This week, the Ardmore Convention Center has been host to the 2018 City Management Association of Oklahoma  summer conference, and both the attendees and the event planners have found it to be a great success.

The CMAO is an organization of city managers, county managers and other municipal administrators who strive to improve municipal administration along with providing information of interest to municipal governments across the state. They host a winter and summer conference in different cities around the state.

“This is the first time Ardmore has hosted the conference in almost 20 years,” said Assistant City Manager Kevin Boatright. He went on to say that being chosen as host is an honor because CMAO members actually vote on which city will host the conference.

City Manager J.D. Spohn echoed Boatright’s sentiments.

“We’re very happy they are here,” Spohn said. “We’re honored. It’s been a long time since they were here, and what’s been great for me is to hear all the comments about how Ardmore has changed.”

In addition to those who are returning to the city after almost two decades, many are coming to Ardmore for the first time. In fact, Jeri Rivera, CMAO executive director, falls into this category.

“It’s been really awesome,” Rivera said. “I’ve heard a lot of people who have very positive things to say, not just about the Convention Center, but about the friendliness of the city.”

The city has embraced the group with open arms and made special arrangements to keep the attendees entertained. Thursday evening, the city hosted a dinner at the Pavilion at Lake Murray. In spite of the heat, guests enjoyed catering from Caddo Street BBQ Company, and were even able to take boat rides.

“Ardmore pulled out all the stops,” Rivera said. “They have gone above and beyond. I know Kevin [Boatright] and J.D. [Spohn] got a lot of sponsorship for us to do these things, so we just feel really welcome.”

City Manager J.D. Spohn said that he hopes to see the group return again in the future, and he wanted to thank all of the community sponsors for making it possible.

“We could not have done this without the help from our community,” Spohn said. “Landmark Bank and First National Bank both really stepped up.” He went on to say that without their sponsorships, the city would not have been able to provide its guests with catering at both the lakeside dinner and at lunch.