What is your formal education?
ROB: Bachelor of Science, Music Business Program, Belmont University, Nashville, TN. I am currently pursuing a CFE designation.
CHANDLER: I graduated in 2005 from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts major in Economics and minor in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology major in Sport Management and minor in Business.
In what facilities do you/have you worked?
ROB: I was an artist manager prior to entering the facility business. I have worked at BancorpSouth Arena (Tupelo, MS), the Tacoma Dome and Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center (Tacoma, WA).
CHANDLER: Cowtown Coliseum, Cedar Park Center, Dr Pepper Arena, American Airlines Center and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. These were all in the Dallas/Fort Worth area except for Cedar Park, which is near Austin.
What are your career aspirations one year from now?
CHANDLER: To be the general manager of a mid-sized facility or assistant general manager in a major facility.
What is your dream job?
ROB: I am doing it.
CHANDLER: General manager of a major facility or complex.
Favorite food or restaurant?
ROB: Thai or sushi, depending on the day.
CHANDLER: Mexican Food, especially Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth.
Book recently read?
ROB: Ticket Masters – The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped.
CHANDLER: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
Type of music you enjoy most?
ROB: Classic rock and country.
CHANDLER: Country music.
Favorite place on earth?
ROB: Puget Sound.
CHANDLER: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Most prized possession?
ROB: The advice that I have accumulated over the years from leaders in the industry.
CHANDLER: My Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Gus.
Motto, inspiration or quote that represents the way you conduct your day-to-day life?
ROB: “You are only as good as the chances you take.” Also, “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” – Hunter S. Thompson
CHANDLER: “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” –Benjamin Franklin
Most memorable event you have experienced in a facility in which you worked?
ROB: Getting punked by Justin Bieber over his “reportedly stolen laptop” at the Tacoma Dome this past October (2012). A publicity stunt used to launch his new video.
CHANDLER: George Strait – Opening Night at Cedar Park Center on 9/25/2009. One of my first jobs was in a rodeo facility shoveling the manure every Monday during the summer after the weekend rodeo.
What couldn’t you live without?
ROB: Friends, colleagues and mentors.
CHANDLER: My fiancée Nikki Voisine.
What will people be surprised to know about you?
ROB: I am quiet and introspective.
CHANDLER: One of my first jobs was in a rodeo facility shoveling the manure every Monday during the summer after the weekend rodeo.
Why did you pursue this industry?
ROB: I learned to play the bass guitar in high school, and received a scholarship to college by playing with the campus choral ensemble. After that, I was hooked.
CHANDLER: I really grew up with it. One of my best friend’s mom’s was vice president of operations at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. As I learned more and more about the industry and the business the more I fell in love with it and wanted to build a professional career out of it.
What is your experience with mentors prior to the IAVM Mentoring Program?
ROB: Two of the best people in the facility business took me under their wings and helped me – Michael Marion and Russ Simons – and both have been very instrumental in the development of my career path.
CHANDLER: I have had several people in my professional career which I have called and still call mentors. These were more informal relationships that I always felt I could call upon if I had any questions or needed guidance on a particular issue. Some of these are folks I met at places of previous employment and some are folks I have met through IAVM conferences and events.
What are you hoping to achieve through the IAVM Mentoring Program?
ROB: To give my protégé the same experience that I received from my mentors. We cannot be successful alone.
CHANDLER: I have had a lot of experience on the operational side of things, but I’m hoping to learn more about the revenue generating side; and in facility management, booking is a big part of that. Working with Rob has helped tremendously in that sense, as he has filled in a lot of holes I had in what I thought I knew about booking. He’s shown me some best practices which I look forward to implementing when the time comes for me to take the lead or oversee booking events at a facility.
What are the benefits of a mentoring program?
ROB: To share strategy and experiences with your protégé. It is also a sense of pride to watch your protégé become successful in their career path.
CHANDLER: Aside from the obvious networking opportunities, I think it gives you the ability to see your business and your professional outlook from a different perspective. I thought some of the systems we had in place where I currently work were pretty good; but as with most systems, there is always room for improvement. And having a mentor helps to show you where those improvements can potentially be. It’s also nice to be able to pick up the phone and call a professional in the industry you know you can respect and trust their guidance or answer to your questions. This is something I have done more than once with quite a few of my mentors.
What advice do you give others interested in a mentoring partnership?
ROB: Get involved. Just when you think that you cannot make a difference in someone’s life, you are proven wrong.
CHANDLER: Do it. Reach out to IAVM and research the program. There isn’t anyone out there that knows everything, especially those who are just starting their careers. In many cases, experience speaks for itself. This is a chance to have life lessons in your industry learned without having to experience them yourself. It is free knowledge, and most of the knowledge you will gain you can’t buy anyway.
What made you want to pursue the IAVM Mentoring Program?
ROB: I had been mentoring staff and colleagues all along, but wasn’t really aware of it. A trusted colleague mentioned to me that I would be a good mentor. I love the experience and would recommend it to anyone. The Mentors in my life have helped to make my career journey a successful one. It is my turn to give back and try to help others to become successful in their endeavors.
CHANDLER: Several reasons. First, it is a chance to network with others in the industry and IAVM. Second, this program has been going for a while now and with each passing year, folks I know who have been in it say they all have gotten something out of it. Thirdly, if you are looking at getting your CFE, there are points to be earned here.
What are you looking forward to talking to your mentor/protégé about?
ROB: Chandler and I talk about most everything – we actually have a lot in common. I like his energy and we are extremely honest with each other. I appreciate that the most and I want to help him succeed, wherever his career path takes him.
CHANDLER: Every call with Rob is a great call. I look forward to hearing what he has to say every time we talk. The first time we talked on the phone, we couldn’t believe the number of people we both mutually knew in the industry. That was a great building block for us to start out on and it helped break the ice easily. We’ve discussed booking, event marketing, “the deal” and the best ways to do “the deal,” and how important relationships are in booking and in this industry. I really expect when the formal IAVM mentor relationship is complete, I’ll still be calling Rob up to ask about whatever might be on my mind that particular day.