Chief Listening Officer, Managing PartnerVenue Solutions Group
Over the past three and a half decades, Russ Simons has been involved in nearly every facet of the sports and entertainment facility industry, from design and construction to operations, marketing and public relations, and safety & security. At Venue Solutions Group (VSG), Russ directs the firm’s organizational analysis, operational consulting, guest experience benchmarking and safety, security and risk management efforts. VSG is a team of former senior facility managers who evaluate building systems, operations, management, facility condition, guest experience, safety & security and sustainable operations. Russ has worked with team and facility operators at every level from collegiate to all U.S. based major professional leagues. Russ’s work goes hand-in-hand with architects & engineers to design facilities that are safe, operationally efficient, revenue positive and sustainable. He has worked with a wide variety of clients including the Orlando Magic, San Diego Padres, Indiana State Fair, Pittsburgh Steelers, Reliant Park, Texas A&M University, The “Fabulous Fox” Theater in Atlanta and the historic Keeneland Equestrian Facility.
Prior to creating VSG, Russ was a senior principal with global design firm Populous. There, he managed the firms’ facility operations, evaluation and analysis group which assisted public assembly venues in all operational aspects. He also worked closely with the designers and
architects as they created not only beautiful facilities, but functional ones as well. Russ’s previous experiences include senior vice president and general manager of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, home to the NHL Nashville Predators; senior vice president of Powers Management; and president of Powers Solutions, a professional sports and leisure facility operations consulting company.
Russ received his bachelor’s degree in Sports Marketing from the University of Connecticut. He also graduated from the International Association of Assembly Managers’ (IAVM) Venue Management School at Oglebay where he is a past Chair of the Board of Regents. He was presented the 2009 Ray W. Ward Award from the VMS Board of Regents in honor of his service to the school. He is a longtime member of IAVM, has served on the organization’s Board of Directors, is past chair of the Life Safety Council, and founder and instructor for the Academy of Venue Safety and Security. Russ is a 2004 recipient of the GIGI Award of Excellence and a member of the Event, Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame. He is on the board of advisors for the National Center for Spectator Sports Security Management and was recently presented their Distinguished Leadership Award. Russ is a member of IFMA and the Stadium Managers Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of the TEAM Coalition and is the current Chair of the DHS Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector Council. He is currently serving on the DHS Hostile Vehicle Intrusion Task Force.
Russ is a former Pollstar “Facility Manager of the Year.”