Paul Cramer, President & CEO of The Classic Center, has led The Classic Center for nearly 28 years. Paul began his successful career in Rochester, New York, working his way up from a Banquet and Concessions Manager in 1986 to an Assistant Executive Director by 1994.
In 1995, Paul worked with The Classic Center Authority and the local community in Athens, Georgia, to oversee the development and construction of The Classic Center. To date, The Classic Center is a 350,000 square foot meeting and convention facility, with a 2,100+ seat performing arts theatre, 2,000 seat arena, 22,000 square foot outdoor covered pavilion, removable arena-size ice rink, and houses the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau. Currently, The Center is under construction with The Classic Center Arena, which will have the capacity to hold 8,500 guests and is slated to open in early 2024.
Paul extended his reach into the community by developing and overseeing a successful workforce development program, which provides support and skills to those seeking a career in hospitality and includes the non-profit organization - Bread for Life. He also serves on the Athens Community Career Academy board and the foundation board of IAVM - International Association of Venue Managers. In addition, The Classic Center Cultural Foundation developed and overseen by Paul, provides hospitality education and performing and visual arts scholarships to the community. In 2018, Paul initiated a successful partnership between Piedmont College, The Classic Center, and the Cultural Foundation for the inception and launch of the Hospitality & Tourism Management degree program within the Harry W. Walker School of Business at Piedmont College.
In 2015, Paul was recognized by Facilities and Destinations Magazine as an Elite Convention Center Executive. Under his leadership, The Classic Center has remained an award-winning facility. The most recent awards include the 2017 Facilities and Destinations Magazine Prime Site Award, the 2017 & 2018 Stella Award Most Outstanding Conference Center in the Southeast, and a 2019 Convention South Readers’ Choice Award for a Top Meeting Site, bringing this individual award designation to 9!