The Wisconsin Center District (WCD) Board of Directors has named Marty Brooks as the new CEO for the Wisconsin Center District. Brooks’ first day was January 22, 2018.
Brooks brings to the WCD firsthand experience managing facilities for the NBA, NHL, NFL, Division I Men’s and Women’s college basketball, and minor league hockey. Most recently, Brooks had served as the senior vice president and general manager of America’s Center Complex in St. Louis since December 2012. America’s Center Complex is owned by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission and maintains the Cervantes Convention Center, Edward Jones Dome, and an executive conference center. Brooks was hired as executive vice president and general manager there in 2008. Prior to that time, he worked as an executive for the Scottrade Center and Peabody Opera House in St. Louis, and at Madison Square Garden from 1985 until 2007.
“Marty’s hiring signals a new and dynamic era for the Center District. The Board looks forward to working with Marty and our community partners to further expand economic activity in and around southeastern Wisconsin,” said Scott Neitzel, WCD Chairman and Secretary of the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration.
“In my role, I look to increase the profitability of the Wisconsin Center District properties, as well as raise the profile of the District itself,” Brooks said. “A robust convention and events calendar for the District has a ripple effect throughout the community, and I look forward to working in partnership with VISIT Milwaukee to continue that trend.”
Paul Upchurch, president & CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, said, “On behalf of VISIT Milwaukee, I’d like to welcome Marty Brooks to the Wisconsin Center District and the Milwaukee area. His operations expertise for convention centers, theaters, and arenas will play well here in Milwaukee and will boost the already strong schedule of events at our Wisconsin Center facilities. He is a great addition to the team, and we look forward to working closely with Marty to further build on the success of the District and bring even more events and conventions to the region.”
“I’m thrilled to start the next chapter of my career in Milwaukee,” Brooks added. “This is a vibrant city with a great downtown scene.”
With the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, in full swing, WalletHub released its 2018 Winter Olympics By The Numbers report, which includes an awesome infographic as well as commentary from a panel of leading sports experts.
Some of the interesting statistics in the infographic include:
•$13 Billion: Estimated cost of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, 4x less than the record-setting 2014 Sochi Games.
•$19.6 Million: Was spent on cybersecurity and X-ray screening for the PyeongChang Games.
•$4,683: Average price of a week-long trip to PyeongChang for the Olympics.
•242: Athletes on the U.S. team – a record for any country in the Winter Olympics.
•169: Russian athletes received a special exemption to compete after Russia was banned from the 2018 Olympics due to a doping scandal.
To see all the fascinating numbers in infographic form, click here.
The San Diego Convention Center announced that it has selected ON Site, a division of ON Services, as its preferred provider of audio visual services and its exclusive provider of production rigging and in-house sound.
ON Site is a leading in-house provider of audio visual services to convention centers, hotels and resorts, utilizing the latest innovative technology combined with an unwavering focus on exceptional service. ON Site will provide the San Diego Convention Center with a full spectrum of audio visual and production rigging services supporting conventions, trade shows, meetings, and special events. ON Site is the preferred in-house audio visual provider for recognized venues including the Georgia World Congress Center, the Georgia International Convention Center, the Cobb Galleria Center and the Cobb Energy Center.
The Convention Center’s Board of Directors voted to approve the five-year contract with ON Site at its January Board meeting. The agreement will begin May 1, 2018.
“We are looking forward to working together with our new partners at ON Site to meet all of our customers’ needs,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation Karen Totaro, CVE. “One of our core values is service, and we are confident that ON Site will help us fulfill our promise of providing outstanding customer service so that our clients will want to bring their events back to San Diego.”
“The San Diego Convention Center is a leading facility, and we share their team’s commitment to providing exceptional service,” said ON Services Executive Vice President Brian Hefner. “We are excited to partner with them as we provide audio visual and production rigging services, delivered with excellence.”
Houston First Corporation announced the retirement of Dawn Ullrich, its President & CEO. Ullrich, a veteran of the City of Houston’s Legal and Convention & Entertainment Facilities Departments, held the position since 2011. Houston First Chairperson David Mincberg, an appointee of Mayor Sylvester Turner, thanked Ullrich for her dedication and service.
Ullrich’s tenure included the 2017 Super Bowl, an extensive renovation of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the debut of the Marriott Marquis Houston, landmark tourism initiatives, and numerous conventions and performing arts performances.
Houston First Corporation is expected to announce a new President & CEO soon as part of an overall drive to make its operations more forward-looking and efficient. New leadership will face challenges stemming from the recovery of the Houston Theater District from Hurricane Harvey and maintaining Houston’s momentum in the convention and leisure-tourism market.
“Houston competes well for national conventions and tourism dollars, however our competition from other cities never fades,” Mincberg said. “Accordingly, the board will select a new leader for Houston First dedicated to making our corporation’s name their mission: Putting Houston in first place and keeping it there.”
Houston First Corporation operates the city’s finest convention and performing arts facilities to position Houston as a world-class destination. Houston First owns Hilton Americas-Houston and manages 11 city-owned buildings, plazas and parking facilities. Properties include the George R. Brown Convention Center, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Wortham Center and Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.
Leadership and experience continue to be the two key ingredients for profitability and growth for stakeholders as the dynamic motorsports landscape diversifies and shifts. Industry veterans Jason Rittenberry, Scott Gardner, Jenny Schmitz, and Kurt Johnson recognize the need for venues, series, sponsors and race teams to maximize their investments through the creation of their new firm – Motorsports Strategy Group (MSG). The four partners bring more than 100 years of hands-on experience at the highest levels of motorsports together to assist clients both big and small with a full suite of comprehensive solutions and creative initiatives. Moving into the 2018 season, MSG will begin engaging with a diverse group of clients across the motorsports landscape.
MSG will focus on four disciplines of the sports and entertainment world – Strategy, Events, Production, and Venues. Their capabilities include strategic consulting, event production and management, content creation, booking, marketing, communications and venue services, including capital projects and maintenance. Their growing client base includes race tracks, entertainment venues, race teams, sanctioning bodies and corporate brands, all of whom rely on MSG’s support in each stage of their projects.
“Individually we all have experience with the biggest names and venues in motorsports and we all saw an opportunity to use our relationships and experience to offer a full services option to the industry,” said Jason Rittenberry, Managing Partner. “We have all been independently communicating and working with motorsports outlets, but together we feel we can be more effective for everyone by combining our efforts.”
Rittenberry brings 17 years of experience in the industry at all levels in every form of motorsports from local short track racing to NASCAR to MotoGP and Formula One. He served as President & CEO of IRG Sports + Entertainment, growing the organization from one track to a conglomerate of 11 companies including six tracks, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), a television production company and a print publication over a five-year period. Rittenberry began his career as Vice President & General Manager of Memphis Motorsports Park and most recently served as Chief Strategy Officer at Circuit of the Americas, the multipurpose entertainment venue featuring the only U.S. Formula One race. He is a proven successful C-level executive with experience in motorsports, venue management, concerts and festivals, corporate events and capital raises. A Certified Venues Executive (CVE) with extensive expertise in all facets of business operations, live entertainment, and event management, Rittenberry is known nationally for having an innovative and methodical approach to event and overall company management as an entrepreneurial leader that thinks big picture.
Gardner is the founder of Gardner Race Track Consultants (GRTC), a consulting company for drag strips that provides on-site evaluation of present methods, structures, and personnel. GRTC will be merging with MSG as Gardner rejoins his former IRG colleague as a partner in the new firm. In addition to a broad range of operational services, Gardner offers important guidance on “how” and “what” to sell sponsorship’s on, inventory valuation, and how to write winning proposals. He has served as President of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), president and general Manager of Heartland Park Topeka (HPT) and owner and co-owner of several race track properties in the Midwest. His unique specific skill gives him the vision to see the industry from the operational sides of a sanctioning body, various race tracks, and as a former drag racer.
Schmitz is a longtime event professional and well-respected industry executive who has planned and executed some of the nation’s largest automotive enthusiast tours, car shows, four-wheel events, and family shows in the industry. While serving 16 years as Executive Vice President & General Manager of The Promotion Company/Family Events, Schmitz was responsible for the successful management and lead to key business segments of the Indianapolis-based event promoter. After her tenure at Family Events, Schmitz served for 10 years as Director of Events for The Enthusiast Network’s Performance Aftermarket Group of enthusiast magazines, including Hot Rod, Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding, Street Rodder, and Super Chevy, where she led the management of major events including Hot Rod Power Tour, Car Craft Summer Nationals, Hot Rod Drag Week, and Engine Masters Challenge, among others. She joins MSG as a partner after most recently working with FM3 Performance Marketing.
Johnson founded Total Venue Concepts almost three years ago after managing some of the top racing venues in the country. Joining the firm as a partner, he will merge his venue management company with MSG. Considered one of the top track operators in the country, Johnson has managed Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH, served as Director of Operations at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis and in the marketing department at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Before his career in track operations, Kurt worked in several different capacities with professional race teams.
In addition to the four partners, MSG will bring in several associates to be a part of several unique areas of the firm.
Silvey has joined the firm as an associate, specializing in marketing, creative, communications and public relations. Silvey brings 30 years of motorsports industry experience as a communications expert. Following 20+ years of owning Drag News Magazine, Silvey worked with both Rittenberry and Gardner serving as Managing Editor of IHRA’s monthly publication Drag Review and most recently served as an editorial director of Drag Racing Scene magazine for Xceleration Media.