By TCF CEnter
ASM Global, the operations management company for TCF Center, formerly Cobo Center, hired Karen Totaro, CVE, to replace Claude Molinari as General Manager for the facility. Molinari assumed the position of CEO for the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau in December of 2020.
Totaro will immediately assume leadership of the overall management, promotion and operation of the facilities, leading the team of dedicated professionals at the TCF Center, and building on the key industry partnerships in the community. She will also work to support the overall mission of the TCF Center and the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA), the Michigan state board that governs TCF Center.
“The decision to take the job at TCF Center was an easy one. The spirit of partnership in this industry is going to be that much more successful in Detroit with the former CEO of the CVB leading the DRCFA and the former GM of the TCF Center now leading the CVB,” Totaro said. “I was so impressed by how progressive the center is and the high-caliber and professionalism of the staff.”
Totaro is a Certified Venue Executive (CVE) and leads the center’s team in bringing new and repeat business to the Detroit region by maximizing the customer experience. On behalf of ASM Global for the DRCFA, she will work collaboratively with community stakeholders, clients and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Karen Totaro is the right person at the right time to take the TCF Center back to hosting visitors and providing world class service to its valued customers as the pandemic eases,” said Bob McClintock, executive vice president of convention centers, ASM Global. “Over the last decade, TCF Center became a gold standard in areas of security, sustainability, technology and corporate social responsibility. I know with Karen’s leadership events will build on that success.”
ASM Global management considers TCF Center to be one of the top convention centers in the country and is proud to have included the Center in their venue portfolio since 2010. Over the decade, the center remained open during a five-year construction period ending in 2015. The ASM team rebuilt the business model, resulting in a $20 million reduction of operating deficit, and quadrupled the number of major events held annually in the center from 2010 to 2019. The operations team completed a transformation of the customer experience to one that is “centered around you,” the current tagline of the brand.
Most recently, Totaro served as the Chief Operating Officer for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. Prior to San Diego, she served as General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center, Assistant General Manager of the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati and the Assistant Executive Director at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.
While with the leadership team at the Oregon Convention Center, Totaro steered them toward innovation to achieve one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for a convention center in the country. She went on to be involved in advanced sustainability initiatives in each center during her tenure. She sees the highly acclaimed sustainability program at TCF Center as a real opportunity to team build and inform clients on environmental impacts and center innovation with training and educational opportunities.
Lisa Canada, vice chairperson of the DRCFA, headed the board’s selection committee which was tasked with interviewing candidates before it recommended Totaro to ASM Global for the position. “I am always thrilled to see the leadership gap for women narrow, and especially in the appointment of this position that is so important to the convention center and the Southeast Michigan region,” Canada said. “Karen’s leadership style and experience in innovation will help this venue get back to business quickly and efficiently.”
Totaro becomes one of only three women running one of the top 20 largest Centers in the US.
IAVM Retired Member Richard John “Rick” Freiberg passed away peacefully at home on January 30, 2021 at age 71.
“Rick was a member of IAVM for 30-plus years,” said Kerry (Bublitz) Freiberg, his wife of 27 years. “He enjoyed the professional development and networking. Many thanks for fostering the friendships through IAVM.”
Rick believed in a Catholic education and attended Holy Assumption Grade School and graduated from Pius XI High School, Milwaukee, in 1968. He graduated in 1972 from Marquette University with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech. He was a proud officer of the MU Blue and Gold Club and attended MU basketball games since 1968 and was a season ticket holder for most of those years.
Following graduation, he worked for a short time on the assignment desk at Channel 6, WITI. In 1975, he worked for the City of Milwaukee Bicentennial Commission and was instrumental in planning and facilitating this 200th celebration for the community. Rick joined the Milwaukee Exposition and Convention Center and Arena (MECCA) in 1976 and served in executive roles throughout his 38-year career.
Early in his career, he booked entertainment in the Arena. He was proud to have brought Frank Sinatra and also Luciano Pavarotti for performances to Milwaukee. His touch on the entertainment world spanned from Elvis to Eddie Murphy to Bruce Springsteen to Olympic skaters and tennis professionals. He was on the team that negotiated contracts with the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Wave, Marquette University Basketball and UW-Milwaukee Basketball, teams that all played in the Arena.
Rick was integral to establishing the Wisconsin Athletic Walk of Fame – the permanent memorial to Wisconsin’s outstanding athletes – located on 6th Street, outside the then US Cellular Arena. He also facilitated the naming rights of the US Cellular Arena. Rick was behind the scenes closing deals and generating new revenue streams for MECCA now the Wisconsin Center District. It was a job he loved and he has left a legacy of integrity and hard work.
Memorials may continue to be made to Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital Foundation scholarships or St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.
By R.V. Baugus
Plan to join an expert panel on an April 22 ESCA webinar (2 pm CST) that will include IAVM Director of Education & Life Safety Mark Herrera discussing the topic of “The Importance of Safety, But Not At the Expense of Security.”
To register, click here.
Among the topics covered by the panel include:
*The current threat environment.
*Understanding the importance of preparedness and de-escalation.
*Behavioral indicators of a potential behavior that is not conducive to an ideal environment
*Evaluating policy adherence and understanding the *COVID Mitigation measures and strategies at the venues.
In addition to Herrera, the other two expert panelists are gentlemen very well known to the public assembly venue industry.
Bill Flynn, President @GARDA Risk Management, is a strategic leader with over 30 years of domestic & international counterterrorism, military & public safety experience. He helps organizations address & craft security programs, leverage intelligence analysis, build public/private partnerships, optimize supply chain resilience & train for active assailant preparedness. He helped stand up the US Department of Homeland Security, serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure Protection, building programs that are the foundation for critical infrastructure protection across the United States. He is a Senior Fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber & Homeland Security & is the president of Garda Risk Management. This management consulting firm specializes in homeland & national security policy & operations & a partner with The Power of Preparedness. This e-learning company provides the knowledge & tactics to prevent workplace violence & survive & active assailant attack.
Mark Camillo, Senior Policy Advisor @Contemporary Services Corporation, is a well-known subject matter expert in critical infrastructure protection & emergency preparedness. He began his government career in law enforcement as a Special Agent in the U.S. Secret Service after a 21-year career that included three separate assignments at the White House culminating as head of the White House Security Branch. Mark then entered the private sector as a Director of Business Development for Lockheed Martin Corporation & later as a Senior VP at Contemporary Services Corporation. Mark was appointed in 2013 to chair the Public Assembly Facilities Subsector Council, part of the Commercial Facilities Sector. He currently chairs the Commercial Facilities Sector Coordinating Council with goals to include reducing risk to the sector, improving coordination, and strengthening security and resilience capabilities. Mark served on John Jay College of Criminal Justice (NYC) faculty as a Professor, lecturer & writer on critical infrastructure protection.
IAVM’s Herrera is one of the 25 most influential leaders in the meetings and event industry. As part of his duties, Mark teaches Situational Awareness-Mindset training to give venues the tools to be safer and more secure. The training emphasizes exceptional focus, performance, and control in extreme situations and risk mitigation through guest services interjection. Mark represents the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection through the Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector Council. In this role, he collaborates to identify capability gaps across the soft target community, counter threats to the pattern of life, research technology to mitigate risk, and provide information to protect our Public Facility Assemblies and all Critical Infrastructures. Mark also serves on the National Fire Protection Association Technical Advisory Committee for Assembly Occupancies.
By Lucy Albers
ASM Global, the premier venue management and services company, announced the addition of Drew Gershenson to their team in Oklahoma City as Director of Programming for Chesapeake Energy Arena. In this position, Gershenson will oversee and coordinate all aspects in the facility booking process for the NBA arena.
“We are extremely excited to add a person of Drew’s caliber to our already incredible team in Oklahoma City,” said General Manager Chris Semrau. “His knowledge and expertise with touring events will lead our arena to be the must-play facility in the region.”
Gershenson joins the OKC team with an extensive history in the live event industry. He has spent the past nine years with Live Nation Touring, most recently as a Senior Tour Director overseeing all aspects of the touring cycle from routing and offers to onsales and settlements. Previously within Live Nation, he served as a Tour Director managing numerous large-scale tours, including oversight of the day-to-day operations of Guns N’ Roses’ Not In This Lifetime Tour, assisting in making it the third highest grossing tour of all time. With Live Nation, he has also served as a Project Manager and Assistant Tour Representative.
Prior to his time with Live Nation, Gershenson worked with The Agency Group assisting agents with numerous client needs, contracts, and department coordination. In 2008 he co-created the Rothbury Music Festival (currently known as the Electric Forest Festival) and oversaw the festival’s sustainability program in 2008 and 2009. He also co-founded an event production company, RavingLaCapital, in Bogota, Columbia in 2007.
Lucy Albers is Director of Marketing and PR, ASM Global – Chesapeake Energy Arena/Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
By Lara Gladstone
Concacaf announced that the Final of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup – the 16th edition of the region’s flagship men’s international competition, has been awarded to Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium, the destination’s newest state-of-the-art stadium.
The championship match on Sunday, August 1 will crown the best men’s national team in the Concacaf region. This will be the first time a Gold Cup match is played in Las Vegas in the event’s 30-year history, making the 2021 tournament a landmark edition. The final will cap off a great summer of football that will also include the inaugural Concacaf Nations League Finals in June, and the Gold Cup Prelims in early July.
The match comes after the stadium officially opens before fans with a Garth Brooks concert on Saturday, July 10.
“At Concacaf we are very excited about this summer’s Gold Cup and we know that Las Vegas and the Allegiant Stadium will provide a great host city and venue for the final,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani. “2021 is Concacaf’s 60th anniversary year making this edition extra special for players and fans. The federations and their teams are looking forward to this tournament with great anticipation and it is fitting that the regional champion will be crowned in such an outstanding venue and famous city.”
“The Raiders are proud to join Las Vegas in hosting the Final of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup at Allegiant Stadium in August,” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “The Gold Cup stands out among the many world-class events that will be hosted at Allegiant Stadium, and we are excited to bring Concacaf’s signature event to the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World.”
“We’re thrilled that the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup is coming to the Sports Capital of the World,” said Steve Hill, CEO/President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to host an event of this caliber, and with world-class entertainment, dining, outdoor adventure, and sports facilities, we’re confident the teams and their fans will find an unforgettable, Only Vegas experience.”
The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will officially kick off with a new Preliminary Round (Prelims) at DRV PNK Stadium, home of Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami CF, between July 2-6, 2021. In the Prelims, 12 nations who qualified through their Concacaf Nations League performances will compete for the final three spots in the 16 team Gold Cup Group Stage.
The Gold Cup Group Stage will begin on July 10 and will feature 16 national teams; Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico (eight-time and defending champion), Panama, Suriname, United States (six-time champion), Qatar (guest nation and current AFC Champion), and the three Prelims winners.
Lara Gladstone is Director of Marketing at Official ASM Global – Allegiant Stadium.