Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been recognized by Successful Meetings magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry for 2017. Goodling is the only visitors bureau executive among the list of influencers. Successful Meetings is considered the “bible” of meeting planners across the country. The publication, which announced its list on July 5, considered meetings professionals in five categories: game changers, advocates, strategists, educators and trailblazers. Goodling is honored as “trailblazer,” who the magazine editors described as follows: “It takes a special kind of creativity to be a trailblazer. It requires the ability to understand the world as it is, while also being able to see the world as it could be. The individuals on this list have all bridged the gap between these two realities and the meetings industry if far better because of it.” In selecting Goodling, the citation states: “Goodling continues to pioneer new ways to meet planners’ needs with the ever-evolving Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, demonstrating how a vibrant meetings/conventions market can boost the economic health of an entire city. Under his leadership, Long Beach has been at the forefront of a lot of experiential trends and has served as a model for destinations throughout the country. For example, Long Beach was one of the first to remake the public areas of its convention center into a series of conversation hubs and have flexible configurations that transformed not only the dimensions of its large event spaces, but the ambience of them as well. Taking inspiration from the TED Conference (which Long Beach hosted for five years) the destination has adopted the ‘Three C’s’ of meetings: Connection, Collaboration, and Community as it’s undergone a total of $60 million in renovations. ‘We wanted to remodel our Center so we could offer that unique ambience to all of our clients by creating turnkey event spaces at an affordable price, so that everyone could enjoy a TED-like party,’ says Goodling. It’s an approach many others have been following. And with this month seeing the opening of another turnkey event space,‘The Cove,’ as well as the Seaside Way pedestrian bridge, Goodling is also demonstrating another lesson for destination leaders: Never stop improving.” To view the entire list of influencers, click here.