter.
  • April 2001 D/FW for the eighth straight month exceeds 70% retention with a total membership of 942 members. D/FW leads the top ten chapters this year in retention.
  • May 2001 a total of 69 D/FW members are slated to receive their Circle of Commitment Pins this year at the awards banquet.
  • June 2001 D/FW Chapter reaches an all-time high of 975 members with a chapter retention rate of 73.47%. Of the ten largest chapters in all of MPI, Dallas had the highest retention rate and maintained better than 70% retention rate for ten straight months.
  • July 2001 the chapter issues the newly designed 2001 Resource Handbook.
  • July 2001 the third annual CMP & CMM Recognition event with 150 planners & suppliers from the area was held at the Four Seasons Resort.
  • August 2001 The D/FW chapter adopts MPI’s New Women’s Leadership Initiative.
  • November 2001 D/FW chapter membership dips to 870. The Kids Charity Ball is held at the Dallas Apparel Mart, featuring entertainment by “The Platters.” The Bill and Angela Barrett Award for Loving Kids is presented to The Meadows Foundation.
  • President – Betty Garrett, CMP “Shape your Future: Connect”


  • January 2002 D/FW Chapter is awarded the “2000-2001 Chapter of the Year” at the PEC in Hawaii. This was the fifth time that the chapter has been honored having with this award. Awards were received for 1989; 1990; 1994; 1996; and 2002.
  • October 2002 Board developed and implemented a Chapter Leadership Development program, which will help in our ongoing efforts to incubate and grow our members into the best leaders they can be—not only for the Chapter, but for their own professional growth. • December 2002 D/FW Chapter membership drops to 811.
  • President – Cheryl Beasley, CMP, CMM


  • March 2003 D/FW Chapter Women’s Leadership Initiative Committee launched its program with a luncheon at the Wyndham Anatole, featuring noted relationship expert and author John Gray, Ph.D.
  • April 2003 D/FW produced three signature events in one month, including the MPI Kids Charity Ball at Southfork Ranch, the Pro-Player Golf Classic at the Four Seasons Resort and a partnership meeting with the HSMAI D/FW Chapter at the Doubletree Hotel Lincoln Center.
  • May 2003 D/FW Chapter member Ted Olson received a “Lifetime Achievement” award from MPI for his 30 years of service to the association. Ted was one of three original members who signed the Charter that started the organizations later to be known as MPI in Chicago in 1972.
  • June 2003 D/FW Chapter membership stands at 792 members.
  • August 2003 D/FW joined together with nationally recognized Toastmasters organization in forming a club just for MPI members.
  • Dec 2003 D/FW Chapter dropped to 762 members.
  • President – Melissa Logar, CMP “One Vision”


  • Jan 2004 D/FW Chapter had more than 100 members attend the MPI PEC in San Antonio.
  • Dec 2004 D/FW winds up the year with 769 members.
  • President – Melissa Logar, CMP “One Vision”


  • July 2005 D/FW Chapter designates each July Monthly meeting for Membership. The chapter has 81 members eligible for Circle of Commitment Pins. Circle of Commitment recognizes those members for their service, commitment and tenure.
  • President – Tamra Hughston, CMP “Making a Difference”


  • May 2006 D/FW Chapter membership climbs to 825 members. The first time the chapter membership has been over 800 since April 2003.
  • July 2006 MPI WEC was held in Dallas with record breaking attendance. With 3,461 attendees it was the largest event in MPI’s history beating both the 2001 WEC in Las Vegas and the 2005 WEC in Miami.
  • President – Sally Goldesberry, CMP, CMM “Interact, Inspire, Innovate”


  • Jan 2007 D/FW Chapter goes over 900 members again. The total membership for the chapter in January 2007 was 913, the first time the chapter has been over 900 since Oct 2001.
  • June 2007 D/FW Chapter celebrates 30 years. The DFW Chapter was formed in June 1977. 30th Anniversary Program
  • September 2008 New Chapter website is launched and the Current monthly newsletter becomes a bi-monthly magazine.
  • President – Nancey Hernandez, CMP “Building Partnerships for a Lifetime”


  • 2008 D/FW Chapter adds social networking with a Chapter presence on Twitter and Facebook.
  • President – Carol Benavidez, CMP “Exchanging Ideas to Connect the World”


  • May 2009 The first year MPI D/FW teams up with the Hotel Association of Greater Dallas for a joint golf tournament.
  • June 2009 MPI D/FW Chapter introduced a new awards program, “Member Choice Awards”, with membership voting to determine the award recipients.
  • June 2009 The Colleen Rickenbacher Leadership evolves into the Meetings Leadership Industry Award
  • President – Jason Ware “Now is the Time”


  • The Mentor Program returned to the MPI D/FW Chapter
  • CMP Study Group began
  • President – Jesh Batra “Power of Partnerships”


  • “Marketplace Opportunites” created with Function Junction and Sales Blitz
  • President – Lauren Dunnaway “Engage for ROI”


  • Chapter focused on CSR including collecting over 1,000 teddy bears given to first responders for “Make Life Bear-able for a Child”.
  • Hometown Heroes were recognized at six monthly luncheons.
  • “Operation Appreciation” began to encourage chapter members to write notes of thanks to people who impacted their careers and lives.
  • CMM/CMP Breakfast tradition returned to the chapter for the first time since 2008.
  • President – Alison Kieckhafer “Activate your Goodness”


  • Collin College established the first Texas-based MPI Student Club.
  • Mentor Cafe established to increase participation in the Mentor Program.
  • Over $2500 raised for the JPA Scholarship.
  • MPI D/FW Chapter participated in the Chairman’s Challenge 5K to support the MPI Global Foundation, raising $2800.
  • All Committee meetings were held quarterly.
  • President – Amanda Wells, CMP “Experience the Difference”


  • President – Tony Cummins “All In”


  • RISE Award- Educational Programming
  • President – Sherry DeLaGarza, CMP, CMM  “Own It”


  • RISE Award- Marketplace Excellence
  • Raise over $4000 for the JPA Scholarship
  • President – Erin Lucia “Engage, Embrace, Energize”


  • President – Paige Mejia “Ignite Something”