Karen Totaro

General Manager

Karen Totaro is the General Manager of Huntington Place and is responsible for the overall management, promotion and operation of the facilities, leading the team of dedicated professionals in the venue,  building on the key industry partnerships in the community, and supporting the overall mission of the Huntington Place and the DRCFA.

Ms. Totaro comes to Huntington Place from the San Diego Convention Center where she served as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to San Diego, she served as General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center, Assistant General Manager of the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati and the Assistant Executive Director at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

Having received a BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ms. Totaro is also a Certified Venue Executive through the IAVM as well as a graduate from their Academy of Venue Safety and Security.

Becky Bixby

Assistant General Manager

Becky Bixby is the Assistant General Manager of Huntington Place and is responsible for all day-to-day operational aspects of the venue with a key role in ensuring that all clients’ needs are understood and met. She leads the effort for LEED certification and all sustainability initiatives that cross over multiple departments.

Ms. Bixby will be assessing all emergency response plans and establish safety and security measures to create organic and appropriate responses that secure public safety at all times. She works towards resolving any client union or staffing concerns. She ensures all operational departments are on track with their budgets and financial goals for the year.

Ms. Bixby comes to Huntington Place from Informa Markets, where she oversaw client services for 20 trade shows & over 20 digital events comprising over $150 million in revenue.” Responsibilities included oversight of customer relationship management technologies, collaborating with outside vendors such as general service contractors, insurance agencies, registration, housing, fire marshal and health & safety departments, and developing improvements to event systems and customer experience.

She holds an M.A. in Communications and a certification in the Executive Education program for Influence and Negotiations Strategies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Marlon Wilson

Director of Public Safety 

Marlon Wilson comes to the venue with 26 years of law enforcement and critical management experience. Most recently, Wilson served as Deputy Chief of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) and as Executive Officer in both the Major Crimes and Organized Crime Divisions. He rose through the ranks in throughout his career in the DPD since 1995 receiving numerous awards including Officer of the Year. He formed the agency’s Cyber Crimes and Arson Units. He also served as Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Bureau.

Marlon's role at Huntington Place is to provide overall direction, coordination and evaluation of the Public Safety department. The position is forward thinking, taking on proactive initiatives with a focus on protection and service. It is a senior leadership role at Huntington Place on behalf of ASM Global reporting to the Assistant General Manager.

Cedric Turnbore

Director of Operations

Cedric Turnbore is the Director of Operations for Huntington Place. While administering vendor contract services, he supervises the training and performance of all contract labor in Huntington Place, including janitorial, security and production services, ensuring a welcoming event experience for guests. He oversees the Safety Committee and Green Initiatives in the facility, and coordinates LEED compliance.  

With more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, Mr. Turnbore comes to Huntington Place with experience from the Westin Book Cadillac and Marriott Hotels. He is ServSafe certified along with his business degree from Marygrove College. He received the Manager of the Year award from Marriott Hotels and was nominated twice for the prestigious ROSE Award for excellent customer service.

Diane Calliway

Director of Talent and Diversity

Diane Calliway is Director of Talent and Diversity for Huntington Place. She is responsible for talent management, labor relations, employee development, and safety compliance. 

Before joining the Huntington Place staff, Ms. Calliway was the district human resources manager and after that, district manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service for eight years. In her role at Jackson Hewitt, she was responsible for the day-to-day corporate field human resources, financial operations and sales for 35 branch locations. She is a graduate and active alum of the University of Michigan-Dearborn.


Greg DeSandy

Director of Sales 

Greg DeSandy is the Director of Sales for Huntington Place and responsible for maximizing the rental and promoting the use of Huntington Place meetings and events by representing Huntington Place to all clients and customers.  He directs the sales team, sales strategy, business development, and sales analysis while overseeing all aspects of event service delivery.

Mr. DeSandy comes to Huntington Place from the Marriott at the Convention Center in Augusta, Georgia, where he served as Director of Sales and Marketing since 2004. With extensive experience in the event and hospitality industry directing various Raddison and Marriott properties across the country, he received his BA from Michigan State University.

Phil Webb

Director of Finance

Phil Webb is the Controller and Director of Finance for Huntington Place and provides leadership and coaching to the finance team while managing the venue's financial and accounting policies, systems and processes, payroll and ongoing budgeting and financial modeling.

Mr. Webb comes to Huntington Place from the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority where he was the Controller and Finance Manager for 21 years. He brings his expertise in financial stewardship and budget management, and holds a BA in Accounting from Michigan State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Al Vasquez

Director of Engineering Services

Al Vasquez is Director of Engineering Services at Huntington Place and is responsible for directing and managing the maintenance of the buildings, grounds, equipment and utilities within the center. He keeps the facility compliant with local building codes and OSHA regulations and assists customers with their facilities requirements.

Mr. Vasquez has been with Huntington Place since 2009, coming with facilities management experience with Johnson Controls, Inc., St. Joseph Mercy Health System and the University of Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ferris State University and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM.)

Rajiv Chopra

Event Services Director

Rajiv Chopra is Event Services Director for Huntington Place and is responsible for assisting customers with everything from ordering to moving out, to create an outstanding event at Huntington Place. With his team of event managers, Mr. Chopra makes sure that each customer has all the resources they need in the initial planning stages and throughout the event. 

Mr. Chopra has been with Huntington Place since 1991. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delhi, India and certification in Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

Mary Klida

Senior Marketing and Communications Manager

Mary Klida is the Huntington Place brand manager, overseeing digital asset optimization including website and digital marketing development. She manages the venue's media relations, public relations messaging and advertising campaigns, including Sustainability Marketing and Technology Services Marketing.

Mrs. Klida came to Huntington Place in 2010 from Smart City Networks where she served as Marketing Manager for the event center technology supplier. During her tenure at Smart City, she implemented their branding campaign, oversaw all content creation and message strategy, and wrote and published technology news campaigns.  She designed a Visual Literacy Special Major while at Southern Illinois University in the College of Liberal Arts.

David Austin

Senior Sales Manager

David Austin has been with the Huntington Place sales team since 2003, and is responsible for lead generation, qualification and solicitation of specific meetings and events. He prepares event contracts and proposals with clients to finalize booking arrangements.

Mr. Austin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., and a Masters in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy in Daphe, Ala. He is a member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, the Meeting Professionals International and MPI Michigan Chapter, the International Association for Exhibition and Events, the American Society of Association Executives and the Association for Convention Marketing Executives.

Brian VanBuhler

Technology Services Manager

Brian VanBuhler is the Technology Services Manager for Huntington Place and has been in the Information Technology Industry for more than three decades. He and his staff are responsible for maintaining the technology systems in Huntington Place including all phone and Internet services for center operations and customer events.

Mr. VanBuhler provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust and state-of-the-art technology environment throughout the center.

Dave Bate

Facility Manager

Dave Bate joined the Huntington Place team in 2018 after his employment on the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority's Capital Projects Team to oversee major building and mechanical renovations since 2010.  He brings over 25 years of construction experience to the team.

Mr. Bate is responsible for directing and coordinating activities related to maintenance and repair of Huntington Place's mechanical systems and public spaces. His other roles include budget development, purchasing, and staff scheduling. He is an OSHA 30 certificate holder and ensures OSHA compliance within his department.