Ocean Shores Sales and Marketing Manager Diane Solem has been named General Manager of the City’s Convention Center, it was announced at last week’s city council meeting. Mayor Crystal Dingler said Solem will continue in the sales and marketing role, a position she’s held for eight months.
She replaces Cheryl Turner, who is retiring in July after managing the 29,000 sq. ft. venue since 2011. The move means one person will be responsible for both management and marketing of the facility. The combined position pays $75,000 a year, and will be supported with a new, full time administrative assistant position that will be announced in the near future.
“I think Diane will do a great job,” the mayor said. “She’s shown herself to be an excellent employee and very knowledgeable about working with businesses.” Dingler noted that Solem will be receiving some training courses in convention center management, which she called “a great opportunity for her to gain information on what everybody else is doing with convention center management, and learn about things that might be able to help us here.”
Solem told the North Coast News, “I’m looking forward to my role as general manager of the Convention Center. This is an exciting time for our community and I see the Convention Center playing a big role in our future growth. I’ve learned a lot from Cheryl since joining the team in October and am excited about this next chapter.”
Dingler noted that Turner took over running the facility at the height of the economic downturn, and with a bare minimum of staffing “Cheryl was very successful. She managed somehow to keep it all together.”
In 2017, an 83-page analysis of the center by Pinnacle Venue Services found it to be operated by “a very lean staff” of “dedicated, experienced professionals” who “are part of the solution, not part of the problem,” and that Turner was “literally doing the job of three people” with “zero hours” and no budget or support for sales and marketing.
Solem has been working alongside Turner since she left the city council to take the city marketing position last Oct. 1. She had been chosen by council vote in April, 2018, to fill the seat of the late Robert Crumpacker.
Before moving to Ocean Shores, Solem had retired as vice president of Vertical Marketing Network, where her work included nine years as account manager for Warner Bros. theatrical home entertainment division. She also spent 11 years at another national agency, Gage Marketing, where she worked on accounts for Baskin Robbins and Lipton. Solem also has been a past chair of the KOSW radio board for the City.