Our dear friend, Peggy Daidakis, is in our thoughts and prayers at this time following the passing of her beloved husband, Joe, on August 18. After sending a message of condolence to Peggy, she wrote back to express her thoughts about the many years she shared with the love of her life and to express her appreciation to her many, many IAVM friends.
“Thank you so much for your kind note. You are truly aware of what I am going through, as I recall our conversations when your dear wife passed away.
“We both lost our best friends and soul mates. It is so surreal right now. Joe was very private about his battle with Lymphoma. He was supposed to beat it; but instead it beat him.
“I am blessed to have my family, friends,and colleagues to encourage me to have the strength to carry on.
“Joe and I knew each other for 47 years and were married for 37. He so enjoyed traveling with me to industry conferences, particularly IAVM. So many people expected to see him at the functions and expressed disappointment if he skipped one. Everyone enjoyed his company and he could always find some topic to connect with anyone at any time. I always found it amusing when he would be introduced as Joe Daidakis (instead of his name, Joe Werner). We were truly one – we did everything together, enjoyed our friendship, partnership,and love for each other. He loved so many things, but most especially the performing arts – opera, choral,and symphonic music and theater.
“I am fortunate to have a very close connection with his son and daughter and the grandsons here in Baltimore. My family and his were virtually one.”
Joseph Louis Werner, Jr., beloved husband of Peggy Daidakis Werner; devoted father of Tracy Werner Rammacca and her husband Joseph David Rammacca, and Brian Joseph Werner; cherished grandfather of Andrew Joseph Rammacca, Michael Patrick Rammacca, David Louis Rammacca, Abigail Catherine Werner, Olivia Caroline Werner, and Grace Elizabeth Werner; dear brother of James Henry Werner.
Donations may be made in Joseph’s name to Peabody Conservatory Opera department, Everyman Theatre, or BARCS, and would be appreciated.
Industry veteran and long-time IAVM member John Robertson, CVE, will retire from his position as general manager of the Charleston (WV) Coliseum & Convention Center on October 23. IAVM invited this industry legend and friend to share thoughts about his career and relationships built within IAVM.
By John D. Robertson, CVE
I started working in the public facility management industry in 1978. I can still remember my interview for the job as assistant manager. I was 26-years-old and it would be my second job out of college. I drove up to the circle in front of the building only to be followed by the police, who cited me for driving with an expired inspection sticker. The office staff were all gathered at the large windows watching my embarrassing experience.
I thought that it was the end of that opportunity. The general manager put me at ease and laughed it off.
General Manager Chuck Kinder immediately exposed me to IAVM. I clearly remember him instructing me that if we ever received telephone calls from another building to return the call ASAP because they may need information or assistance. He went on to say that we may find ourselves in the same position. I carried this through my entire career.
My first annual conference was to Houston, Texas, in 1979, and I have attended every other convention except for two years. One of the things that struck me was at the business meeting the “principal” members were seated at the front of the room and other subordinate members were seated theater style in the back. We could not speak. The industry was controlled by the good old boy network and in many locales the positions of leadership in facilities was based on who you knew and not what you knew. The organization was much smaller.
I have watched the evolution of our industry which has been so dramatically influenced by IAVM. IAVM is member-driven and has been so responsible for making this work a professional occupation. The organization has provided so much opportunity for continuing education and networking which has impacted the members. These valued opportunities have only multiplied and have contributed to our expanded membership.
In the early days we operated with a contracted association management firm on a part-time basis. We moved to the employment of a full-time executive basically working by himself. Now we have a large full-time staff capable of delivering the services that allow us to adequately respond to the needs of our membership.
We have added incentive to our membership by allowing for professional certifications. In 1990 I received the designation of CFE. At that time less than 200 members had received it. Since that time we have improved the program and encouraged public assembly facility managers to seek this career milestone. Additionally, we now offer the CVP designed to encourage and recognize up and coming industry professionals. This achievement was a crowning achievement in my career.
I was selected by my peers in District 2 to serve on the International Board in 1996-1998. During this time the Board made the decision to build our own headquarters – a significant stretch at the time. I also served under our first female Chair of the modern era, Doris Stovall. I again served as a member of the Board from 2015-2018. Doug Booher selected me to serve on the Executive Committee in 2018 and I shall forever be grateful for that experience. During those years we established a new governance process for the Association, changed the name, and hired Brad Mayne.
During my time in the industry I hosted three district/region meetings. We were able to bring together Regions 1, 2, 3, and 5 for the first time in a “Super Region” meeting which I believe has proven beneficial in providing the critical mass necessary to deliver a good educational opportunity.
Yes, I have seen an evolution in our industry and Association. This evolution has provided diversity in membership and leadership. All members now have a vote, including our valued Allied members. IAVM now is recognized as a leader among all professional associations and is a respected spokesperson for our industry.
Most of all I cherish the lasting friendships I have developed over the years from fellow members. If I needed something I knew they had my back. I met my wife Kim in 1981 while working on the Inaugural Ball we hosted for Governor Jay Rockefeller. The lives of our children have been profoundly enriched by being exposed to activities and events in “Dad’s Building.” We invested more than $140 million dollars in capital improvements during my tenure.
But probably the most satisfaction was in a letter I received from a young professional that worked in our facility. It said in part: “A boss is just one word to describe our professional relationship but you were much more to me than just a boss. You were a mentor, a leader, and a friend. I believe that when I first met you in the lobby you saw something in me that I did not know I could accomplish at the time. I hope one day I can give someone the same opportunities that you gave me.”
I cried. This is the biggest tribute we can receive. Each member probably does this each day. Be a mentor to a young professional and it will forever impact our Association.
By Financial Post
AEG Facilities, LLC, the venue management affiliate of Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., and SMG, a portfolio company of Onex and its affiliated funds, announced they completed their business combination to create a new, standalone global facility management and venue services company, ASM Global.
ASM is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, with key operations based in West Conshohocken, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. The company also has corporate offices in London, England; Manchester, England; Brisbane, Australia; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. ASM operates a diversified portfolio of arenas, stadiums, convention and exhibition centers, performing arts centers, theaters, and other venues with more than 300 facilities across five continents.
Bob Newman, former President of AEG Facilities, has been named President and CEO of ASM, effective immediately. Prior to joining AEG Facilities, Newman spent more than 20 years at SMG, last serving as a regional Vice President for the company. Wes Westley, former CEO and President of SMG, will focus his efforts on key strategic growth initiatives and ensuring a seamless integration.
“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our industry and one that will establish a new standard of excellence in managing live experiences,” Newman said. “Bringing together the combined global expertise of each company with the best content and cutting-edge technologies, we will be able to realize the full potential of the world’s greatest spaces, places and events, create amazing experiences for guests, offer exciting new opportunities to employees and deliver the highest value for all stakeholders. Equally important, our deep bench of talent and shared resources will enable ASM to accelerate innovation and capitalize on the growing market opportunities.”
“I am very proud to have had the opportunity to lead such an incredible organization as SMG,” Westley said. “We have a long history of working closely with our public and private partners and are confident in our ability to continue to meet and exceed their expectations. ASM’s focus moving forward will be on providing added value and best-in-class services to its customers. We are well-prepared for a seamless integration process.”
Onex, AEG and their respective affiliates are contributing their entire equity investments in SMG and AEG Facilities, respectively, into the combined business and are now equal co-owners of ASM.
By Jana DeGeorge
On Thursday, October 3, Simmons Bank assumed naming rights to Verizon Arena, which is now Simmons Bank Arena. The event comes nearly a year after the bank’s November 2018 announcement of a $10.5 million deal to acquire naming rights to the 18,000 seat multi-purpose arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
New branding will be seen in-venue on apparel, cups, napkins and banners, as well as on the venue’s website and social media handles as of October 3. Simmons-branded signage is expected to be installed later this year.
“The Arena is a beacon for economic vitality, culture and world-class entertainment in Arkansas,” said George Makris, chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corporation. “Simmons is proud to join our name with an organization that helps our home state flourish by driving commerce and creating shared experiences.”
“As we start our third decade, the Arena Board is excited to begin this new partnership with Simmons Bank, said Rett Tucker, chair of the Arena Board. “It will enable the Arena to continue to be one of the best entertainment venues in the country.”
The official name change coincides with the Arena’s 20th anniversary, a milestone that the organization is celebrating with a variety of events hosted throughout the month and a commemorative poster.
With more than 400,000 guests each year, the Arena has hosted hundreds of top industry artists such as Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Eagles, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder and many others. In addition, the Arena has welcomed many family shows and sporting events including Disney on Ice, Cirque Du Soleil, Harlem Globetrotters, Monster Jam, and the Arkansas Razorbacks.
To celebrate the name change, Simmons Bank launched a Facebook contest on October 3 to give away two free tickets to the October 25 Eric Church concert – one of the first events at Simmons Bank Arena.
Jana DeGeorge is director of marketing at Simmons Bank Arena.
By Stacie Bauer
Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) is joining the Ungerboeck community, having chosen the software provider after a two-year review process, as its event booking and venue management solution. In 2018, the MCCA hosted 315 events at the BCEC and Hynes with 800,000 attendees, generating 646,000 hotel room nights and generated $870 million in regional economic impact. The MCCA will implement Ungerboeck’s “best of breed” exhibitor eCommerce and service delivery suite as part of the Authority’s continued commitment to customer service excellence.
“In selecting Ungerboeck, we knew we had a partner that has earned the confidence of the meetings and events industry,” said David Gibbons, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. “Our venues are known throughout the industry for their robust technology profile. We are living up to our reputation by adding Ungerbock’s reliable, flexible, and scalable event services platform for planners and exhibitors coming to Boston.”
“We are proud to call MCCA part of the Ungerboeck community,” said Manish Chandak, President and CEO of Ungerboeck. “Not only does MCCA play a key role in Boston and the Northeast region but they are also a premier global destination in the convention and exhibition industry. Our platform will help fuel MCCA’s continued growth and integrate with MCCA’s other complementary systems.”
Stacie Bauer is Event & Sponsorship Coordinator for Ungerboeck.