H. Scott Phelps, president of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau and a leader in the state’s convention industry for the past four decades, announced that he will retire on Dec. 31.
The convention bureau will conduct a national search for a new president, according to Thomas Madden, chair of the state’s official meetings and sports event sales and marketing organization.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the organization’s interim president will be Robert Murdock, its current director of sports marketing. He is also its director of national accounts for S.M.E.R.F. (social, military, education, religious, fraternal) and Affinity Groups. Murdock also will be the 2019 president of the New England Society of Convention & Visitor Bureaus.
Madden, who also is the director of economic development for Stamford, described Phelps as “an active proponent of Connecticut’s convention and hospitality industries for more than 40 years, building close partnerships and relationships with local businesses, communities and organizations while marketing the appeal of our state to meeting planners and sports promoters nationwide.
“He tried to retire once before almost a decade ago,” Madden continued, “and we were fortunate to bring him back a few years later to help us grow the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau. This time, we will say ‘goodbye’ again and wish him a wonderful, long retirement.”
“I am going to miss the many friendships and professional relationships that I have cultivated over my career,” Phelps said, “but am confident that the experienced staff at the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau will continue to move the state forward as a tremendous destination for meetings, conventions and major sports events.”
Events booked through the bureau during the last fiscal year alone are projected to result in more than $54 million in spending by attendees during their visits here, generating over $3.65 million in Connecticut taxes and supporting over 17,000 hospitality industry jobs. The organization said that for every dollar that Connecticut invests in it, more than $8 is returned to the state in taxes alone.
Phelps worked at the former Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau for more than 30 years, joining that organization in 1977 as the director of membership and community affairs and becoming its president in 1992. He retired from the organization in 2010.
Two years later, the state established the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau, expanding the reach and responsibilities of the former Greater Hartford organization. In 2014, Phelps came out of retirement and returned to the convention industry to head up the statewide Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau when then-President Michael Van Parys retired from that post.