By R.V. Baugus
Somehow back in the day when we had an extra writer or two on the IAVM staff I ended up being the “obit guy.” Whenever we got word of an IAVM member’s passing, the call always came to me to follow up and write the obituary. I actually enjoyed the responsibility, even if it was in reporting some sad news for family and friends left to mourn a death. It gave me an opportunity to find out some more about the deceased, to gain some insight into his or her past and background.
More times than I can count, that discovery led to finding out that the person had served in some military capacity. It was not unusual to read that someone had gotten started in this industry only to leave it to serve the country and eventually return back to the public assembly venue industry.
What greater honor could a writer have than sharing the story of those who fight for our freedom and protect our country?
We are also an industry where the words War Memorial pop up frequently in venue names. In our IAVM membership alone, we have individuals from the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN, and War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Do any Internet search on venues with War Memorial in the name and you will find them all over the map.
All this comes to mind as another Veteran’s Day has come and gone in the United States. The day is one for reflection and to offer thanks to those who have and who do serve. While we wait for the next Veteran’s Day in 2020, I would suggest to not think of this as a one-day event, but on every occasion we have when we encounter a veteran to say thank you and offer kindness, which as fate has it came National Kindness Day right after Veteran’s Day.
I think back to my father-in-law who served aboard a Naval minesweeper named the USS Density in World War II. He passed away some five years ago and I regret not picking his brain more to know about everything he saw while in the Pacific. Some, I know, would churn my stomach, but when I think of him I think of the bravest of the brave.
As it relates to World War II, most who served are now deceased and most surviving are in their 90’s. If you have the opportunity still to sit down with one of these true heroes, please do, tell them thank you again, and ask what you can do for them after so much they have done for all of us.
By R.V. Baugus
While lounging on the sofa the other night watching an NFL game while at the same time nursing a cough that doubled as a bullhorn and sent the wife and dogs scurrying for cover every time I unleashed a booming salvo, I watched a play unfold that happens over and over again in football played at any level.
Quarterback takes the snap out of the shotgun formation. Defensive lineman sheds a block and comes barreling at the quarterback with bad intentions. Too pressed to even try and escape the oncoming freight train, quarterback just flips the ball forward to avoid not only a sack but possibly some lost teeth in the process. The referee standing behind the quarterback surveys the play and then tosses a yellow flag in the air. Uh oh.
“Intentional grounding, offense, number 12,” the ref shares with the world.
The call was correct in this instance, while there are other times when these types of calls can be strongly debated. That, friends, is not the point of what you have read up to this sentence.
As a sports fan, I have heard “intentional grounding” over and over for years without giving it too much thought. But in my Mucinex DM-induced stupor on the couch, the philosophical side of me came out.
Intentional grounding. Intentional grounding?
I am not even bothering to look up the definition of intentional before sharing with you that MY short definition of it is … purposeful. There, that’s it.
The quarterback purposefully made his play to avoid a worse scenario, even at the risk of a penalty.
Intentional comes up a lot these days in our industry when it comes to hiring, promoting, seeking speakers for conferences, etc. I want to credit Julia Slocombe, the past co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusive Leadership Committee, for being the first that these ears heard use the word intentional to drive home a point.
“We need to be intentional going forward as an association and an industry when it comes to people and making decisions,” I would paraphrase Julia.
Intentional goes so far past “lip service” that it isn’t even funny. I am sure you remember hiring quotas, which for the most part meant satisfying numbers. I am not saying that was wrong or bad and to the contrary was a step in the right direction, but organizations were still not INTENTIONAL in seeking out pools of candidates. Does “we have to meet quota” sound like intentional hiring?
I believe that we as IAVM and we as an industry are engaged more than ever on that path of intentionality. There is much greater demonstration on the front end to seek out more diversity and inclusion at IAVM’s various conferences, and we rely a great deal on suggestions from members.
It appears, too, from the news releases and emails that I receive that a greater talent pool of diverse individuals are not only finding their way into jobs, but more are actually taking on top positions. This is momentum that must be continued going forward and requires us all to be, yes, intentional, and not take the foot off the brake.
I would never expect a quarterback to turn around to a referee and mutter, “But ref, I was at least being intentional.”
Bad thing in football, good thing in the workforce of today and tomorrow.
By J.B. Bird
The University of Texas at Austin’s new basketball arena and events center will be named Moody Center in honor of a $130 million grant to UT from the Moody Foundation, which has generously supported universities, libraries, museums and hospitals across Texas for more than 75 years.
The grant to support Texas Athletics is the single largest gift from a foundation in the university’s history and brings to more than $200 million the donations to UT Austin from the Galveston-based foundation. Previously, the foundation contributed $50 million to support the Moody College of Communication and $20 million to reimagine and transform the exterior spaces at the Blanton Museum of Art. Overall, the foundation has contributed more than $260 million to institutions in the University of Texas System.
It is also among the largest gifts ever made to any university for a new arena. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Moody Center will be held Dec. 3 at the site of the arena south of Mike A. Myers Stadium. The Moody Center is expected to open in 2022.
“The Moody Center signals a new era for UT and Austin, providing fans and citizens the world-class experience they deserve in the world-class city we call home,” said Ross Moody, trustee of the Moody Foundation and chairman and CEO of National Western Life Group. “The Moody Foundation has a long history with this prestigious university and this wonderful community. We couldn’t be happier to partner with UT in this transformative gift to benefit future generations of Longhorns and Texans.”
Founded in 1942 by W.L. Moody Jr. and Libbie Shearn Moody, the Moody Foundation has made more than $1.7 billion in grants throughout Texas to organizations that have educated, healed, nurtured and inspired generations of Texans. It is the largest philanthropic foundation in the state of Texas.
“The Moody Foundation and its trustees — Elle Moody, Ross Moody and Francie Moody-Dahlberg — continue to transform our university so we can better serve our students, community and the state. There is no more fitting Texas name for a world-class arena in the heart of our campus than ‘Moody,’” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “This will be a state-of-the-art events center that will serve Texas’ student-athletes and benefit the entire Austin community. I am grateful to the Moodys for their generosity.”
“When the Moody Center opens, it will be the finest college basketball arena in the country, hands down, as well as an unbelievable concert and entertainment venue for the entire city of Austin,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte said. “We cannot thank the Moody family and the Moody Foundation enough for their historic gift to The University of Texas.”
In December 2018, the university and a group led by the Oak View Group announced plans to build the arena on campus to be home to Texas Men’s and Women’s basketball games, and graduations, concerts and other events for the Austin community.
The Moody Center will replace the 42-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center, which will make way for the future expansion of the Dell Medical School.
The 10,000-seat arena will provide an intimate, state-of-the-art men’s and women’s Longhorn basketball fan experience and feature student seating surrounding the court. Much like the Erwin Center, the new venue will be a prime location for university, campus, community and high school events. Additionally, the new arena is designed to expand to 15,000 seats and will provide a world-class venue for touring concerts and shows.
J.B. Bird is in University Communications at the University of Texas at Austin
Photo courtesy of University of Texas at Austin
By Michelle Riehle-Ludtke
The Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), owned by the City of Los Angeles and managed by ASM Global, announced the appointment of Scott Banks as the new Vice President of Security & Guest Services and Patrick Smart as the new General Manager of Taste of LA by Levy at the LACC.
Banks joins the LACC from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA, where he most recently served as the Director of Security & Guest Services. During his 16-year tenure, Banks rose from a part-time security officer to his most recent position.
Patrick Smart brings 19 years of catering experience to the LACC. He most recently served as the Director of Sales at ARAMARK at the Anaheim Convention Center for the past 12 years.
“Scott and Patrick are both remarkable additions to our executive team,” said Ellen Schwartz, General Manager, LACC. “They both bring valuable experience to the LACC and I’m excited about what we will accomplish together.”
Michelle Riehle-Ludtke is Marketing & Community Relations Specialist for the Los Angeles Convention Center.
By Lauren Andrews
Edmonton Economic Development announced the appointment of Emma Pietroleonardo as General Manager of the Edmonton Convention Centre and Olaf Miede as the General Manager of the Edmonton EXPO Centre.
“After a competitive recruitment and selection process, we are excited to welcome both Emma and Olaf to the EEDC family as the general managers of our two venues,” said Arlindo Gomes, Vice President, Venue Management, EEDC. “Both Emma and Olaf’s experience, leadership, community engagement and operating performance will support our venue teams as we continue to drive economic and social prosperity in our region.”
“It is a privilege to join a passionate team of professionals who have worked hard to position the Edmonton Convention Centre among North America’s top performing public assembly venues,” Pietroleonardo said. “I look forward to building upon the Centre’s reputation for service excellence, culinary expertise and dedication to sustainability.”
“It’s an exciting time to join this dynamic venue as we continue to lead the way in driving operational efficiencies and delivering exceptional experiences for our clients and guests,” Miede said. “I am honored to contribute to an established team of public stewards who welcome and serve millions of guests each year.”
Pietroleonardo comes to the Edmonton Convention Centre with extensive operational and leadership experience in the venue and hospitality industries. She has previously held leadership roles with the Royal Hotel Group, providing oversight of six full-service hotels across Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Miede’s career in the hospitality and venues industries spans more than 20 years and includes operational and leadership positions within hospitality properties across Western Canada. Prior to joining the Edmonton EXPO Centre, Miede served as General Manager of Hotels on Whyte.
Lauren Andrews is Marketing & Communications Manager, Venues, Edmonton Economic Development.