By R.V. Baugus
I got an email from my friend and long-time IAVM member Dan Concepcion, CVE, giving me a heads-up that he will be retiring later this year on December 4. In all honesty, I held the email for a small period of time, thinking that I would get another from Dan telling me to stop the presses and that he would remain in the industry.
That response never came, so we as an association and industry can wish you well, Dan, on your upcoming retirement. Dan is one of many IAVM members who has served on both the Professional and Allied side, most recently as general manager in San Jose for Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services. He has also worked for Smart City Networks and prior to that as general manager of the Monterey (CA) Conference Center.
“On December 4, 2022, I plan to retire after 24 years as a member of IAVM and 35 years in hospitality and venue management industry,” Dan shared. “What an amazing time and ride I have had … so many memories, so many friendships, and so many personal and educational opportunities.
“The camaraderie shared with other venue professionals to developing long-term fellowships with peers is an intangible sense of reward. I always keep in mind that we are stewards of facilities where guests attend events and provide quality service in a safe environment to enhance the guests’ experience.”
Dan has done that quite well in his career and now looks forward — albeit still a few months away — to the next chapter in his life.
“There is a quote from Tony winner Andre De Shields on three rules of longevity I will leave with you: Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming; slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be; and the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next so keep climbing.”
We know you will do exactly that, Dan!
Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA, announced a new partnership with Stater Bros. Markets. Guests of the arena are now able to experience the new branding of the North Patio, which will include live concerts featuring local bands and up-and-coming professional talent.
“We are thrilled to welcome Stater Bros. Markets as a partner to Toyota Arena,” said Michael K. Krouse, President & CEO. “It’s a natural fit – this is our community’s grocery store of choice, and the amazing Stater Bros. Charities provides non-profit organizations in our local region with support. We are on board to help as well.”
The marketing amenities this partnership provide Stater Bros. include a presence on several assets including the arena’s Interstate 10 marquee, overhead LED scoreboard, television monitors throughout the facility, website, and more. The relationship created through this agreement will also provide benefits for Toyota Arena guests, including new Stater Bros.-inspired food and beverage options.
The benefits to the community will go beyond lifestyle and entertainment, however. Stater Bros. and Toyota Arena recognize the important role they play in the overall development of the City of Ontario. The city’s vigorous commercial and residential growth, and its status as a destination location will result in economic growth, jobs, and a thriving community. The partnership will also open up new opportunities to support the giving efforts of the market’s non-profit charitable arm, Stater Bros. Charities.
“This really is an exciting day for the entire Stater Bros. team. As a company, we work hard to establish great business relationships, and with Toyota Arena, we’ve found an excellent partner,” said Stater Bros. CEO Pete Van Helden. “I look forward to the new opportunities our partnership will bring and its benefits for the city of Ontario and the Inland Empire as a whole.”
Region 6 Newsletter
Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR, announced that Jennifer Ross has been promoted to vice president of programming for the nonprofit performing arts center, and that Curt Owens will replace her as director of programming.
Ross has been with Walton Arts Center since 2002 where she started as the school performance coordinator. During her tenure, Ross has been director of artist and client experience as well as director of production and oversaw not only the artist contracting process but also the full production crew, client, and promoter rentals. Most recently she was director of programming. In her new role, Ross will be responsible for booking all of the programming at Walton Arts Center.
“I’m excited about the next phase of my career with Walton Arts Center,” Ross said. “This organization, the team of people who make the organization tick, and the work that we do for Northwest Arkansas are so important to me. I look forward to working with the entire team, other regional arts organizations and our presenting partners to continue Walton Arts Center’s long history of providing a diverse array of arts experiences for our region.”
A native of Pine Bluff, Ark., Owens joins the Walton Arts Center team after 11 years at NETworks Presentations, a touring production company for the Broadway theater community. He has worked on more than 40 productions including War Horse, Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserables. Before joining NETworks, Owens worked in both the producing and presenting divisions of Broadway Across America.
Returning to his home state with his wife and two children, Owens is excited to bring his love for the performing arts to Northwest Arkansas.
Troy Thorn, CVP, CTA, CPMM, has accepted the job of Assistant Director of Events and Operations at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, TX. With nearly 30 years of venue management experience, Troy has had executive stints with the Dallas Convention Center, Vicksburg Convention Center and Auditorium and Chesapeake Conference Center. Troy is a past Region 6 Director and has served on the IAVM Foundation Board of Trustees.
As one of the industry’s forward-thinking executives, Thorn is a proven venue executive, event producer and public administrator. He draws upon knowledge gained through the diversity of challenges he has overcome, and the successes achieved by his team. From the local Rotary luncheon to Super Bowl XLV NFL Experience, Thorn has managed venues that have hosted thousands of live events with positive economic impacts on the communities he has served.
Always willing to give back, Thorn currently serves on the Grand Prairie (TX) Forum Estates Public Improvement District Board. He has served on the IAVM Board of Trustees and the Diversity and Inclusive Leadership Committee. Prior to his recent relocation to North Texas, he served on the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Board; Chesapeake Parks, Recreation & Tourism Advisory Board; Tidewater Community College Business Management Advisory Committee; and Chesapeake Sports Club Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee.
By Paul Pettas
Sodexo Live!, the hospitality partner to the world’s most iconic venues, has partnered with innovation specialist L Marks to launch the Sodexo Live! Accelerator for North America.
The Sodexo Live! Accelerator will be the first program of its kind in North America. For the delivery of this program, Sodexo has partnered with L Marks, an innovation specialist with experience in running over 80 innovation initiatives with some of the world’s leading, most well-respected companies.
Sodexo Live! was launched last year by Sodexo Group, reaffirming its expertise in sports, events and hospitality. Sodexo’s Accelerator innovation program has already seen success in China, Brazil, India, France, and Sweden, and partnered with L Marks for the UK and Ireland market in 2021.
“We are never comfortable with the status quo,” said Steve Pangburn, CEO North America, Sodexo Live! “What makes this program different is the incredible engagement and buy-in that company founders will gain access to at the highest rungs of our organization, as we ideate our offerings for some of the globe’s biggest upcoming entertainment spectacles. This collaboration will drive tangible value for the selected companies and will help Sodexo Live! keep its finger firmly on the pulse of today’s solutions for tomorrow’s live events.”
Three opportunity areas have been identified that align with core business goals of delivering first-class service to today’s fans and guests, and exceeding client partner expectations. Starting immediately, L Marks is kick-starting its scouting campaign to find start-ups and scale-ups with innovative and scalable solutions that address these three themes:
Service Excellence: At the heart of every great event are great employees. We are looking for solutions to help internal staffing requirements: attract the best talent, provide consistent training, and retain our incredible staff.
Guest and Fan Experience: Sodexo Live! creates exceptional moments. In order to better serve our guests, we are looking toward more personalization of event experiences, digitization of touchpoints, ease of service, and future-forward virtual expansion.
Operational Optimization: As a large organization providing a wide variety of services, we constantly seek to innovate our internal operations. We hope to improve cross-venue interoperability, better utilize our public and transactional data to provide key customer insights and develop predictive analytics for our guests. We are also interested in ways to optimize the use of our spaces on days without programming, to offer additional revenue to our clients and services to our guests.
“We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Sodexo Live! in North America and launch the first Sodexo Live! Accelerator,” said Daniel Saunders, CEO, L Marks. “Sodexo Global has proven its commitment to innovation and through this program we will combine global entrepreneurship with Sodexo Live!’s expertise in sports, events, and hospitality, powering the events and venues of the future, and creating exceptional moments and lasting memories.”
In addition, the program encourages Wildcard entries, welcoming out-of-the-box solutions to match their wide array of services and venue partners.
Applications close on September 12, 2022 and selected applications will then be invited to pitch their innovative solutions to Sodexo Live! management in mid-October.
Successful start-ups and scale-ups will then be offered the chance to work with industry-leading mentors and subject matter experts and business leaders over a ten-week period to trial and fine-tune their solutions in a live customer environment.
Companies can apply though Sodexo Live!’s website: https://us.sodexo.com/industry/sodexo-live/accelerators.html
Paul Pettas is VP Brand and Communications for Sodexo Live!