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Tim Riddle named Ocean Center director

Volusia County’s convention and event venue has a new top executive.

On Tuesday, the Volusia County Council confirmed Tim Riddle as Ocean Center director. Riddle is taking over for Director Don Poor, who’s retiring on June 26 after 11 years in the position. Riddle was hired in August 2017 as the Ocean Center’s deputy director, and Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald told the council that he’s more than ready to step into the top spot.

“He’s very creative. He’s a problem solver,” Recktenwald said of Riddle. “I couldn’t say more about his positive attitude and the hard work that he shows.”

County Council members said while they will miss Poor, they’re glad that Riddle is ready to step up.

“I’m really excited to have you in that position,” council member Billie Wheeler told Riddle.

Riddle has more than 30 years of executive convention and conference center experience, having served as executive director of the Chattanooga Convention Center in Tennessee, the Cave City Convention Center & Tourism Commission in Kentucky and the Valdosta-Lowndes Conference Center & Tourism Authority in Georgia. As deputy director of the Ocean Center, Riddle directed the facility’s day-to-day operations – overseeing the convention center's policies and procedures and developing the operating budget and rolling 5-year capital budget. Riddle also has been responsible for managing sales and marketing efforts and the center’s partner relationships with the local convention and visitors bureaus, hotels and governing bodies.

Noting that the convention industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Riddle said he’s looking forward to business picking up.

“I appreciate your confidence and look forward to. …much brighter times ahead,” Riddle told the council. In the meantime, some of the Ocean Center’s massive exhibit space has been converted into a staging area for distributing food aid and protective equipment to areas impacted by the pandemic. Helping the community recover has been rewarding, Riddle said.

“When you’re feeding your community and taking care of the healthier community, we sleep good at night knowing we’re playing a small roll in that with other sister divisions,” added Riddle.

Owned and operated by the county, the Ocean Center opened in the heart of Daytona Beach’s core coastal area in 1985. Host to conventions, conferences, trade shows and sports and entertainment events, the facility boasts more than 205,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit and meeting space and 32 breakout rooms. The Ocean Center is the fifth largest convention center in the state.

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