Monday, July 23rd’s kick-off performing arts session, The History of Theatre in Toronto, is the seventh installment of ASTC Presents The History of Theatre and is a do-not-miss session. Be there for the humorous and informative history of development, and sometimes demise, of theatre buildings in our host city of Toronto. Continue your fun and edification at a meet-and-greet with Robert Long and Scott Crossfield in the Business Lounge on the trade show floor. Get a picture and autograph with Professor Crossfield and Professor Crossfield while you’re there.
Let’s just say that after sitting in on this session last year at VenueConnect17 in Nashville, I can personally attest to the educational and entertainment value of this particular presentation. Rob and Scott work incredibly well as a pair and keep the presentation moving at a brisk pace while dropping in nuggets of information simply not found anywhere else.
Both gentlemen know their history quite well, and some of the visuals they bring out from some venues decades old will impress all attendees. I highly recommend and urge really anyone’s attendance at the session to help get IAVM’s outstanding series of education meetings off to a bang.
You will definitely learn a thing or two while having quite a few chuckles along the way courtesy of Robert and Scott!
Ellen Schwartz has been promoted to general manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center, announced Bob Newman, President, AEG Facilities, operators of the downtown Los Angeles facility.
Additionally, Brad Gessner, who has held the position of general manager of the Convention Center since AEG Facilities was awarded the management contract in October of 2013, has been promoted to senior vice president of the LACC, responsible for contract administration, strategic planning, and participating on the expansion and modernization team for the LACC.
In her new role, Schwartz will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the 867,000 square foot facility including sales and marketing, public relations, operations, guest services and security, event services, human resources, food and beverage, and parking operations while also overseeing the convention center’s operating budget, and revenue maximization.
Having joined the staff of the Los Angeles Convention Center in October 2013, Schwartz has held a variety of executive and management positions including vice president of sales and marketing before being named assistant general manager in July 2017.
“Ellen has played a key role in the Los Angeles Convention Center setting records for event bookings, occupancy, and overall revenue generation in each of the last four years,” Newman said. “Ellen’s knowledge of the industry, leadership, and extensive experience makes her the ideal executive to become the next general manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center.”
Gessner, who was named General Manager of the LACC in 2013 will continue to retain the position of Senior Vice President of Convention Centers, AEG Facilities where he oversees several of the Convention Center properties managed by AEG Facilities including the Hawaii Convention Center, Puerto Rico Convention Center as well as the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“With the successful overall performance achieved at each of the properties overseen by Brad and the ongoing expansion of our North America Convention Center portfolio, his diverse depth of experience will continue to be a valuable asset in the AEG network,” said Newman.
The University of Texas at Arlington announced that Jeff M. Davis, CVE, CVP CMP, has been named the new executive director of Special Events Facilities. He succeeds Executive Director Sharon Carey, who is retiring August 31, 2018. In his new position, which begins September 1, Davis will oversee and lead business development, internal and external events for two public assembly venues, College Park Center and Texas Hall, as well as UTATickets Box Office.
“Jeff has prepared himself remarkably well to assume this new role, and has demonstrated that he is quite capable of effectively managing our special event venues on our campus,” said John Hall, vice president for Administration and Campus Operations at UTA. “I know we are all excited and very happy for Jeff and we look forward to supporting him as he steps into the executive director’s position at the end of the summer.”
Davis brings to the position more than 16 years of high-level event and venue management in the hospitality, sports, and entertainment industry. He has extensive experience opening and operating multi-million dollar public assembly venues, building dynamic teams and identifying new revenue streams. He is passionate about the venue industry and has a strong emphasis on balancing the guest experience with patron safety, security, and exceeding expectations.
Davis said he is looking forward to his new role as executive director for several reasons. “Our Special Events Centers have changed substantially over the course of the past seven years, and it is reflected by our growth,” he said. “The motivation and the work ethic of our group makes me enthusiastic to step into this new position.”
Davis joined the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011 as general manager and oversaw the opening of College Park Center, a $78-million, 7,000-seat multipurpose arena. In January 2016 he was promoted to director of the CPC where he managed contract negotiations, tenant relations, renovation planning, and valuation for the venue. During this time, the College Park Center home venue expanded and added the Dallas Wings WNBA team as a tenant.
His background includes serving as the senior event coordinator for the Dallas Convention Center, and as event services manager at the GISD Special Events Center where he established and grew the event services team by 200 percent. He also served at Texas A&M University-Commerce where he planned events, festivals, and leadership training programs.
Davis is not the only one on the move at the University. Caleb Miller recently joined College Park Center as technical services manager. In his role, Miller oversees the planning and execution of production information for events, including sound, lighting, video broadcast, digital signage, and rigging. He also oversees equipment maintenance, including developing and maintaining maintenance and replacement cycles.
Miller comes to College Park Center with more than a decade of experience at the Hot Springs Convention Center in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, and MP Productions in Little Rock, Arkansas. “We are pleased that Caleb’s joining our team with a background in managing technical and audio visual productions. He will be a great asset to the CPC and Special Event Facilities team,” Davis said.
“I’m looking forward to working at College Park Center. I enjoy live events that I believe drive people and help provide the ‘wow’ factor,” Miller said.
Russ Simons, Venue Solutions Group, will handle the moderating role on Wednesday, July 25 at 9:15 am for an education session called Bridging the Gap, and which includes a who’s who of panelists from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC).
Simons will interact with panelists Bill Flynn, president, GARDA Risk Management, LLC (former DHS); Shannon Brown, chief, Commercial Facilities Section, Sector Outreach and Program Division, Office of Infrastructure Protection (DHS); and Sandy Harvey, officer-in-charge, National Critical Infrastructure Team at the RCMP in Canada.
The latest security concerns for both the U.S. and Canada and information and resources available for public assembly venues will be addressed by the panel. The group will also share their current partnership strategies, along with their involvement with IAVM’s current safety and security programs to better understand the current challenges that face our industry.
The Burnsville City Council approved a contract extension for the management of the Ames Center with VenuWorks.
“We sincerely appreciate the vote of confidence from the city of Burnsville and the Ames Center Commission. We are proud to have been a part of the Ames Center since its inception and look forward to building on the successes we have enjoyed with our partners in Burnsville,” said Steve Peters, President of VenuWorks.
VenuWorks, who has worked with the City of Burnsville since the venue’s pre-opening in 2008, will continue to provide full service management and mark the 10th anniversary of the Ames Center in 2019.
“We look forward to the next step in our journey at the Ames Center with VenuWorks,” said Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz. “We have the utmost confidence in this team and their ability to continue to grow the reach and the scope of our beautiful facility.”
“I’m extremely pleased to continue our relationship with VenuWorks, particularly Ames Center Executive Director Brian Luther,” said Dan Gustafson, Burnsville City Councilmember and liaison to the Ames Center Commission. “The work Brian and his staff have done over the past several years has really positioned the Ames Center to grow and evolve into a premiere destination for the arts, theater, and
music south of the river.”
The Ames Center hosts local and national arts, concerts, family shows, dance recitals and competitions, business meetings, community events, and social gatherings. The Ames Center is committed to fulfill its mission to: foster the growth, development, and appreciation of the performing arts through the presentation of the broadest possible range of cultural, entertainment, and artistic events; provide a home to the community’s major performing arts groups; serve as a community center for the visual arts, business and educational meetings and presentations and provide economic stimulus for the benefit of the residents of Burnsville and the surrounding region.