What is your formal education?
MATT: BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Washington.
RYAN: I earned aa Bachelor of Science in Sports, Entertainment & Event Management from Johnson & Wales University in Denver in 2005, and a Master of Science in Entertainment Mnagement from Full Sail University in 2013.
In what facilities do you/have you worked?
MATT: I’m one of the anomalies in this industry in that I’ve been lucky to call the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena my home for my entire career.
RYAN: Coors Field – Denver, Colorado; Broomfield Event Center – Broomfield, Colorado; SpiritBank Event Center – Tulsa, Oklahoma.
What are your career aspirations one year from now?
MATT: One year? Ask me what my aspirations are FIVE years from now!
RYAN: One year from now, I would like to be promoted to the director of corporate sponsorships and group sales for the SpiritBank Event Center. I would also like to have attended and completed the first year of the Venue Management School program at Oglebay, as well as been invited to the Leadership program through Global Spectrum.
What is your dream job?
MATT: I tell people that if I am to live in Spokane, managing this facility is the closest thing to working at Disneyland. My job is a pretty choice. If I could figure out a way to make set changes happen with a snap of my fingers, it would be the perfect job.
RYAN: To be the general manager of a multipurpose facility. Location, nor venue type, is as important as it once was to me.
Favorite food or restaurant:
MATT: It’s more of an experience: slowly cooked sirloin on the backyard barbeque in mid-summer with lake spuds (ask me when I see you) and grilled asparagus along with homemade ice cream for dessert and a fresh bottle of Bogle Phantom. I think I passed out just thinking about it.
Book recently read:
MATT: Roger Ebert recently passed away so I picked up his “Your Movie Sucks” journal filled with poor movie reviews. Hysterical. That man could WRITE.
RYAN: “This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t” by Augusten Burroughs, “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and “The Soundtrack of My Life” by Clive Davis.
Music on your iPod:
MATT: A little bit of everything: George Gershwin, Taylor Swift, Bing Crosby, The Heavy, Dido, Journey, Explosions In The Sky and some John Williams.
RYAN: Country, Electronic Dance Music, Classic Rock.
Favorite place on Earth:
MATT: It depends on the day and season. Sometimes it’s Disneyland and sometimes it’s Napa, California.
RYAN: So far, New Orleans, Louisiana. The culture and Southern hospitality are the best I have ever experienced.
Most prized possession:
MATT: My Playstation 3. That gadget does everything.
RYAN: An autographed jersey by Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback, John Elway.
Motto, inspiration, or quote that represents the way you conduct your day-to-day life:
MATT: “You’ve just taken your first steps into a larger world.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars, 1977
RYAN: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
Most memorable event you have experienced in a facility in which you had worked:
MATT: Any of the NCAA Basketball Championships that we have been fortunate enough to host.
RYAN: The 2007 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies.
What couldn’t you live without?
MATT: My wife and family. I am a VERY proud husband and father.
RYAN: My sense of humor as well as my family and friends. I can’t go through a day without laughing at least a dozen times, mostly at myself. Usually my family and friends are right there to laugh with me.
What all people would be surprised to know about you?
MATT: I am a huge fan of 70- to 80-year-old pop culture.
RYAN: That I volunteer more than 100 hours of my time a year.
Why did you pursue this industry?
MATT: I answered a newspaper advertisement (!) for a marketing assistant. I knew that I could do the job despite not having specific training in marketing and I wound up getting the job. I had NO idea that job would lead me to an industry I had no idea existed and could not have dreamed that I would enjoy so much. It’s been a great, exciting and frustrating ride thus far.
RYAN: I owe it all to Stephen Pyle at Johnson & Wales University – Denver. He taught how great this industry is and that as long as I work hard, I can achieve anything I put my mind to. And he was right!
What is your experience with mentors prior to IAVM Mentor Program?
MATT: I’ve been lucky enough to know a boss that has been an incredible mentor without the structure of a program. Advice, how to conduct business, how NOT to conduct business, support and opportunities have been given to me very graciously. I look forward to returning that favor by offering up the same to others.
RYAN: Before entering into the Mentor Connector program, I would call on friends (mentors) for advice on life’s problems or how to handle certain aspects of my career. Their advice and words of wisdom are invaluable and I am so grateful for the path that everyone helped steer me on.
What are you hoping to achieve through the IAVM Mentoring Program?
MATT: I would like to be that person that will answer the phone or return the email with answers to questions. Those younger people coming up through the ranks deserve that help to further their goals.
RYAN: I am hoping to achieve a lifelong friendship with Matt, so that he can teach me how to be one of the greats in this industry.
What are the benefits of the mentoring program?
MATT: A better and more informed class of employees working in the venues across the country. This program is ideally suited to help people connect and help each other out.
RYAN: Gaining valuable knowledge from industry veterans; being able to share your strengths and weaknesses with your coaches and mentors, and knowing that they have had similar experiences in the past; the ability to make lifelong friendships; and finally to know and trust that at the end of the day, everything will be all right.
What advice do you give others interested in a mentoring program?
MATT: Get involved. We’re all busy and the work doesn’t go away! This doesn’t need to take hours on end…do it today!
RYAN: Go for it! This is an amazing program and the rewards will be based solely off the work that you put into it.
What made you want to pursue the IAVM Mentor Connector Program?
MATT: I was asked to participate and was very glad I did. I’ve made some great friendships and connections throughout the industry!
RYAN: To learn from many of the industry veterans that have helped pave the way for young professionals, like me, in this industry. Their knowledge and wisdom is what I thrive for, simply to become one of the best in this industry.
What are you looking forward to talking to your mentor/ee (protégé) about?
MATT: Don’t take any of this too seriously! If any business out there deserves a sense of humor, it’s this one. Work hard but learn to laugh at the crazy stuff that we all deal with every day. We are all very, very lucky to work in this industry and we should pass that sentiment on.
RYAN: I’m looking forward to talking with Matt about the pending Star Wars movies that are being filmed, along with his recent marriage and the excursions in fixing his house.