Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With Republican National Convention approaching, Tampa hires new convention center director

TAMPA — With the Republican National Convention less than 10 months away, Mayor Bob Buckhorn has extended a job offer to the convention center director of the resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, to run the Tampa Convention Center.

Rick J. Hamilton has accepted the offer to be Tampa's convention center and tourism director, which would pay him $125,250 annually. Assuming that he clears his background checks and passes a drug test, Hamilton will fill the position that came open when Buckhorn promoted Santiago Corrada to be his chief of staff.

"Rick's wealth of experience will help Tampa continue to be a premiere destination," Buckhorn said in a statement Friday night. "I am confident he will be a great addition to our team moving forward and especially as Tampa hosts the 2012 Republican National Convention."

Hamilton graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a bachelor's degree in business administration and has more than 30 years of experience, city officials said. He has managed public convention centers in three states, including the Ocean Center Arena and Convention Center in Daytona Beach. In Maryland, he oversaw both the 160,000-square-foot Ocean City Convention Center and the local visitor's bureau.

A start date has not been set, but Hamilton is expected to take control of the 600,000-square-foot Tampa Convention Center as preparations pick up for its biggest event ever, next year's GOP convention. While the convention itself will take place at the St. Pete Times Forum, the convention center will be the working hub for an estimated 13,000 to 15,000 journalists.

Under a contract between the city and the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee, the city will turn over the convention center to RNC organizers starting July 16 for what promises to be an intense period of work to get ready for the Aug. 27-30 event.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

With Republican National Convention approaching, Tampa hires new convention center director 11/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011 11:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Accused cardinal denies Australia sex abuse allegations, takes leave of absence


    ROME — One of the most senior Vatican officials to be charged with sexual offenses denied on Thursday the allegations levied against him by Australian police, saying he would take a leave of absence as one of Pope Francis' chief advisers to defend himself.

    Cardinal George Pell meets the media at the Vatican on Thursday. The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney says Pell will return to Australia to fight sexual assault charges as soon as possible. [Associated Press]
  2. Tie vote blocks grant money for husband of Dade City mayor

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Taking another shot at obtaining a Community Redevelopment Agency grant to improve his downtown building, the husband of Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez was denied this week by a deadlocked board.

    Mayor Camille Hernandez recused herself but was asked to stay in the room.
  3. Lightning planning $6 million upgrade to practice facility


    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  4. Deputies responding to car crash in Riverview find shooting victim inside


    RIVERVIEW — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating after deputies responding to a single-car crash late Wednesday discovered someone in the car had been shot, authorities said.

  5. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us


    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]