By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – After years of organizing trade shows all over the country, Hollis Green knows what defines a good meeting venue, and his new job as director of the Oxford Conference Center is to see that clients get just that.
With less than two weeks on the job, Green, a Booneville native and University of Mississippi graduate, said the center itself is a great asset.
“We’ve got a fabulous facility,” he said. “In terms of audiovisual equipment, our kitchen facilities and the entire building, we’re where we need to be. The city did an excellent job in buying the equipment and putting in the systems to make this a first-class venue.”
Green said groups meet at Oxford Conference Center nearly every day. Many are local meetings such as Mississippi Department of Transportation public forums or the city of Oxford’s recent deer information gathering for residents.
Weekends often see wedding receptions for couples who liked the versatile layout and easy access from Mississippi Highway 7.
What Green hopes is to position the center to attract more regional and statewide groups, like the state hospital and medical associations, for continuing education and other conferences.
He says his conference center staff and Mary-Kathryn Millner’s tourism staff work together to promote the community.
“Every day, I’m going to focus on not just renting this space but figuring out those clients that we can get to come spend a day or two with us,” Green said.
As good as he says his facility is, Green, a former Walmart manager who quit rather than accept a transfer to the far north, said Oxford itself is the best asset in attracting such groups.
“I’m not old enough to remember how, as my mother tells me, the squares around Small Town, Mississippi used to be in the old days,” Green said. “The old days are still here for us. Last Saturday I went to the Square to eat and couldn’t get into two places for lunch – and it wasn’t even a football weekend. There’s an excitement here. Any day of the week you can come here and eat at some of the finest restaurants, have things to do, be entertained. That’s not happening everywhere.
“I think of Oxford almost as an oasis,” he added. “What the university provides this city in terms of events and the people who live here is just fabulous.”