Lee Zeidman, president of STAPLES Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. LIVE, announced several promotions at Microsoft Theater and L.A. LIVE effective April 1, 2018. The continued growth and leadership at Microsoft Theater and L.A. LIVE has helped create industry leading management teams and they are a contributing factor to the success and establishment in making both the theater and district a premier destination for concerts, movie premiers, dining, tourism, live entertainment, and more.
Don Graham began his career with Microsoft Theater (formerly Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE) in February 2008 as the director of event production and has made a tremendous impact on not only the events that take place at the theater, but events throughout the L.A. LIVE district. In 2009, he was promoted to assistant general manager and in January 2012 he was promoted to vice president of events and production for Microsoft Theater. In his new title as Microsoft Theater general manager, Graham will oversee the entire theater including booking, ticketing, production, guest services, security, and overall operation of one of the busiest and most successful mid-size theater’s in the country.
Russell Gordon began his career with Microsoft Theater before the venue opened its doors in 2007 as senior manager, event and guest services. Gordon played a crucial part in helping plan the grand opening of Microsoft Theater from an event operating standpoint and worked to instill best practices used from STAPLES Center (Microsoft Theater’s sister facility) which he continues to adjust and improve on as necessary. In 2009, he was promoted to director of guest services and event security where his responsibilities increased to include leadership of the venue’s security team, along with providing a safe and secure environment for all guests, staff, and artists who step foot into Microsoft Theater. In 2012, his area of responsibility increased yet again to include management of the venue’s operations department and overall event logistics as the senior director, events and venue operations. This included project managing recent venue refurbishments and enhancements. In his new role as vice president and assistant general manager, Gordon will direct all aspects of large-scale event logistics for all of the concerts, numerous award shows, premieres, and corporate events hosted at Microsoft Theater annually in addition to special projects and artist relations.
Maria Fulay began her career with Microsoft Theater in June 2007 as the manager of box office operations as part of the team which opened Microsoft Theater in 2007. Currently, as the senior director of box operations, Fulay oversees the overall operations of ticketing for events and daily duties in the box office. In her new role as senior director of box office and ticketing, Fulay will expand her role by incorporating all the ticketing technologies in streamlining the booking, event build, and on-sale process for Microsoft Theater clients.
Graham, Gordon and Fulay have all played critical roles and have a pulse on the over 120 music, family, dance and comedy acts, award shows, televised productions, conventions, and product launches annually. Since opening its’ doors in October 2007, Microsoft Theater has hosted six nights of the Eagles and Dixie Chicks and have hosted the likes of Alan Jackson, Katy Perry, Charlie Wilson, Juan Gabriel, Aretha Franklin, Ed Sheeran, John Fogerty, Gabriel Iglesias, Kanye West, Marc Anthony, Sesame Street Live, John Legend, The Avett Brothers, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Trey Songz, Kelly Clarkson, Rush, Yanni, Nicki Minaj, Juanes, Cat Stevens, The American Idol Finale shows, Michael Jackson’s This is It, Straight Outta Compton, The Hunger Games and Twilight Movie Premieres and many more. American Music Awards, ESPYs, Primetime Emmy Awards, BET Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Radio Disney Music Awards, 2010, 2011 & 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, 2014 & 2015 MTV Movie Awards and the 2013 Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Over 500,000 people pass through the doors of Microsoft Theater annually.
Shelby Russell joined AEG in 1998 as the sales coordinator for the Los Angeles Kings. He then joined the marketing team and was part of the opening of STAPLES Center in 1999. Throughout the years, he has managed marketing initiatives for numerous AEG properties and entities including STAPLES Center, Home Depot Center, Los Angeles Kings, Amgen Tour of California, WTA Tour Championship,s and more. He will now take on the title of senior vice president, L.A. LIVE Marketing and L.A. LIVE Cinemas. He is responsible for L.A. LIVE marketing initiatives that drive revenues and attendance to L.A. LIVE properties, events, and restaurants as well as overseeing the business operations for Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE.
Ryan Golden started his career with AEG in 2006 as the marketing manager for AEG Sports and then was promoted to director of business operations for AEG Sports. Within his time at AEG, he also was the production manager for Microsoft Theater for three years handling production and venue operations prior to his role as the director of business operations for L.A. LIVE. In this position, he managed L.A LIVE’s 150+ events a year including Nike3on3, All Star Chef Classic, BET Experience plus corporate parties and events on Microsoft Square, the L.A. LIVE Event Deck and the Terrace at L.A. LIVE. He will now take on the role of vice president, L.A. LIVE Events, where he will oversee both the sales and operations teams responsible for bringing events to L.A. LIVE.
Sean Otrakul has been promoted to manager, marketing, L.A. LIVE. Otrakul joined AEG in 2010 as part of the L.A. LIVE street team climbing within the department with his dedication and commitment to his work. Over the years he has provided tremendous support in marketing the L.A. LIVE annual events including BET Experience, All-Star Chef Classic and Nike Basketball 3on3 Tournament. Otrakul has always shown commitment to the company and his duties and in his new role he will spearhead the curation and planning for the Dark Nights and Round Up events at L.A. LIVE.
Morgan Helsom has been promoted to assistant manager, marketing, L.A. LIVE. During her two and a half years with the L.A. LIVE Marketing department, Helson has displayed positive leadership skills and the ability to successfully support the overall marketing efforts of the department. In her new role, she will assist with many of the department’s marquee events driving creative content as well as helping upkeep the L.A. LIVE brand including campus signage and marketing collateral for L.A. LIVE.
SMG and the Berks County Convention Center Authority announced the hiring of long-time, Berks County resident Mark Wallace as the new general manager of the Santander Arena, home of the ECHL’s Reading Royals, and Santander Performing Arts Center.
As general manager, Wallace will be responsible for the overall management, promotion, programming, and operation of the Reading, PA venues. Wallace, an
11-year employee at the two facilities, brings a wealth of experience and tremendous knowledge of the Reading/Berks County market to the position. Wallace replaces former General Manager David Farrar, who resigned the position to pursue other opportunities in Lexington, KY.
Carl Herbein, chairman of the Berks County Convention Center Authority, said, “On behalf of myself and the Authority Board, I want to congratulate Mark on securing this all-important position. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to promote someone from within that we have known and worked with for such a long time. We are confident that Mark’s promotion will prove beneficial to both SMG and the Authority.”
“I am personally delighted to have the opportunity to bring Mark into this prominent role with SMG. I am certain that Mark will preserve the legacy of success enjoyed by the arena and performing arts center as beacons of the best of Reading and Berks County, Pennsylvania,” said Bob Cavalieri, former general manager of the Reading facilities and regional vice president for SMG.
“When the general manager position became available, it struck me as a wonderful opportunity to serve the community that my family and I have enjoyed for many years. The chance to continue the role these two great facilities have played in the quality of life for the residents of Reading and Berks County is something I am delighted to undertake,” Wallace said.
Wallace has served as vice president for corporate sales and sponsorships for the past four years for the Santander Arena and the Reading Royals Hockey Team. His responsibilities included advertising, promotional, and sponsorship sales in addition to suite and corporate outing sales. Prior to this position, Wallace was the general manager of the Reading Royals for four years, including the team’s ECHL Kelly Cup Championship season of 2012-2013. Wallace started to work with the then Sovereign Center in July of 2007 as director of sales for both the Sovereign Center and the Reading Royals.
A native of Uniontown, PA, Wallace has resided in Berks County since August of 1988. His 30-year professional career in management has included professional stops as sports information director at Albright College, director of public and community relations with the Reading Phillies Double A baseball team, athletic director at Wyomissing High School and sales and marketing director at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Wyomissing, PA.
Wallace earned championship rings from both the Reading Phillies and the Reading Royals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Communications from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
By Bryan Hill
Bigger isn’t better. At least at first. Much like many young venue managers, I had my eyes set on the Madison Square Gardens of the world when I graduated from college. With a finance degree in hand and some part-time experience working in a venue had me ready to take on the world. I quickly learned my very first lesson about achievement; you don’t start at the top.
I took a graduate assistantship opportunity at Wagner College, a small liberal arts school located in Staten Island, NY, after graduation working in facility and event management. While I was in the same New York market shared by the likes of Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center, and the Prudential Center, I was overseeing a gymnasium and fitness center that at its maximum capacity held about 1,200 people. It was hard for me to see how this experience was going to benefit me.
However, for a year I was constantly challenged. As a young GA I had responsibilities that many universities would give to assistant athletic directors due to the small size of the department. I worked on projects that replaced a turf field, renovated a press box, and updated the strength and conditioning room. In addition to this experience I was forced to find creative solutions to complex problems. When “just buying a new one” was out of the question, like it often was, I was challenged with figuring out the solution, oftentimes under very demanding deadlines. After a year at Wagner I was offered a position at the University of Delaware working as a facility and event manager at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Larger than the previous venue, the Bob Carpenter Center offered a 5,000-seat venue capable of producing a variety of events including athletic contests, touring shows, and university functions. As a mid-major school, there were still challenges that came along with the position both in terms of financials and personnel. I often found myself in a variety of roles that may have been separated at the larger venues and universities. This at times was overwhelming. However, I was able to understand the value that this opportunity had on my future.
As an event manager by title, I had the opportunity to work in facility maintenance, production, and parking planning operations in addition to the coordination of event details for my assigned events. I had my hand in every phase of an event while at the Bob Carpenter Center and this allowed my general understanding of event management to grow. I was able to communicate to various event stakeholders with clarity and experience due to my involvement in the various operations. This is the biggest takeaway that I have from this job as I look back on that experience.
I have since been fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to work as the event manager at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University and have found the experiences gathered while at smaller venues and institutions to really prepare me well. While the shows may be different, the skills required to be successful are similar. Having the broad understanding of all elements of a venue and event really allow my communications to be more effective in my new role. While I may be more focused on certain elements in my new role, I will always appreciate the opportunities I have had. It is not the size of the venue that matters as much as the size of the opportunity, especially early in your career.
Just remember, bigger isn’t always better. Start small, work hard, and the big opportunities will find their way to your doorstep.
Bryan Hill is the event manager of the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University.
The Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), owned by the City of Los Angeles and managed by AEG Facilities, unveiled its 2.21 megawatt solar array on April 4, 2018 during a press conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti. Located on the roof of South Hall, this addition brings the facility’s total solar to 2.58 megawatts, making it the largest solar array on a municipally owned convention center in the United States.
Starting in October 2017, the six-month project included the construction of 6,228 panels at 355 watts each. The new array is projected to generate 3.4 million kilowatt hours per year that equates to 17 percent of the LACC’s annual energy usage. This amount of electricity produced can power 565 homes in Los Angeles.
The project will reduce the LACC’s carbon footprint by 2,554 metric tons per year. To give perspective, this is the equivalent to removing 2,794,396 pounds of coal from being burned or planting 66,192 trees.
I am proud to celebrate the completion of the Convention Center’s solar project,” said Jon Vein, Chair of the City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development Commission. “This project has set a precedent for other facilities to follow and is key to keeping Los Angeles the number one solar city in America.”
The LACC is a busy facility welcoming 2.5 million visitors annually with a 75 percent occupancy rate. This project required careful design and planning to avoid disrupting the numerous events hosted in the exhibit halls below.
“This solar project was first proposed in 2014,” said Doane Liu, Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development. “It is exciting to see it come to fruition and experience the impact it will make in the building and Los Angeles.”
This project contributes to the mission of Mayor Garcetti’s “Sustainable City pLAn” and AEG 1EARTH, AEG’s sustainability program established to reduce the company’s environmental impact. The solar array is a powerful addition to the facility that will impact energy conservation for years to come.
The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) is pleased to announce that it will hold the 2019 (July 21-24) VenueConnect Annual Conference & Trade Show in Chicago, Illinois at McCormick Place Convention Center and the 2020 (July 26-29) VenueConnect in Long Beach, California at Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. IAVM’s VenueConnect is the leading industry conference that provides targeted education created specifically for more than 2,000 arena, stadium, convention center, performing arts center, amphitheater & fairgrounds, and college & university venue professionals.
VenueConnect 2019 will bring the conference and trade show back to Chicago for the first time since 1965. “Chicago has so much to offer the members of IAVM. We are excited to have the privilege to host VenueConnect 2019,” stated David R. Causton, Regional Vice President SMG’s Convention Center Division and General Manager for McCormick Place Convention Center.
McCormick Place Convention Center is anchored in Chicago’s McCormick Square, a community that was created to provide economic stability and growth to the area. It is undergoing tremendous growth, including new hotels, restaurants, and retail spots.
Chicago will provide the perfect setting for attendees from all sectors, and McCormick Place Square provides quick access. From Motor Row, a historic district with great entertainment, shops, and restaurants, to Chinatown, considered one of the most vibrant ethnic communities in North America and provides diverse places to explore, to Soldier Field, Wintrust Arena, the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and more, conference participants will have many historic and recently added venue options to explore.
VenueConnect will move to the west coast and Long Beach, California in 2020. Long Beach last hosted the annual conference and trade show in 1954. “The Long Beach
Convention & Entertainment Center is extremely excited to be selected as the 2020 International Association Venue Managers (IAVM) host,” said Charles Beirne, General Manager. “We are looking forward to showcasing our unique turnkey spaces and sharing ideas among our IAVM colleagues.”
The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is located in the center of the city’s downtown waterfront and entertainment district. The convention center recently underwent a $60 million modernization and has prompted tremendous economic growth in the community, specifically in the local tourism and hospitality sectors. The “Pacific Ballroom at the Long Beach Arena, The Center’s first turn-key venue, features over 45,00 square free of floor space, built-in professional LEDs, stage lighting, and sound system to provide an intimate environment for dinners, concerts, and special events. The Terrace Plaza comes complete with programmable “dancing waters” fountains, and with its downtown skyline and waterfront views, is the ideal outdoor venue to experience Southern California’s near-perfect weather.
Long Beach, located in Los Angeles County, ranked one of the “Most ‘Walkable’ Cities in America,” will provide easy access for VenueConnect attendees to tour venues across all sectors, such as the new Inglewood Stadium and Staples Center, as well as enjoy the shopping and culinary experiences offered close by.
“IAVM is excited to be returning to Chicago in 2019 and Long Beach in 2020,” said Brad Mayne, IAVM CEO and President. “Each location offers unique backdrops to the VenueConnect experience, but also access to the communities and venues that the Association serves for our attendees. Both McCormick Place Convention Center and Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center will provide unique opportunities for our attendees to learn and network.”
More information for the 2019 and 2020 VenueConnect conferences will be announced at a later time.