The Jackson Center hosted its first event April 18, 2009. Today its team, led by director Jerri Robinson, is filling a growing demand for meeting space within the state’s research, education, government and biotech sectors. Robinson explains why the Jackson Center has experienced such tremendous growth in just over a year.
Q: HudsonAlpha was the first building on the Biotech Campus; the Jackson Center was second. Why was it important to get the Jackson Center up and running so quickly?
A: The Jackson Center was built to help support the many biotech conferences coming into the city as a result of HudsonAlpha, but we quickly became a popular option for other professional meetings and conferences in the area.
Q: What types of organizations do you serve?
A: We have hosted many different market segments, such as biotechnology research organizations, government, corporate, universities and nonprofit groups. We work with a lot of companies inside Research Park, as well as outside.
Q: How has business grown over the past 16 months?
A: By leaps and bounds! We are quickly becoming a sought after venue for many local and out-of-state events. Word has gotten out about our beautiful, high-tech facility, as well as our excellent service and wonderful food. Everything from appetizers to dessert is homemade.
Q: How has the Jackson Center team grown?
A: When we first opened it was just Jennifer Terry, our sales manager, and me. Last December, we added an amazing culinary director, Katharine Barnhart, who makes everything from scratch. Stephanie Healy came on board as an events specialist and we have also hired four part-time staff members.
Q: What is different about the Jackson Center?
A: Our unique inclusive "per person package pricing" makes it very easy on our clients by providing a simple pricing structure. We also offer "one stop planning" where we coordinate all aspects of a conference from the sleeping rooms and transportation to the meeting space, as well as food and beverage. This benefit simplifies a client’s meeting planning process by having only one contact for the the entire conference.
Q: How diverse are your events?
A: Most of the events are professional meetings; however, we also host several annual fundraisers, including HudsonAlpha’s Spring Benefit, along with retirement receptions and corporate holiday parties. Additionally, we put on many videoconferencing events. We are looking forward to hosting the Chamber’s Business After Hours on Thursday, September 16.