Region 7 was host to an IAVM Arizona Chapter Meeting on February 1 at the Phoenix Convention Center with a full one-day itinerary that touched on several topics and issues that qualify as hot in the venue management industry.
“It was a successful meeting,” said Robby Elliott, Mesa Arts Center. “We had more than four 40 people present and had three sponsors to thank in Aventura Catering, Sico Seating and Ticketforce.”
In addition to networking, a silent auction and Town Hall session, the slate of events included sessions on Practical Application of Continuing Risk Assessment with the convention center’s own Kevin Mattingly, Gender Issues led by Michael Soto of Miller Russell Associates and Best Practices for On-Boarding New Employees by the venue’s Jon Brodsky and the NBA Phoenix Suns’ Yolanda Mendez. IAVM Chairman Mark Mettes, CFE, Herberger Theater Center, provided a briefing on IAVM updates as well as the One Member, One Vote campaign.
“A result that came out of the Town Hall was that the technical directors and production supervisors of all the major performing arts centers have decided to meet quarterly to discuss labor trends for stagehands in the area and to discuss better ways to cultivate new talent,” Elliott said. “We also discussed the recent immigration ban and the possible pop-up protests and other security concerns that are becoming all too frequent for all sectors.”
With gender issues now very much in national headlines, attendees were updated by Soto, whose background includes working in the public sector for government and non-profit agencies including the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, Equality Arizona, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
“Mostly the conversation stemmed around venues acting in a neutral capacity and how to deal with facility renters who have strong opinions one way or the other,” Elliott said. “An example that was brought up is that a religious group rented a portion of the Phoenix Convention Center and an individual was denied access to a restroom that was rented by the religious organization.”
The Silent Auction raised $680 toward the Arizona Chapter’s VMS Scholarship fund.
“Overall, it was a great event that was well attended by mostly PACs and convention center personnel,” Elliott said.