Private management industry pioneer Denzil Skinner, 91, of Williamsburg, VA, passed away on April 4 after a battle with cancer.
He was the son of Coy and Iola Skinner of Normantown, West Virginia. His early education was in a one room schoolhouse in depression riddled West Virginia. He graduated high school at the age of 16 and soon thereafter joined the US Army. After military service in the Pacific and supporting occupation forces in Japan, he married Maxine Wilmoth, the love of his life for 71 plus years. To this union, two children, David Olen Skinner of Houston, TX, and Lois Faye Skinner Noah (deceased in 2002), were born, plus seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Denzil returned to West Virginia and taught school in the one room schoolhouse. After graduation from Glenville State College (where he was later honored as an alumnus of the year), he was a school principal before joining the Boy Scouts of America as a Field Director. He was later honored as a recipient of Scouting’s Silver Beaver Award which is BSA’s highest award for volunteer work.
In 1960 he entered the sports arena/convention center management field and served as the general manager of venues in Charleston, West Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia and Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1977 he joined with A. N. Pritzker of Chicago to negotiate a management agreement with the State of Louisiana for the complete control of the Louisiana Superdome. Skinner and Pritzker later formed Facility Management Group (FMG) which was the first, and became the world’s largest, management firm of public assembly facilities. Skinner served as President and CEO as the company expanded to venues in New York, Maryland, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, California, and numerous international consulting arrangements. While using Superdome influence and financing, he helped established TicketMaster, whose success, along with the Superdome, has become legendary. Today, the beneficial successor of FMG enjoys much continued international success. He retired with founders shares in 1988.
“Denzil was one of the leaders of our industry in his day,” said John Robertson, CVE, executive director, Charleston (WV) Coliseum & Convention Center. “When I came into the industry in 1978, Denzil was recognized as a leader in the industry. He was recognized as an innovator. He served as a mentor for a good many persons that later came to be managers and executives in our industry.”
“Denzil was a legend and working with him was legendary as well,” added Chris Bigelow, FCSI, CFSP, The Bigelow Companies, Inc.
Skinner was featured in Time Magazine as one of the most innovative and successful managers in the public assembly management industry. He retired to his farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where Denzil continued as a consultant to design architects, engineers, and owners of coliseums, convention centers, and stadiums throughout the world. Skinner served many terms on the Board of Directors of the IAVM.
In addition to his love of golf, nothing gave him more pleasure than his family, and he delighted in their success. He was most proud of the fact that so many of his former associates became managers of major sports, entertainment, and convention venues throughout the world.
Denzil and Maxine were life-long Baptists with membership in the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis. In Williamsburg they attended Walnut Hills Baptist Church.
Denzil was preceded in death by his daughter, Faye, a brother, Ken Skinner, of Nashville, TN, and a son-in-law, Mike Noah of Ocean City, MD. In addition to Maxine, he is survived by his son David, a sister, Wave Meeks, of LeGrange, OH, his grand children and great-grandchildren.
Kim Stone’s talents are obvious, and the Golden State Warriors and their new upcoming home Chase Center recognized that as the venue management professional and Executive Vice President of Business Development for the Miami Heat and American Airlines Arena was named General Manager of the new facility in the Bay Area.
Stone, whose profile story was shared in the March/April Facility Manager, brings her wealth of experience to the position in which she has direct oversight for all operations at the venue.
“Kim’s experience crosses most every aspect of the sports and entertainment industry,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts in a release. “Chase Center will be a global destination and Kim’s vision and experience in guiding a world-class venue will add to the fan experience we aspire to deliver every day.”
Before being named EVP of Business Development last October, Stone served for 12 years as General Manager in Miami and led an arena that played host to four consecutive NBA Finals and was a top producer for concerts.
“I view this as an opportunity of a lifetime to join an extremely talented group of individuals who are creating this incredible state-of-the art venue in San Francisco,” Stone said in a statement. “Chase Center will not only serve as home of the NBA Champion Warriors, but also the biggest acts in entertainment as we aim to make this arena an international destination. Thanks to the vision of Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and Rick Welts, we hope to reimagine the event experience and create unparalleled excitement for the Bay Area and, really, the world.”
This will mark her first move to the West Coast. Stone has called Miami home for most of her professional career, save for two years when she served as Sports Publicity Director for the University of Texas women’s athletics department from 1992-94.
Stone’s accolades are varied and numerous. In 2013, Venues Today named her to their “Women of Influence” list and the Sports Business Journal has recognized her talents twice: as a “2016 Game Changer” and in June 2017 as a “Power Player In Venue Management.” In the summer of 2009, the South Florida Business Journal honored Stone as part of its inaugural class of “Influential Business Women.” And in 2014, Stone’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communications, inducted her into their Hall of Fame.
The NBA Cleveland Cavaliers have named Cleveland-native Kevin Clayton as Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement, a newly created position for all organizational properties including the NBA Cavaliers, AHL Cleveland Monsters, G-League Canton Charge, AFL Cleveland Gladiators, NBA 2KL Cavs Legion, and Quicken Loans Arena.
In his new role Clayton will lead the strategy, program planning, and execution for diversity and inclusion initiatives to strengthen and expand the organization’s efforts to maintain a robust, welcoming, and inclusive workplace culture. He will also work closely with the organization’s senior leadership group and serve as a mentor, promoting additional educational programs and perspectives on the importance and value of diversity and inclusion throughout the organization. In addition to facilitating a deeper engagement internally, Clayton will also work to further enrich the organization’s community relationships externally.
The Cavaliers have a long-standing respect and appreciation for diversity and inclusion. The team is proud to have one of the highest minority full staff percentages across all major league sports, as well as ranking in the NBA’s top five franchises for women and women of color at the Vice President level and above. Additional efforts were recognized in 2018 when the team was awarded the “Best-in-Class Award” for Senior Management Diversity by the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP).
Clayton comes to the Cavs from Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati, where he served as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Prior to that, Clayton was the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the United States Tennis Association. He also served as the Corporate Vice President of Global Diversity at Russell Corporation and as the National Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion with the American Cancer Society.
Clayton earned his Bachelor of Arts in business administration and psychology from Wilmington College (Ohio). He has four daughters, a granddaughter and a grandson.
Corey James will also step into a new role as Senior Manager of Community Engagement and Foundation Development. He begins his 12th year with the Cavaliers organization in this new position after spending the last five seasons as the Senior Manager of Partnership Marketing. James originally joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as a Ticket Sales Account Executive in June 2007.
James’ heavy involvement and leadership with the Cavaliers annual Black Heritage Celebration and the Marcus Graham Project, an organization whose mission is to create opportunities for diverse individuals in the fields of media, marketing and advertising, has helped inspire and lead him into this new role, where he will continue to use his passion for engaging underrepresented groups.
James is a graduate of The Ohio State University. He currently serves on the board of the Ohio State Alumni Association and Associate Board of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. He is also active with Black Sports Professionals (BSP), The Real Black Friday and is a member of Kaleidoscope Magazine’s 40/40 Club.
“The Cavaliers understand that strong and focused diversity and inclusion efforts are critical for success and we are going to take our existing internal and external engagement to an even more dynamic level,” said Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski. “We welcome Kevin and Corey into their new roles as we continue to increase our business-wide support and programming with respect to this very important and impactful area of our organizational culture.”
The Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), owned by the City of Los Angeles and managed by AEG Facilities, was recently honored with the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge (LABBC) Innovation Award for its significant energy savings.
Recognized in the public buildings category as the “Walk the Walk Energy Award” recipient for achieving the most significant, ongoing energy savings and demonstrating innovative strategy, the LACC was honored at the fifth annual award ceremony on March 27, 2019 at The California Endowment in Los Angeles.
“The Convention Center isn’t just talking the talk; when it comes to sustainability, they’re walking the walk,” said David Hodgins, Executive Director, LABBC.
The LACC was acknowledged for its 2.21 megawatt solar panel array, bringing the facility’s total solar power to 2.58 megawatts, making it the nation’s largest array on a municipal convention center. Since April 2018, the array has generated more than 3.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) and reduced facility energy use by 11.4 percent.
“Mayor Eric Garcetti has set the goal of making Los Angeles the most sustainable city in the United States,” said Doane Liu, Executive Director, City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development. “We are proud that the Los Angeles Convention Center is committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner and is continuously seeking ways to reduce our environmental footprint and promote sustainable efforts within the tourism industry and with the millions of visitors to our great city.”
Other acclaimed LACC initiatives include the upgrade of more than 3,000 interior and exterior lights to LED lamps, saving over 1.5 million kilowatt hours annually and the installation of a 525,000-square-foot “cool roof” that reflects sunlight and heat away from the building.
The LACC team credits their success in sustainability to being innovative, leading by example and utilizing all resources. “Clear goals and a 100 percent commitment drive the team’s formula for success which includes buy-in from all stakeholders,” said Estella Flores, Interim Vice President of Operations, LACC. “As sustainability is ever growing and changing, we must embrace change and build the road to a sustainable future.”
Under the management of AEG Facilities and by employing AEG 1EARTH strategies, the LACC has elevated and expanded its sustainable practices with the goal of decreasing its carbon footprint across five areas: Energy and Climate, Water, Waste and Recycling, Responsible Purchasing, and Education and Communication.
“We are honored to be recognized by LABBC for our energy conservation efforts,” said Ellen Schwartz, General Manager, LACC. “This award is a perfect celebration of the one-year anniversary of the solar array project and all of its success.”
In continuation of the LACC’s sustainability education and engagement, the facility will go dark for one hour on Saturday, May 30 in honor of World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., the LACC will turn off its nonessential lights to join millions of individuals and organizations in support of climate action and protecting nature.
For more information, contact Michelle Riehle-Ludtke at email@example.com.
Comcast Spectacor, The Cordish Companies and Populous announced plans for a $50 million, next-generation esports and entertainment venue in the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex. Fusion Arena, future home to the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, will sit up to 3,500 guests and stand as the western hemisphere’s largest ground-up, purpose-built esports venue. In addition to serving as a premier destination for competitive gaming events and elite training, Fusion Arena’s flexible and adaptable design lends the opportunity for 365-day activation to host a variety of live entertainment programming and experiences, truly a first-of-its-kind venue for the next-generation consumer.
“Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market,” said Populous Senior Principal Brian Mirakian. “We’re taking our 36 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports – settings like Yankee Stadium – and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”
Eliciting the venue’s first wow is the arena’s exterior, a sleek and dynamic skin that draws inspiration from the hardware powering esports’ meteoric rise around the globe. The incorporation of industrial materials throughout Fusion Arena’s design pays tribute to Philadelphia’s heritage as the “workshop of the world.” A captivating 6,000-square-foot public entry will greet guests as they enter the space with 2,000 square feet of interactive media surface hovering 30 feet above them.
The arena itself will offer unique seating experiences such as balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites. Additionally, nearly 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio and team offices. The training facility separates the Fusion from the pack, offering an unrivaled experience and development opportunities for players.
“We’re thrilled to introduce a venue like no other as we move forward with the next phase of development within the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” said Dave Scott, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Spectacor. “Fusion Arena gives esports fans a best-in-class venue to call home and be proud of. Beyond competitive gaming, it’s a stunning facility that will host a wide array of events.”
“Fusion Arena will set the gold standard for competitive gaming and debut on one of the country’s most exciting platforms of sports and entertainment amid Philadelphia’s Sports Complex,” said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies. “Today’s announcement marks an exciting moment for the Comcast Spectacor-Cordish partnership as the next phase of Xfinity Live! continues to unfold.”
“We are thrilled to bring this ambitious idea to life and celebrate the arrival of Fusion Arena with gaming enthusiasts throughout the region and beyond,” said Joe Marsh, Chief Business Officer of Spectacor Gaming and the Philadelphia Fusion. “This project places esports alongside all the major traditional sports that call South Philadelphia home.”
Construction on Fusion Arena is set to begin this summer. Fusion Arena continues Populous’ global footprint in esports venue design. Populous debuted Esports Stadium Arlington in November, the most robust esports venue in North America. And earlier this month, Brian Mirakian spoke at SXSW and discussed how esports venues can bring cities and sports teams new revenue streams, increased commerce and development and reinvigorated neighborhoods.