Authority wants to keep Kumpf as convention center GM

The authority overseeing the Blair County Convention Center is interested in putting General Manager Barry Kumpf on its payroll as a result of Explore Altoona’s decision to end its management role of the facility later this year.

Kumpf, who works for Explore Altoona, has been the center’s general manager since June 2010 when he was hired for that role by the tourism bureau then known as the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In light of Explore Altoona’s decision, the Blair County Convention Center and Sports Facilities Authority wants to hire Kumpf to assist with the transition it faces, solicitor David P. Andrews said Wednesday.

“We need his expertise,” authority Chairman Richard Karcher said.

While meeting Wednesday, the authority called an executive session that Andrews said would be used to discuss what needs to be done so the authority is in a position to offer a job to Kumpf. The authority has no payroll system or benefit package in place, Andrews said.

Since the Blair County commissioners created the Convention Center and Sports Facilities Authority in November 1996, it has relied on tourism bureau personnel to handle the convention center’s day-to-day activities and related efforts.

In a presentation to the authority before the executive session, Kumpf offered information about the convention center’s operations, in comparison to 15 properties examined in May 2012 analysis by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International, an advisory and planning firm.

Using figures reflecting three years, Kumpf said the Blair County Convention Center fared well in terms of rental revenue per square foot and food and beverage revenue per square foot.

Operating expenses, at $26.76 per square foot per year, was less than all other facilities listed in the analysis. The cost of the center’s utilities, Kumpf said, came in at $4.45 per square foot, while the comparable figures for the 15 facilities ranged from $3.01 per square foot to $12.31 per square foot.

Kumpf also pointed out that the convention center’s neighboring Courtyard by Marriott offers only 105 rooms, far less than the 402 average number of rooms the analysis identified at the 15 facilities.