Meydenbauer Center/ Visit Bellevue CEO Stacy Graven to Retire December 31, 2018

The Bellevue Convention Center Authority Announces Meydenbauer Center/ Visit Bellevue CEO Stacy Graven to Retire December 31, 2018.  Tim Carr Appointed CEO, Effective January 1, 2019

Stacy Graven, Chief Executive Officer, Meydenbauer Convention Center/Visit Bellevue Washington, has informed the Bellevue Convention Center Authority (BCCA), of her intention to retire on December 31, 2018. Graven joined the staff of Meydenbauer Center in September 1990 as the Director of Sales. She was appointed Executive Director in September 1994. Graven developed Visit Bellevue Washington, Bellevue’s official destination marketing and management organization, and brought it into the BCCA suite of responsibilities in 2009. She was named CEO in 2016.

BCCA Board Chair Rick Carlson commented, “There are no adequate words to describe what Stacy has meant to Meydenbauer. Her passion and tireless efforts brought the convention center from an idea on paper to the successful, thriving enterprise that to date has generated over $600 million in economic impact to the community. Thanks to her vision, Meydenbauer Center is an indispensable business and cultural center for the City of Bellevue.”

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization these past 25 years. I thank the City of Bellevue, the BCCA Board, the business and arts communities and – above all – Meydenbauer’s tremendous staff for their dedication to this facility and belief that we could be great. I am incredibly proud of our many accomplishments”, said Graven.

On October 24, 2018, the BCCA Board named Tim Carr to replace Graven as CEO effective January 1, 2019. Carr currently serves as Meydenbauer’s Chief Operating Officer. Over his 23-year history with the organization, Carr has also served as Food and Beverage Manager, Manager of Sales, Marketing and Event Operations, and Operations Director.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to take the reins from Stacy and thank the BCCA Board for its vote of confidence. Over the course of my career with Meydenbauer, we have worked hard to understand the changing needs of Bellevue’s business community and to grow our services alongside them. Our vision is to remain a major catalyst for Bellevue’s business, arts and tourism sectors. I look forward to working with the Board and our staff to create a customer experience that is second to none”, said Carr.

Carlson added, “Tim was the clear and obvious choice to lead Meydenbauer Center and Visit Bellevue Washington into the next decade. His proven leadership and exceptional vision will help ensure the Center continues along its vibrant path. The future is extremely bright.”

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Meydenbauer Center Theatre – A Community Gathering Place

A number of superstitions surround ghost lights and their presence in the theatre. For Meydenbauer Center Theatre, our ghost light represents so much more than superstition. A ghost light is lit in a dark theatre, an exposed bulb radiating a single source of light from just around center stage off into the darkness. It emits light, vision, safety and even a sense of warmth. For Bellevue and the surrounding communities, our goal is to emit those very things and be a gathering place for you and the passions you hold dear.

In 1997, Meydenbauer Center Theatre was dedicated as a gift to the community. “Great,” you may be thinking, “now what?” Well, we’re glad you asked. Truthfully? The answer is anything you might imagine. From vibrant and lively Bollywood-style dance shows to impressive displays of ballet and even engaging speakers, the theatre’s presence has truly blossomed into a center for culture and community.

Without tooting our own horn too much, Meydenbauer Center Theatre is proud to be the only rental theatre space with a professional environment in the immediate area. With us, you’re looking at a crew of professional stagehands and a safe setting that lets you manifest your vision. The Eastside has always been a place of culture and vibrancy, we’re merely the stage upon which that spirited community comes to life.

And come to life it does. The work done upon the stage at Meydenbauer Center Theatre is gorgeous and inspiring. We take pride in companies taking up residence here. It’s our goal to give our community something they may not find elsewhere – flexibility and consistency. Beyond that, we get to see this beautiful work brought to the masses.

One of the best examples of the intensity of art in the community is through the youth we get to see. Ballet companies bus in children from all over. Village Theatre brings their Pied Piper program here. Believe us, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a dozen kids dressed as mice, buzzing around a theatre as they prepare to dance onstage in The Nutcracker. In fact, 18% of our programming in the theatre is directly associated with arts education. A huge part of the life and power of Meydenbauer Center Theatre comes from the wonder and drive from the youth in our community.

Here, our aim is simple; exposure, art and community for adults, kids and kids at heart. We may be just a venue for the liveliness of our region to proudly display itself, but that means we get to see the energy in person. We get to see the possibilities, the creation, and the craft. We get to see the magic. Whether you’re a performer on the stage or one of 410 people filling a sold out crowd, you are that magic. It fills our heart to see such incredible community and we can’t wait to experience it with you for years and years to come.

For more information about Meydenbauer Center Theatre and our programming, visit www.meydenbauer.com/theatre-meydenbauer/. Or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MeydenbauerCtrTheatre/.

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Meet New Meydenbauer Center Executive Chef Steven Banbury

We are thrilled to welcome new Executive Chef Steven Banbury to the Meydenbauer Center team! Chef Banbury brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the culinary world to Meydenbauer Center’s catering team. Combining unique, modern culinary techniques with more traditional practices, Chef Banbury’s profound understanding of gastronomic trends coupled with his diverse skillset have brought an exciting flair to Meydenbauer Center’s catering capabilities. Continue reading to learn more about our newest superstar in the kitchen.


What is your name?

Steven Banbury.

Where are you from?

I’m from a small town south-west of Chicago called Oswego, Illinois.

What led you to work in Bellevue at Meydenbauer Center?

The opportunity to work with a highly functional team and freedom to create dishes to match the minds wildest imagination.

Tell us about your job.

I have the most amazing job, I get to work every day with an amazing team of chefs. We collaborate to create crave-able, mouthwatering and visually intriguing entrées and desserts.

What is your best achievement in life?

Not heeding the advice of teachers and friends who said cooking is not a career and following my artistic passions to get me to this point in my career.

Why did you decide to become a chef? What other positions in the kitchen have you held?

Growing up I was surrounded by amazing food. Both my Oma, German for “grandmother”, and mother were both excellent cooks. I quickly grew a passion for food and started cooking for friends and family. I knew this is what I was meant to do for the rest of my life when I saw their eyes light up and their smiles widen after taking their first bites. I have held every position in the kitchen from prep cook, line cook, jr. sous, sous chef, executive chef, and of course my favorite: executive dishwasher. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the kitchen knows all about the last one.

Where and how were you trained?

I studied classical French and world cuisine at the California School of Culinary Arts.

What is the best thing about being in the food industry?

There is one great, simple truth about the food industry…. You will never go hungry!

What is the best cooking advice you have ever received?

Never stop learning; we are students for life. There is always another skill to learn or a cuisine from the far reaches of the globe to master.

Who or what is the biggest inspiration for your cooking style?

My cooking style is a blend of tradition first, mixed with contemporary culinary trends and techniques.

What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

Texas deep pit BBQ!

If you could have dinner with one other person (dead or alive) who would it be?

I would have dinner with my Oma. I only ever got to cook for her once before she passed away. I would share with her everything I have learned through a story of dishes throughout the evening.

What aspect of your job makes you happiest?

The amazing culinary staff I get to work with every day.

How is your role at Meydenbauer Center different than your previous roles in other organizations?

As a creative chef we always love to work in a Michelin star restaurant, but the world is changing. Our guests at Meydenbauer Center expect local and natural raw products of the highest quality. I have the privilege to serve those items at Meydenbauer Center. Our guests and their pallets change daily, allowing me to embark on many culinary journeys. It makes life exciting having a different menu every night.

The Pacific North West is really one of the birthplaces to American craft food and beverage products (Starbucks, craft breweries, artisan cheeses, and great wine).  I get to leverage my passion for quality in an organization that gives me the green light to use the best product available; I’ve been granted the ability to be a culinary innovator. My mission is to change the way people think about convention center or hotel food.

I believe in a truly “from scratch” Kitchen; nothing in our kitchen resembles common “institutional foodservice”. From stocks and sauces to freshly baked pastries, we pride ourselves on always providing great products without taking any shortcuts.  Our guests are very food forward, and they expect and deserve the best.

When I am not at Meydenbauer Center crafting menus and designing new menu plates, I brew beer and smoke deep pit BBQ. My hobbies, passions, and career all seamlessly mesh together; I believe when you are truly passionate about something it becomes part of your lifestyle.

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