- Associated Press - Saturday, January 6, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) - Officials at Chicago’s McCormick Place have launched a free app for visitors, naming it after a guest information manager who has worked at the convention center for nearly two decades.

The app is called the MARTY by McCormick Square. It launched in November, and it was named after Marty Mullarkey, a Chicago native who’s enthusiastically worked to help visitors at McCormick Place for 19 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The app is aimed at helping visitors get around and find food, attractions and other services.

Mullarkey, 61, said he’s awe-struck the app was named after him.

“This is the same feeling I got when I was in grade school coming for the first time (to McCormick Place),” he said. “You know, if you can’t have fun and enthusiasm coming to work, you shouldn’t come in. So it’s pretty good, and I grew up in the city so I take a lot of pride in the app.”

He and his bosses don’t expect the new technology to replace Mullarkey’s job or those of others in similar positions at the convention center.

“He’s a tremendous asset to McCormick Square, the campus and to Chicago,” said McCormick Place spokesman Barnaby Dinges. “Like I think of Chicago (as) personalities like Mike Ditka, people that manifest Chicago in a really memorable and proud way, and I think Marty is one of those people. The only difference between Marty and some of those people is he’s less well-known just because he does his job and doesn’t make a big deal out of it.”

The app follows a trend of conventions and trade shows moving from printed directories to digital platforms. It comes as officials have rebranded the area McCormick Square, which includes McCormick Place, DePaul University’s new basketball arena and several nearby hotels.

Mullarkey said the real perk of his job is interacting with people, and he plans to do that for at least 14 more years until retirement.

“When you are here, you’re meeting all the local newscasters, you’re meeting all the local politicians, you’re meeting all these celebrities,” he said. “No two days are the same; every day is fun. I don’t burn out. As long as you are having fun, it’s not work.”

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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