Conference Aston has appointed a new general manager as it looks to cement its reputation as Birmingham’s premier independent conference venue.

Mark Ellison joins the venue from Fleet Street Kitchen, on the edge of the city’s Jewellery Quarter, where he was restaurant and bar manager.

36-year-old Mark has 15 years’ experience in the restaurant and hospitality trade - although he cut his teeth in the industry at the tender age of eight, when he washed pots and pans for his mother, who was a chef.

Since studying business and hospitality management at the Birmingham College of Food in 2003, he has taken on a number of management roles in venues across the city, including Newman College, Aston Villa Football Club and Birmingham City Council.

Now, as general manager at Conference Aston, which is a subsidiary of Aston University, Mark will be responsible for the team of 12 chefs and the team of front of house managers who help to deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 700 conference delegates and external guests. He will also oversee housekeeping, which looks after all 163 four-star rated bedrooms.

Mark said he he was looking forward to taking a good product and making it great.

“I’ve really missed the diversity of running large-scale operations because no two days are ever the same and you are constantly challenging yourself and the team, so I’ll be relishing the opportunities here,” he said.

“Conference Aston rightly has a reputation as one of the leading independent conference venues in the city and it is innovating and growing all the time. Because we are incredibly fortunate to have Wilson Vale as our catering and housekeeping partners here, and I’m looking forward to working with them to take our food and beverage offering to the next level. They are real foodie people, which is rare in contract catering.

“I’ll also be focusing in the short term on making sure each department is supported with equal importance. It’s essential that service delivery in all areas of the venue are of the the same high standard, which means giving each the same amount of care and attention.”

Welcoming Mark to the team, Samantha Brown, head of Conference Aston, said: “Mark’s impressive CV and his strong experience in hospitality and events is perfect for Conference Aston and we're delighted that he's joined us.

“It is clear that Mark really understands the importance of driving innovation and the need for excellent customer service, so his experience across these fields will ensure that we are able to continue achieving and exceeding the expectations of our guests and conference delegates.”

Earlier this month (May), Conference Aston was awarded a TripAdvisor gold GreenLeader award for its commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

For more information on Conference Aston call 0121 204 4300 or, alternatively, visit

PR By Clive Reeves PR Birmingham