Gregory A. O’Dell currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. Events DC owns and/or operates some of the national capital’s most iconic venues, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the surrounding Festival Grounds, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square and the Gateway DC events pavilion in the city’s Congress Heights neighborhood. The organization also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States.
As president and CEO, Mr. O’Dell oversees Events DC’s three lines of business: Conventions and Meetings, Sports and Entertainment, and Creative Services. His primary responsibilities include oversight of the creation and promotion of hospitality, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities that generate economic and community benefits for the residents and businesses of District of Columbia. He also manages Events DC’s development portfolio, with active projects that include a new multipurpose entertainment and sports arena on the campus of St. Elizabeths East in Congress Heights, the redevelopment of the RFK Stadium/Armory campus, a comprehensive streetscaping project around the 9-block exterior of the Convention Center and the redevelopment of the Carnegie Library inclusive of a primary tenant lease for Apple’s global flagship store.
As the convention and sports authority for the District, Events DC was created in 2009 through the merger of two former, independent quasi-governmental agencies – the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. Mr. O’Dell has the unique experience of having led both organizations as part of his public service in the District of Columbia.
Prior to the merger, Mr. O’Dell served as chief executive officer and general manager of the Washington Convention Center Authority, where he was responsible for the operations of the 2.3-million-square-foot Convention Center, an award-winning facility that sees approximately one million visitors each year and has generated more than $5 billion in direct delegate spending since opening in 2003. Mr. O’Dell was also responsible for the Authority’s development efforts, having led negotiations with the selected private developer and provided oversight throughout the project lifecycle of a $520 million public-private partnership for the 1,175-room, 37-suite Marriott Marquis Washington, DC hotel. The Marriott Marquis, with a pedestrian connector to the Convention Center, broke ground in November 2010 and opened in May 2014.
Before joining the Washington Convention Center Authority, Mr. O’Dell was the president and chief executive officer of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, where he led the project team that completed the $611 million, 41,546-seat and Silver LEED-certified Nationals Park. During his tenure at the Commission, Mr. O’Dell was also responsible for the operations and maintenance of the RFK stadium and campus, inclusive of hosting various events including Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer play, marketing and sales activities, and the contract and services management related to the hosting of events at RFK. Before heading up the Commission, he was the chief development officer for the Government of the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for stimulating and promoting economic development within the District.
Preceding his move to District government, Mr. O’Dell worked for the former management and IT consulting firm BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting). While there, Mr. O’Dell advanced to senior manager and practice lead for Construction Advisory Services, responsible for construction and development services to both public and private clients. After leaving BearingPoint, he served as a principal and owner of the Clemens Consulting Group, where he continued to provide consulting services to clients throughout the lifecycle of their development projects.
A resident of Ward 2, Mr. O’Dell is the Vice President of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC). He also serves on the boards of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Washington, DC Economic Partnership; DC Surface Transit, Inc.; the Downtown DC Business Improvement District; the PCMA Education Foundation; Destination DC; Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, DC); and the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. He received a bachelor’s degree with double major in finance and government from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.