Patience, dear young professionals, patience. It is natural to want to do too much too soon, but by following these five valuable tips as outlined by Zach Sloman, booking and marketing manager for the John Paul Jones Arena/SMG at the University of Virginia, you will be on the road to success in no time.
Understand The Big Picture
If there is one thing above all else that I truly believe is key to success, it is understanding the big picture. Understanding how you fit in the overall operation of your office or in most of our cases, how an event happens from booking to settlement will give you the knowledge necessary to take your work to the next level. Stay late after a show to see the load-out, understand the revenue streams each event creates, look into the finer details of the ticketing world (service charges, facility fees, rebates). The earlier you develop a greater understanding of the big picture, the better off you’ll be.
Find A Mentor Outside Your Office
Your direct supervisor can certainly be a mentor and steer you down the right path. However, finding a mentor outside of your office allows for a new perspective and different experiences. Topics that may feel uncomfortable to talk to your supervisor about are easier to discuss with someone that is completely removed from a situation in the office and allows for a bias-free conversation. While finding a mentor outside the office is certainly harder, IAVM has a wonderful Mentor Connector Program (shameless plug) that I have had the pleasure of completing. While no longer in the program, I still talk with my mentor on a regular basis as if nothing has changed and cannot recommend it enough.
Read/Listen To What Others Are Doing
There is no better way to learn than from first-hand experiences. You will only be subjected to so many different situations in your career and thus the ability to learn from others about the ones you have not yet run into is invaluable. Besides spending a significant sum of money going to conferences, industry publications are the next best way to hear and learn from the experiences of others. There are many different outlets currently reporting on the entertainment and facility management industry. Whether through print publications such as FM Magazine or Pollstar, online publications such as Amplify, or podcasts such as Promoter 101, a plethora of options currently exist that you should be taking advantage of. You’ll look like a hero when a situation you read about occurs and you’re the only one with a solution.
Voice Your Opinion When Appropriate
Just because you may not be in a position of power does not mean you should stay quiet. I believe there is a time and place that one, no matter the position, should speak up if done in a respectful and intelligent manner. There is certainly going to be a time in your career when you do not agree with a decision being made or a task you are asked to complete, yet every decision should not be questioned or argued. Every situation is different and navigating these seas can be tricky. However, knowing when to speak up and present a meaningful opposition to something can lead to meaningful takeaways. On the flip side, be prepared for things to not go your way.
Enjoy The Freedom At The Bottom
While most likely taken for granted, the ability to not have to deal with the stress of an upcoming big decision or great responsibility makes it easier to leave work at work and have a social life. You’re young and still able to hit the bars until close. Don’t cash that ability in so fast in lure of money and power. Certainly, you can have a social life at the director level and above but it’s easier to do when you’re at the bottom with very little baggage to take out of the office.
By Sarah Britt
After a career of facility openings and expansions, one of our industry greats plans to hang up his radio, exchanging it for a fishing hat and retirement. Charles McKee Stone, known as Mack, will be retiring this June after 43 years in the industry.
With a brief stint in the tradeshow business, Mack has worked in five facilities, opening three and expanding two. Mack started his venue management career in his hometown of Greenwood, SC, where he opened the Greenwood Civic Center, and spent four years getting it off the ground. From there, Mack and his beautiful bride, Amy, moved to Myrtle Beach, SC, where he managed the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for five years, aiding in their expansion plans. In an industry based on relationships, it is no surprise that Mack was reached out to when plans to open a convention center in Chattanooga, TN took place. Five successful years later, the next call came from the Phoenix Civic Plaza, where he and Amy spent the next three years. In 1991, in a desire to move back South, Mack took a job producing tradeshows, where he spent the next 11 years.
There had been talk for years about opening a convention center in Columbia, SC, where Mack went to college and played football for the University of South Carolina. In 2002, the municipal partners pulled together and the center’s plans started to take shape. Steve Camp, who was brought in to help get the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center started, shared with the planning committee that he knew of the perfect start to the CMCC team. In 2003, Mack became the Vice President and General Manager of the empty plot of land that was to become the CMCC. He worked through design and construction of the facility, all while assembling his ideal staff (many of which are still with the building today).
The facility opened in 2004 and has flourished ever since. After 13 successful years, the CMCC has more demand than supply with plans of a possible expansion on the horizon. Mack will tell you, “There is nothing more fun than planning an expansion or opening a building,” and when asked how business is in Columbia, “We’ve gotten to be experts at fitting 10 pounds in a 5-pound bag.”
Notorious for his non-stop, hands-on ways, and unique sayings known as “Mackisms,” Mack’s love and knowledge of the industry is apparent within minutes of meeting him. In those crazy venue moments where we all think we’ve seen it all and something even stranger happens, he’ll tell you, “You just can’t make this stuff up. Don’t you just love show business?” He is also the first one on his hands and knees running power if needed, out in the street directing traffic, or greeting and directing attendees at the main entrance on busy days. When a client is having a stressful planning moment, they are “jumpier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” and when a room is set to maximum capacity, it “can’t fit another hominy grit” into it! He has been a mentor to almost every person who has had the honor of being on his team. Mack has always been very deliberate about passing on his knowledge attained over years of experience. He always encourages those pursing this career to get involved in IAVM and to get to know your peers.
As a person, Mack is one of a kind. He’s the type of friend that will go out of his way to do anything for you. He answers middle of the night distress calls, welcomes all to the building as if they were part of the family and depicts the definition of a southern gentleman. When asking his friends and colleagues, there is no one that deserves the opportunity to relax and enjoy life with his bride of 45 years more than Mack Stone. Congratulations Mack, we are all better having known you.
Sarah Britt is director of sales for the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, SC.
IAVM member, Mac Campbell, CVP, has been named as the Event Industry Council’s (EIC) 2017 recipient of the Pacesetter Award in the Young Professional’s category. Campbell was nominated by IAVM for his commitment at the Baltimore Convention Center in furthering sustainability and community outreach, as well as for his dedication to the association’s Young Professionals Committee.
“Mac is very deserving of this award for his accomplishments and service,” stated Brad Mayne, IAVM CEO and President. “I appreciate EIC’s recognition of one IAVM’s outstanding Young Professional members and his positive impact on so many areas of our industry.”
Established in 2012, the Pacesetter Awards recognize the valuable contributions individuals are making to impact the events industry today, as well as charting the course for a thriving future.
Campbell has spent the past five years as the Director of Client Services with the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD, and has provided an ongoing commitment to the center’s green initiatives and improving client services. “We are elated that Mac has been recognized by EIC for the 2017 Hall of Leaders Pacesetters Award,” commented Peggy Daidakis, Executive Director for the Baltimore Convention Center. “He is committed to improving and advancing ideas with better trained staff, better ways to serve our customers and better techniques to care for our facilities. His leadership and involvement in IAVM demonstrates that he driven to produce positive outcomes and quality programs. I am very proud of Mac. He is very deserving of this honor.”
“The committee couldn’t be more pleased with EIC’s selection of Mac for this honor,” said Neil McMullin, IAVM Convention Center Committee Chair and Vice President-Shared Services at Fern Expo and NexxtShow. “This is well-deserved, as Mac epitomizes the type of leader who is helping to create a bright future for our industry.”
Brad Gessner, CFE, Senior Vice President and General Manager at the Los Angeles Convention Center, AEG Facilities stated, “Mac represents the best of the young professionals in our great industry, and we couldn’t be prouder or more pleased to have one of our own recognized for their talent by the EIC.”
“It was an extreme honor to be nominated for the award, even more so to be selected as this year’s recipient,” said Campbell.
He will receive his award at the EIC’s 2017 Hall of Leaders and Pacesetters Gala in Las Vegas, NV on October 10th.
The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA) has approved renewal of SMG to continue management of Cobo Center. The agreement is for another three year term, continuing a long-standing relationship between SMG and the DRCFA.
“We are pleased to have finalized this agreement with the authority,” said Claude Molinari, general manager of Cobo Center for SMG. “We’ve come a long way in rebuilding the brand, reputation and operations of Cobo Center and look forward to continuing in the next chapter of Detroit’s historic comeback.”
“The renewal of the SMG contract to manage Cobo Center is a well-earned vote of confidence by the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority Board. They have been a strong partner in rebuilding Cobo Center and taking it to the best in class. It is not an overstatement to say that the entire region has benefitted from SMG’s extensive experience in managing convention centers. The DRCFA Board is appreciative of Claude Molinari, Thom Connors and Bob McClintock for their strong leadership,” said Larry Alexander, DRCFA Chairman.
The DRCFA first entered into a contract with SMG to manage center operations in 2010, at the start of the facility’s recently completed $279 million renovation. Cobo Center remained open during the five-year construction period, and rebuilt the business model, resulting in a $20 million reduction in operating deficit, quadruple the number of major events held annually in the center, and a complete transformation of the customer experience to one that is “centered around you,” the new tagline of the brand.
During the prior SMG contract periods, Cobo Center achieved many milestones in reinstating the convention center’s world class status. In 2015 Cobo Center was the ninth U.S. convention center to receive the GMIC ASTM/APEX certification for sustainability, and was re-certified in 2017 prior to hosting the Sustainable Brands 2017 conference in May. A new Technology Services Department was recently formed to create a complete technology offering to customers that includes facility-wide free WiFi, 10Gb Internet, a full-service broadcast studio with fiber network, and more than 100 digital signs. Cobo is also now known in the industry for its top-notch security service because of its partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to create a collaborative security effort for all major events, such as the North American International Auto Show, hosted annually.
The recent, almost daily, terror attacks all over the world — from France, the United States, Iraq, London and everywhere in between — have shown that terrorism has arrived at all sectors of public assembly management. There has never been a more compelling need or time for enhanced levels of safety and security for all guests, staff, and venues than NOW! With more than 15 sessions focused on the emerging security trends and threats of our industry, IAVM’s VenueConnect 2017, held August 7-10 in Nashville, TN at the Music City Center, will provide all sectors with educational sessions detailing how to enhance venue procedures, develop critical infrastructure protection best practices, and mitigate risk.
“IAVM, through various committees, has developed educational sessions that provide the tools to enhance safety and security awareness,” stated Mark Herrera, Director of Education for IAVM. “The educational sessions will be delivered by engaging and impactful safety and security experts under one roof at VenueConnect in Nashville. Based on the current threat level, the demand for prevention, protection, and preparedness couldn’t come at a more appropriate time than now.”
The Stadiums Management Conference will host Special Agent Stephen Rees, Deputy Assistant Director, Directorate of Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation as its keynote speaker. Rees, who has worked investigations in organized crime/drug matters, white collar and violent crime, as well as counterterrorism, will speak about protecting our venues critical infrastructures, collaboration between venues and law enforcement agencies, and technology usage as it pertains to security.
Other sessions focusing on safety and security across sectors include:
– Alternative Security Measures and Trends that Impact Your Emergency Preparedness Planning
– The Rise in Fan Violence and How to Contain It
– Drone Technology: Intelligent Safety and Security
– When Protests Take the Field
– Patron Safety – Being Prepared for Medical Emergencies at Your Venue
– Ticketing Security: Bots, the Law & Reality Presented by INTIX
– Exhibitions & Meetings Safety & Security Initiative (EMSSI) Update
– Safety & Security: What’s in Your Bag
– Mindset: Situational Awareness Training
– …and more!
VenueConnect is the must attend industry event of the year providing the largest amount of targeted venue education while bringing attendees together to create lifelong relationships. Don’t miss out on all of this year’s informative life safety & security education along with more than 80 venue specific sessions at VenueConnect 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. Register Now!