Think TicketsWest and you have to think of Jack Lucas, founder of the Spokane, Washington-based company in 1987. Thirty years later, Lucas said that while his zeal and passion for the business remain, the timing was right to pass the presidential torch to Dusty Kurtz, who assumed leadership of the company on March 26.
“When we started TicketsWest in 1987, we had a goal to be the best ticketing company that we could be,” Lucas wrote in an email to close industry colleagues. “As I now reflect back on 30 years, and realize the significance of where we started and where we are currently at in our history, I am thankful for the many team members, both current and those in the past, that have helped to make TicketsWest into a national brand, and one of the premiere full service/full enterprise ticketing solutions in the United States.
“I am so fortunate that for the past 30 years I have had the great joy of being part of this history. To this day, I still enjoy and look forward to walking through the front door each and every day. I must confess, after 30 years, I still love what I do, and still have a passion for my work.
“But after 30 years, there comes a time when you have to pass the torch on to someone else, and let them lead and create the vision for the next 30 years. I have finally made that decision.”
While announcing the promotion of Kurtz, who had served as the company’s vice president since 2010, Lucas said that he will remain as president of WestCoast Entertainment.
“Dusty has had a great career with TicketsWest and has worked alongside me as my vice president for the past several years,” Lucas said. “I can state without reservation that Dusty is ready to take TicketsWest to the next level. Dusty is ready to create the vision and the strategy to position TicketsWest for the future. There isn’t anyone that I would want to have lead TicketsWest than Dusty Kurtz. He is honest, forthright, a hard worker, and provides all of the skills and experience needed to lead TicketsWest.”
Lucas said that he looks forward to devoting more time to WestCoast Entertainment and to expand the business into other regions while growing the business into a more recognizable national brand.
Event and venue management software leader Ungerboeck announced the addition of Andy Weiss to the company’s executive leadership team. As vice president of marketing, Weiss will lead worldwide brand strategy and demand generation efforts from company headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
“We are thrilled to welcome Andy to the Ungerboeck team,” said Ungerboeck CEO Manish Chandak. “His considerable experience in tech marketing strategy and the additional complexities involved with working on a global scale make him a particularly great fit for Ungerboeck at this exciting time in our history.”
Prior to his position at Ungerboeck, Weiss served most recently as the global director of marketing at Apollo Global where he headed an international, data-driven digital marketing team focused on driving scale and operational efficiency for the education network. In addition to the development of a worldwide mobile initiative to make education more accessible to people in developing countries, Weiss also led the expansion of Apollo programs in India and South Africa. Most notably, his tenure at the company saw the transformation of marketing from a cost center to a lead-generating revenue driver.
“I am very excited to join a company like Ungerboeck that understands the value of client-focused development and innovation,” Weiss said. “I see incredible opportunity for us to really own our role as a visible and vocal leader not just on the St. Louis tech scene but in the events industry as a whole.”
Weiss holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Theatre from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. When he is not cheering from the sidelines at sporting events for his son, Joe, and daughter, Ella, he enjoys endurance sports and traveling with his with wife, Beth.
The SMG-managed Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron, Michigan, has named Gino Giacumbo its new general manager. With over two decades of experience in sports and venue management, Giacumbo brings a wealth of knowledge with him to his new position in Port Huron. Most recently, Giacumbo served as the general manager at the Birch Run Expo Center in Birch Run, Michigan.
“We are very happy to have Gino join our team,” said Rich MacKeigan, SMG’s regional general manager who has oversight of the Blue Water Convention Center. “The relationships that Gino has built in the area paired with his years of experience will be a great asset for the venue and SMG as well as the community.”
Giacumbo was chosen to fill the position after an expansive nationwide search by SMG and St. Clair County. In addition to his time at the Birch Run Expo Center, Giacumbo worked in Flint, Michigan, as vice president of business operations for Perani Arena and Event Center and Flint General Hockey Club and in Port Huron as vice president and general manager of the Port Huron Beacons.
“I’m excited at the opportunity to be back in Port Huron and am looking forward to collaborating with SMG and this community to carry on forming a creative and productive environment for the region,” Giacumbo said.
Giacumbo graduated Cum Laude from William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, in 1990 and obtained his Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1994. Before his time with the Port Huron Beacons, Giacumbo spent time in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the director of corporate sales and marketing for the USA Hockey-National Team Development Program, Elmira, New York, as the vice president and general manager of the Louisville Panthers and Elmira Jackals, and Moline, Illinois, as the general manager of the Quad City Mallards.
We’re giving you a chance to guess who the VenueConnect 2017 Keynote Speaker is before we make the big reveal on Friday, March 31. Each day leading up to the reveal, we will give you one clue to help you identify the speaker, but here’s the catch: you must be registered for VenueConnect to be eligible to win, and so you can receive the final two clues. Our first two clues will be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so be sure to follow us on social media to stay in the loop. The final two clues will be sent by email to those who have already registered for VenueConnect, so REGISTER NOW and take advantage of the early bird rate.
The first two people to correctly guess who the keynote speaker is will receive the grand prize: a meet and greet with said speaker. The next 3 correct guesses will receive a Nashville Swag Bag upon arrival at VenueConnect. Click here to learn more about VenueConnect, or…
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This summer’s Venue Management School at Oglebay will welcome two new faces as Steve Mackenzie, president of EventBooking, and Michael K. Garcia, adjunct assistant professor in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, arrive on the scene at the public assembly venue industry’s premier professional school.
We caught up with both gentlemen to discuss VMS and more. Here are their comments:
What prompted you to become interested as an instructor at the VMS?
Steve Mackenzie: I attended the school 10 years ago as a student, and was blown away by the value I received from it — the quality of the educational content, the caliber of the instructors and the camaraderie that developed with my fellow students. Luckily, I got an opportunity to teach at the Australian VMA school seven years ago when I was living there, and have been teaching there ever since, so when the opportunity came up to be able to participate in the school here I jumped at it. The school is such a great environment and I love being able to give back to the industry in this fashion.
Mike Garcia: After working in public assembly management for over 38 years, I really wanted to give something back to the industry. I have such fond memories of attending VMS, albeit a few years ago (well, OK, 20-plus years ago), that I could not think of a better place to do that. I also enjoy teaching.
What will you be doing as an instructor at VMS?
Steve Mackenzie: I’ll be teaching a new class for Year 2 called Technology. In previous years this topic has been touched upon in most of the other subjects since it pervades all areas of business these days. However, the Board of Regents thought it an important enough topic to have its own class going forward. Additionally, I’ll be teaching a class for Year 1 on Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations. Besides the classes, I’ll be sitting in on as many others as I can. I love listening in and learning from these as well.
Mike Garcia: I will be teaching Venue Ops and Venue Law, which tap into some of my core experience in the industry.
What are you most looking forward to as you prepare for your classes as the school?
Steve Mackenzie: I can’t wait for the chance to interact with the students — as much as I am there to share my knowledge. I love the interaction and feedback from the students both in the classroom and after hours.
Mike Garcia: I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet and reconnect with fellow venue professionals and to teach not only today’s best practices, but also to encourage students to think about how to adapt for the future.
How important is the role of the school for professional education for public assembly venue managers?
Steve Mackenzie: I view the school as the “flagship” education opportunity available to those of us in the venue management industry. Everyone is on an equal footing and it’s important for the students going through now to know that their mentors and managers likely also went through the same school. The program is nothing short of excellent and I am proud to be able to contribute to it.
Mike Garcia: It is paramount! The VMS experience, both inside and outside the classroom, helps students forge a solid foundation to build successful lifelong careers in this industry. The curriculum develops and builds the core competencies necessary to succeed.
What is some of your background in the industry that lends well to the school?
Steve Mackenzie: Showing my age a bit now, but I’ve spent the last 33 years working in hospitality and events, with the past 24 specifically in event technology. Over that time, I’ve learned a lot about the areas I am instructing, mainly learning from my mistakes along the way! It’s great to be abler to share these experiences with the students and hopefully pass on some knowledge that will help them to continue their careers in the industry.
Mike Garcia: My background in facility management is broad and varied, from clubs, theaters and arenas to amphitheaters, stadiums and outdoor music festivals. This variety of experiences allows me to relate to many different types of venue professionals who may have different goals and aspirations. Additionally, I teach two classes at the University of Southern California relating to concert management, venue management and promoting events.