• Q&A: Bruce MacMillan, Chief Operating Oficer, PCMA

    POSTED September 4, 2020

These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to lauren.pahmeier@tigeroak.com

Bruce MacMillan was recently named the Chief Operating Officer for PCMA.  

1. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

The business events industry is poised for a major comeback. But we have to get comfortable with the reality that our industry will be different. PCMA has a plan – Recovery Discovery – to help stakeholders thrive through the next phase of the pandemic and into the next normal. I am eager to work with leaders across the globe to rally their people and activate new strategies drawn from our seminal research, Business Events Compass: Insights and Strategies for the Next Normal.

Our industry bore the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impact, but there is much cause for optimism ahead because it’s our industry that will help the world reap the power of human connection as a route to renewal.

2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?

I led transformational undertakings while at Tourism Toronto, where I oversaw the post-SARS recovery plan, and with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games bid. No two situations are alike, but the core principles – innovation, empathy and collaboration – are totally transferable.

3. How did you get into this industry?

I left a career at Arthur Andersen to travel and ended up working at Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia. Sure it was fun…and I met people from all over the world. I could also see that there was incredible economic and social power in bringing people together. From there I joined Tourism Vancouver and got to be part of an amazing team that brought people from all over the world to my home town.

4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?

My focus will be on bringing the “next normal” to life for our members, partners and business events stakeholders everywhere. PCMA’s Business Events Compass makes the case for focusing on three key areas -- participant engagement, evolution of traditional business models, and reskilling our industry for the future.

5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?

Our industry understood the power of a global network well before there was social media. We are in the business of human connections. And while technology is a wonderful enabler, no other industry understands how to build the foundational network connections between people, ideas and opportunities like our industry.

WeVenture, a national tour operating company, has expanded its offerings to include four Seattle tours that immerse visitors in the city’s vibrant cultural scene. The company, which launched nationally earlier this year, has tours in 10 other U.S. cities including New York City, Miami, Denver, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. The Seattle tours can be an easy and fun add-on to any event in the Emerald City.


When Eli Dahlin and Ezra Wicks bought the space of the restaurant they worked at in February 2020, the pandemic put their plans on hold like it did many other establishments. 

After slow-moving construction throughout 2020, they were finally able to open the doors of their new natural wine bar, Light Sleeper, in December that year. Dahlin and Wicks were involved in the natural wine movement for over a decade, making these practices the forefront of the establishment. 


Portland International Airport (PDX) was famously known for its teal, geometrically patterned carpet, which was sadly removed back in 2015. But now, PDX will be known for its recently completed, unique timber ceiling. ZGF Architects worked closely with PDX for 50 years and designed this transformation to last another half century. The Portland airport is becoming one of the first to be seismic-resilient and produce low carbon emissions, thanks to the 9 acres of native Pacific Northwest hardwood used in building the terminal’s ceiling.