Two Rivers welcomes its new general manager

Officials with Two Rivers Convention Center said they felt “fortunate” to land their new general manager, Stuart Taylor, who began work this week after more than a decade managing a large facility outside of Memphis, Tenn.

“I am so excited,” said Debbie Kovalik, executive director of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, the group responsible for management at Two Rivers. “(Stuart) is just so experienced and knowledgeable, and he has fit in so well with the staff.”

Taylor, whose first day of work was Monday, said he spent most of the week learning the ropes and meeting many of the Two Rivers staff. Two Rivers counts 11 full-time employees and about 80 part-time workers, Kovalik said.

“He knows how to work well with diverse groups of employees,” she said. “That’s not the case with everybody.”

She ticked off many of the different types of employee groups who work at Two Rivers — marketing and sales people, line cooks and dishwashers, and event set-up crews and facilitators.

Taylor comes to western Colorado after managing the Desoto Civic Center in north Mississippi for 13 years — a facility with a 10,000-seat arena, 20,000-square-foot convention center and 400-seat performing arts center. He was let go last year in a reorganization in which officials there cited new efficiencies as the reason for changes.

Taylor’s wife’s family has lived in Grand Junction for 18 years, and he has been a frequent visitor to the area. He called the Two Rivers opening something of a “fluke” in that the job seemed an ideal match with his background and his family connections.

Kovalik called Taylor “clearly heads above” the other 38 candidates who applied for the job.

His goals for Two Rivers are “to keep this thing going,” he said, and continue to draw as many and varied events as possible to the Two Rivers schedule.

“You name it, we could possibly have it — anything from MMA fights to concerts, to a gem and mineral show, to weddings. You name it, it could happen,” Taylor said.

Two Rivers says it can accommodate groups as large as 2,000 people, and claims nearly 23,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.

The general manager’s job became available earlier this year, when the former manager, Theron LaFountain, resigned after being accused of indecent exposure. LaFountain allegedly walked nude and intoxicated through the lobby of the Greyhound bus station downtown on June 11. City officials ultimately dismissed a criminal charge against LaFountain.


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