The next installment of the YP Connection will feature U.S. Bank Stadium’s Director of Event Services, Billy Langenstein. Langenstein, 29, helped open the brand new home to the Minnesota Vikings and will play host to SuperBowl LII this February. Previous to his current role Langenstein was the Director of Event Operations for the Washington Nationals.
Sign up to be one of 8 google hangout participants to share the room with our special guest as well as your host, past YP Committee Chair, Mac Campbell, CVP.
Join the conversation to pick the brain of this rising star in sports venue management. Learn about his suggestions on how to set yourself up for success early in your career, how he has furthered his education since his undergraduate degree and hear the stories about learning a brand-new building while planning for the biggest sporting event of the year. Please register today and let us know what questions you have or what topics you’d like for us to discuss during this 45 minute conversation.
IAVM’s Young Professional Committee hosts the YP Connection to give face time with current and rising leaders in our industry to members under the age of 30. It is our hope that these small group sessions create networking and educational opportunities that would not be as readily available to these members at this stage in their careers.
Richard Andersen, CFE, sat in the crowd last Thursday evening with fellow instructors and students for closing remarks of the 2017 Venue Management School (VMS) at Oglebay from Board of Regents Chair Cheryl Swanson, CFE. Part of those remarks would include the announcement of the recipient of the Ray Ward Award, bestowed upon an individual associated with VMS whose dedicated service and extraordinary contributions over a period of at least six years have resulted in significant and long lasting improvements to the overall success and quality of the school. The award was created and initially presented to namesake and industry icon Ray Ward in August 1996.
“Cheryl was literally up at the podium making some remarks,” Andersen said. “She said a couple of things and the next thing I heard was my name. That made me realize, that, wow, this is something. A couple of people sitting at my table looked at me and were also like, wow! I was really humbled, truly humbled. I had a really hard time finding words to even speak to what had just happened.”
What had just happened was the recognition of Andersen into a most select group of individuals, a group that volunteers time, effort and energy into IAVM’s premier educational school that builds future industry leaders. Andersen, President & Chief Executive Officer of Seafair, the premier festival management company of the Pacific Northwest based in Seattle, is in his own right an Oglebay icon. As a Past Chair and ongoing faculty member, Andersen holds the school in high regard.
“The real piece around this was that the part of IAVM that I love more or I’ve been more honored to be a part of is that school,” Andersen said. “To have an opportunity to say a few words to the students about what it’s like to be a part of the faculty there, what it’s like to be a part of that energy and really only the people that go to that school can really understand this. There’s no way to explain to somebody just how amazing it is.”
The Pennsylvania Convention Center and public assembly venue industry deeply mourns the loss of Ahmeenah Young, the venue’s trailblazing first African American and first female president and chief executive officer. She passed away on Friday, June 2, at her Philadelphia home at age 69. Young was an IAVM member from 2010-14.
“Ahmeenah Young dedicated her life to serving the hospitality and meetings industry in Philadelphia and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Gregory J. Fox, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority’s Board of Directors. “Ahmeenah’s legacy continues in the footsteps of other women in our industry, our breathtaking art collection, and in the robust life and prosperity of the Convention Center.”
“Ahmeenah was a talented lady with a tremendous passion for our industry and deep compassion for her team and the community she served,” added Carol Wallace, a former IAVM president (now chair) and now president and CEO of Carol Wallace & Associates. “Her vision and love of life will be truly missed.”
“I first met Ahmeenah at the IAVM (then IAAM) conference held in Philadelphia,” said Mina Boyd, another industry veteran and friend of Young’s. “I was very impressed with her enthusiasm, professionalism and sincere display of love for the industry. I saw her from time to time at other conferences, and she always displayed that same infectious personality. I didn’t have an opportunity to actually get to know her until I faced a career challenge. Even though she could have looked the other way as some did, she sought me out with compassion and professional advice. I treasured the inspirational time that she shared with me during a very difficult period in my life. Ahmeenah proved over and over to be an exceptional asset to the industry, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to have known her.”
“I had the pleasure and honor to work under the leadership of Ahmeenah Young while she served in the role of Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing at the Pennsylvania Convention Center back in in 1994, one year after its opening,” said Samuel R. Thomas Jr., Senior Vice President and General Manager, Events DC, Walter E. Washington Convention Center. “At the time, I served in the role of Director of Sales for Aramark Corporation, the exclusive food service provider at the center. This was my first position working in convention centers after having worked in hotels for the previous 10 years.
“Upon my arrival and as I settled into my position, I quickly learned how influential Ahmeenah was to the tourism and hospitality community. Not only did I find her to be such an influential and inspiring presence locally, but her influence was felt nationally. Ahemeenah was a pioneer in the true sense of the word. She understood that in an industry, where there were not many other women of color leading at her level, how important it was for her to be a positive example for many of us to follow. She was a sophisticated women who served others with honor and dignity. She was passionate about making sure others succeed and using her platform to help open the doors for many other young woman and African Americans who desired to follow her footsteps. She was a mentor to many, and inspiring to more.”
Young’s impact on the Pennsylvania Convention Center spans its existence. Young, Meryl Levitz, now president & CEO of Visit Philadelphia, and former Gov. Ed Rendell were among the city leaders who helped to launch the opening of the Convention Center during 12 days of special events that coincided with the first Welcome America celebration in 1993. A highlight of those events for Young came when anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela and President F. W. de Klerk of South Africa received Liberty Medals at a ceremony where they were joined by President Bill Clinton.
Young served in various positions at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, including Executive Vice President & General Manager and Executive Vice President of External Affairs. Young also worked in the private sector as an entrepreneur before she became the fifth president of the Center in September 2008, serving through December 2013.
As President, Young stewarded the opening of the $787 million expansion In March 2011, ensuring that women, minorities, disadvantaged and small business owners received almost one-third of the project’s contracts. The expansion was the largest project in the history of the Commonwealth and it made the Convention Center the leading economic engine for the region’s hospitality industry.
At the Center, Young had oversight of the day-to-day operation of the two-milllion-square-foot facility and fiscal management of its $35 million budget.
After leaving the Convention Center in 2013, she participated on the Center’s Expansion Art Project Committee, working with fine arts organizations throughout the Commonwealth to select and oversee the installation of 70 additional pieces of art in the building. Governor Tom Wolf appointed Young to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board last October.
“Ahmeenah is a part of our legacy of fair employment, diversity and inclusion,” Fox said. “She will be deeply missed by the staff at the Center, as well as her many friends throughout the region and state in the hospitality industry.”
Young is survived by a daughter, Asiya Young; a son, Pakeso Young; and grandsons, Kumasi Mandela Young and Ayinde Young.
For those members eligible to cast a vote but have not yet done so, please be aware that final voting for the One Member, One Vote issue ends this Saturday, June 17. Make your vote known by exercising your right and casting your ballot.
One Member, One Vote, is an initiative that followed extensive study, review and open discussion over the last two years and which was unanimously voted on by the IAVM Board of Directors to bring forward proposed changes to the bylaws that would make the Association more inclusive and diverse in its decision making.
As a means to incorporate the perspective of all IAVM members, these changes would allow every member of IAVM equal opportunity to engage in the Association through the right to vote. These proposed changes must be approved by two-thirds of the current voting members of IAVM.
For the past seven weeks, IAVM News has spotlighted various individuals and their comments about One Member, One Vote. These individuals include past IAVM chairs, young professionals and Allied members, all of whom have a stake in the future business of the Association.
Ballots were sent by email to all eligible voting members. If you have not voted and unable to locate your ballot, please contact Rosanne Duke immediately at Rosanne.firstname.lastname@example.org to get a ballot and to vote on this very important item before the membership.
My wife, Tanya, was an event coordinator/planner for an organization called Coaches Outreach. Tanya was the person who handled all the logistics for the company’s six summer marriage conferences for high school coaching couples. This meant that she traveled every Thursday-Sunday for six consecutive weeks in the summer to be onsite for these important conferences that strengthen many couples’ marriages and in many cases save marriages. Coaches, like those of you in public assembly venues, work incredibly long hours, often to the detriment of healthy family relationships.
Tanya would have left yesterday to travel to T Bar M in New Braunfels, Texas, for a conference that begins this afternoon and runs through Sunday. She lived for these conferences despite the grueling hours and frequent travel. She got to renew many acquaintances with coaching couples and when she met first-time attendees she treated those people as if she had known them her entire life.
Tanya would have been an incredible event coordinator for you. Still, she was fulfilled working in a ministry for high school coaches and in a very small office of five. She had no assistants or others to help her carry out making sure food was hot and ready, that rooms were ready, that the A/V was working, that all registrations had been handled. She did this with incredible style and grace.
I received a phone call this morning on my cell phone from a coach who asked for Tanya regarding this weekend’s conference. As several of you know, Tanya passed away more than two years ago at age 48 during an angiogram day surgery procedure. She went in for the procedure and within two hours I was removing her from life support after a coronary dissection sent her blood flow off.
The phone call this morning jolted me — paralyzed me — as I answered and told the coach that Tanya was deceased. He still had her number to call and sounded very distressed at having called me. I assured him it was OK but he continued apologizing over and over. I further assured him that Tanya was watching over this weekend’s marriage conference. I just know she is. He continued apologizing.
We hung up and I took a deep breath. I had not thought much about this weekend’s Coaches Outreach marriage conference, but now it was the only thing on my mind. At this very moment Tanya would have been meeting with resort staff going over all logistics before attendees began registering in this afternoon. I attended one conference with her every summer and got to watch my angel in action. She was incredible. She is incredible.
I continue doing my best to move forward in life. We were taught in Grief Share class that those who tell you that your departed spouse (and those same people offering you advice) would want you to “move on” are terribly incorrect with those words. Indeed, we move FORWARD, we do not move ON. You do not move on from losing someone you shared life with for almost 25 years. You do attempt your very best to move forward.
IAVM has helped me move forward. You have helped me move forward. You have helped me to know better the event planning and event coordinating I need to do in my own life.
Treasure your relationships, whether it is with your spouse, partner, family, friends, anyone. I am grateful that Tanya was placed in my life to love for as long as we were together. Don’t get bogged down or frustrated by the “day-to-day” in your relationships. Those are inevitable. Just know that any day could literally be the last you have with that person you love the most. Treat that day as such.
I realize this blog does not help you run your business or your venue any better, but I decided to take a little editorial license by sharing these thoughts, personal as they are. If you ever find yourself in need of talking to someone about a loss, I am always here for you, just as so many of you have been for me throughout the years.