Matthew “Mac” Campbell, a certified venue professional who worked at the Baltimore Convention Center for 10 years, has been nominated to be the convention center’s next executive director. Photo via Matthew Campbell’s LinkedIn.

Mayor Brandon Scott announced today that he is nominating Matthew “Mac” Campbell to serve as the next Executive Director of the Baltimore Convention Center. If approved by the Baltimore City Council, he will replace Peggy Daidakis, who retired in September after 49 years with city government and 44 with the convention center.

Campbell, a certified venue professional, spent 10 years at the Baltimore Convention Center working with Daidakis — first as director of client services from 2012 to 2017 and then as deputy director from July 2017 to November 2021. For the last 13 months, he has served as vice president of operations at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland.

“I am excited to welcome Mac back to Baltimore and look forward to seeing him lead the Baltimore Convention Center,” Scott said in a statement. “Coming out of the pandemic, it’s clear that our city’s tourism industry is bouncing back better than ever and it’s important that someone with Mac’s experience and innovative approach to venue management be here to keep the momentum going.”

Campbell earned his bachelor of arts degree from Elon University in 2005 and became a certified venue professional in 2016. During his time as director of client services for the Baltimore Convention Center, he was responsible for developing, leading, and managing the Convention Center’s largest division, which manages logistics for setting up and breaking down events. In this role he implemented new ‘greening and cleaning’ programs for the building.

As deputy director of the Convention Center, Campbell helped develop and manage its $21.3 million budget while leading a senior leadership team responsible for the facility’s daily operations as well as ongoing sales and promotion activity. Campbell also served as the primary liaison between the Convention Center and members of the International Alliance for Stage and Theatrical Employees (IATSE) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) unions.

According to the mayor’s announcement, Campbell also played a major role in driving the Convention Center’s economic development impact to the community by maximizing the use of space to allow for more than 120 additional conventions and meetings to be hosted at the Convention Center, which represented more than $70 million of economic impact to the city and state.

With 300,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space; 85,000 square feet of meeting space and a 36,672-square-foot ballroom, the Baltimore Convention Center at 1 W. Pratt St. is the largest indoor meeting facility in Maryland, attracting upwards of 500,000 visitors annually. Campbell said he is excited to build upon Daidakis’ legacy.

“The Baltimore Convention Center is not just a major part of the tourism industry here in Baltimore, it’s a major player in the economic engine that drives Maryland,” he said in a statement. “Through this venue, we have the potential to create jobs for local residents and help business and leisure travelers see just how wonderful of a city Baltimore truly is. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to take the torch from Peggy and lead the charge to really showcase and expand the work happening to make this jewel of Baltimore shine even brighter.”

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.