By R.V. Baugus
I always knew that Matt Gibson, CVE, was just a step ahead. Working with Matt to either receive a scheduled Arenas column from him for Facility Manager magazine or to enlist his help in getting one of his assigned committee members to please get the article turned in before deadline, Matt was always one of the very best to work with.
So, consider it no surprise to hear that Spokane’s very finest — along with another of the city’s finest inBecca Watters — have spread wings from employment at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to saunter out on their own with the creation of Silverscout Presents, a live events and entertainment company designed especially for the Pacific Northwest.
The official press release hit on February 12 with the news that has been buzzed for some time now. The duo bring a combined 32 years of venue experience into a position that is clearly set up to fill a niche in concert promotion and event promotion. One event already on tap (pardon the pun) is the Lilac City 2020 Brewfest, on Saturday, May 16, on Wall Street in downtown Spokane. The fifth annual event is part of the Spokane Lilac Festival’s expanding event lineup and has grown into a festival attracting thousands of people each year and featuring dozens of local craft brewers, a full lineup of bands and musicians, and area food trucks.
In keeping with how so many companies are born in the entertainment and event sector of the business, the company’s silverscoutpresents.com website claims a start “in a garage during an especially righteous jam session laying down some gnarly tracks … ”
Before the truth comes out.
“This story actually got started in a coffee shop with an overpriced hot chocolate and a 16 ounce drip blend with room for cream.”
Either story carries weight as truth in the great Northwest.
After having hosted such major events and performers over the years as the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Foo Fighters, and many more, Gibson and Watters look to now turn to providing entertainment experiences to crowds in the Upper Left, focusing not just on their hometown community but on other secondary markets in the region.
Congratulations, Matt and Becca, on this exciting new endeavor!
why not here?”
By R.V. Baugus
John A. “Jackie” Blaisdell, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Salient Partners LP, and former partner, president and COO of Leisure Management International, died unexpectedly on February 15. He was 59.
“John was our leader, but maybe even more importantly, he was our constant mentor and dear friend,” the Salient team wrote in an announcement. “No need was denied or left unattended. From helping to fund Salient families’ flood recovery efforts, to approving payments for medical procedures and hospital stays, John never aid no to lending a hand to any member of our team.”
He joined the company in 2002 and prior to that served as CEO of a large private investment holding company for a high net worth Texas family, for which he managed a $1 billion portfolio.
Before that, Blaisdell served as partner, president and COO of Leisure Management International (“LMI”), a Houston-based company owned in partnership with the Huizenga Family and other well-known Houston investors. Under his leadership, the company grew to become a global industry leader in the management of sports and entertainment facilities, specializing in the contract management, marketing, and operation of arenas, stadiums, convention centers and other public assembly facilities for both public and private clients. John advised high-net-worth families on sports franchise acquisitions and dispositions and municipal governments on lease negotiations with such franchises. LMI was sold to SMG, a joint venture of ARAMARK and the Pritzker family, in 2000.
Donations may be made in Blaisdell’s honor to Houston-based Mission of Yahweh, a homeless shelter for women and children, and Houston-based DePelchin Children’s Center.
He is survived by daughters Megan Blaiswell Willis and Kaitlin Blaisdell, and his sisters Debbie Ahern, Linda Newman, and Sandy Blaisdell. A memorial service is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 22 at Heights Funeral Home in Houston.
By Mary Klida
Claude Molinari, general manager of ASM Global/TCF Center, announced a reorganization of security services in TCF Center that will assure customers and visitors the most advanced and extensive services designed to keep events safe.
“TCF Center security is constantly working with local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies to provide safe and peaceful opportunities for events and visitors in the venue,” said Molinari. “From the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Patrol protecting our Canadian border, to the Detroit Police Department and every agency in between that contributes to surveillance and response, our venue’s event security is prepared to cover just about any conceivable eventuality.”
Security measures for each event in TCF Center support the entire event ecosystem. A united effort to lessen risks through preparedness, security and safety measures are put in place to provide protection and peace of mind to all visitors.
To improve the organization of the TCF Center security operations, several aspects of the department have been enhanced and reorganized. In-house security staff scheduling has been expanded to three shifts, each with supervisors dedicated to specific events and building security outposts. A new dispatch command center staffed with TCF Center security officers seven days a week, 365 days a year has been created and the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) system expanded.
According to Molinari, “We operate a staffed, live-monitored command center 24/7, and we are now able to see almost everything happening around our 55-acre property. If we miss something, we can quickly review recorded video. The new system is quite comprehensive.”
Security personnel in the command center are formally trained by experienced law enforcement dispatchers. Hundreds of cameras are on a dedicated network for video security and surveillance with a wide range of uses to diminish risk. It relies on video to help capture non-security-related occurrences to resolve issues around accidents, damage to the facility or injuries. Available to officers at all times is Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) record keeping with enhanced record retrieval and statistical information on daily security activity.
TCF Center Security is available to assist clients with pre-event planning along with local law enforcement agencies. Events can also be screened for potential threats by the Detroit Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
TCF Center is a member of the Project Lighthouse Central Business District Neighborhood Watch, an organization developed and run by the Downtown Detroit Partnership. This allows information, two-way radio, and CCTV sharing to be monitored by the Detroit Police Department for city-wide events, assuring enhanced security for attendees throughout the downtown area.
The TCF Security Emergency Management Planning (SEMP) protocol requires yearly tabletop exercises including all security agency partners, with a full-scale active shooter exercise every three years that includes all staff.
Heightened security during a federal high alert warning can include an event security command center in partnership with Homeland Security on the premises, plain-clothed officers, road closings, restrictions on vehicle and pedestrian movement and standing, and an increase in security personnel. It may also include stop points to screen visitors entering exhibit halls or main entryways to the center, bomb-sniffing dog searches and strategic surveillance locations around events.
TCF Center’s technology services are top-tier, and guarantee cybersecurity for customers with regular threat penetration testing to access the latest network threats and secure the network from them. These tests include Annual Payment Card Industry (PCI) testing for point-of-sale security to support customer credit card information security.
Mary Klida, is Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, at TCF Center, formerly Cobo Center.
By Erin Kogler and Adam Benavides
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) announced its partnership with Levy to design and operate the food, beverage, and hospitality experience inside the new Symphony Center at the renovated Warner Grand Theater, set to open in fall 2020. Levy has collaborated with MSO to build a unique culinary and hospitality promise for the Symphony Center. Collaboratively developed by both organizations, Resonance Food Co. will bring that vision to life, operating as the venue’s official hospitality team, with a commitment to the guest experience and operational excellence.
The hospitality brand will far exceed new logos and uniforms, promising a commitment to Milwaukee’s culture and favorite flavors throughout the Symphony Center. Resonance Food Co. will oversee all hospitality experiences, from food kiosks and bars for concerts, to catering for private events.
“Milwaukee is home to some of the most innovative cultural venues and programming you’ll find anywhere, and there are so many reasons we’re thrilled to partner with an organization as forward-thinking as the MSO,” said Andy Lansing, President and CEO of Levy. “Together, we’ll create the next great cultural and entertainment experience delivered by Resonance Food Co., our shared hospitality brand. It represents everything about our truly unique vision for an elevated hospitality experience.”
The Symphony Center hospitality experience will be heavily influenced by favorite Milwaukee flavors, distilling inspiration from culinary innovators and markets throughout the city. A deep understanding of guest preferences will be driven by Levy’s E15 Group, recognized as an industry-leader in analytics and emerging technology. Guests can expect signature dishes crafted around Milwaukee’s rich traditions along with elevated dining options and flavors utilizing fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
“We are very much looking forward to working with Levy and introducing the Resonance Food Co. to Milwaukee,” said Mark Niehaus, MSO president and executive director. “Food and beverage will be an integral part of the patron experience at the Symphony Center, and Levy has an excellent track-record of delivering on exceptional service.”
Resonance Food Co. will be led locally and draw on Levy’s experience at high profile Milwaukee venues, including Fiserv Forum, the Wisconsin Center District, and MOTOR Bar & Restaurant at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Levy’s portfolio also includes major entertainment and cultural events and venues, from the Grammy Awards to Kentucky Derby, and regional music destinations like Ravinia Festival in the Chicago area.
Erin Kogler is director of communications for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Adam Benavides is associate manager, communications, for Levy.
By Beckie Liwacz
The city of Waterloo, Iowa, has selected Spectra to manage venue operations, food services & hospitality, and partnerships for the city’s centrally located entertainment hub, the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. The Spectra team officially took over on January 15, 2020.
In 2019, Waterloo invested $2.4 million into renovations for the convention center, the skywalk connecting the Spectra Takes Over Downtown Waterloo Convention Center facility to an adjacent hotel, and parking structures for visitors. The 40K sq. ft. facility regularly hosts events for up to 2,000 patrons, from tradeshows to international conferences, trainings and more.
“This convention center will be the crowning jewel of Waterloo’s booming downtown,” Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart said. “We’re excited to work with the proven experts at Spectra and for the high-caliber entertainment they will bring to the city. We are confident they will operate the region’s largest convention facility with finesse and a level of professionalism that will attract even more investment to Waterloo.”
Brendon Wagner, the facility’s newly appointed general manager, comes to Waterloo from Spectra-managed Owensboro Convention Center and Sportscenter, where he served as director of event services for two years. He was responsible for coordinating external events, producing in-house events, and managing all aspects of the client experience. Previously, he was director of event management at the America’s Center in St. Louis and spent over six years in various events-focused roles at VenuWorks in Iowa.
“Having spent a significant portion of my career directing and producing events in Iowa, I’m passionate about what this state has to offer,” Wagner said. “Waterloo has unique and untapped potential and is fantastically poised for growth—we’re excited to bring much-deserved attention to this city through efficient operations, event scheduling and maintenance.”
“The team at Spectra can’t wait to roll up our sleeves in Waterloo,” Dave Anderson, regional vice president, said. “With his recognition in the state, broad range of experience, and events and operations focus, Brendon is the perfect fit for this state, this city, and the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.”
Beckie Liwacz is a publicist with Spectra.