This year’s IAVM Venue Management School at Oglebay is not only special because it celebrates its 30th anniversary, but will get a boost with the addition of Rebecca Barry, head of human resources at Perth Stadium in Burswood, Western Australia, who comes as a guest instructor for the school.
“I have the privilege of delivering the sessions for the subject Delivering Human Resources, borrowing the subject from the very great Kim Bedier for this year,” she said.
The subject matter is one obviously close to Barry in her own professional capacity. She has taken her basic knowledge to Australia’s Venue Management Association (VMA) School, where students are able to better grasp all the nuances surrounding the often nebulous term of human resources.
“Having been in HR in venues for many years, I have supported our Australian School by enrolling students in the School because the difference it makes to them, professionally, is amazing,” Barry said. “Additionally, I am currently a Committee member of the Australian School and have been for two years. I have been an instructor at the Australian school for three years.
As Barry prepares for her newest adventure speaking before a different crowd, she cites the fact that she too will gain an education in a new way.
“I can’t wait to learn about the American venues, the challenges faced and meeting some wonderful people,” she said. “I have really enjoyed meeting the visiting instructors to the Australian school over the past few years.”
Barry understands whether she is speaking before an American audience or back home in Australia, the value of professional development at the schools goes far beyond dollars and cents.
“Any school is vitally important when it comes to educating our public assembly venue managers,” she said. “Last year I was appointed general manager, human resources for VenuesLive and Perth Stadium. I have 72 permanent staff to recruit and 2,200 casual staff. So far, in our permanent events and operations team, all but one are graduates of the Australian School.
“Graduating the School sets candidates apart and so far these appointments have been star performers – we are building a high performing team and the skill base of some of the key roles is critical. The VMS validates on-job experience and ensures a depth of understanding of the complexities and challenges of our venues and events. In a start-up, as we are at the new Perth Stadium, we have to get things right from the start, and the graduates are delivering beyond expectation. On top of that, the School brings the industry together and allows for stories to be shared, experiences to be learned from and relationships to be established and developed. Its very important in educating our current and future leaders and firming up industry links.”
Next week we look forward to introducing IAVM members to more individuals who are new to the VMS faculty.
Steve Peters, CFE, president of VenuWorks, announced the appointment of Valerie Devine as the new executive director of the VenuWorks-managed Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois.
“We are thrilled to announce Val as the new executive director of the Rialto Square Theatre,” Peters said. “She is exactly the confident and talented leader we had hoped to attract to this beautiful theatre. With her contagious energy, I have no doubt she will make a positive impact on the community and the venue.”
Devine, a 25-year industry veteran, joins VenuWorks after serving as the vice president of production of the Paramount Theatre, Copley Theatre and RiverEdge Park in Aurora, Illinois.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to join Venuworks and the beautiful Rialto Square Theatre during a new and exciting time for the organization,” Devine said. “I have had the privilege of witnessing first-hand the incredible impact that can come from a thriving and busy arts organization, particularly on a downtown. With the support of VenuWorks, the city of Joliet, the Rialto’s new board leadership, the staff and a tremendous group of volunteers – the possibilities are endless.”
“We were looking for someone who could appreciate the Rialto Square Theatre and its specialness within our community,” added Bob Filotte, Rialto authority board chair. “We also needed a director to provide leadership to the groups needed to make it
a success. We are pleased with VenuWorks’ choice of Val Devine.
Devine will begin her new position in Joliet on April 3rd.
Leading global companies like Apple, Amazon and Google have permanently raised expectations for seamless, cross-device user experiences. Having spent decades immersed in the tech industry, Ungerboeck Software CEO Manish Chandak has had front-row access to this transformation and the role technology has played in its development. “The ubiquity of mobile devices along with unprecedented access to information has turned expectations about how and when people make purchasing decisions completely inside out,” Chandak said. “In today’s global economy, consumer demand for a consistent and enhanced experience across all channels and touch points is high, regardless of whether they’re buying a car or registering for an event.”
As a direct response to this demand, Chandak has prioritized investment at Ungerboeck Software in product lines and solutions that allow events and venues to build the kind of dynamic digital experiences their customers want — easily and effectively. “We’ve been involved in the data management part of the process for a long time,” Chandak said. “What we’re focusing on now is the other side of the equation, namely how our clients can unlock the information already in their software to create a more seamless experience for their clients and improve their own efficiency.”
Among the solutions already available: integrated websites, digital signage, intelligent mobile applications and personalized registration experiences serve as standout examples of the organization’s strong commitment to this effort. “The same set of tools and resources our digital services team uses is now available to clients for independent use,” said Phil Sherer, Ungerboeck director of client services. “Whether you’re hosted on-premise or in the cloud, handling development on your own or leaving it to us, we’re making it as easy as possible for our customers to make the most of their software.”
On the digital horizon from Ungerboeck are out-of-the box integrations with popular third party solutions for ticketing, email marketing, demand generation and more. “We’re continuing to innovate and team up with our customers to create new solutions and experiences,” Chandak said. “And we’re also seeking out opportunities to work with relevant partners who can bring proven functionality to the table fast. Whatever we need to do to help our customers create targeted, data-driven, digital experiences, we’re going to do it.”
For additional information about digital solutions from Ungerboeck Software or any key features and benefits of the Ungerboeck system, please contact Stacie Bauer at 636-300-5606 or via email at email@example.com. Detailed product information is also available online at http://ungerboeck.com.
The Kentucky State Fair Board has undergone a new rebranding for its facilities and in-house produced events. Kentucky Venues is the new identity for the Kentucky Exposition Center, Kentucky International Convention Center, Kentucky State Fair, National Farm Machinery Show, North American International Livestock Exposition and Kentucky Hoopfest.
“This new brand identification more clearly states who we are and what we are: venues, events, entertainment and agriculture,” said President and CEO Jason Rittenberry. “Kentucky Venues plays a vital economic role in both the community and the Commonwealth. The rebranding includes the launch of a new name, logo and website, www.kyvenues.com.”
The Kentucky State Fair Board will continue to serve as the governing entity. Since the board was established in 1938 to produce the Kentucky State Fair, its business has grown to encompass two major convention facilities and in-house produced events – including the Kentucky State Fair, National Farm Machinery Show, North American International Livestock Exposition, Championship Tractor Pull, World’s Championship Horse Show, North American Championship Rode and Kentucky Hoopfest. These facilities are recognized as major economic drivers for the Commonwealth. An economic impact study from 2014 revealed that $483 million in annual economic impact stemmed from activities and events at the Kentucky Exposition Center and Kentucky International Convention Center.
“The agency is already recognized in the convention and tradeshow industry for operating major venues,” Rittenberry said. “But Kentucky Venues — and the renovation of the convention center — more strategically positions us to attract new business that wasn’t previously possible. The new brand also eliminates confusion arising over whether facilities are solely for Kentucky State Fair use.
“Kentucky Venues will remain true to the Kentucky State Fair Board’s mission: to advance Kentucky’s agriculture and tourism industries and economy while serving the entertainment, cultural and educational interests of the public. The new brand will enable us to achieve this more effectively and with more success, because Kentucky Venues clearly communicates who we are and what we do, and that’s a powerful tool in this competitive marketplace.”
By Paul Turner, CFE, CSSP
In January of this year AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, concluded its eighth NFL season. Since the stadium opened in June of 2009 as the new home of the Dallas Cowboys it has seen virtually every kind of event. Football, soccer, basketball, concerts, motor sports, conventions, gymnastics, the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the NBA All Star Game, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game, WrestleMania, live opera simulcasts and even women’s championship bowling. We have packed a lot into our first several years and we have made a lot of progress in learning how guests experience the building and figuring out the best way to manage operations.
So as we ended the 2016 NFL season and moved through our series of dirt events (Monster Jam, Supercross, Pro Bull Riders, The American Rodeo), I took a moment for self-reflection. Opening a venue – especially a stadium and one of the magnitude of AT&T Stadium – has been an incredible experience. In those early days we struggled, quickly moving from one event to another without much time to sort things out or plan for the future. Our staff would long for the days when all of the hard-earned experience was behind us and we “settled in” to running the facility. We desperately wanted to master all aspects of event planning and stadium operations and deliver “perfect” experiences to our guests and clients. And through a lot of hard work, experimentation and some measure of luck, we have done pretty well. We are not perfect – and we never will be – but I believe that we are consistently delivering on the promises we have made to ownership, our season ticket holders, our guests who attend the myriad of events, and our event clients. We have been profitable and we have shown that AT&T Stadium is a valuable community asset for the City of Arlington and North Texas.
In June it will be AT&T Stadium’s 8th anniversary. Our schedule of future events is starting to look familiar. NFL games. College football. High school football. Concerts. Motorsports. Recurring private convention events. What was a few years ago a novelty and the “next big challenge” has the appearance of being routine. We have done it before. We have the records from past events to fall back on. It was great the last time we did it, so let’s just do that again.
As I sit back and reflect on the last eight years, I get worried. The confidence that has come with experience and success makes us ripe for complacency. And complacency is often the first ingredient in the recipe for failure. You get confident. That confidence builds comfort. Comfort saps energy. A lack of energy turns into a lack of action. A lack of action breeds decay. We need to fight complacency and ensure that all of the investment in effort and expertise that got us where we are propels us forward into a future filled with more success.
It’s time to fight the good fight. It’s time to get to work.
But this is a different kind of work. Instead of building, inventing, creating and putting into place all of the things we needed when AT&T Stadium first opened, it is now time to shift and become more analytical about our operation. We need to be more introspective and closely examine our status quo. We need to challenge all of the things we are doing today to make sure that they are the right thing to do, that we are doing it in the right way and that we are still working toward common goals.
Two weeks ago at my department staff meeting I challenged each person on our team. I told them that now was the time for them to look at their operation, tear it apart and find what needs revision, fixing, what needs to be thrown out and what needs to be reinvented. I told my team that we cannot assume that our operation is as good as we may think it is. We know we have “blind spots,” problem areas that are hard for us to see because we are so close to the work or because we make assumptions about how things are working. I told my team that at the next staff meeting I wanted each of them to report back to the group with a list of things that they were going to do to help reexamine, renew and recharge our operation. I asked each of them to look at the specific things in their area – the things that they are personally responsible for – and find projects that would help move our operation forward. I encouraged them to also look at the bigger picture. If there were things outside their role that needed attention, we needed to know that, too.
Last Tuesday we had our department meeting and each person shared their list to the group. I was really impressed. Each person had done a great job of identifying areas for improvement and specific actions that they can take to address a need. As we enter into a quieter time in our schedule, I am confident the time will be productive because each person has identified meaningful projects and is accountable to the entire department for getting things done.
So what is the lesson here? Well, I am betting that where I found myself and my team – on the edge of complacency – is where some other people may be (or they may be knee deep in complacency). My intent here is to provide encouragement to all to fight complacency and embark on a plan to critically examine your operation. Identify areas of improvement and opportunities for innovation. Many of these entail pure effort and not huge expenditures of cash. Have the courage to question all that you do. You may find yourself being validated (yes, this is the best way to do this and we are really good at doing it!). But you may also find there are areas of neglect, decay and waste that are corroding your work and your work environment. And what you take on does not have to be huge. You can take small, incremental steps toward improvement. The important thing is to fight complacency and get something done. You owe that to your organization. You owe that to the people you work with. But mostly, you owe it to yourself.
It’s time to fight the good fight. It’s time to get to work.
Paul Turner, CFE CSSP is Senior Director of Event Operations for the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium. He represents the Stadiums sector on the IAVM Board of Directors, is Chair of the Academy for Venue Safety & Security and is a Venue Management School faculty member. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.