Spyridon planning ahead for post-virus recovery

Twenty years ago, Butch Spyridon was aggressively beating the drum for a new convention center in downtown Nashville.

The need was there, he said, and during the next few years he and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (now the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.) would work to pull together a growing coalition of business, community and elected leaders that resulted in the new Music City Center’s construction and eventual 2013 opening.

That big win has come alongside many smaller ones for Spyridon, who has been president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. since 1991. As the CVB’s face, he’s often credited for Nashville’s “it city” reputation – both the positives (revenue growth from new hotels, bars and restaurants) and the negatives (the oft-vilified pedal taverns lumbering along under the weight of bachelorette parties).

His longtime work in, and on behalf of, the city along with previous large-scale economic threats gives him perspective as Nashville hunkers down to face a pandemic barely two weeks after a tornado blew through neighborhoods just across the river from his office. Can the city come back? He’s betting on it.