Speakers - ALL - Long Form
Brad Mayne is President and CEO of the International Association of Venue Mangers (IAVM), representing arenas, convention centers, performing arts theatres, stadiums, universities, amphitheaters, and other public assembly facilities from around the globe. Member venues represent major investments of both public and private funds in the communities they serve. Formerly, Mayne was President and CEO of MetLife Stadium, reporting directly to the owners of the New York Football Giants and New York Jets of the NFL, where he was responsible for directing the New Meadowlands Stadium Company (NMSCO) toward its primary objectives in administration, sales, marketing, and operations of MetLife Stadium. While there, MetLife Stadium was recognized as the highest grossing stadium in the world for events other than NFL games between the years of 2010-2015. Mayne also spent 14 years as President and CEO of Center Operating Company, where he was responsible for directing the organization toward its primary objectives in administration, sales, marketing, and operations of the American Airlines Center.
Katie McIntyre is CEO and Founder of Sports Venue Business (SVB). McIntyre first joined PanStadia in November 1997, and under her leadership, it became the leading publication for the sector. The title was acquired by Alad in 2013 and merged with their Stadium & Arena Management magazine to create the super title, PanStadia & Arena Management. While at Alad, McIntyre was also Head of Audience Development and a panel moderator for their Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event, which grew exponentially year-on-year during her tenure, welcoming 2,000-plus participants in 2016. Having spent the last 20 years working in and reporting on the latest developments from across the sector, McIntyre boasts in-depth knowledge of a vast number of stadium, arena, sporting events, and sports venue projects, from initial design to build and operation. The Sports Venue Business platform includes a comprehensive online directory, detailing architects, designers, producers, suppliers, venues, etc., and provides an access-all-areas pass to the latest venue development news and industry influencers.
John Ahrens has over 25 years of experience in architecture as both practitioner and owner’s representative specializing in entertainment facilities. Mr. Ahrens is a registered Architect and received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas in 1992. After 9 years of practicing architecture in the Kansas City area, Mr. Ahrens transitioned to an owner’s representative role with Live Nation where he currently serves as Senior Vice President of Planning and Design. His experience includes Broadway Theaters, Live Music Clubs, Music Theaters and Outdoor Amphitheaters. Recent projects include the Philadelphia Fillmore, Punchline Philadelphia, Coca-Cola Roxy, Anaheim House of Blues and Toyota Music Factory.
Robert Alberino is in his sixth season as the team’s vice president and executive producer. He oversees all marketing, creative and design as well as the team’s in-house production division, 49ers Studios. Alberino leads a team tasked with creating all multimedia and broadcasts across the team’s various platforms (television, stadium entertainment and web). He also oversees all social media and new media for the franchise.
Before Alberino’s arrival in 2013, he served as the vice president of media and marketing for the Kansas City Chiefs (2010-13). His production division, 65 Toss Power Trap Productions, garnered the most broadcast and event-production accolades in Chiefs history while taking Arrowhead Stadium to league leaders in fan engagement and entertainment.
Prior to that, Alberino spent 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (1997-2010). During his time with Philadelphia, Alberino created the Eagles Television Network, which he pioneered in his first year with the team. As the vice president of broadcasting, from 2006-10, the Eagles and ETN garnered regional and national notoriety for its productions and innovation for in-house creative work.
Alberino was a filmmaker for NFL Films (1995-97) where he served as a writer/director for HBO’s Award-winning program, “Inside the NFL” while working with iconic American filmmaker, Steve Sabol. Alberino has also been awarded a total of 62 Emmy’s including nine Awards for Best Director in his 23 years in the NFL.
Alberino also worked as a producer in Pittsburgh, PA for a production company as well as several television and radio stations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
In 2012, Alberino was bestowed and honorary enlistment in the United States Army as a Specialist for his work over the years with multiple bases as well as the 56th Theater Information Operations Group at Fort Leavenworth. He continues to pay forward the honor by working alongside the Army as well as all branches of the military and currently holds the rank of Sergeant.
Alberino graduated from Duquesne University in 1992. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children, Jordan, Angelina and Stella GiGi.
Jim is the Senior Vice President of Corporate and Premium Partnerships for the Atlanta Braves. He is currently in his twenty-third season with the organization. In his position, Jim is responsible for overseeing and managing all aspects of the Braves corporate relationships. This includes all advertising, radio, signage, tickets, giveaways, and any corporate identity throughout Turner Field. In addition, he is responsible for all Braves retail and promotional programs done in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. In his years with the Braves, Jim has worked in the Community Relations, Ticket Sales, and Promotions Departments. He received his degree in Marketing and Management from California State University, Fresno.
Jim also played collegiate tennis for two years. His interests include sports such as golf, tennis, running, biking, and just about any other sport imaginable. He has completed one ironman, six marathons and is active in endurance adventure races and triathlons. In addition to his role with the Braves, Jim is on the Board of Governors at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He is an elder at Perimeter Church and serves on the Perimeter School Board. He also sits on the sports network board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and is active in various other non-profit organizations. Jim was born in Los Angeles, California and currently resides in Marietta, Georgia. He is married and has three beautiful girls, Savannah, Emily Ann and Ella.
Gregg Allen was named Chief Sales Officer in January 2019, having previously served as Sporting Kansas City’s VP of Ticket Sales and Service since October of 2013. He joined the organization in 2010 as the Manager of Inside Sales before his promotion to Sales Manager, and Director of Ticket Sales in 2012. He currently oversees all ticket sales, corporate partnerships, and youth soccer departments.
Under Allen’s leadership, Sporting Kansas City --- winners of four major championships since 2012 --- has experienced substantial growth over the last eight years in season ticket sales, suite sales, group sales, single match sales, and Sporting Kansas City’s private event arm, Sporting Club Events. Allen is currently involved in the club’s chief endeavors, focusing primarily on growing the business through innovative partnerships, strategic fan development, and providing the city with an unparalleled entertainment experience.
Allen, 34, has overseen a streak of 125 straight MLS sellouts over six seasons, and was named the 2016 MLS Ticketing Executive of the Year and in 2013 led a staff that won MLS Ticket Sales Team of the Year. For more than a decade, Allen has strived to become an industry leader in sales and revenue generation. Children’s Mercy Park continues to be a living laboratory for next-generation applications --- including mobile ticketing and data capturing to tailor the fan experience.
Allen started his career in the National Basketball Association, serving as an Inside Sales Representative, Account Executive, Senior Account Executive, and Night Sales Manager with the Charlotte Bobcats. Outside of the Sporting Kansas City organization, Allen is a member of the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball Executive Leadership Committee, and a consistent supporter of The Victory Project, an initiative from Sporting Kansas City that unites players, staff, and fans to help children battling cancer, and all of life’s challenges. Allen grew up in Barre, Vermont and enjoys going back to the Northeast with his fiancé Ashley to spend time with his parents, brothers, and nieces and nephew.
Dustin Alpert is responsible for sales and business development activity across multiple channels. Leveraging his passion as one of the youngest college basketball coaches in NCAA Division I, he founded Stay Seated, which provided mobile commerce for sports venues. He is an entrepreneur and early innovator having started a college food and sundries delivery service, as well as opening his own restaurant. Dustin has also helped raise capital for other start-ups. He brings a wealth of knowledge combining his years of experience in sports and the food industry. Dustin is a graduate of University of Arizona, and was nominated as one of Forbes 30 under 30.
Manager, Premium Seating & Suites
Jacksonville Jaguars, LLC
David Altman is entering his fourth year as Manager of Premium Seating and Suites for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his current role, Altman oversees all Premium options at the stadium, including Suites, Clubs, the Terrace Suite and a number of new, all-inclusive products that were introduced along with the world’s largest video boards prior to the 2014 season.
With the Jaguars, Altman has been tasked with revamping the premium experience on a number of different levels at EverBank Field. He has been responsible for improvements and the sell-out in their all-inclusive club, increasing suite sales and conceptualizing and implementing new seating products. Altman’s current project, titled “Jaguars Black,” is a new premium business-to-business tool that encompasses all of the premium products available at the stadium. The initiative will educate the local market on what the Jaguars can provide for their organization on a 365-day basis, not just during the season.
Prior to joining the Jaguars, Altman served as the Director of Premium Seating for Live Nation, overseeing five venues in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Area. Altman, a Charleston, S.C. native, began his career in the sports industry with the Florida Panthers Hockey Club as an intern, before working his way up to an Account Executive. Altman completed his degree in Sports Management and International Business at the University of Florida and has resided in the Sunshine State ever since.
Spencer Ambrosius is the Director of Sales & Service for the Los Angeles Football Club. In his current role, he is responsible for all new business ticketing and retention strategies, including suites and premium seating, full season memberships, group tickets, partial plans and other ticket packages. Spencer has been with LAFC since the inception of the Club in 2015 when he helped start the sales department. Prior to LAFC, Spencer served in a management role with the Cleveland Cavaliers and began his sales career with the Atlanta Hawks. A Michigan native, Spencer graduated from Salve Regina University with a degree in marketing.
After studying aviation at the University of North Dakota, Mark Anderson began his career trading futures at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. His acumen led him to launch Killer Whale Holdings which came to control 30% of the US dairy market. He then founded Capt Drake LLC, a global supplier of non-GMO sugar and citrates. A serial entrepreneur, Mark launched Drake’s Organic Spirits, the first organic alcohol company to achieve all five certifications: USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten-Free, Vegan and Kosher. Mark and his family founded and operate Long Lake Animal Rescue to give abandoned, abused and neglected animals a second chance.
Bill Anderson is CEO of AmpThink, a leader in public venue technologies. Under his guidance AmpThink has completed more high density Wi-Fi projects inside major sports & entertainment venues in North America than any other company. Recent AmpThink Wi-Fi projects include: Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, US Bank Field in Minneapolis and Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. While AmpThink is best known for its Wi-Fi expertise, the company also does a significant volume of IPTV work, and has recently been awarded the Master Technology Integrator role on high profile constructions projects. The company also manufactures custom cable assemblies and enclosures. AmpThink’s success is a testament to Anderson’s visionary leadership, and his disciplined ability to execute.
Aaron Arak is the Director of Suites and Premium Services with the Sacramento Kings and Golden 1 Center. Prior to working for the Kings, Aaron worked for AEG for seven years, first at the LA Galaxy and then at the Ontario Reign, AAA Affiliates of the LA Kings in the American Hockey League. In his current role, Aaron oversees the multi-year lease and single event rental servicing efforts at Golden 1 Center. In his spare time, Aaron is also an Adjunct Professor at Long Beach State University in the Graduate Program in Sport Management, teaching Ticket Sales to students beginning their careers in the sports industry.
Jennifer Ark is the Green Bay Packers’ director of stadium services. She oversees the Packers Hall of Fame, Stadium Tours, guest services and shareholder services. Prior to her current duties, she previously oversaw the club’s premium seating program, as well as Lambeau Field events, restaurant and catering operations, and was heavily involved with the planning for the recent Lambeau Field’s Atrium renovation and South End stadium expansion. Jennifer was ALSD's Board President from 2010 to 2012.
She joined the club in 1999 after working for six years in premium seating for two NBA franchises, the Cleveland Cavaliers (premium seating coordinator, 1993-95) and Portland Trail Blazers (premium seating manager, 1995-99). Ark, a Madison, Wis., native, received a bachelors degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin in 1991 and subsequently earned a masters of education in sports administration from Bowling Green State University in 1993. Ark has two children, Will, 20, and Elyse, 16. Away from work she enjoys volunteering and working out.
Curtis is currently the Senior Director of Rental Suites at the United Center. Curtis started with the Chicago Bulls in 1993 as a Season Ticket Sales Representative and transitioned to Premium Seating when the United Center was built in 1994. Since then, he has held a few different positions in the Premium Seating department focusing on suite sales and service. Presently, his primary responsibility focuses on overseeing the marketing, sales and operations of all United Center Rental Suite inventory for the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks and all special events… he also manages the Rental Suite staff, the Bulls and Blackhawks sales departments and Levy Restaurants to maximize Rental Suite revenue on a per-event basis… as a member of the United Center Premium Seating Department, Curtis also assists in the selling and marketing the BMO Harris Club and Budweiser Champions Club Theater Boxes for selected special events… prior to joining the Bulls and the United Center, Curtis worked at WGN Radio as a sports producer for “Sports Central” and Chicago Cubs broadcasts … Curtis graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and currently resides in Deerfield, Illinois with his wife and two daughters.
President and CEO
San Francisco Giants
A fourth generation San Franciscan, Larry Baer has gained a national reputation as one of professional sports' leading visionaries. Baer joined the team in 1992 as the executive vice president after he and Peter Magowan led the effort to assemble a new ownership group and negotiate the sale that kept the Giants in San Francisco. A limited partner of the ownership group, Baer was named chief operating officer in May 1996, team president in October 2008 and CEO on January 1, 2012. In his first year as president and CEO, the Giants won their second World Series Championship in three years. In 2014, the Giants won their third World Series title in five years.
As president and CEO, Baer serves as the club's "control" person on all Giants, Major League Baseball and industry issues. Baer is responsible for the overall day-to-day functioning of the organization. Under his direction the Giants developed and constructed AT&T Park -- the first privately-financed Major League ballpark. Since opening in 2000, AT&T Park has been widely praised as one of the "best ballparks ever built." The club has received unprecedented fan support - becoming one of only four teams to exceed three million in attendance eight consecutive years (2000-2007).
Currently, the Giants enjoy the longest active home sellout streak in Major League Baseball of 327 games. With the support of more than 30,000 full season ticket holders, the Giants sold out the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons and welcomed more than 3.3 million fans each year. The Giants have been the standard bearer in all of baseball for sponsorship revenue, and the ballpark continues to be one of the most popular venues in the country for special events. In 2008, AT&T Park was named Sports Business Journal's Sports Facility of the Year, and in 2011 the Giants received Sports Business Journal's Professional Sports Organization of the Year award.
Baer also serves as a key strategist and negotiator of the club's major business and baseball transactions. This includes the Barry Bonds signing in November 1992, the naming rights agreement with AT&T (then Pacific Bell) in 1996 and other strategic business partnerships. He led the effort to host the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco and was the driving force behind the Giants partnership with Comcast to create a regional sports network for the Bay Area.
Baer worked closely with the Giants Baseball department on strategic signings that keep several key players in Giants uniforms for years to come, including Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Hunter Pence.
Baer also serves as President & CEO of Giants Development Services, which is currently developing Mission Rock - a new, mixed use urban neighborhood located on a 25-acre site across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park. Once completed, Mission Rock will include more than eight acres of parks and open space, an Anchor Steam Brewery, 650-1,500 residential units, 1.3 - 1.7 million square feet of office space, a parking structure to serve ballpark and Mission Rock patrons, and up to 250,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and public amenities. The project is currently in the entitlement phase with groundbreaking projected for 2016.
After earning Phi Beta Kappa honors at the University of California in 1980, Baer joined the Giants as the club's marketing director. In 1983, he left the Giants to attend Harvard Business School, followed by a four-year tenure at Westinghouse Broadcasting in San Francisco and New York. He finally returned to the Giants in December 1992 from CBS, Inc. in New York, where he had served as a special assistant to the network's chairman, Laurence Tisch.
Baer has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards throughout his career with the Giants. This includes the San Francisco Distinguished Leadership Award for civic leadership (1996), "Sports Torch of Learning Award" by the Scopus Society of the American Friends of The Hebrew University (1995), and the Anti-Defamation League's Torch of Liberty Award (2001). In 2010, Baer was the named the "Person of the Year" by San Francisco Boys and Girls Club, and in 2012 he was honored as the Harvard Business School's "Alumnus of the Year." In 2014, Baer was honored by the University of California Berkeley with its "Excellence in Achievement" award and received the Civic Leadership Award from the American Jewish Committee.
Baer chairs Major League Baseball's Long-Term Strategic Planning Committee and serves on MLB's Business and Media Board and MLB's Legislative Affairs Committee. Baer is a member of the Board of Directors of KQED, Inc., the San Francisco Committee on Jobs, the Bay Area Council, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area and is a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Pacific Region Board of Trustees.
Baer and his wife, Pam, co-chair the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation Campaign Committee in support of the new hospital, which will open toward the end of 2015.
Larry and Pam Baer reside in San Francisco with their four children.
Sr. Director of Premium Sales & Business Development
Dave Baldwin joined the Miami Dolphins in November 2013. Now with his third team, Dave has overseen all new sales functions for the Dolphins. In 2014 he oversaw a rebuild of the Ticket Sales department, highlighted by a Group Sales focus that exceeded the all-time NFL Group Sales Record by 30%. Baldwin was part of a leadership team that increased ticket sales revenue by nearly 20% in 2014. Currently he’s responsible for over $20 Million in new business, directly overseeing both the Premium Sales and Business Development departments.
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Baldwin served as Director of New Business Development with the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. While in Phoenix his teams exceeded all their sales goals and achieved almost 30 senior staff promotions in two years.
Baldwin started his career with the Atlanta Hawks & Thrashers in Inside Sales. As one of the top producers within the Atlanta organization for two seasons, he quickly took on additional responsibilities and was groomed for a career in ticket sales management.
Baldwin received his Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Business Administration / Sports Management from Aquinas College where he was a member of the Men’s basketball team. Dave currently resides in Aventura, FL with his wife Mary.
Prior to July 2017, Brian spent his entire career with AFS Logistics (Shreveport, LA), a shipping analytics provider serving the SMB and Fortune 1000 markets. As a Corporate Board Member, he led the Sales team, Marketing team and served as Interim CTO.
During his tenure, Brian shaped all aspects of the customer experience, including corporate events in the companies' two luxury suites at Dallas' AT&T Stadium and Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
His responsibilities included every aspect of the event lifecycle, from strategy, logistics and internal coordination to hosting, metrics and executive reporting. He found the experience both rewarding and frustrating. Just ask him.
Brian's corporate challenges have shaped his loftiest ideals, driving him in his early-stage tech start-up NextLevelFan.
"I want to hand an executive a dashboard showing the event's real-time corporate value, from RSVP to Post-Event Follow-up. Equally, I want to give guests a measure of event value to them."
"Events are like the tango, a planned improvisation between two parties, one of whom has to lead. It's my job to equip hosts to lead."
Brian is a 2003 graduate from TCU (Fort Worth, TX); his 4th-best day is attending the 2011 Rose Bowl to watch #3 TCU defeat #5 Wisconsin.
He also volunteers as Board Member for a local non-profit and Webmaster for his children's school.
Brian and his family reside in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Matt Basta is senior director of DKC Esports, which is dedicated to helping its clients navigate the complex landscape of esports with curated storytelling, experiential marketing, analytics and digital strategy. Matt offers 20+ years of work experience in corporate, global integrated marketing agency, and non-profit environments with an emphasis in communicating value and benefits to stakeholders. He has launched several companies and products by building dynamic and diverse teams. He has worked with the WNBA, Special Olympics World Games, United Soccer League and ECHL, as well as The Atlanta Opera. He is a huge sports fan (MIZ) and loves to travel.
Chris Bausano joined the Reds in December of 2007 and was promoted to Director of Premium Sales & Service during the 2013 season. In this role, Chris is responsible for creating and implementing sales and service strategies for 49 luxury suites and 4,000+ premium seats. Over his sports career Chris has also held ticket and sponsorship positions in minor league hockey (IHL/ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones) and collegiate sports (Host Communications/University of Kentucky and Miami University). He joined the ALSD Board of Directors/Executive Committee in 2016.
Chris is a proud graduate DePauw University where he earned all-American honors as part of DePauw’s nationally ranked swim team. He and his wife Maggie have a son, Theo, and twin girls, Marylin and Ellie.
With a decade of experience in sport and event management, Elis Baynham is passionate about building client relationships while mentoring his team of client service specialists in his current position as Director of Client Service at TicketOS, now powered by Entertainment Benefits Group. Elis has spent the last seven years building a stellar reputation with all of the TicketOS clients and advised on best practices for high ROI which has led the clients to maintain record high ticket usage. A native of California, Elis received his Master’s in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco and resides in Los Angeles, CA with his wife June.
Ray is the president of Hyperion Marketing Returns Rockefeller Consulting. Hyperion Marketing Returns is focused on delivering significant value to client companies by providing marketing return on investment and return on objectives methodologies and processes which leverage all parts of an organization in order to optimize results from the broad array of current and potential marketing channels. A core practice focuses on the sponsorship industry.
Prior to Hyperion Marketing Returns, Ray was the Senior Vice President and Global Sponsorships Executive at Bank of America, managing investments in excess of $120 million. His responsibilities included integrating across all brand functions of the enterprise level bank including the consumer, private wealth, commercial and investment banks; integrating daily with brand, advertising, research, experiential both with internal business partners and our multiple agencies; and responsibility for negotiating the Official Bank status with Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the National Football League, the United States Olympic Committee, various relationships with the PGA, NBA, NCAA, theater, entertainment, marathons, etc. He gained essential knowledge about the media sponsorship world during this time running one of the largest financial services sponsorship operations in the world. Ray introduced and implemented an intensive return on investment and return on objectives methodology to the bank, allowing senior bank officials to better understand and participate in significant sponsorship investments.
Previously he was the CEO for PRISM North and South America, an agency in WPP, where he headed up the strategic consulting practice. A recognized expert in ROI for sponsorship and marketing, he is the author of the published book, Sponsorship's Holy Grail - winner of the prestigious WPP Atticus Award for strategic thought. During his time with PRISM he developed comprehensive sponsorship strategies for clients such as DuPont, Xerox, HSBC and Samsung.
Prior to his joining PRISM, he was a General Manager and President with GE where he gained extensive experience in the marketing application of Six Sigma.
Post his graduation from West Point, Ray served as an officer in the US Army with the 11th Armored Cavalry (Blackhorse Regiment) in Germany and at Fort Knox, Kentucky as a project officer at The Directorate of Combat Developments.
Ray holds a BS from The United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
Kellen Begnoche is the Director of Service & Activation for the Kansas City Chiefs. In his role, Kellen is responsible for leading the premium service and corporate partnership activation teams. In his eight seasons with the Chiefs, Kellen has helped develop and execute strategic growth initiatives that have resulted in a suite sell-out, the first since Arrowhead was renovated in 2009. Kellen was instrumental in the creation of the Chiefs client service department, the hospitality arm of the business that is responsible for client appreciation, entertainment, and events. Investing in authentic relationships with clients and finding ways to grow their business has remained Kellen’s focus and primary goal in this role.
Kellen received a marketing degree from Kansas State University before obtaining his Master’s degree at Wichita State University. He completed an internship with the Houston Astros where he gained an ‘appreciation’ for traffic and humidity, before joining the Chiefs in 2011. He lives in Kansas City, MO with his wife, Rachel, and their dog, Chief.
Cari Belanger-Maas is entering her 19th season with the Arizona Cardinals Football Club as Director, Premium Services & Guest Relations. Her responsibilities with the team include managing all Club Seats, Field Boxes, Cabanas and Lofts at University of Phoenix Stadium, ensuring that all premium clients receive their contractual elements from the Cardinals. As well as, overseeing Guest Relations for the team and coordinating their Training and Development programs. Belanger-Maas also coordinates and executes several of the organization’s special events that occur throughout the year. Belanger-Maas attended Arizona State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in 1996. The Anaheim Hills, CA native is active in charities throughout the Arizona community and enjoys spending with her family. Belanger-Maas and her husband, Kevin, reside in Chandler, AZ with their son Kendall and daughters Cooper and Campbell.
Josh focuses on team side sales training and strategy, recruiting, and career development with college students. Prior to joining SBS, Josh spent five and half years on the team side in various ticket sales roles with the Phoenix Suns. He started on the entry level sales team in 2012 and by focusing his attention on customizing the experience for prospects, Josh led the entire sales team in 2013-2014 in new membership revenue. In 2014, Josh was promoted to Inside Sales Manager, where he oversaw recruiting, training, and development for the entry level team.
During his time as Inside Sales Manager, Josh’s team saw an increase in membership and premium sales by 20% in those specific areas by focusing on face to face and B2B sales process. In April 2017, Josh moved over to the role of Sr. Manager of Premium Sales, where he focused his efforts on B2B strategy and development. Josh was born and raised in Lafayette Hill, PA and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2012. Josh currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.
Kathryn has been working in the corporate gifting industry for close to a decade and has created products for everyone from Apple and Starbucks to Bank of America and Salesforce! Starting her career at LR Paris a luxury design firm working exclusively with the top factories in Paris, France. At LR Paris she worked to create exclusive gifts for the Redskin’s and several luxury hotels, including the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City. Transitioning her career to the brand side, Kathryn joined S’well bottle to build an internal corporate gifting program, growing it to a 24M business in less than 2 years.
At S’well Kathryn worked with partners across multiple industries from the New Orleans Saints to fashion brands like Mara Hoffman and Gray Malin. Here she learned the importance of brand integrity and how to use a consumer product to elevate a corporate brand and tell the story of partnership. SelbyNYC was founded in 2016 to help companies make long and lasting connections to their customers, team members and prospects through gifting. SelbyNYC is unique to the industry because not only can they create custom products, they work with leading brands in the retail space to make lasting co-branded relationships through corporate gifting. SelbyNYC is constantly working to find unique solutions to the gifting woes through extensive product offerings and creative branding techniques.
Roberto Beltramini is entering his fourth season with the Jets and second in the NFL. Beltramini joined the Jets in April 2014 as Vice President, Premium Partnerships, Sales and Service. In this role, Beltramini’s responsibilities are overseeing corporate hospitality partnership sales, service and retention. He guides the development and implementation of the premium sales strategy. He is responsible for driving product innovation in all suite and club seating areas. Beltramini also oversees the execution and activation of the hospitality partnerships for corporate sponsors. Prior to joining the Jets Beltramini spent 10 years with the New York Mets in premium, sponsorship and ticket sales.
Jeff Berding is the President and General Manager of FC Cincinnati, the professional soccer team he co-founded in the summer of 2015. Originally launched as a United Soccer Leagues franchise, FC Cincinnati played three seasons in the USL (2016-18) before being awarded an expansion berth in Major League Soccer for the 2019 season in May 2018.
In its final USL season, FC Cincinnati had a record-setting campaign, capturing not only the USL Regular-Season Championship with both record wins and points, but also saw the club sweep most of the league’s top awards including Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year and Defender of the Year.
In 2018, FCC averaged 25,717 fans per game, a figure that more than doubled the second-place USL team, but also would’ve been the fourth-highest average attendance in MLS. FCC also set USL records for merchandise sales, averaging $1.75M in sales its last two years in the league. On the sponsorship side, the club signed more than $2.5M in partnership agreements in its final USL season, a total that led the 34-team league.
Prior to his August 2015 founding of FC Cincinnati, Berding served for more than 19 years as an executive with the Cincinnati Bengals where he led sales and public affairs efforts for the city’s NFL franchise.
While remaining a full-time executive at the Bengals, Berding was elected to his first term on the Cincinnati City Council in November 2005, and was re-elected in 2007 and 2009. He chaired Government Operations Committee and was vice-chair of the Finance Committee.
Berding is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian, born and raised in Westwood where he attended St. Xavier High School. He graduated cum laude from Miami University, and earned his master’s in business administration with honors from Xavier in 1999. He has three children: Allie, Jack and Grace. With his wife Lindsay, the family resides in the city neighborhood of Mt. Lookout.
In his role, Bernal oversees all Delaware North Sportservice. His main responsibilities include developing and implementing strategic plans for growth and profitability, developing operations staff into dynamic leaders and managing client relationships.
Bernal rejoined Delaware North in 2015 – nearly three decades after starting his career with Sportservice as the company’s general manager at the former Chicago Stadium in 1986. From 1989-1991, he served as general manager at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, before moving on to leadership roles outside of Delaware North.
During his career of 30-plus years in the hospitality industry, Bernal has been responsible for operations, business development and franchising within multiple business lines encompassing a broad range of concepts.
As a vice president at Host Marriott Services, he was responsible for the strategic planning and growth of the company’s non-traditional business. As the senior vice president at The Mills Corporation, Bernal created and executed the strategic planning and genesis of the company’s new food and beverage division.
Bernal also served as president of FoodBrand LLC, where he had operational responsibility for 79 restaurants across the country. Most recently, he served as CEO of Wagamama North America – a Japanese-inspired restaurant chain that combines fresh and nutritious food with friendly service; he oversaw the strategic growth and vision for this chain.
Katie Bernhjelm is heading into her sixth season with the Minnesota Vikings. Bernhjelm is responsible for the partnership activation of the team’s naming rights partners; U.S. Bank (U.S. Bank Stadium) and Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO Performance Center) as well as several founding partners and significant partners including; CenturyLink, Hy-Vee, Mystic Lake, Verizon and Pepsi. In her role, Bernhjelm also oversees partner social media strategy, manages the players paid appearances and works on special team projects including the Legacy Bricks at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Prior to joining the Vikings, Bernhjelm worked in Business Development and Special Events at Mall of America, and as a Publicist for Allied Integrated Marketing, overseeing field publicity and promotions for Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems and Fox Searchlight, where she earned a marketing achievement award at CinemaCon. A Minnesota native, Bernhjelm graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Katie and her husband Will, an Army National Guard Veteran and graduate of St. Cloud State University, currently live in Farmington with their daughter Hadley, where Katie also serves on the City Council.
Chris Bigelow is President of the Bigelow Companies, Inc., consultants to sports, entertainment and convention center facilities, providing design services for new and renovated foodservice facilities, operational audits of existing foodservice and merchandise operations, and RFP and contracting assistance for those facilities that contract their concession and catering services. Chris Bigelow has been in the foodservice business since 1971, with a concentration in the public assembly market since 1974.
He received a BA in Business Administration with a Hotel and Restaurant Administration major from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Chris is former Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Concessionaires, F&B Instructor at the IAVM Venue Management School and a well-known author and speaker for the sports foodservice industry. His writings are included in text books used by Sports Management majors at Universities throughout the US. Chris was named one of the Top Twenty Most Influential People in Sports Facility Design, Architecture and Development by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal.
Janie Boles oversees all issues related to the Premium Seating and Hospitality at Jordan-Hare Stadium (Executive Suites, Beckwith Club and Scholarship Donor Areas) and the Premium Hospitality areas at the Auburn Arena (Tailgate Suites, Courtside Club and Scholarship Terrace), with a special focus on customer relations, sales, service, communications, and problem solving. Coordinates ticket priority renewals for the Auburn Executive Suites & the Auburn Arena Tailgate Suites. Creates, organizes, and supervises special functions sponsored by Tigers Unlimited such as scholarship donors’ weekends, donor dedications, Tiger Tales, and various receptions. Oversees gameday staff: Auburn Executive Suite Ambassadors, Jordan-Hare Stadium Ambassadors and Athletic Directors Club. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors since 2008. Janie has served in Tigers Unlimited since 2000. Previously she served as an Executive Services Coordinator at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA, running and managing 93 Executive Suites and the North Club Level from 1999-2000. Janie worked closely with Fabulous Fox Theatre and Chastain Amphitheater, planning and hosting special outings for Georgia Dome Executive Members. In 1999, she worked part-time on the Turner Field Suite Level. Janie is a native of Marietta, GA. She is married to John Boles of Columbus, GA. The couple has three sons, John, James and Jack, and one daughter, Annabella.
J. Douglas Boles was named president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation in June 2013. He is responsible for the daily operations of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all four world-class racing events at the facility – the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, the Indycar Grand Prix, the Brickyard 400, and the Red Bull Air Race. He also is responsible for exploring and expanding business opportunities for the Speedway. In 2017, IMS hosted more than 275 event days of activity, including the newly created Lights at the Brickyard holiday experience that started in 2016.
Boles served as chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from January-June 2013 along with his role as vice president of communications for Hulman & Company, which he assumed in November 2011. Boles joined the company in November 2010 as IMS director of public relations after more than 15 years of executive-level motorsports experience in team operations, marketing, sponsorship and public relations.
During his time as president, Boles oversaw the investment of over $100 million in the highly publicized Project 100 renovation of the 108 year old venue, the largest sporting venue in the world and the implementation of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. He and his team also secured and executed the first ever, standalone music event at IMS when it played host to the Rolling Stones on July 4, 2015. Recently, IMS secured a multi-year agreement to host an LPGA golf tournament beginning in 2017 at the facility’s Pete Dye designed golf course.
A Butler University graduate who also earned a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis, Boles served as executive vice president of the marketing and advertising agency ignition, Inc., from 2006-08. He then became partner in the marketing agency i3Worldwide while conducting his own private law practice, primarily representing drivers, race teams and sponsors.
The Indiana native was a founding partner of Panther Racing, at the time one of the IndyCar Series’ most successful teams, and served as a co-owner and team chief operating officer from 1997 until early 2006.
Boles also served as director of governmental and corporate affairs for Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith from 1992-97, where he also spearheaded the nation’s first government-led effort to attract motorsports companies and jobs to a community.
Boles serves on the boards of INDYCAR Ministry, 500 Festival, United States Auto Club, and Motorsports Hall of Fame. He has previously taught courses at his alma mater, Butler University, and was selected as a member of the first group of “50 Under 50” highlighting Butler graduates.
Boles and his wife, Beth, live in Zionsville. They have four children.
Manager - Executive Suites and Catering
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Cyril has worked for the World’s leading premiere entertainment company, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., with + 8 years of experience in the field of catering, internal and external communication. To sum up how Cyril deals with people on a daily basis, he is assertive, compassionate, empathetic and innovative. His goal in life is to make everyone feel special, from a big smile, to a firm handshake, holding the door open, making eye contact when spoken too or even just a warm hello.
As Director of Influencer Marketing at SeatGeek, Ian leads the brand’s endorser marketing efforts. Over the past 3 years, SeatGeek has been at the forefront of influencer marketing. Ian and his team have executed 3,500+ campaigns with 250M+ views from leading names such as Casey Neistat, Lilly Singh, David Dobrik and Alex Morgan (Video) and partnered with major podcasts such as Pardon My Take, The Bill Simmons Show and Pod Saves America. Prior to SeatGeek, Ian worked across Event, Sponsorship and Athlete Marketing at Wasserman Media Group.
HB Brantley is an industry project executive consultant with 30-years of experience in the architecture, construction and program management disciplines. As the Market Sector Leader for S.P.A.C.E. Venues Group, a division of H.J. Russell & Company, HB Brantley is primarily responsible for brand awareness of the new initiative and cultivating new and enhancing existing relationships with national sport stadium clients. Mr. Brantley specializes in the strategic planning, project feasibility and delivery of high profile sports, cultural and entertainment projects.
Mr. Brantley is a proponent of civic engagement and serves on various civic boards, business and professional organizations and as guest lecturer and adjunct professor at his alma mater, the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science at Tuskegee University where he holds Bachelor of Architectural Science and Master of Architecture degrees. Mr. Brantley has given several presentations over the years regarding current industry topics and trends, project delivery strategies and program management to corporate clients, public authorities and industry trade groups.
Dashawnda Brown is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio whose successful hospitality career has spanned over 14 years with some of the nation’s most notable organizations such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Nets Basketball and Madison Square Garden. Brown is currently responsible for leading Madison Square Garden’s Suite Service team where she works with an amazing group of 140 individuals providing in-suite customer service, retention, and engagement for MSG’s suite clients and their guests.
In addition, Brown is responsible for identifying opportunities for continuous improvement in the suite product, leading a world-class customer success team, creating a culture of service, and having business accountability for continued improvement of key metrics and operational excellence. Brown believes that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it-attitude is everything!
David Bryson is a keynote and motivational speaker who delivers an engaging and challenging message. He is called on to inspire, encourage and help your organization get results. David is a business strategist and his favorite speaking topics include storytelling, innovation, customer service, team-work, and the importance of giving. David brings a diverse background from a career in corporate life to being an entrepreneur. His well-rounded background guarantees he connects with everyone in your audience. David is also the host of the top rated “Why Can’t You?” podcast. “Why Can’t You?” features guests from around the world who help to educate and inspire listeners by sharing their stories and, especially, the lessons they learned during their journey to get where they are today.
Bucciarelli is currently the Managing Director Entertainment Sales & Partnerships for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. He has been a Board of Director Member for the ALSD since 2008 and in this role, he leads the Minor League meetings. He has presented on panels ranging from the Economy and the Premium Seating Industry to Best Practices in Suite and Corporate Sales. Brian holds a BS in marketing from Penn State University.
Chris Burton is in his thirteenth season with the Nashville Predators and third as Senior Director of Premium Sales. Chris began his career with the Nashville Predators as a Fan Relations Representative and quickly transitioned into ticket sales and then to premium sales. In his current role, Chris is responsible for developing and leading sales efforts across all premium products, for Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena events. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Tennessee. Chris resides in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife, Jamie and their children Grace, Harper and Ty.
Bobbi Busboom joined Illinois Athletics Development in March of 2008. Prior to joining the development staff, Busboom served as the associate recruiting coordinator for football - hosting prospective student-athletes on campus, coordinating visits, mailings, managing prospect management system and providing recruiting support for all coaches.
A native of nearby Royal, Ill., and graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School, Busboom earned her bachelor’s degree in leisure studies with an emphasis in sports management and completed her master's degree in sports management from the University of Illinois in May 2009. Busboom’s broad range of responsibilities include overseeing premium seating at both Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center, as well as special events. She also serves as a liaison to the business office, human resources, and other departments in the campus community.
She is currently pursuing MBA at the University of Illinois.
In this role, Mr. Butera is responsible for the development and operation of MGM’s on-line sports betting, casino, fantasy and social betting platforms. Mr. Butera is also responsible for MGM’s sports league and team partnerships as well as its digital media. Since joining MGM, Mr. Butera has been instrumental in the negotiation and formation of the company’s joint venture with GVC Holdings for on-line sports betting and casino gaming in the United States, a market access partnership with Boyd Gaming and a historic partnership with the NBA designating MGM as its official gaming partner.
Prior to MGM, Mr. Butera was Commissioner of the Arena Football League and oversaw League operations for team franchises located in major markets in the United States including Washington, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In his second season, he spearheaded a business and brand restructuring program involving franchise growth development, expanded broadcast and social media contracts, new sponsor affiliations, and League capital and financing.
In 2018, Jake Bye was named Senior Vice President, Consumer Sales & Marketing for the Washington Redskins. In this capacity, Bye is responsible for the team’s marketing and sales efforts pertaining to all Redskins consumer revenue streams, as well as continuing to develop and enhance the team’s fan base.
Formerly, Bye was with the Los Angeles Rams as Vice President of Consumer Sales & Marketing, responsible for overseeing all aspects of consumer revenue including tickets, premium seating, food and beverage, retail, customer service, and guest experience. Additionally, he was responsible for the strategic direction of Rams lead and database generation, marketing initiatives, and consumer sales programs. Bye joined the Rams in 2006 as corporate sales manager, primarily responsible for the marketing, sales, and retention of Rams Executive Suites. With the Rams’ creation of a ticket sales department in December of 2007, his role evolved to director of ticket sales and premium seating, and eventually to vice president of ticket sales and premium seating in May of 2012.
Bye has nearly 16 years of experience in the sports industry, initially with the Nashville Predators of the NHL. More recently, he worked as an Account Executive for three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL.
Sensory Interactive President and CEO Randy Byrd has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of architecture, real estate, and dynamic environments. He founded Sensory Interactive in 2004 to address the need he recognized for a firm that could provide a single-source solution for utilizing digital media and customized interactive technology to deliver creative content.
Randy’s experience and education as both a developer/owner and designer/consultant give him a unique ability to find and deploy creative approaches that address the user experience and revenue generation objectives of a diverse range of dynamic environments. His recent projects include 1515 Broadway in New York’s Times Square, Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, New England Carpenters Center in Boston, Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates, Victory Park in Dallas, and Fashion Show in Las Vegas.
Before founding Sensory Interactive, Randy worked in a variety of roles at architecture firm Cooper Carry & Associates, and spent 16 years with The Rouse Company, a leading developer of high-profile retail and mixed-use projects. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University’s architecture and environmental design program.
Shara is the Premium Services Manager for the Detroit Lions. In this role she is responsible for developing and activating the year round benefit platform for all suiteholders and premium seating members. Shara manages communications, special requests, gifting, events, and touchpoints for these clients. Prior to joining the Detroit Lions she activated the corporate sponsorship between Chevrolet and Manchester United at Jack Morton Worldwide. Shara has also worked for the Detroit Tigers, in both the Premium Services and Marketing departments. She cheered at Eastern Michigan University and currently resides in Plymouth, MI.
Ben Cahalane, co-founder of Connect Partnership Group, is proud to be a 20-year sales, marketing and partnership leader with expertise in the sports and entertainment sectors. His career passion began while working for the University of Texas Athletic Department and ESPN/ABC Sports, and once he got one foot in the proverbial sports business door, his creative, resourceful and professionally persistent ambition was full speed ahead. Cahalane’s next stop was where his career really accelerated – working in revenue generation and management for Hicks Sports Group, owner of the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers, Liverpool Football Club as well as a sales representation agency. The opportunity to commercially represent and strategically position multiple properties to leading US and global brands introduced him to the dynamics of what it takes to craft world class partnership solutions. He rose through the ranks from an Account Executive to a Senior Vice President in ten years and represented hundreds of millions in sales revenue. He was honored to be elected to serve on the NHL Team Sponsorship Committee, Dallas Stars Foundation Board and represent Hicks ownership in bi-weekly business operation meetings with the Dallas Mavericks ownership group at American Airlines Center.
This diverse sales and industry experience led to his recruitment as Chief Sales Officer with the Formula 1 US Grand Prix and Circuit of The Americas (COTA). While a start-up in nature, the $400 million dollar best-in-class venue and business plan offered immediate opportunities to further expand his career across new platforms – new venue construction, international motorsports, action sports, music and festivals and technology implementation monetization. Ben built a sales and management team from the ground floor, created new sales inventory and strategically formed sales alliances with event partners. The stakes were high, but the rewards, and ultimately his accolades were even higher as the Formula 1 US Grand Prix won the 2012 Sports Business Journal Sports Event of the Year and the 14,000 seat music venue won Pollstar’s prestigious award given to the World’s Best New Major Concert Venue in 2013.
The industry experiences gained, networks created, brand relationships harvested and one very special relationship formed with the ultimate teammate in Danielle Shuff now positioned Cahalane to realize one of his career goals – to launch Connect Partnership Group in February 2015. Connect’s core competency is efficient and effective – strategically selling partnership and media rights on behalf of national and international properties. Ben believes it is imperative to blend professional and personal ethics and is proud to lead Connect in representing partners with a like-minded approach to responsible business focused on driving bottom line revenue.
An avid golfer, Cahalane also enjoys travel, cooking, fitness and volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters. A University of Texas at Austin graduate, Ben resides in Dallas, Texas.
Before starting his consulting career, Sean gained valuable experience in management through several positions with a hotel management/development company. This hands-on management training experience included various cooking positions, restaurant management, catering operations, marketing, hotel management, and construction management. Sean joined Ricca Design Studios early in 2002 after two positions with other prominent foodservice design firms, with a unique background of specializing in the hospitality and public assembly market segments. His 30+ years of consulting experience includes all aspects of the field, from programming and concept design, through contract documents, construction administration, and final inspection. Notable projects of Sean’s include, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA, LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, CA, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN, and A&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Catherine Carlson begins her tenth season with the Orlando Magic. She was promoted to Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Premium Activation in July 2017. Carlson leads the Premium Activation team that is responsible for creating world class experiences for premium partners that have a suite, loge, MVP table and Legends seat at Amway Center. Carlson also oversees the Corporate Partnership Activation team, and is responsible for driving partnership strategy to retain and grow the Magic’s corporate sponsor base. She recently led the negotiations with the Walt Disney World Company to become the first jersey sponsor for the team.
Prior to joining the Magic, Carlson worked at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for 11 years where she held various roles, most recently as Manager, Alliance Development, overseeing the sponsorship team for Disney’s Wide World of Sports and Epcot. Carlson earned a bachelor’s of business degree in sports management from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. In 1997, she moved to the United States to complete a master’s of science in sports management at the University of Massachusetts. A native of Australia, Carlson currently resides in Orlando with her husband, Kevin, and sons, Tyler (11) and Jake (6).
Mark Carter is a principal at tvsdesign in Atlanta with over 36 years of architecture experience, concentrated on experiential placemaking with the design of large retail centers and sports venues. His portfolio covers the full spectrum of luxury stadium and retail project types, from multi-use entertainment venues and training facilities to specialty stores and department stores, both enclosed and mixed use centers. Carter and his team recently completed the Atlanta United Training Ground and are designing the premium spaces in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, including all suites, arrival lobbies, clubs, the food and beverage concourse and the 100 Yard Club.
Francis Casado, Co-Founder, Head of Business Development,, 3D Digital Venue
Francis Casado is one of the founders of Mobile Media Content and is currently serving as The Director of Global Business Development for its 3D Digital Venue platform, successfully deployed in Europe and in the US with top sport venues and performing arts centers.
Francis has a diversely rich education background. He pursued his degree in Computer Science from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and also procured an International MBA as well as an MBA in Economics from Universitat Ramon Llull and Manhattan College respectively.
Prior to founding Mobile Media Content, the revolutionizer of virtual reality in sports and stadiums sector, Francis made his career around the application of 3D Technology and Virtual Reality for various sectors. His time at Barcelona Media was primarily focused as a product manager responsible for developing professional 3D solutions for use in construction of new urban developments by Barcelona Smart City Council.
A true entrepreneur, skilled in the domains of visualizing and pursuing new innovative business opportunities, creating, coaching and leading teams; Francis has lead Mobile Media Content from the front bringing in multiple accolades and awards in fields of innovation and growth from all around the world. Apart from the successes in his academic and professional field, Francis has been having a favorable run as an Associate Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship with Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
Sam Caucci is the Founder & CEO of 1HUDDLE (f.k.a. Sales Huddle), a workforce training team that uses game technology to transform the way companies develop their people. Sam has led training for thousands of sales & service reps, with clients including Amazon, Hyundai Motors, ESPN, Madison Square Garden, Los Angeles Rams, New York Mets, Golden State Warriors and more. He has been featured on CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post.
In his role as an account manager, Brent is responsible for building and fostering client relationships to help establish needs and engagement opportunities. He focuses on new business development, the acquisition of accounts, and building and leading strategy for internal and external teams to help impact the client’s goals.Prior to joining Disney Institute, he worked as a national sales manager in resort sales. In this role he championed Disney’s efforts to create relationships with meeting planners and executives from insurance agencies to promote Disney’s luxury properties for meetings. He received the Platinum Circle Award in 2010, which is the highest sales honor at Disney.
Additionally at Disney, Brent worked as a senior sales manager for national accounts in resort sales, where he generated group business for Disney resorts through travel agency, domestic wholesale and motor coach channels. He also formulated strategic sales plans and developed national awareness campaigns to increase and develop the group market. Brent has a master’s degree in business administration with a marketing concentration from Rollins College and a bachelor’s degree in classics and speech communications from the University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign.
Lisa Chang is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for AMB Group LLC. Chang oversees Human Resources for all the Blank Family of Businesses including AMB Group, AMB Sports & Entertainment (The Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta United), The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, PGA TOUR Superstore and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.
As SVP and CHRO, Chang is a key member of the executive team leading the organization’s talent and people strategies. She serves as the company’s chief culture steward ensuring alignment of the company’s stated core values across the family of businesses. Chang is responsible for the development and implementation of all human resources programs including talent acquisition, training and development, HR operations and systems, benefits and wellness and employee relations.
Previously, Chang was Vice President Human Resources International for Equifax, where she led all HR functions in 17 global locations including North America, Latin America, the UK and Spain. Before joining Equifax, Chang was Senior Vice President of HR for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In that capacity, she led HR strategy for the company’s Technology, Strategy & Operations division as well as the international division for brands such as CNN, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
Prior to joining TBS in 2009, Chang held HR roles of increasing responsibility at The Weather Channel Companies, ultimately serving as executive vice president of HR. Chang is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in Communications and earned an MBA at Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business & Economics.
Since joining tvsdesign in 1985, Donna has become the leader of our sports and retail interior design practice. She has been instrumental in the success of our largest and most complex projects all around the globe, including the Mercedes-Benz premium clubs and suites and the Atlanta United Training Grounds. Believing that successful placemaking requires a holistic, hospitality-driven approach to design, Donna seamlessly brings together teams of architects and interior designers to create immersive and compelling experiences in the built environment. Donna’s experience and insight gained from over 30 years in the industry gives her the ability to synthesize the art of design with the business fundamentals of deal- making. From sponsorship strategies to planning, design and food and beverage coordination, Donna is focused on the aesthetic and economic success of every project.
Bachelor of Science Interior Design Cum Laude Florida State
Registrations and affiliations:
NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer
Member International Council of Shopping Centers
Member Planning Committee International Council of
Association of Luxury Suite Directors Member
Mercedes-Benz Stadium Premium Spaces (Clubs and Suites) and
Concourse Concessions Atlanta Georgia USA
Atlanta United Training Grounds Marietta Georgia USA
Georgia International Convention Center Arena, Hawks B League Arena
Atlanta Georgia USA
Danbury Fair Danbury Connecticut USA
Freehold Raceway Mall Freehold New Jersey USA
Fashion Outlets of Chicago Chicago Illinois USA
Tysons Corner Center Tysons Corner Virginia USA
Fashion District Philadelphia Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA
Westfield Amenities Standardization All Locations
Brookwood Village Redevelopment Birmingham Alabama USA
Scottsdale Fashion Square Concepts for Renovation Phoenix Arizona USA
North Country Mall Punjab India
The Lagoons Retail Dubai UAE
Mall Plaza Egaña Santiago Chile
Mall Plaza Los Dominicos Santiago Chile
SeaWorld Flagship Retail Stores San Diego California USA
Mall Plaza Oeste Aires Expansion Santiago Chile
Mall Plaza Norte Santiago Chile
Mall Plaza Tobalaba Santiago Chile
Mall Plaza Vespucio Redevelopment and Expansion Santiago Chile
DLF Promenade New Delhi India
Tysons Galleria Amenities McLean Virginia USA
Cumberland Mall Redevelopment Atlanta Georgia USA
General Growth Properties Amenities Standardization All Locations
Haywood Mall Redevelopment Greenville South Carolina USA
Coastland Center Redevelopment Naples Florida USA
Florida Mall Nordstrom Expansion Orlando Florida USA
Florida Mall Refurbishment and Expansion Orlando Florida USA
Colonial Mall Redevelopment Myrtle Beach South Carolina USA
Lloyd Center Redevelopment Portland Oregon USA
Puente Hills Mall Redevelopment City of Industry California USA
The Court at King of Prussia Redevelopment King of Prussia
The Plaza at King of Prussia Redevelopment and Expansion King of
Prussia Pennsylvania USA
Southaven Mall Southaven Mississippi USA
Springfield Mall Refurbishment Springfield Pennsylvania USA
West Oaks Mall Ocoee Florida USA
Dulles Town Center Loudoun County Virginia USA
Fallen Timbers Maumee Ohio USA
Four Seasons Town Center Renovation Greensboro North Carolina USA
Jawad Commercial Complex Manama Bahrain
Janosch Specialty Store Phipps Plaza Atlanta Georgia USA
Haverty’s Furniture Prototype Design Various Locations
Rich’s Department Store Department Renovations Various Locations
Discover Mills Temporary Store Designs Atlanta Georgia USA
Paradies Shops at the Georgia Aquarium Atlanta Georgia USA
SeaWorld Retail Shops San Antonio Texas USA and San Diego California USA
Store Design Review and Critique 150+ stores King of Prussia Mall King of
Prussia Pennsylvania USA
President, Daytona International Speedway
Joie Chitwood III serves as president of International Speedway Corporation’s flagship motorsports facility -- Daytona International Speedway (DIS). As president of DIS, Chitwood oversees all speedway activities including event entertainment, fan amenities and ticket sales. He assumed this role in August 2010.
Chitwood was previously the Vice President of Business Operations for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), a motorsports entertainment company based in Daytona Beach, Fla. In this role, Chitwood lead strategy development and business execution across the Company’s 13 motorsports facilities and Americrown Service Corp., ISC’s catering, concessions and merchandising subsidiary.
Chitwood has received several industry honors and professional accolades throughout his career, including:
- SportsBusiness Journal Forty under 40 in 2009
- Indianapolis Business Journal Forty under 40 in 2007
- University of South Florida College of Business Celebration of Free Enterprise Honoree in 2005
Prior to joining ISC in August 2009, Chitwood served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), overseeing daily operations for IMS, including Brickyard Crossing Inn and Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. He joined the staff of the IMS as Senior Vice President, Business Affairs on Oct. 1, 2002.
Chitwood was also Vice President and General Manager of Raceway Associates, LLC, which oversaw construction of the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., from 1999-2002. In 2001, the track began to host Indy Racing League- and NASCAR-sanctioned events. During his tenure at Chicagoland, Chitwood also served on the board of directors of several Joliet-area economic development organizations.
Chitwood was also an integral part of his family’s entertainment business, the well-known Chitwood Thrill Show, beginning at age 5. He began his career as a stuntman and later specialized in precision driving.
In 1992, Chitwood earned a business administration and finance degree from the University of Florida. He also studied at Cambridge University in England and earned a master of business administration degree from the University of South Florida.
Chitwood sits on the board of trustees for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He also serves on the boards of the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Central Florida Sports Commission, the Central Florida Partnership and is a member of the advisory committee for the Sports Executive Leadership Conference. He was previously a member of the Indianapolis 2012 Super Bowl bid committee and the 500 Festival board of directors, and was an adjunct professor at Marian College in Indianapolis.
Nicole Christy joined the San Antonio Spurs in 2004 and was promoted to Sr. Manager of Premium Service in 2016. In this role, Nicole is responsible for the service and retention of the suite products at the AT&T Center as well as the Dahill Courtside Club Members (first two rows of Season Ticket Members around the Spurs court). In the summer of 2015, Nicole helped oversee the renovation of the suites and the introduction of two Charter Suite Clubs as well as the addition of Theater Boxes. Nicole is a graduate of Austin College in Sherman, Texas where she played soccer and served as the Captain for four years. She loves to spend time with her family and do crafts when she is not at the AT&T Center.
Dwight Edward Clark (born January 8, 1957 in Kinston, North Carolina) played for the the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1987. He was a member of two Super Bowl Champion teams and is most remembered for "The Catch" against the Dallas Cowboys.
Bill Walsh drafted Dwight Clark as the first pick of the 10th round, out of Clemson University in the 1979 NFL draft. Clark embarked on a stellar career for 49ers in which he had 506 catches for 6750 yards and 48 touchdowns, along with 50 rushing yards. He led the NFL in receptions (60) during the strike shortened 1982 season, and made the Pro Bowl twice in 1981 and 1982 in his 9 NFL seasons.
Clark's most memorable touchdown came in the 1982 NFC Playoffs. On January 10, 1982, against the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers were trailing 27–21 in the final minute of play to advance to the Super Bowl. Clark leaped and caught a six-yard pass from quarterback Joe Montana in the back of the end zone to give the 49ers a 28–27 victory. That play, one of the most famous in the history in the NFL, has been immortalized as "The Catch" practiced as the "Hail Mary." Clark finished the game with eight receptions for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Retirement and Legacy
After eight successful seasons with San Francisco 49ers, Dwight Clark retired after 1987 NFL season. To honor Clark, the 49ers retired his number 87. After retirement, he has served as a team executive for both the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers.
John Clark brings a 21-year track record of success to his role as Executive Vice President, Sales & Operations for FSM. He sells integrated sponsorship and marketing partnerships across Fenway Sports Group’s prestigious portfolio of properties, and also oversees the sponsorship and marketing sales efforts for FSM’s exclusive property representation clients. Clark leverages his experience driving high-impact sales opportunities for elite sporting brands including MSG Sports, the Miami Dolphins, the Houston Rockets, and the Lakewood Blue Claws to build the firm’s sales infrastructure and guide the sales team in delivering ROI-driven sponsorships that connect FSM’s clients directly with the audiences they wish to reach.
Missy Conboy, a 30-year veteran of the Notre Dame athletic department staff, serves as Senior Deputy Director of Athletics. She also served as the University's interim director of athletics from June-July 2008 following the departure of Kevin White to Duke University.
As senior deputy director, Conboy oversees the Center of Excellence for Sport Operations and Community Commitment, which includes the Campus Crossroads Project, new construction, facility development and renewal, management and marketing, event management, game day operations, sport camps, equipment, special events, community engagement and the Monogram Club. She is also the sport administrator for the volleyball program.
Conboy is a liaison both to the Athletic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Faculty Board on Athletics, and is the University's primary liaison to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
During her tenure at Notre Dame, she also has overseen internal operations, business affairs, NCAA compliance, and legal affairs for the athletic department. She was a member of the NCAA's Legislative Review Committee, serving as chair for her final two years, and was a four-year member of the NCAA Interpretations Committee. Presently, she is a member of the NCAA Committee on Infractions. She was a member of the executive board of NACDA from 2009-2013, and now serves on the board of directors for Women Leaders in College Athletics and the Institute for Sport Law and Ethics.
Conboy was a six-year member of the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Committee and was instrumental in bringing both the 1994 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships and 1998 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships to the Notre Dame campus. She has served as a member of the BIG EAST Academic Honors Committee and the BIG EAST Finance Committee, and also served on both the BIG EAST Volleyball Committee and the BIG EAST Executive Committee. Conboy is the former chair of the BIG EAST Senior Women Administrators' Committee. As a member of the ACC SWA Committee, she assists in the oversight of all competition and championship issues for all conference sports.
Conboy joined the NCAA staff in 1985 as an enforcement representative. In that capacity, she spent two years investigating infraction reports and helped process cases for the NCAA Committee on Infractions. She joined the Notre Dame staff in August 1987.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Conboy was a four-year member of the Notre Dame women's basketball team from 1978-82, serving as team captain her senior year.
Conboy graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in English in 1982 and earned her juris doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1985.
She was married in July 1991 to William Mountford, a 1983 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, and a 1991 graduate of Notre Dame’s MBA school. The couple has three daughters: Darby (a 2016 Notre Dame graduate and tennis monogram winner), Delaney (a junior at Miami of Ohio) and Killian Rose (a member of the Notre Dame class of 2021).
Toni Connor has been with the Tampa Bay Lightning since 2010 and is currently the Manager of Executive Suite Services for Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment. She began with the Lightning in ticket sales before building out the team’s suite services department. Toni specializes in coordinating client events, fulfilling contracts, and managing tickets for Amalie Arena’s suite holders. Highlights of Toni’s tenure include servicing the 2018 NHL All Star Game, the 2016 Frozen Four, and numerous Lightning Playoff runs. Prior to working with the Lightning, Toni began her career in sports as an Account Representative with the Chicago Bulls in 2009. Toni graduated from the Michigan State University school of Hospitality Business in 2009. A native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she currently resides in Tampa with her husband Matt and son Declan.
Chris Cook just completed his 5th season with the Buccaneers after joining the team prior to the start of the 2013 season. He oversees all aspects of the organization’s Guest and Member Relations initiatives. This includes the relationship management of all Membership products including Luxury Suites, Club, and General Members.
Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Chris introduced a comprehensive customer service training program, known as “Difference Makers”, to the 3,000 plus full-time and gameday staff of Raymond James Stadium. Over the past 5 seasons, the Buccaneers have been recognized by the NFL as #1 in overall customer services experience three times, with top three finishes in the other two seasons.
In addition to the Difference Makers program, Cook has introduced multiple analytic partnerships into the organization to enhance business intelligence insights, which have increased organizational efficiencies and direct business strategy decisions.
A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cook began his career in the healthcare industry as a CRM project analyst after graduating from the University of New Mexico with a BA in Communications. Prior to joining the Buccaneers, he spent eight seasons with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers where he oversaw Season Ticket Holder Service and Retention efforts, as well as the Ticket Operations and CRM/Database Marketing teams.
Chris and his wife, Krystal, are the proud parents of four children – Payton, Drew, Bailey, and Colton. The family spends their free time volunteering with their local church and coaching youth sports.
Rob Cornilles is the “sales coach for sports.” His firm, Game Face, Inc., pioneered sales training for professional and collegiate sports teams nearly a quarter century ago, then launched the industry’s first Sales Academy (1999-present). Following his first job in sports, successfully helping to sell out LA Clippers games in the early 90s in what was then the Los Angeles Sports Arena, Rob and his firm have gone on to advise tens of thousands of executives with more than 300 sports brands worldwide, forever changing how our industry engages with customers.
Today, Game Face’s proprietary methodologies are rapidly being adopted in such diverse markets as tech, professional and financial services, retail, media, and manufacturing. When not training franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL and NCAA, Rob serves as an adjunct professor at both Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business, and Maryville University in St. Louis, MO, teaching such topics as sports business management, strategic account acquisition, and entrepreneurship.
Duane Cummings lives life with a single purpose, “To Serve Others”! He is a Co-Founder of The Speakers Guild of America, the current CEO of The Sensational Group LLC., and is the former CEO of Leadercast. Duane is a trusted advisor to organizations and individuals around the world regarding professional and personal development. In addition to advising several organizations, he's an author, coach and speaker who addresses audiences regularly on a range of topics that include leadership, communication, sales, and finding your purpose.
Duane learned the importance of teamwork and honed his leadership skills early in life, by serving in the U.S. Army and then by winning championships as a professional soccer player and coach. In recognition of his achievements, Duane was recently inducted into the St. Gregory's University Hall of Fame. After retiring from athletics, he successfully transferred to the business world where he held several sales management positions, before stepping out to build and then sell The Duke & Dutchess Company...his start-up wholesale clothing company.
Over the last fifteen years, Duane has become partners in, or owner of several companies in a variety of industries, and has been involved in numerous unique projects such as: The COO and an equity partner during the preparation and sale of Erick Flowback Services, LLC (Oil & Gas Service Providers) facilitating a "facelift" for the entire athletic department at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya...and is currently working with community leaders in South Texas to develop a "Life Academy." Along with co-authoring projects and preparing for the release of The Sensational Leader, (the second book in the series) Duane spends a great deal of time mentoring and also serves the needs of several non profit organizations. Duane and his wife, Kim, have two sons, Christopher and Matthew and have celebrated the arrival of their first grandchild (Hayden Jayne) born to Matthew and Erin Cummings.
Scott Cunningham is a Live Event professional with 20+ years of Producing, Management and Consulting experience in Game Presentation at the Pro Sports level. His background is in Broadcast Sports Production where he produced the broadcasts for the Florida Marlins and the Miami Heat television networks as well as Miami Dolphin pre-season broadcasts and season long coach’s shows.
In 1998, Scott took his broadcast production experience to the “Team” side of Pro Sports as the Director of Game Presentation for the Florida Panthers Hockey Club and has been producing Live Events ever since. He currently serves in the front office of the Atlanta Braves as Vice President of Fan Experience; responsible for revamping the clubs over-all Game Presentation & Fan Experience while leading their Promotions, Entertainment & Special Events, Audio & Video Production and Broadcasting departments.
Scott has worked International Events (Arab Olympics in Doha, Qatar) as a Venue Director and has consulted with teams, most recently, the Manchester City Football Club of the Premier League in 2013, evaluating their game presentation and developing a systematic plan for improvement.
Scott has a knack for understanding the game flow from a game presentation perspective, regardless of the sport, and has the creative ability to infuse entertainment value elements that create and build atmosphere into that game flow. Scott has a special understanding of the control room environment and how to utilize existing pieces of equipment to achieve the desired effect in Game Presentation.
Scott has been married to his wife, Ligia, for 27 years and together they have two daughters, Sarah (25) and Emily (20).
Eric Curry is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for Cambria (www.cambriausa.com) located in Eden Prairie Minnesota. Curry joined the company in April, 2018 after a four - year stint as Executive Vice President of Sun Country Airlines. Curry works in the company's new division, which is tasked with aligning Cambria with commercial end users and developing a strategic supplier relationships. This effort is targeted on a number of specific channels with multiple locations, such as hospitality, healthcare, real estate, furniture and luxury vehicles to name a few. Utilizing his ten-year background as VP of Corporate Partnerships for the Minnesota Twins, Curry oversees the Sports Partnerships group at Cambria, which targets relationships with teams looking to enhance customer experience through upgrades of premium spaces within their facilities. A twenty-year veteran NCAA basketball official, Curry works games in the PAC-12, Mountain West and Big Ten conferences, ad has been selected to officiate the NCAA Tournament the past 16 years, He and his wife Kelly live in Wayzata Minnesota with their son Brekken Harmon (2).
Andrew Daines is a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and the CEO of FanVision Entertainment (www.fanvisionentertainment.com), which designs technology to enhance the spectator experience. Current clients include the Miami Dolphins, Formula One, NASCAR, and the US Open Tennis Championships. Prior to joining FanVision, Andrew was the founder and CEO of PrePlay, a mobile game studio that developed and published an innovative catalogue of live prediction games that allowed fans to play along with MLB and NFL broadcasts. Andrew is based out of FanVision's headquarters in New York City, but can usually be found somewhere in the crowd of a major sporting event.
A proud graduate of UMass-Amherst’s Sport Management program, Ryan Davenport currently serves as the Senior Director of Sales for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the 4-time WNBA World Champion, Minnesota Lynx. In his current role, Davenport oversees three of the organization’s sales departments; including Inside Sales, Membership Sales, and Premium Seating, and helped yield the largest YOY % increase in NBA attendance in his first season. Some of his career highlights include managing the sales staff responsible for establishing NFL records for total Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) sold and revenue generated for the most expensive privately-financed stadium in professional sports history (New York Giants - MetLife Stadium), as well as creating the on-field Pitchside Seating Club experience at Yankee Stadium for Major League Soccer's New York City FC, where he previously served as the first Director of Premium Seating in the Club’s history.
Davenport began his career with the Indiana Pacers as an Account Executive and was quickly promoted to Sales Consultant for the team’s senior sales team. Outside of work, he is an active member of the EDGE Mentoring program, is an Associate Board Member for Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) – Minnesota, and also serves on the Board for a local independent non-profit, Eastside Meals on Wheels.
Sean Decker was promoted to Senior Vice President, Operations and Events in June 2017.
Decker is responsible for the expansion and growth of the organization’s Rangers Events Division. Additionally he leads the teams Retail and Authentics Department and is responsible for the oversight of the two Minor League teams owned by the Rangers.
Previously, Decker spent four years as the Rangers Vice President, Ballpark Operations. He joined the club in 2010 and previously served in several roles including Sr. Account Executive, Suite Sales and Director of Sales and Assistant Vice President of Rangers Enterprises.
Decker began his career in professional baseball as Operations Assistant with the Pacific Coast League’s Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2008 and also worked as Assistant Director of Baseball Operations for MLB’s Arizona Fall League and as Corporate Marketing Manager for the Texas League’s Frisco RoughRiders before joining the Rangers.
Decker currently serves on the board for the Arlington Sports Commission. A native of Grapevine, Texas he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sports Studies from Tarleton State University. Sean and his wife Renni have a son, Rhett, and reside in Fort Worth.
Sean Decker was promoted to Senior Vice President, Operations and Events in June 2017. Decker oversees the club’s ballpark and facilities operations at Globe Life Park in Arlington as well as responsibility for the expansion and growth of the organization’s non-baseball Special Events Division, which was previously called Rangers Enterprises. Previously, Decker spent three years as the Rangers Vice President, Ballpark Operations. He joined the club in 2010 and previously served in several roles including Sr. Account Executive, Suite Sales and Director of Sales and Assistant Vice President of Rangers Enterprises.
Decker began his career in professional baseball as Operations Assistant with the Pacific Coast League’s Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2008 and also worked as Assistant Director of Baseball Operations for MLB’s Arizona Fall League and as Corporate Marketing Manager for the Texas League’s Frisco RoughRiders before joining the Rangers. Decker currently serves on the board for the Arlington Sports Commission, is a member of the Stadium Managers Association and the Green Sports Alliance. A native of Grapevine, Texas he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sports Studies from Tarleton State University. Sean and his wife Renni have a son, Rhett, and reside in Fort Worth.
James A. DeMeo, M.S. has over 26 years in the Security Industry and is considered a subject matter expert in Event Security by several leading international and domestic magazines; Security Magazine, Security Management Magazine, and Pan Stadia. Mr. DeMeo earned his M.S. degree in Sport Management from Adelphi University in 2012. He was part of the AEG Leadership Team which opened the Barclay's Center in 2012 (Brooklyn NY).
Mr. DeMeo participated as an integral part of a research team including esteemed professors for a poster project presented at the North American Society for Sport Management Conference (NASSM, June 4th, 2016, Orlando, FL) entitled, "Professional Sport Security and Marketing Interface: A Delphi Study, "Assessing the Influence of Sport Security Operations on the Guest Experience: Using the Delphi Method to Understand Practitioner Perspectives," later published in The Journal of Sport Safety (The University of Southern Mississippi).
Mr. DeMeo has delivered presentations at several national conferences and has spoken at numerous colleges and universities throughout the U.S. on sport security operations. He is the Founder, President, and CEO of USESC (Unified Sports and Entertainment Security Consulting; smeventsecurity.com) based in Raleigh, NC. Additionally, Mr. DeMeo is writing a book related to the security industry, dealing with personal and family safety, with a tentative publishing date of December 2017.
Joseph "Joey" Dennis is the General Manager at Infinite Energy Center. In his role, he oversees all aspects of management, promotions, and operations of the facility which includes a 13,000-seat arena, a convention center, and a theater. He has served as a key player in the construction, design, and operation of the first 100 million dollar expansion of the campus and will continue to serve in the same capacity for the additional design renovations and development of the property currently under way.
During his more than 40 years of experience, Joseph served in various facility management roles. In addition to his work at Infinite Energy Center, he was also the assistant general manager of the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Additionally, he served as the corporate director of engineering for LMI, which provided construction, design for arenas and multi-purpose facilities including Gwinnett Center/Infinite Energy Center, the Miami Arena, the Palm Springs Convention Center, the Sydney Superdome in Australia and the Compaq Center in Houston just to name a few. Joseph began his career in the public facilities industry in 1975 at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama as director of the engineering and technical services department.
Joseph holds a bachelor of science degree in technical education from the University of Athens, as well as an associate degree in refrigeration and air conditioning from Calhoun College. Additionally, he held many certifications in the mechanical and engineering fields and received a Gold Medal in 1984 from President Reagan for his achievements.
Joseph currently resides in Buford, Georgia. In his spare time, Joseph enjoys riding his motorcycle and spending time with his family.
Donald Dethlefs FAIA has built a reputation as one the of the premier designers of arena and entertainment venues in the nation. Don understands that an economically viable facility must have the capacity to host athletic events, yet also requires the flexibility to accommodate a variety of other functions throughout the year. He understands the needs of the spectators and facility users and works to ensure that each venue accommodates the wants and needs of each diverse group of patrons. Don has a very specialized understanding of this project type and has been personally involved in nearly every one of the firm’s 55+ arena projects.
Robert (Bobby) DiCicco (VP of Hospitality & Strategy) is a committed leader with 19 years of S&E managerial experience. He has produced results in a variety of venues to include but not limited to American Airlines Arena, Shea Stadium, Fenway Park, Turner Field, Arrowhead Stadium, Coolray Field, Nassau Coliseum, Keyspan Park, FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium and most recently Philips Arena. Bobby has also served on a number of committees throughout his career which created standards for inventory controls, financial analyzing, manager on-boarding, product distribution, speed of service, guest relations and menu engineering.
Experienced executive with the Chicago Fire Soccer Club for part of 10 seasons, Zach leads Ticket Sales, Services, Operations, and Business Intelligence. Zach completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Executive Education for Competitive Strategy at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Outside of work Zach is an ultramarathoner who lives in Chicago with his wife Kelly including two golden retrievers Wrigley and Addison.
As general manager for Delaware North at GABP, Dierig has an exacting focus on the Cincinnati Reds fan experience. He is responsible for the development, operation and management of GABP’s multi-faceted kitchens, suites, concessions and retail facilities. Most recently, Dierig worked helped create Ballpark Express, the first ever self-serve, automated order pick-up stations in a major league sporting venue.
Chris is in the has been VP of Business Development at Venuetize since 2014 and has some 30 years of experience across sports and technology. Chris has helped Venuetize bring on accounts including The District Detroit, LAFC, Red Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies. Prior to joining Venuetize, Chris spent 22 years at the Portland Trailblazers, the last 12 as CIO, a role in which he spearheaded the team’s technology strategy and execution. From digital signage to mobility to CRM to VoIP, Chris’ vision and management established the Blazers’ reputation across the sports industry as innovative leaders. Never one to innovate “for technology’s sake”, Chris was repeatedly able to demonstrate the true business impact from any of his technology investments, thereby magnifying the impact of his accomplishments.
Jenny is a born leader who is focused on empowering and inspiring brands to develop data-driven strategies for sales, marketing and best-in-class customer experiences. In addition to overseeing MacKenzie Corp’s sales and marketing efforts, she guides the analytics team through new service innovations and develops forward-thinking market research strategies.
Honing her skills with companies such as HSBC and HD Supply, she has a strong background in marketing which spans over 15 years. While offering a keen eye for the creative side of marketing and customer experience development, Jenny always holds an appreciation and talent for analyzing data to uncover actionable business solutions. Furthermore, she is the foremost expert on MacKenzie data systems; traveling around the country training clients on how to effectively use our services.
It’s easy to focus on in-office strengths, but her out-of-office achievements are also worthy of recognition. Jenny is on the board of Girls Inc. (Orange County), Chapman Business School, and was a founding member of the Young Leaders group at the Center for Family Business in Irvine. She also is a speaker on topics such as The Future of Market Research, Strategic Customer Journey Mapping, and Getting The Most of Your Customer Insights.
Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and then earned her MBA from the University of Redlands.
Erin is from Chebanse, Illinois and graduated from Illinois State University in 2004 with a degree in History and Travel & Tourism. After graduating from college she began working for The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. During her 10 years with The Walt Disney Company she work at the Front Desk of the Polynesian Resort and the All Star Resort then became a Convention Services Manager with the Youth & Leisure market and also at the Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center. While working as a Convention Services Manager, Erin became a Certified Meeting Planner. It was at Walt Disney World that she met her husband Greg, whom she has been married to for 5 years.
In 2015, Erin moved to Indiana and became the Director of Guest Experience with Pacers Sports & Entertainment. One year later she was promoted to Senior Director and added Culinary Experience to her responsibilities. She has been with Pacers Sports & Entertainment for 4 years.
David Doan was appointed as vice president, strategic sports alliances for the American Cancer Society, May of 2016. Doan led the overall sports account management strategy including, business development, sales operations, and the Society’s sports cause marketing efforts. The sports vertical team grew to ten strong under Doan’s leadership, focusing on fundraising initiatives and activation with sports leagues and properties including the National Football League (NFL), Coaches vs. Cancer, the Atlanta Braves, Major League Lacrosse (MLL), Minor League Baseball (MiLB), USA Track & Field, a multimillion dollar Golf program and the National Hockey League (NHL) where ACS has become the charity of choice in conjunction with the Canadian Cancer Society – forming a continental wide mission and fundraising effort. With the success of building a partnership centric mindset for the Society, Doan’s focus now has shifted to solely focusing on building strategic partnerships and development (fundraising) across sports and corporate verticals, as the strategic director of sports alliance partnerships.
Prior to joining the Society, Doan acquired 14 years of experience strategically positioning and managing Fortune 500 brands, while establishing key performance indicators that align with defined business objectives. His progressive professional appointments and long-standing tenure at Atlanta-based sports marketing agency, CSE, reflect his specific experience with all facets of sponsorship and partnership marketing, business development, advertising sales, and media planning/buying. In addition, he has cultivated a deep understanding and experience delivering value by leading, listening and implementing organizational-wide collaboration and transparency – ensuring that multifaceted organizations thrive.
Doan has a master’s degree in Education from Belmont University and graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with an undergraduate degree in Sport Management/Business. Awards during his tenure include honorable mention for Best Integrated Brand Campaign at the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards for his work with the ‘15th Anniversary Payne Stewart Award Campaign’ and a MarCom Gold Award for ‘Color Carl’s Car’ a pediatric cancer focused initiative where patients from the Aflac Cancer Center designed the car driven by Carl Edwards during the Labor Day NASCAR race in Atlanta.
Doan, originally from Memphis, Tennessee, now resides in Atlanta with his wife of 13 years, Carla and their two daughters, Santana (10) and Ellie (5).
Bill is currently the Chairman of the ALSD, an association he founded 28 years ago. The ALSD, which now numbers over 1,200 member facilities and affiliates, is a clearinghouse of information for the $20 billion premium seat industry. The ALSD tracks suite usage, amenities, occupancy rates, lease deals, new and renovated venue design and construction, and almost any other area that may affect the premium seat marketplace. The annual ALSD Conference now includes the Sports Venue Design & Build Forum, to cover the constantly evolving stadium and arena landscape from a design and fan experience perspective. Dorsey also played a role in beginning the Sports Sales Boot Camp. He has also done extensive research on suite buying habits, with the ALSD team.
In the past 28 years, Bill has been instrumental in starting up numerous businesses in the sports marketplace. His background has roots in publishing and sports, having been a sports writer for a major daily as well as an editor and publisher of several national start-up magazines in the trade and consumer markets. Prior to 1990, Bill was the Editor and Publisher of Skybox magazine, a sports business publication which was distributed in luxury suites across the world.
Bill holds a BA in English from the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated with honors in 1974. He is married with three children and four grandchildren.
Since joining Johnson Consulting in 2008, Brandon has completed over 100 public assembly facility feasibility studies. He specializes in market and financial analysis for public assembly facilities, with specialized expertise in financial modeling, market research, data analytics and industry best practices. He is also experienced in economic and fiscal impact analysis and has assisted professional sports teams as well as cities and communities in their application for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other public funding.
Brandon’s expertise in venue development has allowed clients to have assurance through proper due diligence and precise analysis in major developments throughout the US. This expertise has led to an exciting past year in his career having been involved in several sports facilities that broke ground in 2018 totaling over $500 million in new development. His involvement in various aspects of development includes acting as the lead consultant in an economic and fiscal impact analysis and a community improvement district tax revenue study, on behalf of the St. Louis Blues for the $150 million renovation of the Enterprise Center (formerly Scottrade Center); a feasibility study for the recent $65 million expansion to the north end zone at Cardinal Stadium for the University of Louisville; an economic impact analysis for a $90 million arena and mixed-use district in Coralville, IA; and advisory oversight in the solicitation, selection and negotiation of a private management firm for two $30 million indoor sports facilities tailored to sports tourism.
Lastly, Brandon led Johnson Consulting’s recent partnership with the United Soccer League, in becoming the leagues preferred Stadium Advisor. He is affiliated with several industry associations and has been invited to speak at past events. He has also authored as well as been interviewed for industry publications in relations to trends in venue development. He currently serves as a stadium committee member for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).
He holds a Bachelor degree in Business and Urban Planning from Arizona State University and resides in Chicago, IL.
Danny Ecker is a reporter at Crain’s Chicago Business, where he covers commercial real estate and previously spent six years covering the local sports business scene, including the ongoing transformation of Wrigley Field and its surrounding neighborhood. Prior to joining Crain's in 2010, Danny worked as a producer for college sports and news website UWire.com. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and a native of Columbus, Ohio.
David Elgin has more than 15 years of progressive sports and entertainment business experience spanning across sales, marketing, CRM and business analytics. In his current role as VP, Analytics, he leads all analytical initiatives for the organization, including data warehousing, CRM, sales/marketing analytics, research, reporting and strategic insights.
Paul Epstein, Director of Partnerships & Leadership Development, BW Leadership Institute
After a 12-year leadership journey in the sports business industry, Paul joined the Barry Wehmiller Leadership Institute, inspired by the partnership that BWLI and the San Francisco 49ers shared during his time with the NFL club. In his role, Paul is charged with forming impact-driven partnerships with a mission to transform the cultural landscape of business to embody a leadership philosophy of people, purpose, and performance. He now wakes up stimulated to follow his calling of unleashing the potential in others.
With BWLI, Paul has led engagements with the US Special Forces, a major airline, leading wine producer, non-profits, tech in Silicon Valley, as well as professional sports teams.
In his time at the 49ers, Paul served on an executive leadership team that discovered their organizational 'Why' and values, immersing himself to lead a culture transformation that resulted in the creation of the 49ers Academy, a top talent incubator in the industry fueled through the vision of placing people first and inspiring them through a greater purpose.
Paul received his MBA from the University of Michigan focused on leadership development, with a bachelors degree from USC in business. He currently lives in Pasadena with his wife as they enjoy hosting memory-inspiring gatherings and travelling abroad.
Mike Ernst was promoted to Senior Vice President Ticket Sales, Service, Marketing & Club Operations in September of 2013. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club Ticket Sales and Service team, club marketing strategies and overseeing the operations aspect of the club.
Prior to joining the Fire, Ernst was a Senior Account Executive with the Seattle Supersonics of the National Basketball Association. While with the Sonics, he was responsible for Corporate and Courtside ticket sales. This experience included the development of a ticket sales relationship with the Microsoft Corporate Office in Redmond, Wash.
Ernst started his career working for McLeodUSA Telecommunications. While at McLeod, he was responsible for Accounts Receivable for the phone company’s top accounts. During his four years with McLeodUSA, he earned employee of the month on five separate occasions.
He earned his MA in Sports Management from the University of Iowa and a B.A. in Marketing & Public Relations at Saint Ambrose University. Ernst, 35, lives in Forest Park with his wife Rachelle, their daughter Nora and their son James.
Adina Erwin is the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. A fiercely protected landmark and nationally acclaimed theatre, the Fox is a multi-purpose performing arts venue which hosts over 450 events per year. During her tenure at the Fox Theatre, Adina launched the award-winning Fox Theatre Institute, an innovative funding and consulting division of Fox Theatre, Inc.
Since 1993, Adina has worked in various types of entertainment venues including arenas, convention centers and theaters. Prior to her current position with the Fox, Adina served as the Director of the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Jacksonville, Florida. A theater complex which houses three (3) performance halls, the Times-Union Center is home to the award-winning Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and a diverse mix of events from Broadway productions to concerts and corporate functions. In addition to her role at the Times-Union Center, Adina also served on the Super Bowl Host Committee and Event Team for Super Bowl XXXIX.
Prior to her position in Florida, Adina was Director of Guest Services at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas where she created managed and supervised a guest services department recognized for excellence in service by the National Basketball Association. In addition she assisted with the transition planning and activities in preparation for the grand opening of this facility, which is the home of the NBA Dallas Mavericks and the NHL Dallas Stars.
Previous experiences in the entertainment venue management industry include positions with Reunion Arena, the Charlotte Coliseum, Mobile Convention and Civic Centers and Jacksonville Entertainment Facilities. Adina received a BA in Physical Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went on to earn her Masters degree from the University of Massachusetts Sport Management Program, specializing in Entertainment Venue Management.
Adina has served as an Instructor at the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Venue Management School (VMS) since 2003. She has served as Chair of the Board of Regents for VMS and as the 2011 Exchange Instructor for the Venue Management School in Australia. In 2013, she was awarded the Ray W. Ward Award for her dedication and extraordinary contributions to the overall success and quality of VMS.
Venues Today Magazine recognized Adina as one of the 2013 “Women of Influence” in the music and entertainment venues industry and she has been selected as one of the 2017 “Women Who Mean Business” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle . She is a graduate of the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) program and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, the Advisory Board for the Trust for Public Land and the Board of Trustees for the IAVM Foundation.
Adina resides in Decatur, GA with her husband and two children.
Rahmin Eslami is the Executive Creative Director at Hornall Anderson. As capable of bringing ideas to life as he is bringing life to ideas, he has made an impact on a number of brands, including, NHL Seattle, the NBA, SC Johnson, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Abbott, Bank of Nova Scotia, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Michelin brands, Pepsico and Procter & Gamble.
The consummate ENFP personality, Rahmin strives to make people feel things through branding. He believes that conceptual ideas drive better design and that emotion is a powerful vehicle for impact. To him, true communication comes about at a deeper level than what is sometimes readily seen or heard – and he’s been known to keep digging until that level is reached.
Rahmin’s work has been recognized by the Business Marketing Association, American Advertising Federation, AIGA, PRINT magazine, and Graphis. Additionally, he served as the president of the Cincinnati chapter of AIGA from 2004-2007.
Ralph Esquibel is an accomplished information technology executive with 23 years’ experience driving innovation, and business transformation. Ralph currently serves as the Los Angeles Dodgers Vice President of Information Technology and represents the organization’s interests in technology infrastructure, cybersecurity, compliance, end-user support services, and delivering overall organizational technology solutions that align with LAD’s mission and business goals.
Before joining the LA Dodgers, Ralph held various technology positions within IBM, Toyota Motor Sales, American Honda Motors and Pioneer Electronics. Ralph attended California State University, Los Angeles and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. When not at work, Ralph enjoys family time with his wife Nancy of 20 years, daughter Allyssa and son Roman.
Meredith Estrada is Manager Suites & Catering at Madison Square Garden where she leads a front of house operations team to deliver exceptional service and create lifelong memories for suite guests. Meredith values teamwork and appreciates the unique contribution of each individual team member. Her goal is to make everyone on her team’s job a little easier by simplifying process and communication, empowering others through teaching, and always being prepared by anticipating future needs.
Before joining Madison Square Garden where she leads a $35M suites and catering operation, Meredith held both service and operations leadership roles within The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Meredith finds her balance by staying active. She has completed two marathons for charity and over a dozen half marathons for no good reason. She is SCUBA certified and looking forward to obtaining her sailing certification this Spring. Meredith holds a BA in International Relations from The University of Pennsylvania.
Mark Faber has been with AEG since 2005 and is Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships, for AEG in Las Vegas. AEG and MGM entered into a joint venture agreement to develop a 20,000 seat arena in Las Vegas. T-Mobile Arena opened to rave reviews in April 2016 and was named Billboard 2017 Arena of the Year. As the lead for AEG in Las Vegas, Faber’s primary responsibility is to secure high revenue longterm partners for the venue including Naming Rights, Founding Partners and Premium Inventory, such as suites, loge boxes and club seats. As a member of the leadership team, Faber focuses on revenue generation for the arena as well as other properties in Las Vegas including MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mandalay Bay Events Center, The Colosseum at Caesars and The Joint at Hard Rock.
Prior to this, Faber was the first lead prior to groundbreaking for AEG’s arena in Kansas City, Sprint Center. Faber was responsible for revenue generation including naming rights, sponsorships and premium seating for AEG properties in the Midwest Region including Target Center, Maverik Center, The Midland by AMC and Verizon Theater. Faber brings 25-plus years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry to his role at AEG. Faber began his career as an intern in the ticket office with the Orange Bowl Committee in Miami, Florida, and was promoted to Ticket Manager. Following this, he joined the Dallas Cowboys to help direct sales efforts for sponsorships, events, hospitality, and luxury suites at the Cowboys’ Texas Stadium and Training Camp. During the next five years, the Cowboys won back-to-back World Championships in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII, and Faber added the duties of being on the post-season advance team for NFC Championship games and Super Bowls. Faber left the Cowboys to pursue additional opportunities in sports with Liberty Media, and has subsequently held senior-level positions with Host Communications, Galles Indy Racing, PSP Sports, and Learfield Sports.
A native of Prairie Village, Kansas, Faber graduated from the University of Kansas, where he obtained Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and History, and earned a Masters of Business Administration. During his time in Kansas City, Faber was a frequent guest lecturer at the Sports Management Program at The University of Kansas as well as involved in many civic and philanthropic organizations. Mark and his wife, Holly, make their home in Summerlin in Las Vegas, NV. Their daughter, Megan, graduated Cum Laude from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee with majors in Entertainment Industry Studies and Spanish. Their son, Drew, is a sophomore at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa pursuing a degree in Creative Media. Mark and Holly have a passion for supporting cancer research, youth homelessness and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Colby Fackler joined Vancouver Whitecaps FC in February 2012 as Director, Corporate Partnerships, bringing a wide range of sponsorship and sports industry experience to the club. In August 2012, Fackler moved over to lead the club’s sales teams as Director, Sales & Service. In January 2017, he was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Service.
Fackler oversees the Sales & Service departments for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, which include Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS), all premium hospitality and the National Whitecaps FC skills camps across the country. As Vice President, Fackler has 6 direct reports and manages a team of 25 Sales & Service staff. The Sales & Service team has significantly grown from 13 staff when Fackler first stepped into the Director role in 2012.
Under Fackler’s leadership since 2012, the Sales & Service team has achieved a notable 36% growth in full-season ticket memberships for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. In that time, total MLS regular season ticket revenue has increased 18.7% and average match paid tickets has increased by 27.6%. Fackler has also seen success by focusing on building positive fan relationships and providing exceptional fan service.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Major League Soccer (MLS) named Fackler the MLS Ticketing Sales Executive of the Year in 2014. Under his guidance, the club set new records with 11 sellouts, as well as for total ticket sales, group sales, and renewals. Fackler and his team achieved 295% growth year-after-year and with his existing sales representatives tripled sales revenue. For these accomplishments, Fackler’s sales team was selected by MLS for the Presidents Club as one of the top sales teams in the league.
In the same year, the Whitecaps FC sales team received the award for Best in Class Sales Innovation for the club’s “12%” sales campaign. Introduced in 2013, the highly successful campaign gives Whitecaps FC fans a 12% discount on season tickets for 12 days. The campaign has proven to drive new and repeat season ticket sales each year. The club currently has 15,500 season ticket members.
With an increase in season ticket memberships and overall ticket sales, Fackler successfully increased Whitecaps FC regular season stadium capacity to 22,120 in 2016 (up from 21,000 between 2011 to 2015). The club also had three regular season matches opened to 25,000 capacity for the first time in 2016. At the club’s first MLS Cup playoff match at BC Place, there was a record 27,837 fans in attendance.
Fackler has been an exceptionally innovative leader at Whitecaps FC. He was the first to introduce the auto-renew season ticket subscription model in Canada and the second in all of North American pro sports. He was also the first to introduce an all-digital ticketing system in pro sports in Canada.
Prior to joining Whitecaps FC, Fackler worked in sales and partnerships for over a decade. He was the Senior Director of Corporate Sales with Comcast Spectacor’s FrontRow Marketing, providing commercial rights management for Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.
Previous positions also include Director of Corporate Partnerships at Sport BC, Account Executive at Vancouver Canucks (NHL), and Inventa Promotions. He also held a teaching position at Vancouver Film School in the Entertainment Business Program, teaching a course focusing on the Business of Sport.
Fackler has also volunteered with a number of notable organizations. For over 11 years, Fackler was a member of the executive committee and board of trustees for the BC Sports Hall of Fame. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, he was a volunteer team lead at Canada Hockey Place during the Olympic hockey tournament. He also volunteered with TEDxVancouver as Senior Manager of Sponsorship.
Colin Faulkner serves as the senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for the Chicago Cubs as well as the senior vice president of Marquee Sports & Entertainment. In this dual role, he oversees all aspects of ticket sales, corporate partnerships and marketing for the Chicago Cubs, Gallagher Way, Hotel Zachary, the American Airlines Conference Center and Wrigley Rooftops. Faulkner joined the Cubs in 2010 as the vice president of Ticket Sales and Service.
Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as the senior vice president of Marketing for the Dallas Stars. Faulkner was responsible for overseeing the Dallas Stars overall marketing strategy and execution, including advertising plans and strategies, corporate partner integration and execution, branding and messaging, ticket sales marketing and support, game presentation and promotions, social media strategies and sales and marketing technology platforms. He previously served as the vice president of Ticket Sales and Service for the Stars.
Faulkner played an integral role in the transition from Reunion Arena to American Airlines Center in 2001. He also guided the Stars through the cancellation of the 2004-05 season due to the NHL labor dispute and was instrumental in the relaunch of the Stars brand and their ticket sales effort for the 2005-06 season. Faulkner also played a key role in the strategy and execution of the successful 2007 NHL All-Star game in Dallas, Texas.
Mackie Feierstein joined the University of Miami Athletics Department in September of 2015, marking his 15th year in professional/intercollegiate sports.
Since Feierstein’s arrival in 2015, the Hurricanes Ticket Sales Department has triggered significant growth in season ticket sales.
In 2016, Miami sold a school-record 42,000 season football tickets and ranked first among power five programs in attendance percentage increase (23 percent) over 2015 attendance. During the 2016 campaign, Miami football ranked 27th in average attendance among FBS institutions.
In addition, the Hurricanes also have sold out their men’s basketball season tickets in three consecutive seasons (2016-2018) for the first time ever under Feierstein’s direction.
Feierstein joined the Hurricanes after one year with the Philadelphia Soul where he served as the Director of Business Development & Group Sales. Prior to the Soul, he worked for Orlando City SC and the Florida Panthers. During his time as the Director of Group Sales with the Florida Panthers, the team led the NHL in group ticket sales in 2011 and 2012.
Feierstein began his ticket sales career in 2001 with the Orange Bowl Committee selling corporate ticket packages.
A year later, the Philadelphia native accepted the Group Sales Account Manager position with the Miami Dolphins where he helped group ticket sales grow by 61 percent annually over a five-year period. During his time with the Dolphins, Feierstein implemented his ticket sales philosophies and principles, which are still being used today.
Throughout his career, Feierstein has consistently played a crucial part in growing season, group and premium ticket sales, while fostering relationships and training/managing ticket sales staffs. Feierstein graduated from the College of Wooster (Ohio) with a Bachelor's Degree in American History. He would go to receive his Masters’ from the University of Miami in Sports Administration.
Peter Feigin brings more than two decades of dynamic corporate leadership to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he’s charged with spearheading the next chapter of this storied team’s legacy. His talents are the key to helping realize the Bucks’ transformational vision: a championship team playing in a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena that will drive the creation of new partnerships, new jobs and a new sense of community for the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin.
Since taking over as president of the Milwaukee Bucks in October of 2014, Peter has completely reimagined, rebuilt and reenergized the team’s business operations, resulting in substantial increases in attendance, ticket revenue, merchandise revenue, partnership sales and TV viewership. He has assembled a top-flight management team and instilled a new corporate culture marked by accountability, collaboration and fun. The Bucks were named one of Milwaukee’s best places to work in 2017, and Peter’s inspired and tireless leadership was recognized with his being named the Milwaukee BizTimes 2015 CEO of the Year.
Peter was instrumental in driving the vision, financing, planning, design and construction of Fiserv Forum, a $524 million, 17,500-seat sports and entertainment venue in downtown Milwaukee that opened on Aug. 26, 2018, as well as a new state-of-the-art training center for the Bucks, all of which is part of a 30-acre mixed-use development surrounding the project that will seamlessly link with existing developments on all sides to create a vibrant, urban community in the heart of Milwaukee. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that this historic project will be catalytic to the economic development of both the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin.
Senior Vice President of Administration and Facilities
San Francisco Giants
Alfonso Felder, who enters his 18th year in the Giants front office, oversees the Giants facilities group including the Ballpark Operations, Guest Services, Giants Enterprises, and Human Resources departments. Felder also oversees the Giants Spring Training operations in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Felder was the Giants' point person for the 2007 All-Star Game at AT&T Park and coordinated the club's hosting of the inaugural World Baseball Classic at Scottsdale Stadium in 2006. He has also managed many of the recent capital improvements at AT&T Park as well as the renovation of Scottsdale Stadium and the Giants' minor league training facilities in Arizona. He was a key player in the planning and development of AT&T Park and continues to manage the Giants' relationship with the transit and parking operators that serve the ballpark.
Felder's first job was as a Giants usher at Candlestick Park while growing up in the City. He attended U.C. Berkeley and graduated from Harvard University. Felder resides in San Francisco with his wife, Tara, and sons Leo and Max.
Bestselling author of The Fine Art of Small Talk How to Start a Conversation, Keep it Going, Build Networking Skills and Leave a Positive Impression (Hachette), keynote speaker, and trainer, Fine began her career as an engineer. Now a long time member of the National Speakers Association, Debra presents and trains audiences across the globe. Fine designs her programs and researches her books to teach leaders, professional services, membership organizations and front-line staff, conversation and rapport building skills and business networking techniques that help to develop meaningful business relationships, gain visibility and build rapport.
Susan oversees the overall sports business in Mexico and has been instrumental in developing and implementing the strategic growth plan and positively impacting and changing the food and beverage operations and culture in venues in Mexico. Under her leadership for the past 8 years, Compass Group Mexico has become driving force for innovation in Mexico. She has focused on developing dynamic leaders and working very closely with the clients to positively impact the operation and the fan experience in the venues. Compass Mexico provides service to 50% of the stadiums in Mexico and works with OCESA in many music events and festivals. More than 6M spectators are touched each year in events ranging from soccer, concerts, large multi-day music festivals as well as in events with the NFL, MLB, Formula 1, Formula E, Nascar, PGA, and FIFA.
Susan joined the group in 2005, working with Levy Restaurants on launching the brand in London at the O2 Arena. She also worked with Levy at various events, businesses and projects prior to supporting and joining the leadership team in Mexico.
Prior to working with Compass, Susan focused her efforts and passion in the hotel sector with senior leadership positions at Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, John Q Hammons Hotels and Davidson Hotels. With over 25 years of food and beverage experience, Susan continues to focus on her passion for food and beverage who and what can be positively impacted next!
Chip Foley leads the Venue Technologies practice at AmpThink. In this role chip provides strategic and advisory services to businesses in the Sports and Entertainment industry including: technology master planning, strategic planning, and stadium technologies management. Prior to joining AmpThink, Chip was a the Vice President of Building Technology for Forest City Ratner Companies and Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home of the Brooklyn Nets. He oversaw Barclays Center’s technology design and implementation of the converged network, earning the venue a reputation as one of the most technologically advanced sports and entertainment arenas in the world.
Philip Folsom is an anthropologist, culture development expert, veteran, and CEO of Wolf Tribe a division of Philip Folsom Programs. He is also the founder of Human Kind—a holistic consulting agency, as well as SPARTA, a critically acclaimed PTSD and suicide prevention program for warriors.
Philip is known for his unique Tribe workshop that focuses on the primary culture components of building healthy and high performing teams. His work regularly includes innovative adventure programming such as vision quests, caving, high ropes challenge courses, Zen archery, and workshops with real horses and wolves.
Philip Folsom’s reputation in the team development world is legendary. His in-person events and seminars have dramatically improved the lives of over 500,000 people. His current clients include Microsoft, Apple, Snapchat, Fox Pictures, and Space X.
Philip has sat on numerous boards including Red Bull’s High Performance Department. His work is regularly featured on television and podcasts. Philip works regularly with groups from USC and is a regular contributor to Marshall School of Business, including the Masters of Business for Veterans program. He lives with his wife, daughter, and black lab in Venice Beach, California.
Forthofer, with 20 years of construction related experience, has successfully completed projects at Auburn University as a Project Manager, which include the Indoor Practice Facility and the nation’s largest collegiate videoboard at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Forthofer is currently responsible for overseeing and managing Auburn Athletics capital projects program and plans to complete the new Harbert Family Recruiting Center by the 2019 football season. Forthofer received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University in 1998 and a Masters of Business Administration from The Citadel. From Parkland, Fla., Forthofer is married and has three children.
Daria Fox, a Sales and Marketing Executive specializing in Customer Experience and Business Acceleration for 20 years, recently joined Franklin Group USA in July 2017 as Chief Marketing Officer. Daria has been a successful leader in the industry, understanding the constant shift of impactful marketing, how that translates to fan experience and the need for companies providing services to anticipate change, strategically plan, and proactively build relationships with professionals to provide relevant services and support the businesses and communities where they are located. Bachelors in Communications, University of Maryland, College Park MD 1991.
Jared is in his tenth year with the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD), continuing to build the news flow for the sports and entertainment venue marketplace. Jared serves as the Publisher for SEATMagazine. Through his editorial leadership and creative vision, SEAThas grown from a 40-page, saddle-stitched newsletter into a 144-page-and-growing, perfect-bound quarterly trade publication. While not covering sports and entertainment, Jared is an avid reader of classic literature and a creative fiction writer. He holds a Master’s degree from Xavier University and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Dayton, where he also played football, earning three Varsity letters and the Emil Karas Memorial Award for most inspirational leadership. And despite what Amanda Verhoff says, he is not a ginger, but a strawberry blonde.
Jason Freier is the Chairman and CEO of Hardball Capital, a sports-related investment company whose assets include affiliated Minor League Baseball franchises. Under Mr. Freier's leadership Hardball has built the Fort Wayne TinCaps into one of the premier teams in Minor League Baseball and drastically improved the operations and fan experience with the Chattanooga Lookouts, Savannah Sand Gnats and the Salem Avalanche. Hardball has built new ballparks that have catalyzed hundreds of millions in development in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Columbia, South Carolina.
Hardball has set all-time attendance records with every team it has owned and operated. Mr. Freier has consulted with other owners, potential owners and municipalities on matters including franchise valuation and purchase, stadium location, design and financing and team branding and operations.
Mr. Freier is an attorney by training. Prior to founding Hardball, he specialized in complex business matters and sports law (representing owners and potential owners of MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams). Following law school, Mr. Freier worked with former United States Solicitor General and Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried and practiced with Williams & Connolly in Washington D.C. and Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore in Atlanta.
Mr. Freier's work has been the subject of articles in national publications and has been quoted in legislation before the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Mr. Freier is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and Leadership Atlanta (class of 2007). Mr. Freier serves on the Board of Directors of the South Atlantic League, where he is a member of the League's Executive Committee, the Southern League and the Midwest League. He serves on the Advisory Boards of Palmer & Cay and has previously served on the Advisory Boards for Thuzio and Sarvint. Mr. Freier has also served on the Board of Directors of the Carolina League. Mr. Freier is an appointed member of the Stadium Advisory Board of the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission and the City of Columbia (SC) Venue Advisory Board. He is also an officer of the Harvard Club of Georgia. Jason is a graduate of Harvard College and the Yale Law School, where he was elected to the Yale Law Journal.
Rachel Fritz is ACCESS Event Solutions as Director of Sales. As such, Rachel oversees a team of Account Executives and Account Managers as well as helps promote business development and growth for the company. Originally from Portland, OR, Rachel graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010. After college, passionate about business development and growth strategies, she dove into sales and marketing, working in the recruitment and sales industry for seven years. In her free time, she likes to attend Nevada football games and go camping.
Paul M Fruitman is a 20 year sports business veteran, with most of it spent working in ticket sales, staff training and strategic planning. He has had the opportunity to work at various levels of team and pro sports working in MLB, CFL, NBL Canada and is currently with Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer. In the time he has spent working in the sports industry he was part of developing the Inside Sales department for the Toronto Blue Jays, creating new premium seating locations for the Edmonton Eskimos that sold out from concept, and is now currently overseeing Suites and Premium Seating at the Whitecaps.
Candy Fuzesy graduated from Minnesota State Mankato in 2006 and received a management internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Upon completing her internship, Fuzesy continued on full- time as a Restaurant Guest Services Manager at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In 2010, Fuzesy helped open the new Hilton Orlando as a Multi-Outlet Food and Beverage Manager. During her tenure there, Hilton Orland won the prestigious “Connie” award three years in a row as the number one Hilton in the Americas. This award is won through unparalleled guest service, profitability and excellent building maintenance. Fuzesy was then promoted to Assistant General Manager of the Cincinnati Airport Marriott and continued on to General Manager of the Residence Inn at the Phelps in downtown Cincinnati. During Fuzesy’s tenure as GM, the Residence Inn took the top spot on Trip Advisor as the No. 1 hotel in Cincinnati. In 2015, Fuzesy and her husband, Rick, had a little boy, Cooper, and made the move back home to Minnesota to join the Minnesota Vikings. She is now entering her third full season with the Vikings and loves that she is able to combine her passion for luxury guest service with her love for the Vikings.
A veteran of the premium seating industry, Jessica has built a 20+ career working with sophisticated clientele in sports, entertainment, and hospitality. Managing the wants and desires of premium clients in the NFL, Jessica was unable to find a technology solution to drive engagement, create greater efficiency and add value to increase retention, so she created her own: WAVEWORK. Wavework provides teams the ability to successfully position value while providing an increasingly distinctive, highly personalized and consistent premium experience. Wavework is a compilation of Jessica’s deep understanding and true appreciation for elevating the premium customer experience.
Allen Ganz is Director of Critical Infrastructure, Advanced Recognition Systems for NEC Corporation of America. He is responsible for NEC’s biometrics and facial recognition solutions in the travel, sports and entertainment and other non-governmental sectors. Allen has more than 20 years’ experience with multi-modal biometrics, video analytics, and other emerging technologies.
Dennis has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, with a record of successfully leading, managing and delivering technology projects and infrastructure deployments. Started with companies like NCR and The Channel Company where he was able to achieve several recognitions as Project Manager.
Moved into Product Management in 2015 with Phunware where he maintained and launched multiple apps. Joined the HEAT organization in 2017 where he led redesign and relaunch of the Miami HEAT app and transitioning the Arena to mobile only tickets for HEAT games.
Michael Garvie is currently the Senior Vice President of Event Investment for Prolific 1, the largest secondary-market ticket distribution company in the United States. During his eleven-year tenure with Prolific 1, the company has grown dramatically as a leader in the industry, exceeding $215MM in ticket sales in 2017. Prolific 1 has established premier partnerships with teams in the NHL, NBA, MLS, NFL, MLB and college athletics due to Michael’s role within the company. In addition to these partnerships, Prolific 1 is at the forefront of developing strategic partnerships with venues, artists and promoters within the music industry. With a client-first attitude and customer-focused mentality, Michael has aided Prolific 1’s developments with his progressive thinking and commitment to advancing the industry.
Michael is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree from the University of Connecticut in Sports Administration. Michael currently resides in Connecticut with his wife Tracy and three children, Noah, T.J. and Talia.
Carmel has been a Strategic Account Director with Movable Ink for three years, working across key accounts in the South East / Atlanta Region. With a background in media buying & planning, social, and email, Carmel brings a holistic approach to tackling our clients marketing challenges. Prior to joining Movable Ink, Carmel was previously with Sailthru and Buddy Media (acquired by Salesforce 2012).
Brian George rejoined the Texans in 2017 and is currently the Director of Houston Texans Luxe in which he oversees all aspects of the new suite sales process. Before rejoining the Texans, Brian began with the Texans in 2008 as a Corporate Development Representative and was promoted to Corporate Development Manager in 2011. From 2012-2017 he was the General Manager with Baylor IMG Sports Marketing and Nebraska IMG Sports Marketing. Brian holds a degree from the Sports, Sponsorship and Sales program at Baylor University. During his free time, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, fishing, and hunting. He lives in Missouri City, TX with his wife, Betsy; their daughter, Kinsley; and son, Weston.
Greg Giordano is a licensed architect with 25 years of experience working at the intersection of information, interactions, and the environment. He draws on the disciplines of design research, architecture, environmental graphics, graphic design, and interaction design to create comprehensive user experiences in the built environment. Clients include the Carolina Panthers, CBRE, Gap, Microsoft, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, SL Green, and the Washington Nationals. Greg’s role with Sensory Interactive includes leading the Design and Strategy team’s creative work on projects ranging from large-format digital-out-of-home spectaculars in Times Square to multi-user, multi-touch walls and comprehensive promotional platforms.
Recent assignments include the launch of a nationwide digital media network with over 200 faces for retail developer Macerich, master planning for the 300-acre Hollywood Park development that will include the new LA Rams stadium, and multi-site implementation of 16 tight-pixel-pitch interior presentation walls for a leading cloud technology company.Greg is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and is an architect licensed in the state of Texas.
For the past twenty-five years Gigi Girone has been creating and cultivating a journey through the business of Sports and Live Entertainment. Gigi has crafted world-class environments, premium hospitality services, development programming, elevating and enhancing the human experience through innovation, creativity and vision with no details lost. Gigi consulted and project managed extensibly on the final construction phase, preopening, opening, administration and operation of the notable, world class Sprint Center, an AEG and City of Kansas City $276 million facility, the crown jewel to the revival and revitalization of downtown Kansas City, Missouri and the region. Having completed capital improvement renovations with innovative and creative concepts integrating state of the art immersive entertainment with state-of-the-art audiovisuals not only in premium spaces, but throughout the venue for creative and strategic branding programing to carry the venue through its next decade to come. Currently, she is developing Muzology an edutainment brand in higher learning through music, in partnership with Dr. Lana Israel and Bob Doyle, Garth Brooks' manager, and she consults in creative development of The Sophia Project, an immersive entertainment production, digital design, 3D projection mapping with the award winning Eye Q Productions. She is also consulting on a major Arena new build in Asia.
Evan Gitomer, Vice President, Premium Ticketing, leads Van Wagners’s premium ticketing specialty, which has included management of projects for the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, and Texas Rangers. Under Gitomer’s leadership, VWSE’s SunTrust Park project team sold over 4,500 Club and Premium seats for the new Braves ballpark, a 95% sell-through rate. The team’s effort set new revenue benchmarks for MLB stadium openings.
Gitomer has a wealth of experience managing and selling premium ticket operations in pro sports, including roles as the Premium Sales Director for the Orlando Magic, Director of Ticket Sales and Service for Sporting Kansas City, Suite Sales Manager of the Brooklyn Nets kicking off the sales process for the Barclays Center, premium sales with the Arizona Coyotes, and with his hometown Philadelphia Eagles.
An alum of Temple University, Gitomer currently leads VWSE’s engagements with the Texas Rangers for the under-construction Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX, where he lives with his family.
Tom Glick was hired as the team president of the Carolina Panthers in September 2018. In his role, Glick oversees the team’s day-to-day operations. Glick joins the Panthers with more than 25 years of experience in sports management, having worked in baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
At the time of Glick’s hiring, Panthers owner David Tepper said, “We are thrilled to have Tom join the Panthers family. He has tremendous experience in professional sports, successfully fostering fan engagement in major cities globally. I know that his record, expertise and drive will be major assets as we look to win on the field and in the community.”
For the past six years, Glick has been instrumental in the development of City Football Group (CFG), a multi-national soccer organization that includes six clubs. CFG’s original and flagship club is three-time and current English Premier League champion, Manchester City FC. The group also owns New York City FC of Major League Soccer, as well as clubs in the top divisions in Australia, Spain, Japan and Uruguay. As Chief Commercial Officer, Glick oversaw partnership sales and activation, marketing, content production and distribution, retail and licensing, and fan relationship management for all of CFG’s clubs.
During Glick’s tenure, CFG has completed several major infrastructure developments. In Manchester, Etihad Stadium was expanded with more seating, and major improvements were made to premium seating and wider fan amenities were added. In 2015, Manchester City opened a new state-of-the-art training facility, the City Football Academy, built on 80 acres of land adjacent to the stadium. CFG has also completed two further training ground developments, in New York and Melbourne, Australia.
In February 2015, Glick moved to New York for 15 months to help launch New York City FC in the role of president. With the launch complete, he returned to the United Kingdom to continue to drive CFG’s global expansion. As a part of this, he has also been responsible for the group’s business development in China.
Glick spent the first 14 years of his career predominantly in baseball. From 1999-2004, he served as senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A baseball team. The River Cats led all of Minor League Baseball in attendance and revenue during his five seasons and also became the Minor League’s top seller of merchandise over that same period. Glick held various senior positions with other Minor League Baseball teams, including the Lansing Lugnuts, Huntington Cubs, Welland Pirates and Jamestown Expos. During this time, he introduced two new clubs to cities, helping construct and open new stadiums in Lansing, Michigan (1996) and Sacramento, California (2000). In the middle of this tenure in baseball, he served as the business manager of the Peoria Rivermen hockey club.
In 2004, Glick made a move to the National Basketball Association, first as vice president, marketing and team business development at the league headquarters in New York City, and later as chief marketing officer for the New Jersey Nets, which included work on the club’s relocation to their current home in Brooklyn. In 2008, Glick relocated to the United Kingdom to take on the role of chief executive officer with Derby County Football Club prior to joining CFG in 2012.
He is a two-time winner of Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award. Glick was the first American elected to serve on the Board of the Football League in England. He has also served on the Football Association Council and the Professional Game Board. Glick and his wife, Maria, have three children – Chuck, Ted and Maisy.
Elizabeth Godek graduated with a Sports Management & Communications degree in 2005 from The University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. After interning at Nike, she joined The Cleveland Cavaliers in her first sales role. Godek excelled and was quickly promoted to the Client Experience Team focusing on season ticket member retention. In 2011, Godek was drafted to Detroit to build her own retention team and increase loyalty among passionate Pistons fans. As the Sr. Director of Premium & Member Experience, her year-round engagement platforms initially increased retention by 40% and led to multiple seasons of 90%+ renewals. In 2017, The Pistons relocated game day operations to Little Caesars Arena and capped off an impressive year finishing #1 in the NBA for revenue retained (108%), #1 in average gate receipts (76% growth) and #1 in average tickets sold per game (29% growth). Godek was University of Michigan Rower, named to Crain’s Detroit’s 40 Under 40, and currently serves as the Vice President for Women In Sports & Events (WISE) Detroit.
Elizabeth Godek graduated with a Sports Management & Communications degree in 2005 from The University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. After interning at Nike, she joined The Cleveland Cavaliers in her first sales role. Godek excelled and was quickly promoted to the Client Experience Team focusing on season ticket member retention.
In 2011, Godek was drafted to Detroit to build her own retention team and increase loyalty among passionate Pistons fans. Her year-round engagement platforms initially increased retention by 40% and led to multiple seasons of 90%+ renewals. In 2017, The Pistons relocated game day operations to Little Caesars Arena and capped off an impressive year finishing #1 in the NBA for revenue retained (108%), #1 in average gate receipts (76% growth) and #1 in average tickets sold per game (29% growth).
As Vice President of Premium & Membership Development, Godek and her teams have taken advantage of a 2019 Playoff appearance and stand at 96% to goal for revenue renewed. Godek was a University of Michigan Rower, named to Crain’s Detroit’s 40 Under 40, and currently serves as the President for Women In Sports & Events (WISE) Detroit.
Gonella leads a team responsible for selling Prudential Center and New Jersey Devils Premium Seating. He is a Sports & Entertainment industry sales leader with 20 + years of experience and track record of consistent success in new and existing buildings/facilities.
He is an expert in ticketing, premium seating and sponsorship sales, sales team development and management with a focus on revenue creation and new product development.
Gregory has more than 25+ years of experience where he worked across a variety of verticals establishing his skill set in business consulting, wireless and digital technologies, advertising and data analytics and its relationship with new business opportunities in multi-tiered ecosystem surrounding sports and entertainment world. Gregory spearheads the business development and expansion of clientele of 3D Digital Venue. Gregory is also working on developing a mobile technology platform enabling Sports App Developers, Sports Clubs, Brands to better understand fan preferences and purchasing behavior across different countries.
Jeff Gould has been with the Padres for 8 years and currently oversees their Premium Sales, Membership Sales, and Inside Sales Department. Prior to his current role Jeff was a sales rep in his first 3 seasons at the Padres, and has been in a leadership role over the last 5 seasons. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara, and is originally from Alamo, California.
President, Sacramento Kings
President, Sacramento KingsA 14-year veteran of the NBA, Chris Granger is currently serving his second season as President of the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Basketball Holdings, LLC. Granger is responsible for overseeing and executing all Kings business operations and spearheading the development of the downtown Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC).
Along with Sacramento Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé, Granger has led the Kings in implementing “NBA 3.0,” a forward-thinking business philosophy driven by technology, globalization, and basketball as a positive agent of change. The entire Kings organization is committed to utilizing NBA 3.0 – both on and off the court – to make the Kings the premier sports franchise of the 21st century.
Prior to joining the Kings, Granger worked in various capacities for the NBA from 1999-2013. He most recently served as the Executive Vice President of the NBA's renowned Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO) function, where he advised NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League teams on all aspects of business operations including ticket and sponsorship sales, marketing, community relations, communications, and digital media. Under Granger’s leadership at TMBO, teams across all three leagues set numerous and consistent records for game attendance, gate receipts, and sponsorship revenue. Granger has worked with the Kings in various capacities since 2004, most recently leading the TMBO function in Sacramento to support the "re-launch" of the team after the threat of relocation.
Prior to joining the NBA, Granger held leadership positions with the Walt Disney World Company, working primarily on the resort side of the business.
Granger received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and his M.B.A. from Yale. As an undergraduate, he also studied abroad at the prestigious London School of Economics & Political Science. An Indiana native, Chris now lives in the Wilhaggin area of Sacramento with his wife Jennifer and daughters, Zoe and Megan.
Brian Graziano leads Curiology as Senior Vice President of Experience Design and Innovation. Brian brings 20 years of experience as a designer, researcher and strategist, most recently as director of research and design strategy at a global innovation consultancy. Throughout his career, he’s helped build design capabilities for companies like Nike, Gatorade, FedEx, and Johnson & Johnson. With Curiology, Graziano guides how the company applies design methodologies and translates new fan insights into experience design solutions for a rapidly changing industry.
Adam Green joined the Philadelphia Union in 2014 as Manager, Premium Seating , becoming Director, Premium Seating & Inside Sales in 2016-2017 and Director, Premium Seating & Season Ticket Sales in 2017.
Green begain his career in sports sales with Chicago Fire Soccer Club and the Major League Soccer National Sales Center in 2011. At the Fire, Green worked as Season Ticket Sales Account Executive (2011-2013) and Group Sales Account Executive (2013-2014)
He hold a BA Sports Management with a minor in Business Administratoin from California University of PA (2011) and will complete his MBA from West Chester University in Summer, 2019.
Jake Griesenauer works to design new, innovative products that solve real business needs. As a Product Manager at Ungerboeck, Jake’s team is responsible for the development of multiple venue-focused products that serve hundreds of clients all over the world. Most recently, Jake and his team launched a suite management portal developed for arena/stadium owners and a work order completion app which allows operations staff to efficiently deliver their goods & services.
Building on his passion for sports, Jake’s pre-Ungerboeck experience includes running gameday operations for Sporting Kansas City, sales management with the Kansas City Chiefs and marketing women’s sports for his alma mater, Texas A&M University. Gig ’em Aggies.
Catie Griggs – Vice President, Business Operations
Catie Griggs was named Vice President, Business Operations for Atlanta United on Aug. 28, 2017.
Griggs is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations for Atlanta United and ATL UTD 2, including Ticket Sales & Service, Marketing, Communications & Community Relations, Digital, Finance, Sponsorship Sales & Service, and Facility Operations. She also liaises with the shared resources across AMB Sports & Entertainment.
Griggs joined the club from Futures Sport & Entertainment, a cross-platform media and sponsorships analytics consultancy that is part of the Interpublic Group of Agencies. Griggs launched the firm’s Americas operations in 2015 and led it to significant client and revenue growth until her departure in 2017.
Prior to joining Futures Sport & Entertainment, Griggs spent five years at Turner Broadcasting in various roles, including strategy, business operations, strategic partnerships and business development. In September 2017, Griggs was recognized by Sports Business Journal as a Game Changer, which honors women making an impact across the sports landscape.
Griggs holds B.A. and MBA degrees from Dartmouth College and now lives in Atlanta with her husband Justin and their son.
Brad Grimes is Senior Director of Communications for AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, and the former editor of Pro AV magazine. He edited the McGraw-Hill Education books CTS-D, Certified Technology Specialist-Design Exam Guide; CTS: Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide: Second Edition; and Networked AV Systems.
Well-known in the sports industry as “The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales Performance”, Bill Guertin is Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Inspiration Sports Business Institute, creators of the ISBI 360o Digital Learning System for sports and entertainment (www.isbi360.com).
Bill has partnered with over 100 professional teams from both the major and minor leagues to develop and coach sales talent, increase revenues, and improve the effectiveness of sales managers and leaders. He is the author of two books, including The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales; How to Dominate Your Market and Reality Sells.
He is a Board member of the Illinois chapter of the National Speakers Association, and has been a featured speaker at many conferences and trade shows, including the National Sports Forum, Association of Luxury Suite Directors, Ticket Summit, and at many league conferences throughout North America, including the NHL, ECHL, and CFL in Canada. He is currently working with a team of associates to bring sales and customer service professionalism to all 19 teams in LIGA MX, the premier professional soccer league in Mexico.
Bill lives in the southern Chicago suburb of Bourbonnais, IL, with his wife, Sherri, and has three sons, two daughters-in-law, three granddaughters, and one very needy rescue black Lab. Follow Bill on Twitter at @800PoundGorilla, on LinkedIn, via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org, online at www.isbi360.com, or at www.BillGuertin.com.
Raul Gutierrez currently serves as the Executive Director of Arena Operations T-Mobile Arena, the newest hot spot on the Las Vegas Strip. In his role, he is responsible for all front of house operations including Guest Services, Security, Safety & Emergency Services, Parking & Transit, Box Office, IT, Facility Presentation, Production and Venue Operations. The Arena, which has been named Venue of the Year by Pollstar, Billboard and numerous industry and trade outlets, is the fourth venue Gutierrez has opened.
Prior to leading the team at T-Mobile Arena, Gutierrez served as the Assistant General Manager of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, directly overseeing operations for Security, Traffic, Guest Services, Box Office and Events departments along with managing city and transportation agency relationships. He began his tenure at Barclays as the Vice President of Events and Security as part of the venue’s opening staff in 2012. Within the first year of operation, he was promoted to Assistant General Manager, expanding his area of responsibility and leadership for the company. While in his role, he has managed a variety of prominent events at one of the top venue’s in the country, including the MTV VMAs, the NBA Draft and 2015 All- Star Weekend, the inaugural season of the Brooklyn Nets along with major concerts from Paul McCartney, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Pearl Jam and more.
Prior to Barclays Center, Gutierrez was the Senior Manager of Guest Services and Security for BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, a soccer-specific venue and AEG Facility which opened in May 2012. In his role at BBVA Compass Stadium, Gutierrez managed Event Security and Guest Services operations and staff with the primary goal of ensuring an outstanding customer experience across all stadium events. The venue is home to MLS’ Houston Dynamo, the NWSL Houston Dash and Texas Southern University college football. Other notable events include CONCACAF, Gold Cup, a variety of international soccer events, USA Rugby events and a variety of concerts and private events.
A native of Los Angeles, he began his career with the L.A. Dodgers and spent more than 20 years working in a variety of roles, including Assistant Manager of Security and Guest Services. In addition, Gutierrez opened Nokia Theater (now Microsoft Theater) in Los Angeles and worked at Staples Center as well as Home Depot Center (now StubHub Center) in Carson, California. Through his professional tenure at these venues, he worked on a variety of major sports and entertainment events including the World Series, MLS Cup, X-Games, NBA, NHL, USTA, USSF, Boxing, CONCACAF, Gold Cup, Crossfit Games, Motorcross, Monster Trucks, a variety of concert events and festivals, and the Republican Presidential Rally.
Scott Hagel ihas been with the Chicago Bears since 1995 and as the team’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications since 2015. He serves as a key contributor for both the football and business operations at the Bears. In his current role, Hagel oversees eight departments including marketing, content, brand creative, community relations, events and entertainment, media relations, social media and digital media.
Hagel and his staff work together to drive deeper engagement with current and future Bears fans through a multicultural approach with targeted programming tailored to consumption habits of different age demographics, men and women. The result is delivering unique, year-round access to Bears football through multiple touch points to a global following. The marketing and communication departments are responsible for the club’s content creation including game entertainment, fan events, television programing, radio shows, and a stable of digital and social platforms to interact with one of the NFL’s most passionate fan bases. In addition, the team develops the creative behind all in-house branding and manages one of the largest media markets in the NFL. It also coordinates one of the most extensive community outreach programs with a focus in the areas of education, health and fitness, youth football, and volunteerism and civic involvement.
After joining the Bears as a public relations intern in 1996, Hagel served as a public relations assistant and assistant director before being named Director of Public Relations in 2000. In 2004 he received additional responsibilities in his role as Senior Director of Corporate Communications. He was named Vice President of Communications in 2011.
Outside of the Bears, Hagel enjoys coaching youth sports. He has also served as an adjunct lecturer in Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies where he co-taught a Sports Public Relations and Crisis Management course in Northwestern’s Master’s in Sports Administration program.
Raised in Holland, MI, Hagel was born in Chicago, IL and graduated summa cum laude from Central Michigan University in 1996 before completing his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management’s part-time program at Northwestern University in 2003. He and his wife, Charla, have one daughter (Kaylin) and one son (Sean).
David J. Halberstam is a 40 year industry veteran who's held lofty positions in sales and management including VP, Sports Sales of Katz Media; Director of Sales, Miami Heat and EVP, General Manager of Westwood One Sports. At Westwood, he had responsibility for sponsorship of the NFL, the NCAA, the NHL and the Masters. On-air, Halberstam also served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball on WFAN and WCBS Radio in New York and radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is also a respected sports broadcast historian.
In 2016, Halberstam released a breakthrough text on sponsorships sales, The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts. Within a year of its release, the book was adopted by some twenty collegiate sport management classes. His earlier book, Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History, was published in 1999 (McGraw Hill) and reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Crain's New York, New York Daily News and noted by the New York Times. It is frequently referenced by authors, newspapers and radio talk show hosts. Through the years, he’s written about sales, sports broadcasting and sports history for publications like USA Today, LA Times, Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, New York Daily News, Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and SportsBusiness Journal. For the past nine years, Halberstam has been the principal of Halby Group, which has consulted Major League Baseball, ESPN, DirecTV among others.
Derrick Hall Considered by many to be among the leaders of the game, D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall has turned the organization into a model franchise within the sports industry and throughout the business world during his 11 years at the helm of the club. Hall focuses the organization's efforts in five areas he has called the "Circle of Success" - fan experience, performance, community, culture and financial efficiency - each of which has seen tremendous growth during his tenure.
The success of the franchise during Hall's tenure has led to numerous honors, including ESPN the Magazine tabbing the D-backs as the top Major League franchise in 2013 and sixth overall among the 122 professional sports franchises in the publication's Ultimate Standings, which is based on eight categories on and off the field.
The Arizona Republic named Hall one of 16 Arizonans to watch in 2016, citing his "positive influence [that] grows larger by the year" as someone who "works effortlessly to promote Metro Phoenix and the state." He was also named by Rise Global to its list of 100 Most Influential CEOs, a group that includes names such as Rupert Murdoch, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Tim Cook, Biz Stone, Marissa Mayer and Larry Ellison.
With a focus on creating the best fan experience in all of sports, Hall has succeeded in accomplishing that goal at both Chase Field and at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the D-backs' Spring Training home near Scottsdale. Stadium enhancements at Chase Field that have taken place under Hall's guidance include the APS solar shade structure and Game Seven Grill in the plaza area, HD scoreboard in center field, the Sandlot on the upper level, the Coors Light Strike Zone, All-You-Can-Eat Seats, The Draft Room and value-item pricing at concession stands and Team Shop locations throughout the ballpark as well as the recently renovated merchandise and concessions experience. Hall also installed, named and created a FAWTSY (Find A Way To Say Yes) customer service policy throughout the organization to further improve upon the extraordinary fan experience, as Arizona Foothills magazine tabbed Chase Field as the Best Sports Venue in Phoenix in 2014. Last year marked the 10th consecutive season that the team offered the lowest Fan Cost Index in Major League Baseball.
In 2016, the D-backs took the innovative step of evolving the team's on-field attire, a two-year process that was led by Hall and his leadership team with input from the players and fans. This includes eight distinct uniform options and the reintroduction of one of the franchise's popular original colors, teal, as well as a bold gray color for the team's road uniforms. In addition, a sublimated diamond pattern adorns the shoulder, back and sleeve on various uniforms, a subtle reference to the club's name, snakeskin and diamond shape of a baseball field.
Hall's leadership has helped guide the D-backs to two National League West Division Championships (2007, '11) and one NLCS (2007). In 2016, Hall and Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick hired Executive Vice President & General Manager Mike Hazen to oversee the franchise's baseball operations. In turn, Hazen hired Torey Lovullo to serve as the eighth field manager in franchise history.
On the heels of negotiating the largest financial transaction in franchise history - a historic 20-year television rights deal with FOX Sports Arizona which started in 2016 - Hall and the baseball operations staff brokered the largest free agent signing in franchise history when the team signed right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke to a six-year deal with the largest average annual value in baseball history.
In the community, Hall has positioned the D-backs as one of the largest philanthropic entities in the Valley. In 2017, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and the D-backs' organization surpassed the $50 million mark in charitable giving since their inception in 1998, including nearly $40 million in the past 11 years under Hall's direction. In 2014, the team launched the D-backs Give Back Jersey program which will outfit more than 50,000 youth players across nearly 100 leagues this season. During the 2013 Yarnell Hill fire, the D-backs were able to give back more than $700,000 on behalf of their fans to the families of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives. In 2008, Hall established the Michael Wogan Season Ticket Scholarship Program, a first-of-its-kind program for fans or existing season ticket holders who may have experienced a change in circumstances, providing families with more than 400 full-season tickets for a value of nearly $700,000 since its inception.
The unique corporate culture of the D-backs, which was created by Hall, led Yahoo! and Forbes to deem the club among the "best places to work in sports." In 2013, the sports industry's highly-regarded recruiting network TeamWork Online tabbed him as the "Best Boss" in sports, and the organization has been named on several occasions as the "Most Admired Company for Workplace Culture" by AzBusiness Magazine and BestCompaniesAZ. Fittingly, the D-backs' physical front office was rebranded the D-backs Culture & Innovation Center shortly before being rated No. 1 on Ranking Arizona's Best Places to Work list among small businesses.
Among the programs Hall has created is the President's Council, comprised of select members of the executive management team and a rotating committee consisting of the organization's Employee of the Month winners, to organize company culture events throughout the year. He also established employee recognition programs like "A-Game All-Stars" to reward game-day employees for exceptional service on a monthly basis throughout the season. The organization's investment in its employees resulted in the D-backs becoming the first sports organization to be named among the "Best Places to Work" by the Phoenix Business Journal for 10 consecutive years from 2007-16.
In the last 12 years, the team has eliminated more than $210 million of debt through equity and debt restructures, putting the club on sound financial ground for years to come.
The organization continues to rack up awards and honors under Hall's leadership, including the being honored by the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy (2016), One Community Spotlight on Success (2015), Make-A-Wish Foundation's Chris Greicius Award (2014), the Phoenix Indian Center's Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award (2014), Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, IMPACT Award - Community Champion (2013), Arizona's Corporate Excellence Community Impact Award (2013), City of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department - Excellence Award (2013), Arizona Business Leadership Award (2012), "Organization of the Year" (2011) and the DREAMR award (2012) by the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, "Most Admired Company" and "Top Leadership" by AzBusiness Magazine (2011). In 2010, the D-backs were given the inaugural United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award, which named the D-backs the most positive team in the world.
Hall's vision to further establish the organization as a sports industry leader while spurring economic development and impact throughout the Valley came to fruition in 2011, as the team hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Chase Field for the first time ever, creating an economic impact of more than $67 million. Hall's persistence in convincing MLB to award the Midsummer Classic to the D-backs allowed Chase Field and downtown Phoenix to be showcased in more than 100 million homes across the world, while working diligently with city leaders, politicians and officials to ensure that fans had the finest All-Star Game experience.
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the D-backs' 140-acre Spring Training facility shared with Colorado Rockies on Salt River Indian Community land near Scottsdale, Ariz., that Hall negotiated and designed, has greatly added to the already $350 million of economic impact for the Valley associated with Spring Training each year. In both 2011 and '12, the D-backs set a franchise record for Spring Training attendance while the two clubs set an all-time Major League record for combined attendance at a single Spring Training facility. Salt River Fields was the first pro sports training facility in the U.S. to be built on tribal land and was privately funded without the use of any taxpayer dollars. The facility received LEED-Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2011, the first venue of its kind to achieve this designation.
Hall's vision for Salt River Fields was to keep fan interaction with players a top priority while also ensuring maximum comfort for visitors at the 11,000-seat ballpark. Both goals were accomplished, as the main stadium is located in the middle of the facility to enable fans to mingle throughout and get an up-close look at D-backs players as they practice. A unique roof structure and a northeast-facing field allow for approximately 85 percent of the fans in all 7,000 fixed seats to be shaded as the game progresses.
Hall routinely communicates with D-backs fans as part of his "one fan at a time" concept by answering every letter, email or phone call. He conducts monthly chats online and is among just a few club presidents on Twitter and Instagram (@DHallDbacks), where he interacts with fans. Hall spends most of his time at home games communicating with the fans in the stands to ensure their experience at Chase Field is exceptional.
Among the projects outside of Chase Field and Salt River Fields that have Hall's fingerprints on them is the Legends Entertainment District, a joint venture between the D-backs, the Phoenix Suns and the City of Phoenix that is the first of its kind between two professional sports organizations. The project has transformed the look of downtown Phoenix by creating experiential outdoor marketing opportunities and an energetic backdrop for visitors and residents to enjoy their experience downtown.
Hall was personally selected to join a handful of corporate leaders by Governor Doug Ducey as one of his first orders of business to form a new pro-business group. The Arizona Zanjeros, as named by Ducey, are focused exclusively on economic development, defining Arizona's brand, and marketing the state to CEOs across the country and around the world. In 2015, he joined the Governor's important delegation on a weeklong trip to Israel.
Hall sits on Major League Baseball's International Committee and under his guidance, the D-backs hosted the first round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Hall has represented the team on goodwill trips to Mexico, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Australia and New Zealand, helping to bring international recognition to the franchise. In 2014, his continued efforts to showcase the D-backs on global stage reached its highest point, as the club hosted the Dodgers during MLB's historic Opening Series in Sydney, Australia, which was subsequently named the International Sports Event of the Year.
Hall also serves on MLB's diversity committee and the Commissioner's on-field diversity task force and in that regard, the D-backs have also been industry leaders. In 2016, the team hosted the highly regarded MLB Business Diversity Summit in Arizona in an effort to bring more diverse candidates into front offices around the game. For its efforts, the team was awarded the Jackie Robinson Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner award by Major League Baseball. The team has been named for three consecutive years to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Million Dollar Circle of Excellence as an organization that spends more than $1 million annually with minority or women-owned businesses. In 2014, the D-backs became the first MLB organization to sign One Community's Unity Pledge which supports and advocates for workplace inclusion and protection for all, including LGBT community members. For his commitment to equality, Hall received the prestigious Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 2014. The award, ADL's highest honor, was established to recognize individuals who have exhibited extraordinary humanitarianism, and whose everyday actions exemplify the principles of opportunity, anti-discrimination, equal rights, community involvement and fairness for all.
Hall currently serves on or is associated with 25 boards, including the Arizona Mexico Commission, Great Hearts Academies, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, ArizonaOn, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, National Vice President of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Advisory Council for Pancreatic Cancer, Stand Up 2 Cancer Melanoma Dream Team Sponsor, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Valley of the Sun YMCA and Positive Coaching Alliance. Hall, who is the past Chairman of the Board for Make-A-Wish Arizona and current board member for Make-A-Wish America, is also a past Chairman of the Board for the Valley of the Sun United Way, where he raised $47 million throughout the Phoenix area as the VSUW's 2009-10 campaign chairman. He has also raised money by serving as an event chairman for the Prostate On-Site Project (POP) Walk, 75th Anniversary March of Dimes, March for Babies Walk, The Wellness Center, several Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) events, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), St. Vincent de Paul, Florence Crittenton and the Foundation for Blind Children.
Hall served as master of ceremonies at the 2015 Arizona inaugural ceremonies and gives numerous keynote speeches to various groups or conventions throughout the country about his unique vision on leadership, customer service and culture. He has spoken to U.S. Air Force Academy cadets at the annual National Leadership and Character Symposium. He donates speaking engagement fees back to the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and other local non-profit organizations he supports.
A native of Los Angeles, Hall joined the D-backs in May 2005 as Senior Vice President, Communications and served in numerous capacities prior to being named president in September 2006 and adding the title of CEO in January 2009. Prior to joining the D-backs, Hall made a brief stop as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications for a Fortune 500 company based in Los Angeles, where he increased brand awareness. He spent parts of 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, joining the organization's Single-A Florida State League affiliate in Vero Beach, Fla., as an intern in 1992 and departing as the club's Sr. Vice President, Communications in 2004. In between, he served key roles during three ownership changes with the Dodgers and was recognized for reuniting Fernando Valenzuela with the organization after hiring him as a color analyst for the team's Spanish radio broadcasts in 2003.
Hall stepped outside of baseball for employment during the 1999 season, as he hosted a three-hour morning talk show on the Dodgers' flagship station (XTRA 1150 AM) and served as host of the "Dodger Game Day" pregame radio show when the team played at Dodger Stadium. He also had a stint in front of the camera as a weekend sports anchor at KNBC-TV (Ch. 4) in Los Angeles.
He received a bachelor's degree from Arizona State University, where he was named "Man of the Year" in 1991, in broadcasting and journalism and a master's degree from Ohio University in sports administration. In 2016, he received ASU's prestigious Founder's Day Alumni Achievement Award, becoming the first student in school history to receive both that honor and the ASU Young Alumni Achievement Award, which he received in 2003. Hall was inducted into the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002. Hall was the keynote speaker for ASU's Cronkite school convocation in December 2008, becoming the first Cronkite alum to deliver a commencement speech at the school's graduation and also spoke at the W.P. Carey School of Business convocation in 2012. In 2016, he received ASU's Pitchfork Award for his accomplishments and was honored at the ASU Founder's Dinner with the ASU Alumni Achievement Award.
In 2006, Ohio University's Sports Administration Program recognized Hall as the 25th recipient of the Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2012, he received an honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Phoenix and spoke at the school's convocation.
His philanthropic efforts led to Hall being named the APS Peacemaker Award at Valle del Sol's Profiles of Success, the Bill Shover Leadership Award from United Blood Services and the Phoenix Award by the Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2013. He was the inaugural recipient of the Goldwater Community Service Award in 2012 by the Active 20-30 Club of Phoenix. In 2007, he was named to the Phoenix Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" class, was the recipient of the "Community Lifeline Award" from Teen Lifeline and was named the Phoenix Father's Day Council "Father of the Year" to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The SportsBusiness Journal added him to its prestigious "Forty Under 40" class in 2008. The Phoenix Business Journal also named Hall to its inaugural list of "Most Admired CEOs" in 2009. Hall is also a member of the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business "Dean's Council of 100," Young Presidents' Organization and the Thunderbirds.
He faced his greatest personal challenge when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2011, just as the team was battling for a division title. Hall immediately went public with the diagnosis in order to encourage other men to get tested after age 40. Following successful surgery to remove his prostate, Hall is now cancer free and has become a tireless advocate of cancer-fighting charities while continuing to speak publicly about the health challenge he faces. In 2014, he launched his own 501(c)(3) organization, the Derrick Hall Pro-State Foundation, which is dedicated to serving as a comprehensive tool for those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and their families to help them understand the challenges and choices they face and how they can maintain a "pro" state of mind. In 2014, he was honored with the USC Institute of Urology's Louis Zamperini Courage Award and the Pro-State Foundation was honored by Jane Seymour's Open Hearts Foundation, which supports organizations that are committed to positively impacting lives in the areas of health, education, arts and sports.
Hall and his wife, Amy, reside in Paradise Valley with their daughter, Kylie. Their oldest son, Logan, attends Pepperdine University and younger son, Hayden, attends Duke University.
Joe Hammer is a Global Alliance Director for Nokia. He is responsible for sales and business development in several verticals including Sports & Entertainment, Cloud and Internet of Things. He has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry with communications service providers such as Verizon, Vodafone, and AT&T. Prior to Nokia, he served in the USAF and Air National Guard, where he commanded of the 103rd Air Operations Group. He has extensive leadership and communications experience from his 23+ years on active and reserve duty. Joe earned an MBA from Yale University and an Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He lives in Holmdel, New Jersey with his wife and their three children. He is an active member of his community serving on the Board of Education and coaching lacrosse and soccer.
As the General Manager for Wofford Sports Properties, Shannon handles all aspects of multi-media rights and hospitality sales for the Wofford Terriers Athletic Department.Shannon became a member of the ALSD in 2006 and joined the Board of Directors in 2012. Shannon represents the college division as a member of the Executive Committee. Previously, Shannon held positions within several arenas and sporting teams, including the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Oklahoma City Thunder/Tulsa 66ers and Memorial Coliseum. She is active in the Greenville community, as chair of the Julie Valentine Center Board of Directors as well as a graduate of Leadership Greenville. Her days off include spending time with her husband and three children, dominating the street hockey scene in the cul de sac. Shannon holds a BA in Corporate Communications and Public Relations from the University of Michigan and an MBA focusing on Business Analytics.
As Vice President of Marketing, Tim Harris is responsible for DialSource's marketing and communications efforts globally. He drives the company's corporate positioning, branding & identity, marketing campaigns, public relations, social media, and field marketing efforts. As a champion of DialSource's brand to employees and the community, he also supports DialSource's employee communications and corporate social responsibility efforts which fund philanthropic initiatives throughout the Sacramento region.
Prior to joining DialSource in 2018, Harris served as CEO of Insight Public Relations. At Insight, Harris lead an agency that served both national and regional brands in developing new business opportunities, attracting talent and aligning internal communication. His experience ranges from executive team consulting through hands-on design and implementation of communication strategies built to unlock growth opportunities and strategically position the products, services, individuals, and companies he serves.
In 2015, Harris was recognized as a 40 Under 40 Award Recipient by the Sacramento Business Journal. He currently serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento as well as a co-founder of two locally-based nonprofits, The Council for Giving and Assemble Sacramento.
Roger is a General Manager for IBM’s largest operating unit Global Technology Services. In this role he leads the Communications, Energy & Utilities, Sports, Media, Entertainment and System Integrator Markets for North America. Roger provides overall leadership for a highly skilled global team who all have the mission of designing, building and running the technology and infrastructure that enables the backbone of the world's economy.
Roger joined the company in 1996 as a management consultant in the IBM Consulting Group. He has spent his career in diverse leadership roles in both IBM Global Business Services and Global Technology Services providing clients with solutions to their most complex and critical business/technical challenges. Most recently Roger led a cross brand team to become IBM’s largest services client partnership in the world. Roger’s previous employers include Cap Gemini, MIS Associates, and Surface Warfare Labs (SWL) a division of General Research Corporation. Roger holds a BS and MBA degree from Virginia Tech and resides in Atlanta, GA. He also serves on the board of the Star House supporting after school programs for children and parents in need.
Anne is a 30+-year veteran of the sports industry, spending 20 years as the San Francisco Giants’ Vice President of Client Relations. There, Anne directed service and retention efforts for season ticket, luxury suite, group and premium seating clients and was the driver behind a multitude of fan engagement programs. She also worked as a Sales and Marketing Executive with the Kansas City Chiefs and as Marketing Director with IMG Football. At Fund Raisers Sports, Anne leverages the culmination of her years of industry experience to promote the fan experience for sports clients across the professional and collegiate landscape. Anne is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
An accomplished Design Thinker and an Experience Strategist with 15+ years of developing successful strategic creative solutions. With a focus on understanding human behaviors and motivation, he helps businesses develop authentic experiences that create a deep connection with people. Izzy is an expert in human experience, fan experience, customer experience, a predictor of market trends, and a data guru.
His methodology is applied in the world of visual communications and marketing strategies on various applications from digital online platforms, events and exhibitions to working with world-renowned advertising agencies as well as extensive client-side experience.
Izzy collaborated with organizations in diverse industries:
Sports: FIFA Women’s World Cup • Asian Olympics • Tennis Canada • CFL
Technology & Telco: Apple • BlackBerry • TELUS • Rogers • FIDO
Automotive: Ford • Audi • Mazda • Acura • Honda • Nissan
Financial: VISA • TD Canada Trust • CIBC
Retail: Hudson Bay • BestBuy • WalMart • Sobey’s
Lifestyle & Entertainment: Cineplex • Canada 150 • Parents • Lavalife
Scott Heim is a divisional president with Middleby Corporation. He joined Evo, Inc. in 2012, sparking the product development work in the griddle, plancha and cooktop segments. Evo became one of Oregon's 100 fastest-growing private companies for three consecutive years. He directed the launch of the EVent® ventless griddle in 2015. This patented innovation became the catalyst that resulted in the Evo & Middleby merger at the end of 2018. Prior to Evo, he was responsible for creating a consumer packaged goods start-up firm, battling against (and outlasting) cleaning brands launched by Clorox, Dial and Procter & Gamble in a competitive retail market. Heim was president of the Americas for Delsey Luggage & Leather Goods and at The Dow Chemical Company, he was Marketing Director for Ziploc® and other brands. He has specialized in key account marketing, turnaround efforts and numerous new product rollouts.
A native of Lancaster, PA and graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Zach Henderson joined the Nationals Premium Client Services team in August of 2017. He began his sports career interning with the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers Marketing departments, before joining the Pittsburgh Pirates Inside Sales staff in 2013. Nine months later, Zach was promoted to the New Business Development team where he spent the next three and half years of his career. Zach is a huge sports fan that enjoys playing basketball, golfing, spending time with family, and traveling with his fiancé Kelly.
One of the most accomplished NBA and college players of his generation, Grant Hill will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2018 class. The seven-time NBA AllStar
and two-time NCAA Champion has made the successful transition from 19 years as a professional athlete to leadership in business along with several television broadcasting roles.
Shortly after he entered the NBA in 1994, Grant established Hill Ventures, a private company through which he has successfully invested in commercial real estate ventures including several multi-family complexes and other commercial real estate in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. Grant is a featured speaker before business, academic and large sales audiences addressing a range of topics including the NBA, the importance of teamwork, the private
equity business, art, music and contemporary culture.
Grant also has significant and important broadcasting roles with CBS Sports, Turner Sports and NBATV. In 2015, Grant was added as a game analyst for the NCAA Final Four and National Championship game. He joined Bill Raftery and Jim Nantz to call games together throughout the tournament. Additionally, Grant has substantial on-site responsibilities during the TNT broadcast of the NCAA March to the Final Four and their coverage of the NBA Playoffs. He is also the co-host of NBA Inside Stuff on NBA TV, spanning the NBA regular season. Grant is also a studio analyst on NBA TV's GameTime. During those broadcasts, Grant opines on issues of the past week in the NBA and provides contemporaneous commentary on that night's 10-12 NBA games while in progress. Grant also serves as an occasional studio analyst on TNT's Inside the NBA.
Prior to the NBA, Grant was two-time national champion at Duke University. He spent four years playing for the Blue Devils and was inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2016 for his contributions to the program. Grant was named the 2017 recipient of the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award, recognizing his significant leadership as an advocate for college sports.
Hill lives in Orlando with his wife, Tamia, a 7-time Grammy-nominated singer, and their two daughters.
Matt Hill originally joined the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2007 as an inside sales executive. He served in a variety of sales roles before being appointed Director of Suite Sales in 2009. Matt left the Lightning organization in 2009 for a short period in order to help run his family software business, which resulted in a 200% growth in business revenues. Rejoining the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, Matt has been a part of the re-brand of the team and their significantly expanded fan base in a non-traditional hockey market. Matt was instrumental in selling all suite inventory and launching the new Vology Loge at the start of the 2015/16 NHL season. The loge inventory was pre-sold and at capacity prior to the start of the season. One of the key tenants to the Lightning brand’s success is its world class customer service. Matt and his team have transformed the service levels and created an experience that continues to impress partners and visitors. The Tampa Bay Lightning was ranked #1 in the 2016 ESPN The Magazine Ultimate Franchise standings. This is a testament to the complete transformation of the Lightning organization both on and off the ice, focusing on creating and sustaining a world-class organization.
Matt is from Bedford, Nova Scotia and graduated in 2000 from Saint Mary’s University (SMU) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Matt played collegiate hockey, including two years as a team captain. Following graduation, Matt played minor league hockey for two years in North America and Europe. Matt began his professional career in 2003 which included working with his family’s business, while operating a hockey development program and serving as an assistant coach with his alma mater, SMU.
Matt was named Vice President of Premium Seating and Group Sales in May, 2017. He lives in Brandon, FL with his wife, Lori and son Guinn.
currently serves as Director of Client Services for Fund Raisers Sports. Bond joined the Fund Raisers team in 2011, bringing multi-industry experience in relationship development, communications and analytics. He is charged with overseeing areas of business development, client relations and program strategy and development. Having developed an intimate knowledge of the sports industry landscape, Bond has secured and managed some of the company’s most successful sports partnerships. In his current role, Bond leads a talented team of account and program management professionals who deliver the world-class experience for which Fund Raisers has become known.
Sati Hillyer is the founder and CEO of OneMob, Inc., one of the top 100 fastest growing private companies in the SF Bay Area. Before starting OneMob, he spent 8 years at Salesforce.com, where he built and grew the AppExchange from an idea to 2000 apps.
OneMob is a video and content engagement platform used by high tech, financial services, recruiting and numerous sports teams. Teams including Sacramento Kings, NY Jets, Team KSE, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Sacramento Republic FC, Washington Capitals, Miami Marlins and more are using video to be more personal, engaging and intelligent in their selling efforts. OneMob was also named Gartner Cool Vendor and Aragon Hot Vender.
Sati enjoys the life of a serial entrepreneur and founded ZenKraft (#1 Shipping platform for Salesforce) and Eversauce (CRM for PR agencies) prior to OneMob. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University. When he's not working, he loves to share business and life advice at www.onemob.com/minutemoments.
Sati is a seasoned entrepreneur who loves building product, growing people and delivering customer value. He has both enterprise and start-up experience that enables him to transform an idea into a scalable company. He founded Zenkraft (the leading shipping platform for Salesforce), Eversauce (CRM for PR industry) and most recently OneMob, which has earned the support of Salesforce Ventures and was awarded Gartner Cool Vendor and Aragon Hot Vendor. OneMob makes video recording, sending and tracking easy for any professional, with powerful integrations into platforms like Salesforce, Cisco Spark, LinkedIn and more. Before starting OneMob, Sati spent 8 years at salesforce.com, where he built and grew the AppExchange from an idea to 2000 apps.
Mike is recognized nationally for his significant experience in architectural design and project management, specializing in sports facilities. This experience includes design and planning for professional and collegiate facilities, including a variety of collegiate stadium, arena and Olympic sport master plans, renovation/expansions and enhanced fan and player amenities. Having led CBRE | Heery’s sports facilities group for more than 30 years, Mike’s involvement on each sports project touches all phases of design and delivery. His proven leadership and ability to coordinate complex projects has made him a recognizable industry leader.
Matt Holt joined Arena Americas in March of 2014.
Arena Americas is a global leader in the special events industry creating unique, bespoke temporary and semi-permanent clearspan infrastructure for the PGA, USGA, NFL, NBA and more. With over 60 years of experience in the Stadiums/ Arena industry, Arena Americas is a aware of the everchanging focus on client/guest experience to build and retain fan engagement. Matt and the Arena team bring design/build experience to the industry and look forward to being a part of this very important topic through education and networking.
Matt Holt joined Arena Americas in March of 2014. Arena Americas is a global leader in the special events industry creating unique, bespoke temporary and semi-permanent clearspan infrastructure for the PGA, USGA, NFL, NBA and more. With over 60 years of experience in the Stadiums/ Arena industry, Arena Americas is a aware of the everchanging focus on client/guest experience to build and retain fan engagement. Matt and the Arena team bring design/build experience to the industry and look forward to being a part of this very important topic through education and networking.
As CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures, Rick Horrow has been the architect of 100+ deals worth more than $20 billion in sports, performing arts, and other urban infrastructure projects.
Horrow pioneered the public/private partnership and infrastructure branding concepts that, to date, has enticed more than $4 billion in corporate funding to cities and development projects. Besides developing stadia and arenas, Horrow’s ability to put together many urban initiatives into one package for voter approval has resulted in the building of new performing arts and convention centers, schools, libraries, transit projects, and tourist destinations—most recently, a quality of life development package approved by El Paso voters.
A popular speaker, writer and commentator on the business, law, and politics of sports, he is nicknamed “The Sports Professor” because he has been Visiting Expert on sports law at The Harvard Law School, where he received a law degree alongside Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, his roommate.
Horrow is author of When The Game Is On The Line, an autobiographical examination of the people and politics behind mega sports deals, co-author of Beyond the Scoreboard: An Insider’s Guide to the Business of Sport, and Executive Editor of The Sport Business Handbook: Insights from 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry (Human Kinetics, March 2019).
In addition to providing regular sports business content to Bloomberg Radio and penning a weekly column for Yahoo! Finance, Horrow hosts a monthly national television show carried by Fox Sports regional networks, “The Power of Sports.” His “Keeping Score” podcast and blog are weekly keystones of Thomson Reuters’ sports business coverage; Horrow also files weekly segments for NBCSports Network.
Horrow’s clients have included the NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball, PGA Tour, NASCAR, Great White Shark Enterprises (Greg Norman), Ladies Professional Golf Association, Major League Soccer, General Sports Venue/AstroTurf, Edelman Financial, EVERFI, Citrix, Cisco Systems, CA, Guggenheim/Group One Thousand One, Globecast, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Golden Bear International (Jack Nicklaus), Portland Trail Blazers, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and the State of West Virginia.
He has been a key player in stadium, arena, and speedway deals in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Boston, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Houston, Green Bay, San Diego, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.
Internationally, Horrow has presented sports/facility development options for the governments of Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and on behalf of the United States Department of Commerce Business Development Center, World Tourism Organization, International Hotel Association, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency/World Bank. He has also worked for the province of Bahia (Brazil), the city of Victoria (Canada), and local entities in the Dominican Republic. Horrow resides in Jupiter, Florida.
Mr. Hunden and his Chicago-based firm offer extensive experience in the economics and strategy of developing transformative real estate projects, with more than 350 studies and projects over the past 20+ years. As a leading expert in stadium and arena development consulting, Hunden has helped communities and developers understand, develop and successfully open catalytic economic development projects across the country. Hunden has completed analyses for such facilities as Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, the Sprint Center in Kansas City and proposed NFL facilities, including in San Diego. He has also worked on entertainment districts adjacent to many other sports facilities. Hunden and his firm are excited to present their Arena and Stadium Database this year at ALSD’s Design & Build Conference.
Jumping on the cmnd+m train straight out of design school, Brett Hurlbut has gone from Jr. Designer to Director of Strategy & Design for cmnd+m, responsible for establishing the vision for all major projects and guiding their multidisciplinary design team. Brett’s willingness to do whatever it takes to get world-class creative across the finish line and exceed client expectations set him apart early on. Brett has progressed from executing creative for countless Google initiatives to shepherding cmnd+m’s overall creative vision. Under his creative lead, cmnd+m has collaborated with major brands like Target, Uber, Weight Watchers and HBO to conceive and execute a myriad of engaging experiences. Brett has been integral to the success of projects across the globe, receiving design: retail’s 40 Under 40 award at the age of 29 for his commitment to and passion for the industry and end-user experience.
Kevin Ivey leads development of Sports & Entertainment projects for Baker Audio Visual in Atlanta. In this role, Ivey works with architects, consultants and owners to apply Baker AV’s experience in stadium and arena systems integration to realize each team’s vision for their unique fan experience. Prior to joining Baker AV, Ivey was General Manager of Peavey Commercial Audio, where he expanded software development of the MediaMatrix product set to include control and wireless device integration, and to reach EN54 life safety qualification. Ivey came to the audio visual market following 20 years in the broadcasting industry, where he founded CNN’s R&D team and led the engineering and rollout of the world’s first non-linear, server based newsrooms. While at the BBC, Ivey led integration of media asset management systems for ESPN’s first Digital Production Center. His awards include an Emmy for CNN’s pioneering of the first large-scale media asset management systems, and two Smithsonian Computerworld Laureate distinctions for CNN’s development of data systems to identify, ingest and index hundreds of hours of daily video feeds. Ivey is a 1984 graduate of Mississippi State University.
Craig Janssen has been working with the owners and designers of the venues we gather in for the past 25 years. A sought-after facility strategist, Craig’s expertise is at the intersection of architecture, technology, and group experiences. He has led over 1,000 projects in 12 countries as the Managing Director for Idibri – a team of technology designers, theatre consultants and acousticians.
Craig’s portfolio features a wide variety of venues, including: the Circuit of the Americas, US Bank Stadium, Scottrade Center, McLane Football Stadium for Baylor University, Epic’s Deep Space, the Broadway Theatre at Galaxy in Macau, Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School, the New World Center in Miami, and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Center.
Craig served as the 2016 President of AVIXA – the international Audio-Visual association – and holds two patents, one in audio engineering and another in facility planning. Currently, he spends his days helping teams navigate the culture shift accelerated by technology.
Joe Januszewski is Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer, for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club, reporting directly to team ownership. He is responsible for all club revenue streams, including Ticket & Premium Sales, Corporate Partnerships, and media sales. Januszewski also leads the ballclub’s Marketing, Business Analytics, Promotions, In-Game Entertainment, Social Media, Video Productions, Graphics & Design, and Ticket Operations departments. Over the past two decades, he has held a variety of business roles for three Major League Baseball teams, including the Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres.
Joe is heavily involved in the design of the Rangers new $1.1 billion retractable roof ballpark that broke ground in Arlington in September of 2017, and is scheduled to open in 2020. The Rangers are also building a $250 million entertainment district contiguous to the new home of the Rangers. Texas Live!, a multi-restaurant and live music partnership with the Cordish Group, opened in the summer of 2018. A 300 room, 4-star hotel, Live by Loews, will open in the summer of 2019. Joe has oversight for all ticket, partnerships, and marketing efforts at both the new ballpark and entertainment district. He also led the team’s efforts to secure a naming rights partner for both the current and new Rangers ballparks, resulting in a deal with Torchmark for Globe Life Park in Arlington, announced in February 2014 and the recently announced Globe Life Field, opening in April, 2020. The new naming rights deal is the second highest total dollars and average annual value naming rights in MLB history, and highest deal that is not tied directly to a business expenditure (Citi Field in NY). The Rangers will be selling all founding partnerships, suites, and premium seats for the new ballpark. To support that effort, Januszewski led the team that designed a multi-million dollar sales center, which opened in October of 2018. The new sales center is a showcase of technology and design to educate and inspire Rangers and sports fans about the new gameday and entertainment experience.
Scott Jenkins joined Mercedes-Benz Stadium as general manager February 24, 2014. In this role, Jenkins oversees current planning and construction as well as operations for the stadium.
Jenkins comes to Mercedes-Benz Stadium from the Seattle Mariners, where he spent seven years as vice president of ballpark operations. He was responsible for operations, capital budget planning and construction projects for Safeco Field.
Before his time with the Mariners, Jenkins served as vice president of stadium operations and facility management for the Philadelphia Eagles. While with the Eagles, Jenkins opened and managed stadium operations for Lincoln Financial Field and the Novacare Complex that houses all team offices and training facilities. He also previously served as vice president of stadium operations for the Milwaukee Brewers and GM of the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin.
Jenkins is a pioneer in the green building movement in sports and was an inaugural member of the Green Sports Alliance, an organization co-founded by the Natural Resources Defense Council dedicated to improving green building practices in sport. He now serves as the president and chairman of the Green Sports Alliance and was honored with the 2013 Natural Resources Defense Council Game Changer Award and the 2012 NW Energy Coalition Conservation Eagle Award.
A native of Kenosha, WI, Jenkins graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in construction administration. He graduated from the University of Washington’s Executive MBA program in 2009. While an undergraduate at Wisconsin, Scott was a five-time All-American in cross country and track and was a member of the Badgers’ 1982 and 1985 NCAA National Champion Cross Country teams.
Kevi loves solving unique design challenges regardless of the medium. As a Creative Director on the Experience team, she leads many unique projects, from interactive campaigns to integrated UX product solutions and large-scale installations. She has led multidisciplinary teams for projects with the NHL Seattle, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, the Empire State Building, Airbus and Starbucks, to name a few.
Kevi earned a BFA in Computer Graphics at Pratt Institute, majoring in Experimental/ Emerging Media, with a minor in Art History. She also received a MA in Motion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Kevi enjoys spending quality time with her bearded dog Roscoe, going on bike adventures and sailgating in her kayak with a cold bottle of Cava.
Julie Johnson is one of four co-founders and President of Armored Things as well as an acting member of the Board of Directors. Previously, Julie held various positions across trading, investment management, and venture capital. Most recently, Julie was at Qualcomm focusing on cybersecurity for the Internet of Things. She has degrees from University of Pennsylvania, Wharton, and Harvard Business School.
Bill Carl “BC” Johnson is the Founder and CEO of the Bill Carl Johnson Consulting Group which specializes in transforming the culture and service levels for elite organizations. He believes that for organizations to outpace their competition they need to adopt and implement a customer-centric business strategy. Prior to founding his company, BC worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for 20 years at The Walt Disney World Resort and led major client engagements for the world-renowned Disney Institute.
He has worked with the NFL on five Super Bowls, launched a league wide customer service initiative for the NBA, shaped the cultures of multiple franchises and crafted strategic plans for major college athletic departments. BC received a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Florida and holds a Master’s in Sports Administration from Ohio University. When BC isn’t working, he spends quality time with his family, roots for the Florida Gators, and is an avid movie watcher.
Brad currently serves as Assistant Director, Concessions & Retail for the Chicago Cubs. In his current role, Brad oversees hospitality efforts in all Premium, Concessions, and Retail environments at Wrigley Field. In his time at the Cubs, he has served as key conduit with Levy Restaurants, ensuring that KPI’s are enforced, with a focus on innovation and guest experience.
Prior to the Cubs, Brad has led hospitality teams for the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Anaheim Ducks, and Los Angeles Angels. Notable projects include an opening team member of Levi's Stadium, Super Bowl L, Super Bowl XLIX, MLB All Star Game, WrestleMania, NHL Stadium Series, International soccer, and World touring artists. Brad graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Hospitality Business in 2011.
Keri is the Director of Premium Operations at Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild. She has been with Xcel Energy Center for over 12 years, starting in the role of Suite Service Coordinator. Currently, Keri oversees the day-to-day service provided to suiteholders and loge members along with the operation of premium areas on event days. She is also responsible for the Wild family lounge, Press Dining and hospitality for non-Wild events. Keri has contributed to several world-renowned events held at Xcel Energy Center: the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 2018 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, 2011 and 2006 Visa Gymnastic Championships, and the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Keri is a member of the Wild Buddies mentoring program, WISE, and is on the advisory board of the Sports Management program at Century College. In college, Keri studied Elementary Education with an emphasis in Special Education. She and her husband John, have three children, Katelyn, Cody and Emilia. In her free time Keri enjoys spending time at the lake cabin with her family and reading.
Drew Johnson is responsible for analyzing Hickory Street Capital’s real estate investments. Drew is a member of HSC’s management finance committee and lead lease negotiations for the Gallagher Way campus. Prior to HSC, Drew worked for Eastdil Secured where he underwrote and brought to market over 35 million square feet of commercial real estate in investment sales and debt placements. After working at Eastdil, he moved to Mexico City where he ran analysis for Mira Fund II; an institutional mixed-use development fund owned by Black Creek Capital and Ivanhoe Cambridge. Drew is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the Real Estate Investment Association. Drew attends the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University.
Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Paul Joyce spent 16 years in the U.S. Army. 10 years of which were spent working in the Intelligence community for direct agency work and multi organization collaborative projects both here in the U.S. and abroad. Specializing in targeting, Strategic level operations, and Human Intelligence operations, Paul has used his skill set to catipult him into the business arena. Paul heads up business development and sales teams for 5 companies mostly in the technology and cyber security realms with a track record of success and high level networking. Paul serves as the Director of Veterans Programs and volunteers with The Unquiet Professional; a nonprofit dedicated to helping transitioning veterans and Gold Star family members through small to medium sized group events accross the country including backpacking, Camping, fishing, and dialoge with other veterans and family members walking the same path. Paul also enjoys his off time with his wife and three daughters in the pacific northwest through travel and photography. During his military career, Paul earned several awards including the Bronze Star Medal, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Seven Army Achievement Medals, and four Army Commendation Medals.
Ernest Joyner is a Principal with Perkins+Will, an internationally recognized architectural firm that collaborates with clients all over the world to create healthy, sustainable places in which to live, learn, work, play, and heal. Ernest brings a wide range of experience in many types of sports and athletic facilities ranging from arenas and stadiums to sports performance facilities and entertainment districts.
Ernest's portfolio includes more than $600 million of built projects including many professional sports organizations and facilities serving a large number of NCAA Division I Conference championship teams. He has been the Principal-in-Charge for many high profile project designs including the Colorado Pepsi Center Renovations, the University of Michigan Stephen M Ross Athletics Campus Athletics South Competition and Performance Project and the new High Point University Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena. Ernest is a LEED Accredited Professional and has completed several LEED projects including the Gold Rated Crisler Arena.
Lara Juras is starting her 13th season with the Atlanta Braves, and was promoted in September of 2017 from Vice President to Senior Vice President of Human Resources. The last few years have contained many significant moments as she successfully transitioned the Front office space from Turner Field to the stunning SunTrust Park which anchors The Battery Atlanta, a mixed-use development and a new business for the organization. In her role, Juras oversees all human resources initiatives for the Atlanta Braves, their four minor league affiliates as well as their newest affiliate the Battery Atlanta. Juras and her HR team focus on talent acquisition, professional development, employee engagement and the organizational culture, as well as the everyday HR administrative processes. Juras joined the Braves in January 2006 as the Director of Human Resources. Prior to joining the Braves, she started her baseball resume with the Detroit Tigers, where she created the Human Resource function and was instrumental in the transition from Tiger Stadium to Comerica Park.
In addition to her duties with the Braves, Juras has been a part of Minor League Baseball’s Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities (PBEO) steering committee, and has been a member of MiLB’s Women in Baseball Leadership event which is held annually at the Winter Meetings. Other activities include membership in COBB Executive Women and most recently her daughter’s Daisy Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader.
Born in Dearborn, Michigan, Juras graduated from Albion College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and communication. She and her husband Paul reside in Roswell with their children, Kiana and Joshua.
Jed Justman is entering his 5th season with the Bucks after being named Senior Director, Premium Sales in June, 2015. Justman is responsible for leading a ‘full-menu’ sales force with primary focus on all premium seating opportunities at Fiserv Forum.
Prior to joining the Bucks, Justman spent 11 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in various sales roles, ranging among season tickets, premium seating, and sponsorships.
A Wisconsin native, Justman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2004 with degrees in both Marketing and Finance. He and his wife, Randi, reside in Menomonee Falls, WI with daughter Brooklyn and son Jalen.
Michele Kajiwara has been with AEG/STAPLES Center since 2003 and is currently serving as Senior Vice President of Premium Sales and Services overseeing all Sales, Service and Database Marketing initiatives. Michele got her start as a Service Manager and has since evolved within the company by retaining, selling, innovating and building relationships at STAPLES Center, Microsoft Theater and also at The Stub Hub Center where she spent a year managing the Premium Department. For the last 4 consecutive years, her team (for the first time ever) has been able to hit $100 million in collective revenue.
Prior to working at AEG/STAPLES Center, she lived in New York and was a Catering Sales Manager for Chelsea Piers/Abigail Kirsch representing Pier Sixty and The Lighthouse, where she sold and serviced high end events. Her first job was with New Regency Productions as an Executive Assistant in Los Angeles. Michele graduated from USC, lives in El Segundo with her husband and two dogs and travels whenever and wherever possible.
Rak has been in the food and beverage industry over 25 years. After graduating in International Hospitality Management he joined Marriott Hotels to pursue a life in hotels. After 12 successful years in the trade, Rak decided to make a ‘once in a lifetime’ career change and joined Sodexo Prestige to be part of the senior leadership team for the planning, strategic development and operational delivery for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics catering services; public, hospitality, obligatory and workforce catering at the Olympic Stadium. Rak had the full responsibility for the operational delivery of a multi-million pound catering operation for the Olympic Stadium and was the one of the largest catering operations in the UK.
A project that spanned over three years, Rak took a 6 month career break exploring North and South America post Games.
On his return Rak was approached by Rugby, Travel and Hospitality to head up the planning, management and delivery of the hospitality fulfilment programme on behalf of the Rugby World Cup 2015. A role a little different to his previous roles in operations, Rak gained experience as the client, appointing catering service providers to run the programme. Rak was responsible for the 10 key matches at Twickenham Stadium.
With two of the largest tournaments under his belt, Rak joined Levy Restaurants as Projects Director, with his first assignment at The o2 supporting AEG with the delivery of a multi-million refurbishment programme of key GA areas. During his time on the project, Rak was also involved in key hospitality space deigns with global partners Sky and The o2.
Recently Rak moved into an exciting role within the sports arm Levy UK as Commercial Director, heading up the Business Excellence, Projects, Marketing and Innovation part of the business. Rak also supports new business opportunities, retention and works alongside clients on strategy to support good commercial return through innovation, design and best practice. A diverse role that gives him great exposure into the stadia, conference and arena market ensuring Levy remain market leaders in the UK.
Kraig Kann founded Kann Advisory Group in 2016 and serves as Managing Director of the organization providing strategic media, marketing and communications consulting plus media training, branding and presentation skills coaching. His vast experience on all sides of the media including years as both a network television personality and professional sports executive make him an industry influencer, respected spokesperson and requested speaker. After a 25-year television career that included 17 at Golf Channel/NBC where he was an original on-air member and ultimately the lead studio host, Kraig made a career pivot and elevated the Ladies Professional Golf Association as its Chief Communications Officer from 2011-2016.
His time in front of the camera and comfort interviewing athletes, politicians and corporate executives positioned him as a unique voice on the LPGA’s board and helped him strategically lead the organization’s branding and marketing efforts across all media platforms during five years of unprecedented growth that included recognition in 2015 as finalist for “Sports League of the Year” by Sports Business Journal. During his tenure, Kraig led media and marketing communication partnerships between the LPGA and its list of global corporate sponsors that included KPMG, KIA, Manulife Financial, UL, All Nippon Airways, LOTTE, Rolex and CME Group, building strategic outreach and activation plans and delivering international media attention. He involved media in major news events, encouraged and coached players to build their own brands and grew social media as a vital organizational marketing resource resulting in combined growth across all platforms of more than 900% over four years.
Kraig has been featured twice himself by SBJ as an industry communications leader and his platform of contribution includes design and delivery of a collaborative message to grow the game as a member of Golf 20/20 and a spot on the International Golf Federation Communications Committee for the Rio Olympics in 2016 where he hosted golf’s press conferences. His unique experience includes founding HTK Media, LLC, in 2010 and passionately helping athletes, coaches, business leaders and many in the golf industry present themselves as never before and position themselves at the top of their class in media events and corporate speaking opportunities. An accomplished motivational speaker, his “Become an Influencer,” “Power of Presentation,” “Winning the Media Game,” and “A Brand New You” keynotes and seminars have drawn rave reviews while thought leadership offered in his blog has contributed to attention from PR News, Sports PR Summit, and Forbes, who have identified him as an influential speaker, featured industry panelist, council member and content contributor in the areas of media and public relations, public speaking and strategic communications.
As Kraig says, “Dealing with the media is not an obligation; it’s an opportunity. Embracing it is the key to success. Let’s not wait to get noticed, let’s build and share the story to make people take notice.” Kraig lives in Orlando and has three children; Hailey, Trent and Kendall.
Greg Karl is Managing Director of People Stretch Solutions, a management consulting firm with an expertise in sales growth consulting, OKR implementation, leadership team transformation, and C-level advisory. Karl specializes in helping Leaders understand why or why not they or their people are performing and how to take their performance to the next level. He accomplishes this with the help of innovative online assessments and a methodology that draws on psychology, behavior and emotional intelligence. Greg’s professional sports experience spans the NFL, PGA, MLB, FIFA, World Alpine Skiing and Car Racing. After a 25+ year career, he left to start his consulting firm which helps sales forces and senior leadership teams stretch their minds and skills sets to the next level.
Kara graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2011 with a degree in Sport Management. She began her career in sports with the Major League Soccer National Sales Center and obtained in her first ticket sales role at FC Dallas. Eventually returning to Minneapolis, MN – Kara spent time on various projects in fundraising, business development and events. In 2014, Kara began working with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, in premium and hospitality - focused on a white-glove service approach, she managed the transition of premium client experience through the completion of the new practice facilities, Mayo Clinic Square, and Target Center Suite and Premium Level Renovation. At this time, she oversaw the launch of the Chairman’s Club and Suites and built out a strategy plan for Mayo Clinic Square hospitality and events. For the last year and half, Kara joined Minnesota United FC, an MLS expansion team. Currently, her focus is on premium service, hospitality operations corporate partnership events, and preparing for the opening of MNUFC’s soccer specific stadium, Allianz Field in 2019.
Sarah leads the Partner Marketing team at SeatGeek, responsible for all facets of sponsorship and marketing for SeatGeek Enterprise partners. Since joining SeatGeek, Sarah has grown sponsorships to now include large-scale relationships like the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints & Pelicans, MLS, and additional MLS partner clubs. Under Sarah’s leadership, SeatGeek has also developed a thought-leadership marketing services group that collaborates with SeatGeek teams on exceeding ticket sales goals. The group uses SeatGeek’s marketing expertise and extensive data network to help teams harness the power of open ticketing and more efficiently hit their sales targets.
Payman Khania currently serves as the Vice President of Hospitality Strategy at STAPLES Center & LA LIVE for Levy, a division of Compass Group USA. Payman oversees food, beverage, and retail operations throughout Staples Center and Microsoft Theater, in addition to supporting emerging technology and consumer insight verticals. Prior to joining Levy, he served as the President & COO for C Concepts LLC., a multi-unit gluten-free (GF) hospitality and specialty food company with e-commerce arm based in Napa, CA.
A Chicago native who worked in restaurants from an early age, Payman attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was a NCAA Division 1A athlete. After sustaining an injury that forced him to give up sports, Khania focused on his passion for hospitality and landed a coveted internship with industry veteran Larry Levy of Levy Restaurants. After graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor in Economics, Payman joined Levy Restaurants full time as a manager at Bistro 110 in Chicago where he reenergized this 18 year old staple Chicago restaurant. In 2003, Payman was promoted to General Manager of Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, the newest restaurant concept for the Levy portfolio.
In 2004, long-time friends of his recruited him to their company, Rockit Ranch Productions, a national entertainment development company, as Southern Regional Director of their upcoming Southern Florida properties. Payman oversaw the $10 million development and opening of two of Rockit Ranch Productions’ flagship properties at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Larry Levy recruited Payman back to Chicago in 2005 to work as a consultant for Levy Innovations and sit on various executive committees for Levy Restaurants, where he would meet and forge his working relationship with future mentor, Chris Harter. Payman became Director of National Openings for Levy Restaurants and opened seven different restaurant concepts for them nationally. He worked closely with Larry Levy on several projects as a consultant for Levy Family Partners, his hotel and real estate development company. After Compass Group fully acquired Levy Restaurants and was transitioning the company more towards contract food services, Payman opted to stay in multi-unit restaurant management and focus on scalable restaurant growth and culinary driven concepts.
Rockit Ranch was developing a new Asian concept, Sunda and asked Payman to help them open it. For a year, Payman helped develop the concept, including spending time in Southeast Asia studying the culture, hospitality and culinary trends. He opened the restaurant, and recruited, hired and trained the staff. While they planned to grow the concept, lack of funding prohibited them from doing so and Payman wanted to continue to develop his leadership style as a multi unit operator.
Chris Harter, the former President for Levy’s restaurant division, was now leading Legacy Restaurants and recruited him as Vice President of Operations, to help revive and grow two of Houston’s most iconic restaurant concepts; The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, and Antone’s. Payman worked to update and revive these brands and make them profitable. He also worked with the executive team on new concepts. Unfortunately, the economy affected the business and growth of the company, in an effort to conserve G&A, Chris Harter discussed with Payman his options, and helped to network and secure a role for him with former Levy Restaurant colleagues at Tavistock Restaurants in 2009.
Tavistock had recently purchased the fast casual concept FREEB!RDS World Burrito and hired Payman as Regional Manager. FREEB!RDS is a concept that focused on strong culinary execution with an edgy, hip vibe. At the time, there were three restaurants in his region and eighteen in Texas, within two years, Payman led the opening of 21 units across South Texas with average unit volumes of $1.4 million in addition to serving on several executive committees. In late 2011, Payman was tapped by Jim Mizes, President of FREEB!RDS to grow the brand outside of Texas, moving to California as Director of Operations. Payman opened 20 restaurants in 18 months in California and helping with the openings of another five locations in Oklahoma and Kansas. Under Payman’s leadership, the average unit volumes in California are $1.7 million, far exceeding the company average. He led seven Regional Managers and was charged with building new revenue streams through catering and menu development, buoying brand awareness and supporting the growth of WorldWorks, FREEB!RDS’ philanthropic arm. In the third quarter of 2012, a number of the senior leadership team members began leaving FREEB!RDS to explore other opportunities. This changed the culture and reporting structure, and Payman began reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer of Tavistock Restaurants. After a few months, Payman decided it was time for him to leave as well and began to consider other alternatives resigning from his position from Tavistock in May of 2013.
Following his exit, he joined Hook Burger as Vice President of Operations and Partner in August of 2013. The opportunity to join the founders of the Habit Burger in the roll-out of their new concept was an amazing opportunity. Payman established processes, systems and accountability standards to help the company continue to thrive and grow profitably. Under Payman’s leadership, they grew the business to six restaurants with additional units under development. With the recent IPO and success of Habit Burger, the founders have slowed down growth to focus on family and external investments, which positioned Payman to branch out and further develop his career path.
In June of 2015 while Payman was transitioning his responsibilities to the new team and cautiously entertaining other opportunities, he was contacted by the former President of FREEB!RDS, Jim Mizes regarding an opportunity with multi-unit restaurant and specialty food company, C Concepts located in Napa. Intrigued by the culinary emphasis on responsibly prepared gluten free cuisine and the unit economics of the company, Payman began consulting for them in August of 2015 and joined as President and COO in November 2015. Tasked with the challenge of building a team and organization for scalable growth, expanding his culinary knowledge on gluten free cuisine, and developing an e-commerce specialty food business, Payman took the challenge head on. Early in 2016, Payman resigned from his role with C Concepts and returned to the Levy family in July 2016 after being contacted by them initially to oversee the restaurant division of Levy, based out of Chicago. While the opportunity was immense, Payman made a conscious decision to remain in California.
After months of conversations with Levy, they created the Vice President of Hospitality Strategy role for Payman to focus on one of their strongest markets and largest partners AEG at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The STAPLES Center is one of the business arenas in North America with four major sports teams, concerts, award shows and some of the most recognized events in the world. Over the past two years Payman has successfully improved margins, generated sales growth through utilizing analytics, consumer insight, and team development to raise the bar. He brings over 15 years of multi-unit restaurant, e-commerce, retail, development, and marketing experience to both regional and national concepts. Payman has worked with groups such as Compass, Tavistock Restaurants, Legacy Restaurants, Rockit Ranch Productions, and Hook/Habit Burger. During his tenure with these organizations he has opened over 100+ restaurants nationally ranging from fast casual to full service operations. Additionally, Payman holds a degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
As Director of Marketing and Management Advisory Services with Camacho, Jeffrey brings 35-years of hospitality experience in culinary and operations management, brand development, marketing and business intelligence to clients.
Debbie Knowlan, began her career with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company based in St Thomas, USVI, where high standards, quality, and distinction were insisted upon, and therefore indoctrinated within her. With the desire to offer high caliber customer service, combined with the detailed level of training that was received at The Ritz-Carlton, she took her passion for customer service and sports and set her sights on working for a professional sports team.
In 2002, Debbie started working for the Miami HEAT and AmercianAirlines Arena, where she implemented fundamental service standards within the Guest Service and Season Ticket Service and Retention departments.
After 6 years with the Miami HEAT, Debbie went in search of her next challenge - the NFL. In 2008, she started working with the Atlanta Falcons, developing one of the first dedicated service departments within the NFL. Debbie developed the team’s service and retention processes, and established key fan experience initiatives and lead the team’s process development and execution of the NFL’s initiatives for stadium security and the Fan Code of Conduct.
In 2014, she was tasked with leading another business strategy to enable the business to understand its fans better and began focusing on the implementation of the Falcon’s first CRM system. For the second time, Debbie built from the ground floor up, a new department within the organization: the CRM department. Shortly after the CRM department was up and running, she took over all email marketing efforts to assist the growing business with the opening of the sales center for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and launching Atlanta’s first MLS team, Atlanta United.
Debbie has two decades of diverse experience in customer service, CRM, project management, implementation of innovative new products and solutions, and has a keen focus on ensuring all business strategies are aligned with customer needs. Debbie recently launched the first to market customer service training program designed specifically for sports teams – LISTEN | RESPOND | GO BEYOND - The Playbook on Winning at Service, to enable sports teams in delivering the ultimate fan experience. She is also a trainer/facilitator who assists companies in improving their customer focus and leadership skills.
Debbie began her career with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company based in St Thomas, USVI, where high standards, quality, and distinction were insisted upon, and therefore indoctrinated within her. With the desire to offer high caliber customer service, combined with the detailed level of training that was received at The Ritz-Carlton, she took her passion for customer service and sports and set her sights on working for a professional sports team.
In 2002, Debbie started working for the Miami HEAT and American Airlines Arena, where she implemented fundamental service standards within the Guest Service and Season Ticket Service and Retention departments.
After 6 years with the Miami HEAT, Debbie went in search of her next challenge - the NFL. In 2008, she started working with the Atlanta Falcons, developing one of the first dedicated service departments within the NFL. Debbie developed the team’s service and retention processes, and established key fan experience initiatives and lead the team’s process development and execution of the NFL’s initiatives for stadium security and the Fan Code of Conduct.
In 2014, she was tasked with leading another business strategy to enable the business to understand its fans better and began focusing on the implementation of the Falcon’s first CRM system. For the second time, Debbie built from the ground floor up, a new department within the organization: the CRM department. Shortly after the CRM department was up and running, she took over all email marketing efforts to assist the growing business with the opening of the sales center for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and launching Atlanta’s first MLS team, Atlanta United.
Jared Kozinn joined the Detroit Lions in August, 2014 and is currently the Executive Director of Business Development & Premium Partnerships. In this role, Jared oversees a year-round business development platform to aggressively serve three key revenue streams (Ticketing, Premium Seating & Partnerships). Before joining the Lions, Jared was the Director of Suite Sales for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Jared has also previously worked in Suites, Premium Seating and Service departments in the MLB (Kansas City Royals), NFL (Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers) and NHL (St. Louis Blues). He began his career in professional sports as a Business Development intern with the St. Louis Rams.
Jared graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before earning his J.D. and M.B.A. from Saint Louis University. Jared and his wife Margo have one daughter (Shayna) and a son (Dane).
As Co-founder and Chief Architect for the Kansas City-based architectural firm Generator Studio, Mike Kress owes his continued success to consistent delivery of thoughtful design. With attention to creative vision, detail, and budget, his leadership on multiple sports hospitality projects have been efficacious. Mike has proven himself to be a significant influencer of design and delivery management with his most recent clients: NHL Seattle, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, and Fresno Grizzlies. No matter the client, Mike’s often engaged in topics well beyond the built environment, solving issues and creating long-term value through design.
Right brain, or left… Most people are dominated by one side or the other. They are either intuitive, subjective and random – the artists; or they are logical, objective and sequential – the accountants. Some people are equally adept in either mode – the architects.
Rich Krezwick is an architect. He’s an idea guy and a detail guy. He envisions the sizzle, the beautiful exterior, the part people will remember. He also thoroughly understands the underpinnings necessary to support the plans his mind creates. And like all great architects, Rich is a manager, too… a team builder.
For more than 25 years, Rich Krezwick has been using his brilliant imagination, grasp of details and a team approach to build significant success in the sports and entertainment industry. His accumulated knowledge of marketing and sales qualifies him as skilled, disciplined and successful brand builder.
Currently, Krezwick is SVP AEG Facilities, overseeing arena properties in London, Stockholm, and other major European cities, along with arenas on the east coast of the United States. He rejoined AEG in 2014, after spending time in a similar role for three years ending in 2009. While with AEG previously, Krezwick had similar domestic and European arena responsibilities. On this tour with AEG, he initially relocated to London to oversee 10 arenas with more than 2000 events per year.
In his immediate past role as President of Devils Arena Entertainment, Krezwick took the Prudential Center arena from #41 in the United States in 2008; to #22 in 2009; rising to as high as #3 in 2012 and consistently in the top ten, over the last two years. Along with the programming growth, revenues and net income have grown exponentially.
The perennially successful New Jersey Devils have won three Stanley Cups, but have never been recognized as league leaders at the gate. Under Krezwick’s direction, the Devils were recognized by the NHL as one of the top three league leaders in sponsorship revenue and ticket sales growth, while leading the league in new season tickets for the 2011-12 season. Sponsorship revenues increased nearly 50% under Krezwick’s short tenure.
The Devils and Prudential Center brands have become recognized as industry leaders in revenue growth and revolutionary trends, with ESPN calling the Devils Mission Control efforts in social media, the most progressive in the NHL.
Krezwick lead a similar turnaround in Boston, before joining the Devils. Business Operations of the original six, Bruins were combined with a staff of more than one hundred arena professionals, running the new FleetCenter. This cultural shift was twelve months of design, implementation and facilitation. The results caused significant bottom line improvement and set the tone for the model franchise the Bruins are today and industry leading arena the TD Garden has become.
Driving revenue and producing a winning culture are key ingredients to Krezwick’s success. He has successfully guided non-profit, government operations (MA Sports Partnership and MA Film Office), shown 50% revenue growth in three years of radio experience, managed arenas and hockey teams around the world and remains grounded in the basic principles of hard work, dogged determination and enthusiastic leadership.
Joe has been with the Carolina Panthers since 2011 and oversees the sales, operations and customer service efforts for all Single Game and Season Long Ticket Products including Premium Seating, Corporate Hospitality and Luxury Suites. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Joe began his career in ticketing with the Washington Redskins and made the jump to sponsorship sales with Monumental Sports & Entertainment prior to joining the Panthers.
David Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, has been the Chief Executive Officer of AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Interactive Experience Association, since January 2013. Since joining AVIXA, Labuskes has worked to promote industry professionalism, expand global programs and raise awareness of AVIXA’s offerings. He serves on the Board of Directors of Integrated Systems Events, LLC, a joint venture European trade show company, and AVIXA Asia PTE, Ltd., a joint venture company in Singapore operating AVIXA’s Asian trade shows.
Prior to joining AVIXA, Labuskes served as Vice President of RTKL, now a division of ARCADIS, a leading architectural and engineering firm. He is the founder of the company's Technology Design Practice, overseeing the delivery of audiovisual, voice, data, wireless, environmental media, electronic security and acoustics services. He earned a BA in International Politics from Penn State University and an MBA from Loyola University of Maryland.
Brian Lapinskas brings over 16 years of operational and project management experience with Levy Restaurants. Brian has seen significant high profile sports success that includes experience in NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, NCAAF, Tennis, NASCAR, PGA, Convention Centers, and LIGA MX. His ability to tie in his operational experience along with design & construction has proven invaluable as such was the case with the design, construction and launch of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In a three and half year span, Brian led the project team in every aspect of the food and beverage program for the iconic stadium.
In addition, Brian has also lead project efforts for mega events such as Super Bowls, NCAA Men’s Final Four, College Football Playoffs, Kentucky Derby’s, NASCAR Cup, Ryder Cup and the USTA tournament. Along with his project management expertise, Brian has a passion for driving community and sustainability efforts. These successful efforts have been realized through the creation of the West Works Culinary Academy along with driving one of the most successful food recovery programs in Atlanta with Second Helpings Atlanta.
Tim Larkin works for Stewart as an Associate Vice President in their Global Sports and Event Division.
As the Director of Stadium and Competition Facilities for the United Bid Committee, Tim lead the efforts related to candidate host stadium evaluations, stadium-related FIFA World Cup hosting requirement assessments, and the delivery of the United Bid’s proposed 2026 World Cup stadium inventory.
Tim is a 25-year veteran of mega-event planning and operations. His career began as the Manager of Stadium Operations for the 1994 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee. Followed by Venue Director positions at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the 2007 AIBA World Boxing Championships.
From 2008 to 2017, as a Project Manager and Associate Principal at Populous, Tim lead the development of stadium overlay design and concept of operations for College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship Game.
Leslie Lee started her career with the Giants in 2007 in the Luxury Suites Department while she was attending the University of San Francisco. Soon after graduation, she started with the Giants full-time and has been with the organization ever since. As the Director of Event Strategy & Services, she currently oversees internal events for the Organization as well as serves as a project for the various construction projects throughout the ballpark.
When she’s not at Oracle Park, her twin toddlers keep her very busy at home.
Erin Leigh is a member of the NHL Club Business & Analytics group where she works closely with NHL clubs to maximize revenue generation, specializing in ticket and premium business. Prior to joining the NHL, Erin spent five seasons with the Brooklyn Nets where she was Director of Ticket Sales and part of the relocation to Brooklyn. She began her professional sports career in MiLB with the Trenton Thunder – AA Affiliate of the NY Yankees. Having studied Neuroscience prior to working in sports, Erin currently enjoys combining her industry experience with her talent in scientifically analyzing market trends and buying behavior.
CEO & Alternate Governor, Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment
Tod Leiweke was named chief executive officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, which includes the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and the Tampa Bay Times Forum, on July 26, 2010. Now entering his fifth NHL season with the Lightning, Tod also serves as an Alternate Governor for the Lightning. Leiweke is responsible for all business operations of the Lightning, Storm and the Times Forum. He also serves as CEO of CBP Development, LLC and its parent company, Strategic Property Partners, LLC (SPP).
Leiweke, who is in his 32nd season in professional sports, has helped rejuvenate the Lightning fan base and has helped lead the team’s transformation off the ice which has resulted in the more than doubling of the team’s season ticket base while vastly increasing its footprint in the community. Season Ticket Membership was increased in part due to a new commitment to customer service including each a customized jersey with a chip implanted in the sleeve that grants them access to a variety of discounts and benefits. Amalie Arena underwent a $50 million, privately-funded renovation during the summer of 2011 and received a new $5 million high-definition center-hung scoreboard, the largest in the United States and Canada at the time, during the summer of 2012. The renovations breathed new life into the arena and it continues to be lauded by fans, media and partners alike. The project included a signature stage with pipe organ; new seats throughout the arena; reconstructed executive suites, a paradise deck overlooking downtown; and a grand entry with an improved, guest-friendly ticket office and merchandise store.
At the direction of the Vinik family Leiweke and other senior staff pledged to grow the Lightning’s community engagement with commitments such as 5,000 hours of community service committed through its employees this past year through the C.H.A.R.G.E. program and the distribution of $10 million over five years to community heroes through the Lightning Foundation and the Vinik family. Along with his wife, Tara, Leiweke has chaired numerous charity events, including the annual FARA Energy Ball, benefitting the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, and the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball and Heart Walk He is also co chairman of in the University of South Florida’s Unstoppable Campaign committed to a goal of achieving $1 billon in giving to our USF.
Previously CEO of the Seattle Seahawks and Vulcan Sports & Entertainment for seven years, Leiweke also oversaw of the Portland Trail Blazers and was the day to day leader of the Seattle Sounders FC. He served as president of First & Goal Inc., which operates Qwest Field and Qwest Field Event Center for the state of Washington. Before joining the Seahawks, Leiweke served as president of the Minnesota Wild and chief operating officer of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. He has also held executive positions with the PGA Tour, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
Leiweke, 54, is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and is married to Tara. The couple has two children and they reside in South Tampa.
Jennifer LeMaster is Chief Administrative Officer of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, presiding over finance, talent management, communications and marketing.
LeMaster joined the Authority in 2007 and has lead public affairs strategy on major public-private partnership initiatives, including the $1.6B Mercedes-Benz Stadium, $27M in renovations to Centennial Olympic Park, a $55M expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center’s exhibit halls, and the current $300M development of a new 1,010 room headquarters hotel.
Before moving to Atlanta, LeMaster served her alma mater, the University of Kentucky, in the Athletics department where she guided the establishment of the university’s sports hall of fame. She also developed and implemented integrated marketing campaigns and special events in support of the beloved men’s basketball team, and 21 other varsity sports.
LeMaster serves on the IAVM Board of Governors at Cornell University’s famed Hotel School.
A native of Ashland, Ky., LeMaster earned a dual-degree in Communications and Political Science.
Zachary Leonsis is senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), a multi-platform sports, media, entertainment, and technology company located in the heart of the “DMV” in downtown Washington, DC. MSE is best known for its fan-facing brands which include the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards, and Capital One Arena, as well as seven additional team brands, three more venues, and equity in two media networks: NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network. As senior vice president of strategic initiatives, Leonsis manages MSE’s media rights relationship with NBC Sports Washington, all venture capital investment opportunities, the company’s sports betting strategy, and its growing esports division. Leonsis represents MSE on NBC Sports Washington’s board of directors as well as on Team Liquid’s board of directors.
Leonsis is also general manager of Monumental Sports Network, a first-of-its-kind regional sports network for digital, mobile, and over-the-top platforms. In 2016, Leonsis launched Monumental Sports Network, co-owned by MSE and NBC Sports Group, as a direct-to-fan content service provider seeking to reach cord-cutting sports fans. Monumental Sports Network offers paid-membership bundles that feature hundreds of live games across over 20 different sports leagues, hundreds of hours of original programming, exclusive merchandise discounts, and member-only events & experiences.
After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, Leonsis received his MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and is a founding member of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. He received an appointment to serve on Virginia’s Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism, and is involved in a variety of nonprofit and charitable activities in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia communities.
The Washington Business Journal and Sports Business Journal both recognized Leonsis for his work in revolutionizing the direct-to-fan regional digital experience by both honoring him in their ’Forty under 40’ list and as an ‘RSN Power Player.’
Mike joined the NHL’s Club Business and Analytics team at the end of 2016. He is responsible for helping to manage relationships with Club personnel and contribute to ongoing analysis of all Club revenue drivers, with a specific focus on premium seating. Prior to the NHL, Mike worked at the New York Yankees for 5 ½ years where he served as an analyst on the Premium Sales team. He created pricing strategies for suites and clubs; specifically related to multi-year contracts and ran analyses to determine the best practices related to inventory strategies, retention programs and new business campaigns. Mike graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology.
Eric Lindberg is an industry veteran with nearly 25 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry as Vice President of Premium with Levy. Eric has held a variety of leadership positions within Levy and now focuses on strategic and operational programs for over 100 arenas, ballparks, stadiums, racetracks and convention centers. Eric is charged with setting the foundation for a team of hospitality ambassadors and ensuring all teams deliver a best in class experience to our valued fans and customers. Eric resides in Atlanta, GA and when not spending time with his family he is out around the country looking for the next concept, experience or specialty item that can be applied in our operations.
With over 25 years’ experience in professional sports, Steve Livingstone has worked in all areas of the sports industry, on both sides of the Atlantic, with some of the world’s leading sports brands and organizations, including the National Football League, United States Soccer Federation, Scottish Football Association, Scottish Rugby Union, North American Soccer League, United Soccer League and Copa America.
Steve currently heads up the global sports division of leading consumer science and market research firm, Nepa, and recently spearheaded the Swedish-based company’s launch into the U.S. market.
Previously, Livingstone helped guide the USL’s Louisville City F.C. to significant growth in attendance, ticket sales and sponsorship revenue as Consultant/COO during the club’s USL Championship-winning season in 2017. He also assisted in the development of Lou City’s new 11,000-seat stadium project at Butchertown while also advising two USL expansion club’s in Hartford, CT and Omaha, NE.
Prior to consulting with USL clubs, Livingstone was part of the Copa America Centenario USA tournament in 2016 as the managing director of the Orlando venue at Camping World Stadium. Livingstone directed the conversion of the Citrus Bowl in Orlando from an artificial pro turf surface to a FIFA/CONCACAF compliant grass surface for the Copa America tournament. He recruited and led a 30-strong staff and coordinated over 300 volunteers in record time, working closely with the City of Orlando, Florida Sports Commission, the Host Committee and Orlando Venues to produce a successful host venue which featured three international matches played in five days and the management, organization and security of six visiting men’s national teams from Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Haiti, Panama and Paraguay.
From 2013 to 2016, Livingstone helped establish and build one of the NASL’s most successful expansion clubs, Jacksonville Armada F.C.. At the Armada, he directed the brand and competitive launch of the club, which debuted in front of over 14,000 against the MLS’ Philadelphia Union at EverBank Field on February 7, 2015; and set a modern-day NASL regular season attendance record of 16,164 against FC Edmonton on April 4. He was hired as the club’s first employee and went on to recruit and build a front office staff of 25.
During the Armada’s Inaugural season, the club attracted an attendance of over 160,000, (averaging over 8,000 per match for 20 matches) and successfully partnered with over 70 local, national and international sponsors including Nike, Coca Cola and Winn-Dixie. He was also instrumental in organizing a mid-season friendly at EverBank Field in Jacksonville with the storied Argentinian club, Boca Juniors – a match that was broadcast to over eleven million on FOX Sports Latin America. Operationally, he successfully directed over a dozen turf conversions of the Baseball Fields at Jacksonville from baseball field to soccer pitch.
Born and raised in the East End of Glasgow, Scotland, Livingstone began his professional sports career in media and journalism, where he was a soccer writer, producer and editor with several national media outlets from 1990-1996 covering the Scottish and English Premier Leagues, the Champions League and the NFL. He “jumped” the football fence in 1997 to join the NFL Europe (formerly World League) Scottish Claymores, moving up through the organization to become the youngest general manager/managing director in the NFL in 2000 at the age of 32.
Livingstone emigrated to the United States at the end of 2004, settling his family in Jacksonville, Florida, before beginning a nine-season appointment with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. With the Jaguars, he helped direct the club’s business development and marketing efforts from 2005-2013 and was responsible for generating over $50M in sales revenue annually. Livingstone led staffs that set record attendances and revenues for the Jaguars in the 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 seasons despite indifferent performances on the field and a tough economy off it. The Jaguars were also recognized consistently as the #1 team in the NFL for Fan Experience from 2005-2013.
Steve, who holds joint U.S./U.K. citizenship, resides in St. John’s, Florida, with his wife Jeanine and their two daughters.
Donald Lockerbie is the Managing Director of the Sports & Events Group, after consulting with Parker since 2013 and serving Olympvs International since 1984. As a lead professional in the industry of sports venue design, development and event management, Lockerbie’s strength has been to manage stakeholder programming to insure architects/engineers/contractors and mega-event organizing committees understand the user and performance criteria and timetables required by clients in the field of sports venues and events. His successful career in the sports business follows his years as a professional Track & Field athlete for the USA and stint as Head Coach of Track & Field/Cross Country at the University of North Carolina.
In the sports industry he has worked on over 400 sports facility projects worldwide and also taken roles at six Olympic Games and three FIFA World Cups. From 2002 - 2008, Donald Lockerbie served as the Chief Operating Officer & Venue Development Director of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies where he managed the design and development of fourteen new Cricket stadia constructed on ten Caribbean islands for the sum of US$431 and over $1B budget in event operations. He also served as the first CEO for the USA Cricket Association from 2009-2011. He now leads the group on stadium & arena projects such: Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves and Penn State University.
As Partner of SPD/Chicago, John brings the ability to turn verbal concepts into powerful graphic identities and dynamic communications programs. John has worked in all mediums — branding, identity, print, packaging, electronic media, signage, wayfinding, and environmental graphic design — and on a broad range of communications programs. He takes a sculptural approach to his environmental work, creating systems that provide both visual drama and effective communication, and he brings imagination and creative energy to all of his projects. He has collaborated with colleges & universities, municipalities, public agencies, owners, developers, architects, landscape architects, and the public to create innovative, branded environments worldwide.
University of Cincinnati - Bachelor of Science
Received Professional Practice Award in Graphic Design
SEGD President (2016 - 2017)
SEGD Executive Board of Directors (2010 - present)
Year of Experience
25 years with SPD; 25 years of experience total
- AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
- Ballpark Village, St. Louis, MO
- Big Ten Network, Chicago, IL
- District Detroit, Michigan
- Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
- Fourth Street Live!. Louisville, KY
- Freight House District, Reno, NV
- Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX
- Kansas City Power & Light District, MO
- Loyola University Gentile Arena, Chicago, IL
- Reno Aces Ballpark & Freight House District, Reno, NV
- St. Louis Ballpark Village, St. Louis, MO
- Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
- Texas Live! Mixed-Used District, Arlington, TX
- The Battery at Sun Trust Park, Atlanta, GA
- U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
- USF Sun Dome, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
- Waterside District, Baltimore, MD
Tim Maloney brings a wealth of business development experience, combined with his passion for sports, to his role of Vice President of Business Development for Delaware North Companies Sportservice. He is responsible for identifying and developing new business opportunities for Sportservice in stadiums, ballparks, arenas, entertainment complexes and convention centers in North America.
Tim began his career in the Sports industry working for MBNA America, where he spent over 10 years, culminating as the Vice President of Sports Marketing and was instrumental in the launch of the National Football League Extra Points program, the first financial services sports loyalty program designed for avid NFL fans. Shortly after the launch of the NFL Extra Points program, Tim and his team launched the Major League Baseball Extra Bases program. Tim managed Facility Planning and Design as well as Customer Service call centers. After MBNA America, Tim joined the National Football League as the Director of NFL Direct Marketing, where he was responsible for direct to the consumer businesses including the NFL Extra Points Program, NFL Fan Database, and Sponsor activation.
Maloney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Stonehill College in North Easton, MA, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University in Boston.
Originally from Western Massachusetts, Nick is a graduate of the UMass Sports Management Program. After College Nick spent 10 years working in Major league Soccer primarily with the LA Galaxy. As a Director of Ticket Sales, his responsibilities focused on all aspects of ticketing including season, group and individual sales. After his time in MLS Nick spent 2 years managing the ticket sales team responsible for all events at the AT&T Center in San Antonio with a focus on the San Antonio Spurs, Stars, and Rampage. Over the last 4 years, Nick was the Sr. Director of Premium Sales at AEG in focused on the sales of premium products at Staples Center and Microsoft Theater with Annual revenues exceeding $100M. The primary focus is multi-year contracts of the 154 annual suites and 2600 Premier Seats at Staples Center and the 12 Boxes at Microsoft Theater. Nick and his team of 8 Premium Sales Managers we’re focused on the LA Business community with a focus on the Downtown LA area. In February of 2019, Nick took an opportunity to move home to Massachusetts and join Kraft Sports and Entertainment and is currently the Associate VP of Sales with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. Nick and his wife Andrea live in Westwood with their 4-year-old Daughter Mackenzie.
John joined the Chicago White Sox in January of 2018 and currently serves as Director of Sales. In his current role, John oversees the Premium Seating, New Business and Sales Associate Departments. Prior to joining the White Sox John started his career with the New York Mets as a Group Sales Account Executive and then transitioned to the Florida Panthers Hockey Club where he served in a variety of roles, most recently Vice President of Sales.
During John’s time at the White Sox and Panthers, he has been able to increase premium and new business revenue with a focus on growing and developing his sales teams.
John, a native of Buffalo, NY attended Canisius College where he was a Division 1 Lacrosse player and received a bachelors in Physical Education and Masters in Sports Administration. In his free time John enjoys spending time with his wife Kristen and daughter Sara.
Qiava Martinez is the Vice President of Premium Seating & Service for The Oakland Raiders. In her role, Qiava is responsible for developing all strategies for premium seating, suite sales and service. Qiava began her career with The Oakland Raiders as an Inside Sales Ticket Representative in 2008. Qiava’s passion and drive quickly accelerated her into the role of Director of Group Sales and Fundraising for three years where she developed and created the new group sales department. While overseeing the group department, Qiava’s team was ranked top three in group sales among all NFL teams. Shortly after, Qiava was promoted to the Director of Premium Seating and Service. In two short years of being the Director of Premium Seating and Service, Qiava was able to create new incentive programs and suite inventory which generated new revenue streams for the organization.
Prior to pursuing a career in the sport industry, Qiava was the publisher and owner of Culture Magazine. The magazine was an outlet used by teenage writers to express their life experiences. Qiava also worked as the Executive Director for the non-profit Youth Achieving Destiny. One of nine siblings, Qiava comes from a football family. Her father, Willie Harper played in the National Football League for 13 years (11 of those years were with the San Francisco 49ers). Her brother Matthew Harper is the Defensive Backs Coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Her youngest brother, Josh Harper, was signed as an undrafted free agent by The Oakland Raiders in 2015.
Qiava, her husband Jonathan and daughter Harper reside in Dublin, Ca.
Anthony Matthies is on his second stint with the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club as the Director of Suite Sales. His background includes the NCAA with Arizona State Sun Devils, Live Nation in Phoenix at Ak-Chin Pavilion, the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes, and the NFL with The KC Chiefs and Legends on the Levis Stadium Project. Anthony’s Primary focus is to evaluate, develop, and enhance current sales collateral, sales campaigns, and go to market strategies to grow the suite business. He resides in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife Jennifer and Two Children Cecilia and Dominick.
Jay Mays is a 20-year sales veteran and stand-up comedy producer. From his underdog beginnings in dive bars to being awarded Best Comedy Venue in Miami, Jay has produced live comedy events for some of the biggest names in entertainment including Viacom, Soho House & Live Nation. As Managing Partner of Pitch Lab, Jay combines the seemingly disparate worlds of sales and comedy to help professionals be more confident, engaging speakers.
Tom McCann has overall responsibility for the premium sales, service and operations of Arsenal Football Club, including 7,500 premium seats, 150 executive boxes, the exclusive Diamond Club and all non-match day meetings and events. In total, Tom is responsible for approximately £40m of annual revenue, delivered by a team of 37 full-time staff, and is currently leading a major stadium development project. Prior to moving to Arsenal in July 2015, Tom spent three years in Rio de Janeiro, establishing the stadium hospitality business for IMX, a Brazilian joint-venture company formed between IMG and EBX.
Tom had overall responsibility for all areas of project development, including the long-term commercialization of three 2014 FIFA World Cup 2014 stadia: Maracana (Rio de Janeiro), Arena Pernambuco (Recife) and Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre). Previously, Tom worked at Wembley Stadium as Account Manager, Sales Executive and Sales Manager for the IMG Stadium Division, helping to deliver over £600m of contracted sales for Club Wembley, the single most successful sports hospitality project in the world.
Sean McChesney is an Experience Technology Consultant with Electrosonic, a global audiovisual and technology services company. Sean works with partners to understand the desired guest experience and advises on how to use technology as a tool to bring that experience to life. Sean’s designs are focused on the customer journey, helping brands create memorable experiences to engage their guests. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sean works with many global companies, creating experiences seen throughout the world. In his six years with Electrosonic, Sean has worked on projects in theme parks, museums and customer experience centers. Such projects include the One World Observatory in New York, the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame, and Experience Centers for several Fortune 500 companies.
Bill has more than 25 years of experience programming, planning and designing unique sports venues for higher education clients as well as professional and municipal organizations, and has successfully directed many of EwingCole’s most complex renovation projects, including the recently completed Finneran Pavilion at Villanova University. Bill understands the planning stages and drivers of design behind sports facilities, bringing a thorough knowledge of benchmarking data, functional requirements, program fundamentals and revenue-enhancing elements.
Stew MacDonald is the Chief Commercial Officer of Oilers Entertainment Group and is responsible for the day-to-day management of all sales and marketing initiatives for OEG, which includes the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and the recently-opened Rogers Place. The 30-year industry veteran played a lead role with the project team during the design and construction of Rogers Place. Specifically, MacDonald led the research and recommendations for all seating areas, including seven unique premium seating options. Rogers Place opened in September 2016 to rave reviews. It’s dramatic architecture, extensive fan amenities and variety of premium and bowl seating options quickly earned it a reputation for being one of the finest arenas in the world.
As Director of Business Development for Shawmut Design and Construction’s Sports Venues Group, Terry is responsible for cultivating new relationships with national sport stadium clients and reinforcing existing partnerships. Terry’s industry knowledge and the ability to build long lasting relationships in a highly competitive environment brings an extremely valuable component to Shawmut’s Business Development team.
Prior to joining Shawmut in 2012, Terry served as Director, Sports Marketing at USA TODAY where he was responsible for managing the business side of “America’s Sports Daily.” In this role he developed partnerships between USA TODAY and some of the country’s largest sporting organizations including the National Football League, NASCAR, the NCAA and the PGA TOUR, among many others. Under his leadership, The Nation’s Newspaper became a leading voice in Sports journalism while increasing revenue and profits.
In addition to his sales and marketing posts, Mr. McIntyre serves as an adjunct professor at The University of New Mexico’s Graduate School of Education in the Sport Administration Department. He has also served as a professor of strategic marketing at the State University of New York’s Baker School of Business and Technology in Manhattan, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and graduate school programs around the country. Terry holds an MBA from Regis University and a Bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University. A Southern California native who spent most of his professional life in New York City, Terry now resides in Santa Fe, NM with his wife Emilie and their labradoodle Henry..
Falcons President and CEO, Rich McKay, has been a fixture in the National Football League for more than 30 years. One of the League’s most influential executives, McKay recently finished his 13th season with the Atlanta Falcons including an NFC Championship title and a trip to Super Bowl LI.
McKay was initially hired by Owner and Chairman Arthur M. Blank in 2004 and served his first four years as the team’s general manager. He was promoted to president and chief executive officer in 2011. Together with Blank and Falcons general manager, Thomas Dimitroff, McKay played a key role in the coaching search that resulted in the hiring of Dan Quinn as Atlanta’s new head coach in early 2015. That same year, national columnist and creator of Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB), Peter King, named McKay number 10 out of the 100 most influential people in the NFL.
McKay played a pivotal role in the negotiation, development and progress of building Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a process that began in earnest in 2008. Working closely with Blank, the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, McKay helped to secure approval and financing for Mercedes-Benz Stadium after years of intense negotiations. The club broke ground on Mercedes-Benz Stadium on May 19, 2014, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in attendance for the historic announcement, and it is set to open later this year as the home of the Atlanta Falcons and MLS expansion team, Atlanta United. He is the only executive to have led two successful stadium negotiations (Atlanta and Tampa Bay). In April of 2014, McKay was named President of AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE).
McKay has served as a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee for the past 23 years. He was named co-chairman of the committee in 1998 and on March 1, 2011, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell named him chairman of the committee which is comprised of NFL head coaches and League executives who study the game and recommend rule changes and modifications to ensure player safety while promoting competitiveness. The Competition Committee has recommended and passed nearly fifty (50) player safety rules changes since 2002. In addition to his commitment to advancing the game, McKay was highly involved in the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, which led to the current multi-year agreement signed in 2011 between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
Prior to joining the Falcons, McKay spent 10 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, serving as general manager. While serving as general manager for Tampa Bay (1994-2003) and Atlanta (2004-2008), McKay was the architect of a Super Bowl winning team (Super Bowl XXXVII) as well as six teams that reached the playoffs and three that advanced to the NFC Championship game. His teams compiled an overall record of 112-96 with a playoff record of 6-5. As a GM, McKay worked with three different NFL head coaches who have guided their respective teams to NFC Championship games – Tony Dungy in 1999 with Tampa Bay, Jon Gruden in 2002 with Tampa Bay and Jim Mora in 2004 in Atlanta.
McKay’s personnel scouting acumen was a successful formula which produced 59 players that played in the Pro Bowl during his time as an NFL General Manager. McKay showed his eye for talent when he drafted eight players in the 1997 draft class that went on to play a combined 1,175 games, with 772 starts over their careers. Those players helped contribute to Tampa Bay’s 41 Pro Bowl selections between 1997 through 2002, which were the most in the NFL. To put it into perspective, the Buccaneers only had 19 Pro Bowl selections in the first 21 years of their history leading up to 1997. Additionally, 11 of McKay’s former lieutenants have risen through the ranks to sit in the general manager’s chair at other NFL franchises.
While many of the players McKay drafted developed into Pro Bowl performers on the field, several have been stars off of the gridiron. Atlanta Falcons Limited Partner Warrick Dunn, whom McKay drafted in 1997 with Tampa Bay, was the recipient of the 2004 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award. This award is presented annually to the NFL’s most philanthropic player. Derrick Brooks, who was also a draft selection of McKay’s, was also a co-recipient of the award in 2000.
The McKay family is one of the most successful football families with substantial roots in both the collegiate and professional game. Rich’s late father, the legendary John McKay, led the University of Southern California Trojans to four national championships in 16 seasons. Rich’s older brother J.K. McKay, was a starting wide receiver for the Trojans and part of two national championship teams (1972 & 1974) in addition to playing in three Rose Bowl games while playing for his father. Between the three McKay’s, they have won six national championships, participated as a player or coach in 12 Rose Bowls, participated as a coach, player or team executive in six NFL conference championship games, won two National Collegiate Coach of the Year Awards, won one XFL Championship as a general manager, and won one Super Bowl as a general manager.
Both Coach McKay and Rich saw their first draft picks selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lee Roy Selmon was the first pick for John McKay as a head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 while Warren Sapp was the first pick for Rich McKay in 1995. After the enshrinement of Sapp and Derrick Brooks, Rich McKay became the first general manager in NFL history to have his first two draft picks go on to be first ballot members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Rich McKay was the 2005 recipient of the Jack Horrigan Award. This award is presented annually by the Pro Football Writers of America to the club or League office executive who is the most helpful and cooperative with the local and national news media that report on the NFL. He was also recently named Chairman of the Board for Central Atlanta Progress for the 2017 season. Central Atlanta Progress was founded in 1941 and it is a private, not-for-profit corporation that plans and promotes Atlanta’s Central Area and strives to create a robust economic climate for downtown Atlanta.
McKay earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1981 from Princeton University, graduated from Stetson’s College of Law in 1984, clerked for two years for Tampa’s U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges, and was inducted into the Stetson Law’s Hall of Fame in November 2014. McKay worked at the Tampa law firm of Hill, Ward, and Henderson, P.A., from 1986-1992 where he served as General Counsel for the Buccaneers. Born March 16, 1959, in Eugene, Oregon, McKay grew up in Los Angeles and Tampa, graduating from Tampa’s Jesuit High School.
As an avid long distance runner, Rich has participated in and finished five marathons including two New York City Marathons, an Atlanta Marathon, and the Los Angeles in Marathon in 2013 and in 2016.
McKay and his wife, Terrin, have two sons; Hunter, a 2012 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama who is now employed in the Sports Information Office at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., and John, a 2015 graduate of the University of Southern California is a scout with the Los Angeles Rams.
Mike Meitin is currently in his second stint at Arizona State University, working as the Associate Athletic Director of Ticket Sales, Service and Operations. In his current role, he oversees all ticketing and premium strategies for all revenue generating sports. Arizona State is currently finishing a reinvention of Sun Devil Football Stadium that is adding multiple club, suite and loge spaces and are about to undertake a similar renovation of the Wells Fargo Arena. Mike previously served as the Director of Sales and Service for Sun Devil Athletics from 2012-2014.
He was then the Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Engagement Services at the University of Texas before returning to the Phoenix area in late 2016. Mike has guided sales, service and marketing units since 2007, working for the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche and then working internationally for the The Aspire Sport Marketing Group in the United Kingdom before returning stateside to work with Sun Devil Athletics. A Colorado native, Meitin graduated from Florida State University with a communication degree, and later earned his Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on international business from Coventry University in the UK. He currently lives in Phoenix with his wife Abbey and their dog Mogli.
Todd Merry is chief marketing officer for Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality and food service. With more than $3 billion in annual revenue and 55,000 employees, it is one of the largest and most admired privately held companies in the world. In his position, Merry oversees Delaware North's strategic global marketing efforts, spanning all of its operating companies and locations on three continents. One of Merry’s primary responsibilities is guiding the company's customer-centric mission as Delaware North serves nearly a half-billion customers each year in locations such as TD Garden, Grand Canyon National Park, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and other travel, sports and gaming destinations around the world. He also leads all sales and marketing efforts throughout the company’s global operations, while developing a strategy for effectively using the company's customer data and technology to further its business objectives.
Merry brings more than 20 years of business and marketing experience to Delaware North. Prior to joining the company in 2012, he was vice president of global marketing strategy and integrated programs for Unisys Corp. Merry has also served as vice president of customer insight and strategy for BJ's Wholesale Club Inc., vice president and director for Digitas Inc. and strategy partner for Miller Bainbridge and Partners in London, England.Merry received a bachelor's degree in classics and physics from Middlebury College and an MBA in international marketing from Boston University.
With over 200 team members and over 8 figures in annual revenues, Southwestern Consulting is one of the fastest growing sales consultancies in the world today. Their mission is to help people achieve their goals in life and to elevate the practice and perception of sales. As one of the 2 Co-founders of the company, all of Gary’s insights are backed by Southwestern Consulting’s frontline research and work with over 20,000 different companies in more than 40 countries.
Michaels is touted as the #1 Producing Sales Practitioner. More than just a teacher of sales, Gary is a Top-Producing practitioner. During his college tenure, Gary began successfully selling door-to-door for a well-known reference book distributor. Pushing himself relentlessly, he finished in the top 10 from more than 3,000 in the program and earned more than $105,000 in 3 short summers! Gary also spent 19 years as a sales representative for the largest school fundraising company in the world, and finished #1 in sales 9 of his last 10 years out of 400 representatives. Gary’s personal sales experience spans from retail sales to network marketing to real estate to leading the largest sales consulting company in the world. Gary continues to also be one of the top personal producers at Southwestern Consulting.
He is also an Author and Radio Host. Gary is the author of the book Getting In and Getting Out: How to Get In Every Prospect’s Door and Get Out With a Sale and the host of a weekly radio talk show on the NBC Radio Network. Gary’s insights and articles are featured and shared regularly in media outlets throughout the country.
Finally, Michaels is a popular motivational speaker and trainer. To date, over, 1,300,000 people have been inspired in Gary’s audiences to achieve their goals in life by hearing Gary speak. For 7 years, Gary was a main platform presenter for the nationally renowned travelling conference, Success Starts Now! Gary is a member of the National Speakers Association and has completed hundreds of hours of presentation skills education and training to become a Southwestern Certified Speaker. His client list includes speaking for companies such as: Ben & Jerrys, Google, Ritz Carlton, Bellagio, Cirque du Soleil, Budget Blinds, the San Francisco 49ers, the Arizona Coyotes, Nashville SC and many, many more.
As Chief Digital Officer for AMB Sports & Entertainment, Jared Miller is responsible for sourcing and integrating innovative, leading-edge technology solutions to ensure the development of a world-class stadium facility. He also leads the deployment of technology solutions designed to meet the needs of fans of the Atlanta Falcons Football Club, Atlanta United FC and event guests of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As senior vice president of analytics and technology, Miller also oversees the newly formed analytics group for AMBSE as well as IT operations and information security.
Prior to joining AMB Sports & Entertainment, Miller served as Vice President of Solution Management for Travel at NCR Corporation. In this role, he oversaw the launch of next generation self-service solutions designed to meet the needs of airlines, airports, hotels and other travel segments worldwide. Before joining NCR, Miller spent nearly 10 years with Continental Airlines and United Airlines leading the development and adoption of multi-channel self-service technologies in the airline industry. Focused on improving the customer experience, he was responsible for mobile strategy and product delivery, including mobile applications. During his time with Continental, Miller launched and championed the first mobile boarding passes by any carrier in the United States and was responsible for self-service check-in across multiple channels.
Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Master of Science degree in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at MIT, Miller was a fellow in the Leader for Global Operations program. In 2011, he was honored as Industry Deployer of the Year by the Digital Screenmedia Association and later served as the President of that organization.
He also serves on the Technology Advisory Board at ALSAC / St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN and on the board of PowerMyLearning. He is an active leader in the Georgia technology community and serves on boards at the Technology Association of Georgia and ATP.
Kristin Miller started her 10th season as Director of Suite Services for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. As Director, she is responsible for leading the Suite Services department in the development and implementation of short and long-term strategies designed to create an exceptional Suiteholder experience at Miller Park. Training and developing full-time and seasonal staff to expertly navigate the ever-changing landscape that is professional sports hospitality is among her top priorities.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities in 2001 with a degree in Theater Arts and a minor in Spanish. Kristin and her husband, Brandon, live Cedarburg, WI, with their daughter, Dylann.
Brian is a Senior Principal at Populous and serves as director of Populous Activate in the Americas, which features an innovative approach that powerfully brings brands to life through design. Through a core focus on connective strategy in the entertainment and hospitality industries, he masterfully creates opportunities for engagement by linking people to immersive user experiences on all levels, design mediums and interactive technologies. His award winning work has helped create transformative social experiences for his clients, having collaborated with nearly every professional team, some of the world’s leading advertising agencies, the Olympic Games, the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball and top brands including Adidas, Pepsi and Dow. Brian’s work has been recognized internationally in ID Magazine, Sports Illustrated, the Discovery Channel, and Sports Business Journal. He received the Award of Honor from the Society of Environmental Graphic Design and has garnered multiple American Institute of Architects design awards for innovation and excellence.
Relevant Project Experience:
Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Bucks Training Facility, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Las Vegas Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
SunTrust Park, Atlanta Braves Ballpark, Cobb County, Georgia
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Experiential Activation for Dow, Sochi, Russia
London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Experiential Activation for Dow, London, England
Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Wukesong Arena, Beijing, China
PepsiMax Field of Dreams, Columbus, Ohio
KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Amway Center, Orlanda, Florida
Ritz Carlton Club Blue at Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida
Arrowhead Stadium Renovations, Kansas City, Missouri
Coca-Cola Stage NFL Fan Activation at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Sprint NFL Fan Activation at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Kauffman Stadium Renovations, Kansas City, Missouri
Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Target Field Interiors, Minneapolis, Minnesota
New Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
Citi Field, New York, New York
Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Everbank Field Renovations, Jacksonville Jaguars Clevelander Deck, Jacksonville, Florida
PETCO Park Renovations, San Diego, California
Oriole Park at Camden Yards Renovations, Baltimore, Maryland
Sun Life Stadium Expansion, Miami, Florida
Kansas State University Basketball Training Facility, Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University Football Training Facility, Manhattan, Kansas
University of Connecticut Basketball Training Facility, Storrs, Connecticut
University of Colorado Football Training Facility, Boulder, Colorado
University of Missouri Memorial Stadium Expansion, Columbia, Missouri
Kyle Field Stadium Redevelopment and Football Training Facility at Texas A&M, College Station, Texas
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Facility Enhancements, Indianapolis, Indiana
F1 Future of Motorsport
Adidas innovation partnership
The NFL Playbook - Revenue, Experience, Loyalty Future Ideation
NFL Super Bowl LI Bid
Lisa Mitchell is the Founder of Power Body Language and is a Communications expert that specializes in Body Language and Non Verbal communication skills. She is a Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) and a Certified Body Language Trainer, and holds a Masters Degree in Management. Lisa works with companies and organizations world-wide to provide best-in-class Communications workshops, trainings, and keynote speeches. She has worked with clients such as Comcast, Eli Lilly, Ascena Retail Group, Indiana Wesleyan University, Pike Electric, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the International Association of Interviewers to name a few.
Lisa has been featured in many media outlets for her body language analysis, including segments on human lie detection, and to provide insight into the behavior of everyone from politicians, to criminals, to figures in pop culture. Lisa has a reoccurring segment on Indy Style where she shares how the science of Body Language can help people make better first impressions, stay safe in their environment, and be more influential and effective leaders.
Alex Townsend-Mitchell has been with the National Hockey League for over 13 years, currently serving as Vice President of Club Business & Analytics. In that role, Alex has led the League’s increased arena design and fan experience efforts with a major focus on Food & Beverage strategy and operations. He created the League’s Food & Beverage reporting and surveying initiatives, which allows NHL Clubs to benchmark themselves against the rest of the league with a variety of data and insights. He orchestrates best practice sharing of Food & Beverage content on quarterly conference calls and at the NHL Club Business Meetings, while working with the various NHL Club-facing operators to ensure high-quality service and reporting. He also contributes to the NHL internal arena design working group that collects design element and operations data.
Carl Mittleman is president of Aramark’s Sports and Entertainment division. In this role he provides leadership for more than 150 premier stadiums, arenas, convention centers and
cultural attraction venues across North America where Aramark provides award-winning food and beverage, retail service and facility service programs. He was promoted to president in
Mittleman has over 20 years of service with Aramark and most recently served as a Regional Vice President in Sports and Entertainment. Since joining Aramark as a management trainee,
he has established himself as a versatile professional in numerous sales and operational roles across the enterprise, including the parks and destinations and international business units.
Throughout the course of his career, Mittleman has been honored for his work. In 2012, he was recognized with the company’s prestigious Most Valued Partner award for his efforts to expand client partnerships, enhance customer satisfaction and create loyal customers. He was named to Sports Business Journal’s 2013 list of “Forty Under 40,” awarded the 2011 Venues Today Generation Next Award; and twice named Aramark Manager of the Year, in 2004 and 2005.
He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors for Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) Coalition, is a member of the Cornell Hotel Society, sits on the Executive Advisory Board for University of Denver, Knoebel School, and the Board of Directors for Spurs Sports and Entertainment.
Mittleman is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and earned his Executive MBA from the Daniels College of Business at University of Denver.
Meet Jill Monaghan, an architect by trade and rising star in the design of arena and stadium venues. As a Project Architect + Fun Director for Generator Studio, Jill’s millennial perspective and design delivers first class hospitality environments. Among a bright team of architects, she has led several projects completed for the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lighting, and Minnesota Wild.
Her impact on each of these organizations has caused them to reconsider typical seating typologies and the approach to hospitality design in sports venues. The simple accounting is that in the last 5 years, Jill’s designs have had a major impact on five professional franchises and their venues. Her age and gender shatters preconceived notions of what a sports architect looks like, and this has challenged our next generation of designers to aspire to greater things.
Tom Moreland was named associate athletics director for strategic initiatives Nov. 6, 2017.
Moreland provides direct oversight of the Purdue Athletics ticket office and sales & development unit. He and his team analyze and create revenue generation infrastructure and strategy that enhances internal collaboration and leverages relationships with a variety of stakeholders to maximize revenue. Moreland also works with the marketing & fan experience, development and premium seating areas, as well as with Learfield IMG College (Purdue Sports Properties). He serves as the point person for licensing and retail sales and oversees the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
Moreland came to the Boilermakers from the University of Iowa, where he served as assistant director of development (2010-12), associate director of development (2012-14), director of development (2014-17), and director of development and premium services (2017). He directed various fundraising and revenue generation programs, including the $170 million National I-Club campaign. Moreland designed the strategy for a $60-million revenue model for Kinnick Stadium renovations and created a corporate engagement strategy that resulted in $3.5 million in new corporate revenue in its inaugural year. With his guidance, the athletics department surpassed its comprehensive campaign goal of $240 million by $33 million, accounting for 14 percent of the university's fundraising productivity.
In 2009 and 2010, Moreland was the director of baseball operations and external relations at Arizona State University, where he increased game attendance by 9 percent, donors to the program by 27 percent and group sales by 147 percent. The Sun Devils qualified for the College World Series and finished the season ranked seventh nationally.
A native of Shorewood, Wisconsin, Moreland earned two bachelor's degrees from Iowa in 2007 - health and sports studies and journalism and mass communications - and a master's degree in intercollegiate athletic leadership from the University of Washington in 2010. He played baseball for the Hawkeyes from 2004 to 2007, receiving the Coaches Award for loyalty and effort and twice earning Academic All-Big Ten honors. Tom's wife's name is Jennifer.
Dr. Bernie Mullin is Founder & Chairman of The Aspire Group, globally recognized for innovative strategic consulting, research, and ticketing services. Aspire works with many iconic partners to maximize organizational effectiveness, grow revenues and attendance by building an avid and sustainable fan/corporate partner base. Under Bernie’s guidance, Aspire has rapidly grown into a company that generates over $200 million annually in revenue and has served 200+ brands and properties across 11 countries on three continents in 17 different sports.
Aspire’s purpose manifests through the 30+ Fan Relationship Management Centers (FRMCs) currently operating across the USA and Australia. Bernie and the Aspire staff have a highly successful track record of reducing fan churn, increasing fan loyalty, growing share of mind, heart, and wallet, and maximizing revenues and attendance while simultaneously reducing operating losses. This is accomplished through the creation and seamless execution of many of Aspire’s proprietary “Next-Practices” programs that helped produce numerous league and franchise all-time attendance records, record revenue and profit growth, and increased enterprise value.
Aspire’s best of brand partner list is highlighted by:
- US Professional Leagues & Teams – NFL, NBA, NHL, Cleveland Indians & Los Angeles Dodgers
- US Collegiate Programs – Ohio State University, University of Oregon, Auburn University, University of Kansas, Georgia Tech, University of Maryland
- Global Consumer & Sponsorship Brands – Coca-Cola, Allianz, ENI
- International Properties – R&A, The Open (British Golf Championship), US Open (Tennis), Canadian Football League, National Rugby League, English Premier League clubs Everton FC, Leicester City FC, and West Ham United FC; Lancashire County Cricket Club, Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente, e-sport brand Riot Games
Bernie is an internationally-acclaimed management and marketing consultant and speaker, who along with Dr. Bill Sutton and Dr. Steve Hardy literally wrote the book, entitled “Sport Marketing.” Bernie has over 30 years of experience as a chief executive or senior director in iconic and highly visible organizations in professional sports, collegiate athletics and entertainment venue operation at the highest level. In his career, he has specialized predominantly in start-ups and turn-around situations, building winning organizations on the field, court, and ice as well as developing sustained peak performing organizations on the business side taking people and teams to unprecedented levels of success.
Prior to The Aspire Group, Dr. Mullin held the following positions:
President/CEO of the Atlanta Hawks (NBA); Atlanta Thrashers (NHL) and Philips Arena (2004-2008) – Bernie inherited an organization losing US $47M per annum, the worst team in the NBA and an NHL team that had never had a winning season. In just 4 years, operating losses were reduced by 80%, the Hawks were rebuilt into a team that has now made the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons, the Thrashers won their division, and Philips Arena enjoyed its most profitable year in its history. As a result of this new foundation, the organization was sold 7 years later for over 5 times its acquisition price.
SVP Marketing and Team Business Operations for the National Basketball Association (2000-2004) – The league tasked Bernie with creating the world-renowned TMBO (Team Marketing and Business Operations) in-house consulting and best-practice unit, which has now been copied by many sports leagues globally. TMBO was able to grow attendance for four consecutive years and increase league-wide ticket revenues by $250M per annum after two years of revenue and attendance decline.
Vice Chancellor of Athletics, University of Denver (1995-1999) – Bernie took an NCAA Division II program to the Division I level and oversaw the fundraising and building of $250M worth of new athletic, recreation and wellness facilities. As a result of these changes, DU has since captured 13 NCAA Division I National Championships in Men’s Hockey, Lacrosse, and Skiing.
President/General Manager Denver Grizzlies (International Hockey League, 1993-1995) – Bernie built an expansion franchise into a back to back Turner Cup Champions (Record in 1994-95 was 72- 6- 20).
SVP- Business, Colorado Rockies (MLB, 1991-1993) – As one of the first employees of the expansion franchise, Bernie built the business plan and hired the front office staff who produced over $40M profit in its first season and broke the MLB all-time season attendance record of 4,482,250 which still stands today. He also oversaw the design and initial construction of award-winning Coors Field.
SVP – Business Operations, Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB, 1986-1990) – Bernie was hired to turn around the attendance and profitability for the team with the worst record in the league. In 5 seasons he took the club from drawing 700,000 fans per season to an all-time franchise record of over 2M fans. Inheriting a $10M operating loss, Bernie made the club profitable and was credited with numerous innovations in guest relations and club-owned retail merchandise operations.
Professor of Management and Sport Business, University of Massachusetts (1977-1986) – Dr. Mullin was the first ever PhD in Business to work in Sport Management where he helped build the program into international prominence. Bernie was the principal author on the first ever text in sport marketing which is now in its 4th edition, selling over 75,000 copies and published in 11 languages.
British born, Bernie holds a PhD in Business, MBA and MS Marketing from the University of Kansas and a BA in Business Studies from Coventry University. Bernie was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Coventry University in England in recognition for his outstanding contributions to the industry. Bernie was inducted into the Sport Business Hall of Fame at Robert Morris University in 2012 and the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Hall of Fame in 1999. Mullin has been active in the communities where he has lived, serving on the following boards: YMCA; Make a Wish Foundation; Sports Council and Visitor Convention Bureau.
Bernie was a four-year varsity soccer letter winner at Coventry University and captained the team to the British Collegiate Finals in both his junior and senior years. He went on to play semi-professional soccer for Oxford City FC in England. His coaching career included a Big 8 Soccer Championship in 1976 with the University of Kansas, and back to back East Coast Athletic Conference Soccer Championships with the University of Massachusetts.
In his distinguished career, he has received numerous additional honors and recognition including being dubbed “The Guru of Ticket Sales” by Sports Illustrated in 1993, “The Pirate of Profitability” in 1986 by the forerunner of the SportsBusiness Journal, and being named the Boy Scouts of America “Peach of an Athlete Award” recipient in 2008. Married to Valerie Wilkinson, he has three children Julie, Lara, and Steven and step-son, Chad and five grandchildren. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma – the National Honor Society in Business.
Born in Bridgeport, CT, and raised in Cincinnati, OH , Kai joined the Washington Nationals in March of 2015 in his current role as Director of Premium Sales and Service. His primary responsibilities include strategic business planning, special event planning, and the development of customer service standards within the premium areas of Nationals Park. Prior to joining the Nationals in March, Kai served three years as the Manager of Club Seat Sales with the Arizona Cardinals.
Previous to his time in Arizona, Kai spent four years as the Premium Sales Manager for Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer, selling and servicing the team's luxury suites. From 2005 to 2008 he worked as an Account Executive with the Jacksonville Jaguars selling season tickets plans, after beginning his career with the Frisco RoughRiders, Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Kai received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from DePaul University in Chicago.
Mark Neifeld is currently President of Complex Sports & Entertainment - a company driven by creating unique experiences at unique venues.
A veteran in the event and venue management industry, Neifeld founded Complex with a vision to create a sales and programming model designed for entertainment venues of all types. Complex’s unique position in venue marketing and event production has led to collegiate and professional partnerships across the country.
While previously serving as venue manager, Neifeld oversaw event services in some of the premier venues in the country, including AT&T Stadium, The Georgia Dome, Amalie Arena and Globe Life Park.
Neifeld is a graduate of IAVM Venue Management School at Oglebay & IAVM Graduate Institute (2014). In July 2015, Neifeld was presented Florida State University's "Thirty Under 30 Award.
Fan Experience Expert
7 Star Service
Fan Experience Expert, Ruby Newell-Legner, offers 7 Star Service solutions to amplify your brand and bottom-line. Through consulting and training she has designed customized staff development programs for:
- 31 professional sports teams
- 41 new facilities preparing to open
- 51 stadiums and arenas
- 480 franchise locations
- More than 1000 businesses in 23 countries
- the only 7 Star Hotel in the world
From Denver to Dubai, Ruby brings unprecedented expertise and insight on how to create a service culture that motivates employees and promotes loyalty and retention inside and outside the organization – with employees and customers.
Clients that have followed Ruby’s 7 Star Service Proprietary Process have seen the following results:
- Increased Customer Satisfaction Ratings by 17%
- Improved Secret Shopping Scores to consistent perfect scores in multiple venues
- Amplified repeat business by19%
- Enhanced customer satisfaction so much that investors approved a $1 Billion Expansion
- Expanded their Season Ticket Holders from 4,000 to 14,000
- Increased revenue in one year by 16%
Entering his 16th season in baseball, Dan began his career in sports as an Intern and then Sales Representative for the Philadelphia Phillies before securing his first full time sales role with the Greenburg Sports Group (Altoona Curve & the inaugural season of the State College Spikes).
In 2007 he began his first position with the Tampa Bay Rays as a Group Sales Account Executive before ascending to Season Ticket Sales Manager, Director of Group Sales and now for the past three seasons the Director of Sales overseeing single game ticket initiatives, season tickets, group sales, event management, suites and premium seating. Newhart received his degree in Commercial Recreation/Sports Management with minors in Business and Architecture from Penn State University. He currently serves on the board of Leadership Tampa Bay and is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Jordan Nicolson serves as Vice President of Sales and Membership Service for IMG at Wembley Stadium. Nicolson has spent 11 years with IMG at Wembley Stadium and is now responsible for the sale, account management, and retention of all corporate boxes at Wembley Stadium.
As Head of Development Nicolson was responsible for implementing IMG’s hospitality sales program for approximately 22 events including the NFL International Series, Beyonce, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna, Billy Joel, the International Champions Cup and the EFL Play-off Finals where he produced approximately £25 million of annual revenues. Nicolson has successfully recruited and trained the Sales and Account Management teams for IMG’s worldwide stadium projects, including the Brazilian projects Maracanã in Rio De Janeiro and Arena Pernambuco in Recife.
As Director of Strategic Partnerships, Cameron Nickels is responsible for overseeing SEG’s suite leaseholder relationships and team partnerships. Previously, Mr. Nickels worked at in the investment management field in both marketing and operations roles. He is a passionate sports fan with an interest in player scouting & development and college recruiting. Mr. Nickels graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Labor Relations.
Eric Nordness is a Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Hickory Street Capital. HSC is real estate development and investment business owned by the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball club. HSC was formed to advance the Ricketts family real estate development goals outside of Wrigley Field. Mr. Nordness leads real estate development for the Ricketts family.
HSC recently completed the development of a sports and entertainment district directly west of Wrigley Field, centered around a 30,000 square foot open-air event plaza known as Gallagher Way. The mixed-used development encapsulates the plaza and two six-story buildings that houses a 173-room boutique hotel, 100,000 square feet of retail space and 75,000 square feet of office space. Designed to fit seamlessly into the urban neighborhood environment, this new destination now serves as a year round entertainment destination and the town center of Chicago’s iconic Wrigleyville neighborhood.
Prior to joining HSC, Mr. Nordness was the Managing Member for Salita Development, a boutique hospitality development firm focusing on hotels and restaurants. Eric started his career at Robertson, Stephens & Co, a San Francisco headquartered full-service investment banking firm. Mr. Nordness has experience in real estate development, institutional finance and asset management. He received his B.B.A. in finance from the University of Iowa and a M.B.A. from
the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in both finance and
Charlene joins the FA from a stint at Formula E where she led the charge delivering the Electric Street Racing Series premium events across the globe. Charlene has joined the team as they navigate through a period of investment back into Club Wembley’s facilities, ensuring that propositions move forward in keeping with the ever- evolving premium experience industry.
Prior to Formula E, Charlene spent four years with AEG Europe as Hospitality Director providing strategic plans, proposals and fulfilment for their European Live tours. Charlene was also integral to the concept and delivery of the Barclaycard presents BST Hyde Park summer concerts which are now in their sixth year. Arsenal FC is where her story began as a key member of the team taking the Arsenal Hospitality proposition from Highbury to Emirates Stadium over a 13-year tenure, which concluded with Charlene in the role of Premium Memberships Manager.
Mike O’Donnell is the Director of Planning and Projects for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Amalie Arena and has over 10 years’ experience in architecture, construction, and project management. He has concentrated his career in architecture and project management on sports design, operations, facility management, and construction. Over the last 7 years at the Lightning, Mike has lead multiple major renovations and smaller capital improvement projects totaling over $100M.
His knowledge of sports design, building code, and industry standards coupled with facility operations and management bring a unique perspective to leadership at Amalie Arena as well as the design and construction teams he leads. Through these projects, Mike has embraced the Lightning’s goal of becoming the ultimate sports franchise with a reinvented facility while keeping its fans experience as the highest priority. He holds an architectural degree from the University of Kansas, and is actively involved in the community, arts and AIA Tampa Bay.
Scott joined the Minnesota Twins in 1984 as a season ticket representative. He annually has led the ticket sales department in sales and revenue generated. Promoted to Director of Ticket Sales prior to the 1998 season, Scott has been instrumental in the development of Twins season ticket programs. In 2007 Scott was promoted to Director of New Ballpark Development and was responsible for the sales and marketing of all suites and premium seating. As the team transitioned into their new home at Target Field, Scott assumed the position of Director of Suite and Premium Seat Sales and Service, where he addresses the needs of suite and premium seat clients. Most game days find Scott meeting clients in the suite level or Champion’s or Legend’s Clubs. His attention to detail and high-level of service is a great asset to fans in all seating levels of Target Field. A graduate of Brown Institute Scott had a career in broadcasting prior to joining the Twins organization. Scott a native of South St. Paul resides in Woodbury with his wife Pam. The two have a son Mick and daughter Allison.
As project manager Zach is responsible for the day-to-day supervision and management of all construction activities. He is directly responsible for scheduling, coordination, quality control and ensuring the safety of all on-site personnel as well as the general procedures. He holds weekly meetings with subcontractors to review progress of the work, upcoming events and any potential coordination among the trades. Of note is the extensive Philips Arena renovation, which includes opening the concourses to the seating bowl, construction of new lounges and bars, upgrades to existing suites, concessions and restrooms, and updates to the building technology. In a joint-venture arrangement that includes Turner-Hunt-SG-Bryson, the team is currently in preconstruction with the renovation scheduled to begin the summer of 2017. Project completion is scheduled for the start of the 2018-19 season. The Hawks will continue to play at the arena during the overhaul, with much of the work being executed during the next two off seasons. Olsen has been with with Turner for 11 years. He has a BS, Civil Engineering from Auburn University.
Alex Ortiz is a Vice President for CAA ICON. A division of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), CAA ICON is the world’s leading owner’s representative and strategic management consulting firm for public and private sports, entertainment, and public assembly facility owners/operators, professional franchises, and leagues. CAA ICON offers world-class service in the areas of project management, strategic advisory, feasibility and planning, and beyond.
Alex has more than 15 years of experience managing the design and construction of sports venues. He is currently serving as Project Director for the 1060 Project, a multi-phase restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field. He has overseen this transformative renovation, which began in 2013 and has taken place during the Chicago Cubs’ off seasons. The project includes significant structural upgrades, improved player facilities, new fan amenities and much more. Previously, he served as Project Director for Sloan Park, the training facility for the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Arizona.
Prior to joining CAA ICON, Alex served as Assistant Project Manager for Turner Construction, where he was involved with numerous projects including Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional.
NGAGE Esports’ Jonathon Oudthone oversees Infinite Esports & Entertainment’s events management and broadcast production arm – a field of expertise he’s overseen since 2009, getting his start through organizing and streaming local-level fighting game events. His talents brought him in as Broadcast Director for some of the largest events in all of competitive gaming, including the likes of the Evolution Championships and is now also leveraged in his role as project lead for the development of the Arlington, Texas Esports Stadium.
Leads a team responsible for selling Atlanta Falcons season tickets, group tickets, and premium seating. Other responsibilities include maintaining the ticket sales micro-site, establishing email & social marketing campaigns, recruitment and hiring of full-time and seasonal sales staff, and establishing dynamic pricing strategies to maximize ticket revenue for each game.
In his 15th season with the Vikings organization, J. P. Paul serves as the team’s Vice President of Corporate Development and Guest Relations. In this role, Paul creates and executes new service initiatives to further enhance the relationship between the Vikings and their fans, as well as the corporate community. Paul and his group have played a key role in the team’s move to U.S. Bank Stadium, most notably by working hand-in-hand with Aramark (Stadium Concessionaire) on concession/premium food service design concepts and SMG (Facility Manager) in creating game day operational protocols and managing corporate vendor and service provider relationships.
Also in conjunction with SMG, Paul has helped create U.S. Bank Stadium’s SKOL Service initiative which focuses on creating memorable game day experiences for Vikings fans and all U.S. Bank Stadium guests. On the design/construction side, Paul worked closely with Mortenson Construction (General Contractor) on various design and quality assurance aspects of the stadium’s interior spaces. Paul also oversaw the U.S. Bank Stadium tour program whereby he and his team hosted hundreds of construction tours for special guests of the Vikings organization. During the initial construction and sales phase of U.S. Bank Stadium, he worked closely with new and current Vikings’ sponsors and premium seating members to integrate them into new stadium hospitality and partnership programs. Paul also speaks on behalf of the organization to local business groups and trade associations.
Paul oversaw the 2-year transition for the Vikings to the University of Minnesota in 2014-15 and led Vikings club seating efforts at Mall of America Field. Along with his day-to-day responsibilities with the Vikings, Paul is a member of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors where he previously served as the NFL’s Premium Seating Committee Chairman. Junior Achievement of Minnesota recognized Paul as their Capstone Volunteer of the Year in 2008. Away from work, he is very active coaching youth baseball and basketball; serving as a Board Member for the Chaska Baseball Association from 2011-2015. Paul played Division I baseball at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he graduated in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. J.P. and his wife, Megan, reside in Chaska with their three sons, Ryan, Matthew and Nicholas.
Tracy’s 20 years of experience in designing premium spaces for sports facilities is well respected in the industry. Most recently leading the interior design efforts for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the new Fiserv Forum for the Milwaukee Bucks, Tracy is a thought leader in arena hospitality.
It is often heard that Lindsey Peckinpaugh is the most organized and responsive architect you will ever work with. She is known for her community engagement expertise and with focus on inclusive design. Her practice is founded on client-service and her ability to build consensus among diverse project stakeholders. Lindsey has contributed her excellent leadership skills to more than $500M in sports facility design with a focus on event venues, collegiate athletics, campus and community recreation facilities.
Kevin currently serves as the Vice President of Aramark’s Data Science team. In his role, Kevin leads the development of strategies by leveraging data analytics and consumer insights aimed at optimizing the consumer experience. The work of this team is focused on delving into the millions of data points Aramark gathers through our retail merchandise and food and beverage partnerships across a variety of entertainment venues, including cultural attractions, performance venues, stadiums, arenas, and convention centers. Kevin and his team are also responsible for managing Aramark’s 30,000+ panel of survey respondents, overseeing third party research partners, and acting as liaison with Aramark’s global insights and analytics and technology teams.
Prior to assuming leadership of the Data Science team, Kevin spent nearly six years developing Aramark’s sports and entertainment insights and analytics capabilities. He played a key role in anticipating and pre-emptively responding to a shift in the marketplace to insight-driven decision-making, helping position Aramark as a pioneer in this game-changing business approach. Among the milestones in which Kevin participated and/or led include formal establishment of the insights and analytics team (a first in the industry), development of front line dashboards for the retail and food and beverage businesses, creation of a strategic pricing model, and development of a real-time reporting platform. These initiatives have led to innumerable innovations in the consumer experience, driving immeasurable dollars to our clients, saving countless hours of labor, and realizing significant increases in productivity.
After holding several roles with Pepsi Bottling Group, Kevin joined Aramark in 2008 as a part of the beverage strategy group. In this role, he was responsible for analyzing data across a variety of Aramark lines of business, extrapolating insights to drive partnerships, pricing, and product mix for the company’s massive beverage business.
He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, receiving a B.S in both finance and logistics. He earned his MBA in marketing from the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Kevin resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Margaux, and their two kids, Colin and Ben.
Ken is the Managing Director for Nepa US responsible for the launch and growth of Nepa in its first North American market. He is responsible for all activities and management of the division growing from one employee to the ten employees that represent the pioneers of Consumer Science in the research and data analytics industry. With a focus on Customer Experience, Omnichannel Path-to-Purchase and Brand & Media Tracking, he has grown the business in mid-market retail, consumer packaged goods and sports industries. From pioneering a true omnichannel data collection approach for the Path-to-Purchase - to the unique combination of research, technology, data science and machine learning, he works to bring the very best of Customer Experience to companies that are looking to go beyond data collection and into a true tactical and strategic action both on a local and corporate level.
Previously he was the Chief Operating Officer responsible for management of processes, technology and innovation implementation in Ipsos Loyalty US supporting research operations. He was also responsible for the integrations of acquired organizations across research teams, project management, technology and IT. In 16 years, his work has encompassed all areas of market research, but most recently working with Customer Experience technology vendors to implement full service solutions combining CX technology and research expertise. He was also awarded the 2006 Outstanding Paper Award published in Managing Service Quality, Vol. 16, No. 5. Prior to Ipsos, Ken spent 8 years in grocery retail operations supporting sales forecasting, inventory management and technology deployment.
Ken earned his Bachelor’s Degree Summa Cum Laude and his Master’s of Art in Mathematics from Kean University. His studies included operations research analysis, dynamic numerical analysis, and original applied research in economic game theory including in-depth research into methods of fictitious play and random number theory.
Matt Peterson has been with the San Francisco Giants since 2005 and became Senior Director of Ticket Sales and Premium Seating in 2019. Matt’s career began with the Tucson Sidewinders as a Corporate Sales Executive in 1999 and has taken several turns including roles with the San Diego Padres, Phoenix Coyotes and Portland Beavers. In his current role, Matt is responsible for developing and leading sales efforts across all Group Ticket, Special Event and Premium Sales products at Oracle Park, as well as the development of innovative clubs and hospitality venues such as the brand new Cloud Club. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Arizona. Matt resides in Lafayette, California with his wife, Brooke and their children Reed and Evan.
With a history in Food & Beverage spanning just on 30 years, Anthony’s passion for classic F&B continues today as a member of the IHS Global Alliance team. Having worked in the finest restaurants and as General Manager in operations and sales, Anthony has also spent some time project managing major Australian events including: Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, Presidents Cup Golf Tournament, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Australian Moto GP. Anthony is thrilled to continue in an industry where he can assist Culinary teams and Venues in developing the future of Food and Beverage presentation and delivery.
Caroline Phillips is the manager of Premier Service for the Chicago Cubs. Since joining the team in 2014, she has been responsible for delivering unique, best-in-class service to Premier Clients and managing premier service staff, amenities and events. She also had led the creation and rollout of an expanded service delivery model for the new and enhanced premier spaces at Wrigley Field.
She currently oversees service in the American Airlines 1914 Club, luxury suites and Assurance Club. As part of the ongoing restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field, she also will oversee three additional premier clubs (Catalina Club, Makers Mark Barrel Room, and The W Club) and a fully renovated suite level beginning in the 2019 season.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Caroline was the supervisor of Premium Services for the Los Angeles Dodgers where she oversaw all servicing for the Lexus Dugout Club, Ketel One Baseline Box Clubs and the Club Suites. She graduated from Miami University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in marketing.
Director of Sales & Marketing
INTRUST Bank Arena
Christine has been an award-winning Director of Sales & Marketing at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. and has been recognized by Venues Today Magazine and SMG as a Rising Star in our business. Most notably, Christine was one of five recipients of Venues Today Magazine’s Generation Next Award in 2014 and has played an integral role in keeping INTRUST Bank Arena listed as a top stop in the industry.
Before relocating 1,300 miles to Kansas from Pennsylvania, Pileckas began her career with Global Spectrum at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, NJ. Pileckas graduated from West Chester University (West Chester, Pa.) in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
Howard Pizer serves as Senior Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox and Executive Vice President/CEO of the United Center Joint Venture. Mr. Pizer has been associated with Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman of the White Sox and Bulls, in various business and professional sports activities since 1972.
Prior to its opening on April 18, 1991, Pizer's primary focus was on the necessary steps to create the new Comiskey Park, now Guaranteed Rate Field. He then also used this experience in connection with the development and operation of the United Center, which opened in time for the 1994-95 Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks seasons.
Mr. Pizer is one of the pioneers in the creation of modern executive suites for sporting venues. He was actively involved in the retrofitting of 27 suites into the then 73-year-old Comiskey Park in 1983 in time for the 50th anniversary major-league baseball All-Star game held in the same ballpark in 1933. He was also involved in the creation of the executive suites in what is now Guaranteed Rate Field, which opened in 1991, and in the executive suites and other premium seating at the United Center. He and his longtime colleague, Terry Savarise, were instrumental in launching Levy Restaurants’ involvement in providing premium food and beverage service to executive suite holders.
Born in Chicago in 1941, Pizer is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin where he majored in accounting and from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1966. Pizer and his wife, Sheila, have two children; and four grandchildren.
As the founder and driving force of IHS Global Alliance, Nick has contributed much needed energy and passion in revolutionizing worldwide operating standards. Today he enjoys interaction with a network of international experts, associates and colleagues who together keep the market evolving and the standards rising.
Scott Spencer is a Silicon Valley based entrepreneur and leading thinker on the changes underway in the premium seating market. As the President of Suite Experience Group, Mr. Spencer works closely with teams and venues to help them control and benefit from the secondary market for suites in their venue. Mr. Spencer was previously the SVP of eCommerce for LifeCare and a Strategy Consultant for Deloitte Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Daniel Price is the CEO of Breadware, the leading resource for companies incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technology into their businesses. Daniel is passionate about the new opportunities that are being unlocked in our lives in the era of intelligent, connected devices. An influencer in the IoT space, Daniel is a sought-after speaker and has given TEDx talks and addresses at numerous national conferences on new business opportunities in the Internet of Things. Daniel is a Rhodes scholar and holds an MBA and Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Oxford University and BS degrees in Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science.
Melissa Proctor joined the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena in 2014 and presently holds the positions of Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the organization. Ms. Proctor began her career with Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., serving in senior brand development and strategy positions for Turner Entertainment Networks (including TNT, TBS, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), truTV, and Peachtree TV) and Cartoon Network.
Proctor’s professional achievements have earned her recognition from a multitude of publications and organizations. In 2016 she was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s class of 40 Under 40 and received honors from the international association, Leaders in Sport
as one of its Leaders Under 40. Most recently, she was featured on Inc.’s list of 17 Inspiring Women to Watch in 2017.
Proctor serves on the board for The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, 48in 48, 21st Century Leaders, as well as in an advisory capacity for The Children’s Museum of Atlanta Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in design studies/branding from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design at The London Institute.
Founder and Design Director
In his twenty years in sports architecture, Tom has worked with some of the brightest thinkers in sports. For past clients like the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, and current clients Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild, the path to designing their revered facilities has been via integrating the brand into the very architecture itself to create authentic, immersive experiences driving loyalty and revenue. Whether convincing thousands of fans their public dollars will be well-spent in making their team competitive or collaborating with a team on improving the fan experience, Tom’s strength lies in creating architecture that’s responsive to the brand.
Tom is a founder and design director for architecture firm Generator Studio. In his over twenty years in sports architecture, Tom has worked with some of the brightest thinkers in sports. For past clients like the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, and current clients St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Vikings, a key strategy for venue design is the integration of branding into the very architecture itself to create authentic, immersive experiences that drive revenue. Whether convincing thousands of fans their public dollars will be well-spent or collaborating with a team on improving the fan experience, Tom’s strength lies in creating architecture that’s responsive to the brand.
Mel Raines is in her fifth season with Pacers Sports & Entertainment as Senior Vice President of Facilities Operations and President of the 2021 NBA All-Star Local Organizing Committee. In her role with PS&E, she oversees all operational facilities activity to ensure the smooth and seamless planning and execution of all events that take place in Bankers Life Fieldhouse with an emphasis on providing an exceptional guest experience. Raines will also oversee all planning for 2021 NBA All-Star weekend in coordination with the Local Organizing Committee Board of Directors and the NBA.
Raines has more than 25 years of public service, legislative, political, event operations, corporate, and public affairs experience. Prior to joining PS&E, she was chief of staff to Indiana Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks overseeing three offices as well as all legislative, constituent services and communications staff.
Raines has worked in various roles on the last six Republican National Conventions including serving as the COO for the 2008 Republican National Convention and as a senior advisor for the 2012 and 2016 conventions overseeing all delegate, guest and media credentialing. As chief operating officer, Raines played a critical role in organizing, managing and producing the convention. The Associated Press called the convention “a model of efficiency and organization.”
From 2009 to 2012, Raines was one of the principal architects of Indianapolis’ highly acclaimed 2012 Super Bowl. She was the vice president of government relations and event operations for the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee overseeing 14 planning committees, including transportation and parking, weather preparedness, clean zone implementation, government services, state and city services, public safety, aviation services, ADA accessibility and risk management.
Earlier in her career, Raines served as Assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for Political Affairs, directing all the Vice President’s political and domestic outreach activities. She also held several leadership positions at Altria Corporate Services, at the Republican National Committee, and began her career on Capitol Hill with U.S. Sen. Daniel Coats of Indiana.
Raines, a South Bend, Ind. native and graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington, is on the executive committee of Visit Indy and is on the board of Second Helpings. She currently resides in Indianapolis.
For the last decade Taralynn has been building her career in the sports industry. Starting in 2009 with the Coquitlam Express Junior A Hockey Club, where she wore many hats (sales, marketing, design, PA announcer, community relations, etc, etc) in the small organization.
After three years developing her skillset, Taralynn took on a Premium Sales role with Vancouver Whitecaps FC to learn the processes within a professional team. After 18 months an opportunity with the Canucks brought her back to hockey and since November 2013 Taralynn has developed her career with Canucks Sports & Entertainment; from Account Manager, Corporate Partnerships to Senior Manager, Premium Sales and most recently Director, Members & Premium Sales.
Along with being a big sports fan, Taralynn enjoys live concerts and time outdoors hiking and biking.
Jerry has experience of over 22 years in the hospitality business. He is a forward-thinking, energetic leader with an astute attention to detail. He also has his finger firmly on the pulse of the latest food and beverage trends that shape the culinary program for the Miami Dolphins and the annual slate of events held in Miami Gardens, especially the premium offerings.
The program at Hard Rock Stadium is regularly in the top 5 of the league’s “voice of the fan” rankings.
Previously, Jerry oversaw the culinary program at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Prior to that, he spent one season as the GM of food, beverage and merchandise for Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans), two championship-winning seasons at American Airlines Arena (home of the Miami Heat) and seven seasons at BB&T Arena working with the Florida Panthers of the NHL.
Jim Renne is a Senior Vice President of JLL with more than 25 years of experience creating innovative Sports & Entertainment Facilities. Recognized in 2016 as SBJ’s top 50 Power Players in Sports Design and Development, Jim’s mission is to create meaningful and memorable experiences for fans, sponsors and players; while generating value for clients. His broad range of work emcompasses design solutions for every type of sport including basketball, soccer, tennis, motorsports, hockey and football. Jim Renne was the Sports Principal at ROSSETTI, leading the company’s sports design innovation and expertise. His strategic approach to sports design led to the reimagination of at the Daytona International Speedway, creating a new era of fan experience and sponsorship integration for NASCAR. Jim’s background in retail, master planning and urban design converges with sports giving him unique expertise in mixed use and sports anchored development projects in US, China, Korea and Japan. He understands the multi-faceted objectives of industry stakeholders and works closely with clients realize their vision and metrics for success.
Courtney is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Illinois State University where she played on their Women’s Soccer Team for three seasons. She then graduated from the University of Indianapolis in 2012. Courtney started her career with the Indiana Pacers in their Inside Sales Program. Following the Pacers, Courtney moved out to work with the Sacramento Kings as their Manager of Inside Sales. She has now been with the Kings for almost four years, and is currently the Senior Director of Ticket Sales and Premium Membership, where she oversees Ticket Sales, Premium Sales and Premium Service.
Carl took over the position of vice president, Wrigley Field restoration and expansion in July 2015 after serving as the vice president of ballpark operations since February 2011. Prior to this role, he served as senior director of facility management and information technology. Carl is in his 38th season with the organization and his 32 as a full-time member of the team. He directs the organization’s efforts to preserve Wrigley Field as part of the 1060 Project. As of Opening Day 2019, the 1060 Project will have finished the fifth and final year of the project. The project team has constructed the Budweiser Bleachers, Video Boards, the Home Clubhouse, Visitor Clubhouse, The American Airlines 1914 Club, Maker’s Mark Barrel Room, W Club, Catalina Club and numerous fan experience improvements. Carl is the primary individual responsible for booking and executing full scale concerts at Wrigley Field having hosted over 50 concerts dates since 2005. In addition, Carl oversaw operations related to the 2009 NHL Winter Classic played at Wrigley Field, the 2010 Wrigleyville Classic (the first football game played at Wrigley Field since 1970) and the 2012 Friendly in the Confines Soccer game. Carl resides in Park Ridge.
Rob Richute is a the Head of Customer Success at OneMob, a video sales engagement platformed used by teams in all five major league sports. A Tech veteran of 10 years, Rob has experienced first hand how video helps sellers be more productive, personal and engaged with customers. Rob works with OneMob's expanding Sports roster, created the OneMob Sports Playbook, hosts OneMob Sports monthly Power Play webinar and he is passionate about helping businesses transform communication with video.
John Roberson and his family purchased Advent in 1999 with one part-time and one full-time employee. Today, with a team of almost 90 people, John serves as the CEO and Chief Cheerleader. The company has experienced an average annual growth of 24% each year for almost 20 years.
John’s first job was packing tomatoes on his uncle’s farm. Since then, he has worked in consumer products, database marketing and home shopping television. John is passionate about brand marketing and how audiences respond.
John grew up in Dayton, Tennessee, a town of 5,000 people. He graduated from Lipscomb University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in English and Art. John earned his MBA from Vanderbilt with a concentration in Marketing and Service Quality, where he was a really strong “C” student.
John’s greatest joy comes from his four sons and his wife Kathryn’s record on the tennis court. John and his family have hiked part of the John Muir and Appalachian trails. To relax, John enjoys smoking stuff—mostly meats.
Sara is the Founder and CEO of Loop & Tie, a gifting platform that helps teams and companies send a personalized gift choice experience to their clients or fans. Before starting Loop & Tie, Sara worked at UBS in New York City as broker in institutional equity sales. Finding herself frustrated with corporate gifting options, she founded Loop & Tie to offer companies an easy way to send great gifts and use gifting as an engagement tool. Sara frequently speaks on panels focused on entrepreneurship and best practices in client relationship management.
She has been named as a Female Entrepreneur to watch by Inman News, Thrive Global and Buzzfeed. Loop & Tie is backed by the 49ers and Salesforce Ventures and is used by a variety of teams in the NFL, MLB and NHL as a platform to power gifting programs for season ticket holders, customer service, holidays, and employee and customer appreciation. They are a Google Demo Day finalist and winner of the Salesforce Dreampitch competition. Loop & Tie has offices in New York City and Austin.
Hadley Rossitter joined Legends in December 2016 as a part of the executive team overseeing all new stadium revenue for the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District project. The NFL Stadium soon to be home to the LA Rams and LA Chargers starting in 2020 as well as countless major concerts & sporting events, the 2022 Super Bowl, 2023 CFP National Championship, 2028 Olympics, and other global events. This oversight includes the successful sold out sales campaign of the stadium’s different suite products, all sold on multi-year leases.
Prior to re-joining Legends, Hadley served as the Director of Premium Seating for Comcast Spectacor and the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. Hadley’s first role with Legends was part of a group that generated seat license revenues exceeding $500Million and over $400Million in contracted suite lease revenue for the 49ers New Levi’s Stadium project.
Don Rovak serves as the vice president of sales and service for AMB Sports and Entertainment where he oversees and leads the sales, ticket member services and operation teams for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United. In addition, Rovak oversees the private events and tour business for Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Now in his eleventh season with the Falcons, Rovak has successfully built the Falcons’ ticket sales department where he led his team in selling out the first season in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and reconstructed the premium sales team to continually focus on increasing member benefits. In its inaugural year, under Rovak’s leadership, the Atlanta United sales team finished first in season ticket sales and attendance, and have continuously led the single game attendance record in Major League Soccer.
Previously, Rovak served as vice president of marketing & ticketing for the Memphis Redbirds, a Triple A baseball team, consistently ranking in the top five in minor league baseball attendance.
Rovak also serves in the community frequently volunteering at the Westside Works program in Atlanta http://www.westsideworks.org/ and is active coaching youth sports at Buckhead Baseball for his children.
Angela Ruggiero is a leading figure in the global sports world, having served as an elite athlete, educator, administrator, innovator, advisor, and board member in the world of sport.
She is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Sports Innovation Lab (https://www.sportsilab.com), a technology powered market research firm focused on the intersection of sports and innovation- with a focus on identifying trends and evaluating technology products and services that will drive the future of sport. The Sports Innovation Lab is the only company in the world delivering objective global sports technology research, powered by a proprietary technology platform.
Ruggiero is a Member of the 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame (as just the 4th woman), a 4-time Olympian in ice hockey, winning a Gold Medal in 1998, Silver Medal in 2002 and 2010, and a Bronze Medal in 2006. In her career, she was also named as the best Player in the NCAA, and the World by The Hockey News.
She currently serves on the IOC's Digital and Technology Commission, the IOC Ethics Commission and is a Member of the International Ice Hockey Federation Athletes’ Commission. In addition, through Sports Innovation Lab’s partnership with the NFLPA, Ruggiero is a Board Member of the NFLPA’s One Team Collective, the first athlete-driven accelerator.
Ruggiero has served the Olympic Movement on the administrative and board levels for almost a decade. She was a Member of the International Olympic Committee (2010-2018), Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (2016-2018), the organization overseeing the Olympic Movement, and the Chairperson for the IOC Athletes' Commission (2016-2018), the body representing all Olympic Athletes Worldwide. She has also served on the Board of the United States Olympic Committee (2010-2018), Foundation Board Member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Former President and board member of the Women's Sports Foundation. Ruggiero, was also the Chief Strategy Officer for the Los Angeles 2028 Candidature Committee.
Ruggiero is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (M.B.A.), Harvard College (B.A.), and the University of Minnesota (M.Ed.).
John Ruhlin is ranked #1 in sales in the 70-year history for one of the largest direct sales companies in the world. His ranking and broken records still stand among the 1 Million+ distributors that have walked through their doors. His firm specializes in teaching fast growing service firms how to stand out, be memorable and become even more referable through “GIFTOLOGY: The Art & Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Drive Referrals and Strengthen Retention. They also help firms develop and execute the logistics of high-end gifting programs to open up doors with impossible to reach C-level prospects and drive referrals from current clients. His clients span across all sizes and industries but include the UBS, Raymond James, Wells Fargo, Chicago Bears, San Antonio Spurs, MGM, Shell, Chevron, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, DR Horton, Miami Dolphins, Caesar’s Entertainment, Silestone, Darren Hardy, Tom Searcy, Shep Hyken, Jayson Gaignard, Jeffrey Gitomer and John Maxwell. He lives just outside of St Louis with his wife Lindsay and three daughters. His second book, “GIFTOLOGY, released on June 20th, 2016. Find out more info about John and his firm at www.ruhlingroup.com
A 23-year veteran of hospitality and tourism, Rush is a 1993 graduate of California State University, Northridge (bachelor’s in communications) and a 1994 graduate of the Harrah’s Hotel College at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (bachelor’s in hotel management). Rush started his career as a tour and travel sales manager at The Rivera in 1995. From there, he moved to Excalibur Resort & Casino. In 1998, Rush was recruited by MGM Grand to be the director of leisure sales, beginning his now nearly 21-year career with MGM Resorts. In 2013, Rush was asked to build and develop a sports tourism market for all MGM Resorts properties.
Over the past five years, the MGM Resorts sports tourism market has developed into a major player in this space. Relationships with NACDA, AAU, NBA, NHL, MLB, and now the NFL have helped lead the charge. In 2014, Rush was on the early booking team to bring eSports to MGM Resorts. He has also held various positions within ASAE, MPI and PCMA. He is now active with the National Association of Sports Commissions, TEAMS and Connect Sports. Rush resides in Las Vegas with his wife of 15 years Stefanie and his two kids, Rena and Benjamin.
With more than 20 years of experience in building and executing initiatives for both sports and media, Andrew Saltzman joined the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena as Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer in August 2015. In this critical role, Saltzman is focused on driving long-term revenue strategies through effective business development. His vast expertise, both nationally and regionally makes him perfectly suited to lead strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial for our season ticket members, corporate partners, broadcast affiliates and the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena. His oversight includes driving corporate partner revenue through the expansion of new opportunities, utilizing in-arena branding and exposure, broadcast media within FOX Sports Southeast and CBS Radio, community outreach, digital and social platforms.
Prior to the Hawks, Saltzman served as Chief Revenue Officer at the NHFS Network, a joint venture between the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations, high school athletic associations and PlayOn! Sports. There he steered sales efforts that provided scalable national opportunities for customized and fully integrated high school sports marketing campaigns using traditional media, digital, sponsorship, community access, content curation and on-site activation. Saltzman gained acclaim in the sports media world as the President and Co-Founder of Sports Radio 790 The Zone, which became one of the highest billing and most recognizable sports stations in the country.
Saltzman has cultivated a varied and effective network within the sports media and marketing industries throughout his career, including time as VP and General Manager at Lincoln Financial Media and as a Consultant for NBC Sports. Through these various positions, he developed groundbreaking partnerships and built, trained, and mentored highly productive sales, marketing and operational teams. He has forged relationships with AT&T, Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting, Delta Airlines, Kia Motors, Aarons and UPS and negotiated multi-year broadcast rights agreements with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, Georgia Tech Football and Men’s Basketball and the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Saltzman has given back to the local community by serving on several boards including the Atlanta Sports Council, March of Dimes and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. A native of New York City and a graduate of Georgetown University, he resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons.
Michael Sarage started his career in the sports the industry as an Event Coordination Intern for the Tampa Bay Lightning and the then St. Pete Times Forum while in college in January of 2010. In June of the same year, Michael was hired as an Inside Sales Account Executive for the Tampa Bay Lightning and quickly ranked atop his peers as the top seller not only in Inside Sales, but the entire Ticket Sales Department. Sarage quickly escalated throughout the Sales Department making stops as a Corporate Sales Manager where he focused on selling premium seats and season tickets and an Executive Suite Sales Manager where continued a suite and loge lease sellout streak that spanned over four years. Lastly, in July of 2018, Sarage was named Manager, Business Development where he was responsible for leveraging his premium relationships to sell corporate partnerships. Halfway through his 10th season with the Bolts, Michael was recruited and hired as the Director, Premium & Business Development for the Detroit Pistons where he currently oversees a premium sales team of three, a business development team of 10 and all of the new business sales efforts. In four short months, Michael’s leadership efforts have led to 100% increase in new business year-over-year with 50% of new business revenue being premium sales.
Michael is from Springfield, Massachusetts which influenced his decision to go to Springfield College to study Sport Management. A year into undergraduate school, Michael wanted to venture out of state and be surrounded by professional sports teams which led him to transfer to the University of Tampa where he then graduated from in May of 2010. Michael recently secured his MBA with a concentration in Sports Business from Saint Leo University in Florida and lives in downtown Detroit with his better half, Jennifer.
Ellen Saul has been a part of the Indianapolis events and sports scene for 30 years, currently serving as Senior Director of Premium Services at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Since 2014, Ellen and her team have been responsible for sales and service of suites, hospitality, clubs, special events, and credentials for events occurring at the iconic venue including the Indianapolis 500, the world’s largest single day sporting event. Ellen has brought her customer-focused, direct, collaborative, family-style, optimistic leadership approach to IMS and strives to insure her team is the best in the industry.
After initially starting her career in retail for Macy’s in New York City, Ellen returned to Indiana and took a job with the Indiana Convention Center and Hoosier Dome. When she was promoted to Special Services Public Information Manager and responsible for managing and leasing the 99 Hoosier Dome suites, she sought out Bill Dorsey and Skybox Magazine. Because she knew little about the premium business, she quickly became interested in the newly formed Association of Luxury Suite Directors, serving as the organization’s first president until she left the Hoosier Dome.
In 1994, Ellen joined Maribeth Smith & Associates (MBSA), a consulting firm specializing in special events and project management. She stayed with the firm for 19 years, serving as president from 2003 to 2014. At MBSA, Ellen organized and oversaw every aspect of large-scale events including national and international conventions; NCAA events including the 1997, 2000, and 2006 NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Championship Host Committee activities; not-for-profit galas and fundraising events; and corporate meetings. For the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Ellen was a member of the Host Committee and coordinated The Huddle, one of the premier fan engagement experiences.
Ellen is a member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee board of directors and Visit Indy’s Tourism Tomorrow board of directors and is an active member of the Indianapolis hospitality community. She is a native of Bloomington, Indiana, and graduate of Indiana University. Ellen lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Vince, and two kids, Anna and Jimmy.
Entering his 39th season with the Chicago White Sox, senior vice president of stadium operations, Terry Savarise is directly responsible for all aspects of the operation of Guaranteed Rate Field, including more than 2,000 employees who staff the ballpark on game days.
Savarise, who was promoted to senior vice president in 2004, was responsible for the planning and construction of the new ballpark, which opened in 1991. He has also overseen the ballpark’s most popular renovations and remodeling efforts over the past 16 seasons, including the installation of three new video boards in 2016 and construction of the Goose Island seating area in right field in 2019.
Each of the renovations to Guaranteed Rate Field have focused on improving the game experience for fans by creating a more intimate and fun atmosphere. Among the changes, the Sox added the popular Fan Deck in center Field, changed the color scheme of the ballpark and in its most dramatic change, removed the top eight rows of the ballpark’s upper deck and added a flat roof over the back rows of the upper deck.
Among the specific makeover changes are construction of the Chicago Sports Depot, an apparel and merchandise store and ChiSox Bar & Grill, a high-end sports bar popular with Sox fans before and after games. In 2017, the White Sox opened Suite 134, located on the main concourse behind home plate.
Savarise serves as executive vice president - COO of the United Center, home of the six-time World Champion Chicago Bull and the six-time Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. The arena hosts over 22 major events per year, making it one of the busiest in the United States. Savarise was responsible for all design and construction of the state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena and recently supervised a $150-million renovation of the United Center, including the construction of a 190,000-square foot office building for the arena, Bulls and Blackhawks staff.
He also coordinated the operation of the 1996 Democratic National Convention at the United Center. Savarise oversaw the design and construction of the Bulls training facility, the the Advocate Center, which opened in 2014 and directed the design and construction of MB Ice Arena, the practice and community ice center for the Blackhawks, which opened in 2017.
Savarise spearheaded the design and construction of Camelback Ranch - Glendale, the award-winning White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona which opened in spring 2009. Savarise sits on the board of the joint venture which runs Camelback Ranch – Glendale.
During his career, Savarise also directed the design and construction of two other spring training ballparks for the White Sox: Tucson Electric Park (1998-2008) and Ed Smith Stadium and Sports Complex in Sarasota, Florida (1989-97).
Savarise is a member of the Arena Managers’ Association and International Association of Auditorium Managers and has served on the board of directors of the Stadium Managers’ Association. He is a graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration program. He and his wife, Tara, have two children: Katie and Jon!
Harry Schildkraut, FCSI, Principal & Owner, with more than 40 years of food facility planning and design experience, is one of the most highly skilled and well-respected consultants in the food service design industry. Throughout his successful career, Harry has received numerous awards including the Outstanding Consultant of the Year from MAFSI Region 17, President’s Citation for Distinguished Service from FCSI, Spes Hominum Award from the National Sanitation Foundation, and the Young Lion of the Year from FES Magazine in 1988. Harry entered into the food service industry in 1969 as a consultant for Cini-Little International.
He became proficient in all aspects of the food service industry and rose to the position of Principal and Vice President. Harry left the organization in 2003 to establish Schildkraut, Schroeder, Sedej & Associates along with current partner, Kristin Sedej. After the firm dissolved in 2008, Harry and Kristin formed their current company, S2O Consultants, Inc.
Project Manager and Director of Food Facility Design
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 1965 – 1969 B.S. School of Hotel Administration
Accreditations, Certifications & Awards:
Outstanding Consultant of the Year, MAFSI Region 17 – 2003
President’s Citation for Distinguished Service, FCSI – 1986 & 2018
Spes Hominum Award, National Sanitation Foundation – 1985
Young Lion of the Year, FES Magazine – 1988
Professional level member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International
Pro Bono project work includes the new Ronald McDonald House, and the Ray & Joan Kroc
Salvation Army Community Center, both in Chicago.
Craig joined EwingCole in 2001 and led the design team planning of the Philadelphia Phillies’ new ballpark, Citizens Bank Park. He has devoted over 20 years of his career developing indoor and outdoor sports facilities and entertainment venues, and is engaged through all aspects of project development, from programming and concept design through construction administration. He also led the design team for the $1 billion MetLife Stadium (NY Football Giants and NY Jets) and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders ballpark (Class AAA MiLB Yankees affiliate), and is currently leading renovation and new construction of Live Nation entertainment venues across the country.
Blair Schmitz is the Assistant Director for Food & Beverage with University of Wisconsin Madison - Athletics overseeing a team that delivers outstanding hospitality along with game day operations of suites & club seats at both Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center. Blair has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has a vision that continues to set the standards for delivering a top notch game day experience and cutting edge food & beverage options.
As Senior Vice President, Venues at the National Basketball Association, Erin Schnieders oversees all domestic and international league and team venue projects relating to arena development, design, construction and operations. In her role, she works with the league’s teams and industry counterparts to cultivate and implement the NBA Arena Standards – the minimum design and construction requirements followed by all teams undergoing arena renovations or new construction. Schnieders is involved in the research and facilitation of new rules, technology and league initiatives and serves as the key day-to-day resource and liaison between each NBA facility and the league office.
Schnieders previously worked as the Manager of Business Development with the Houston Rockets. In her role, Schnieders was a member of Toyota Center’s arena development team, focusing on project management and facility capital improvement projects. Prior to joining the NBA league office, she acted as Lead Project Manager in ventures with Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. Schnieders received a bachelor’s degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and currently lives in New York.
Allison has been with Tyson Group for 8 years and started her career as an Inside Sales Rep. Through years of experience in outside sales and sales management, she was named Vice President of Sales. in 2017. In addition to her sales role, she is also one of our highly sought after master trainers. She coaches, trains, and consults with organizations' sales and leadership teams to compete into today's complex world.
Michael Schuster, FAIA, LEED AP, is the Principal/Owner at MSA Design. He has led the firm to becoming a recognized leader in design of state-of-the-art athletic venues. Michael’s expertise lies in designing stadiums, fan-experience facilities and training facilities. He recently led the renovation at the Houston Astros Minute Maid Park and has worked with the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals and FC Cincinnati among other sport clients. Michael has always placed great importance on improving the community through design. His tireless efforts and distinguished work have earned him AIA Fellowship and AIA Gold Medal, the highest honor recognizing pioneers in architecture.
Mike Setser joined Spurs Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) in May of 2003. As Sr. Director of Corporate Sales for SS&E, his responsibilities include overseeing premium sales and retention, managing business development and strategic planning to maximize growth and long-term sustainability. A native of San Antonio, he is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) with a BA in Psychology. Mike is also an alumnus of Leadership San Antonio and the North Chamber Leadership Lab. He and his wife, Victoria, have two boys, Jacob (20) and Jayden (16). Mike volunteers his time in the community with various initiatives lead by the Spurs organization, and holds board positions with UTSA School of Business, UTSA Alumni Association and the Roadrunner Foundation.
Cory Shakarian has over 22 years of experience in sports and live entertainment. His expertise ranges from new venue and renovation planning and execution to every aspect of revenue generation. He is currently Vice President, Products with North America Concerts at Live Nation, based in Beverly Hills, CA. He was previously the Founder of The Shakarian Group, consulting with clients like Stanford University, Cal Berkeley, USC (Southern California), and the City of Carson, CA. Additionally, Cory was Vice President of Sales with Legends as he oversaw multiple professional and collegiate properties and venues while pursuing new clients for Legends.
He began his career in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the San Francisco Giants where he was instrumental in the Giants move from Candlestick Park to Pacific Bell Park (now AT&T Park). The Giants generated record revenue through the creation of the Charter Seat License program modeled by new venues today. While at AT&T Park, Cory’s sales department set San Francisco Giants revenue records and created new revenue streams outside of baseball with Giants Enterprises. Cory developed the special events department at the San Francisco Giants which is now the gold standard of professional sports. The current Giants special events department operates 60-80 events annually with ticket sales of 100,000+ each season.
Following his successful tenure in MLB, Cory consulted at the National Basketball Association (NBA) league office and its teams. Within Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO), Cory led dramatic advances in revenue and attendance in the NBA, WNBA, and NBA Development League (NBA D-League). Cory taught cutting edge premium seating, ticketing, sponsorship, data analytics, culture, budgeting, profit/loss, and more throughout the NBA family.
After the NBA, Cory worked in Major League Soccer (MLS) with Chivas USA, where he experienced the many nuances of international and American soccer. Cory rebuilt the premium seating, ticket sales, sponsorship and marketing departments. While implementing his plans, Cory quickly increased premium and ticket sales by 50% and season ticket renewals by more than 30%. Cory was instrumental in creating the community based sponsorship program titled “Band of the Game”.
In 2010, Cory launched his own company, The Shakarian Group, and was hired by the Stanford University Athletic Department and USC Athletic Department to implement new sales and service ventures. Cory consulted in premium seating, tickets, sponsorship, marketing, and improved fan engagement. The Stanford University project was built from the ground up and generated over $10M in new revenue over a 3 year period. From 2012 until 2015, Cory led the $200M Rose Bowl Stadium renovation project to new revenue heights responsible for $8M+ incremental annual revenue and over $35M in contractually obligated income. Finally, Cory led the creation and planning of the $270M Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum renovation project for USC.
At Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, Cory works within the North America Concerts division focused heavily on the 50+ owned and operated amphitheaters throughout the United States. His role resides within the revenue department of North America Concerts, where Cory analyzes, creates, and implements new or improved ancillary revenues streams while working closely with internal groups, outside vendors and Live Nation partners.
Cory graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he played baseball. He is a member of the Marin County High School Athletic and Redwood High School Athletic Hall of Fames. He resides in Southern California with his wife Christina, son Shant and daughter Maral.
Kathleen is the Premium Services Manager for the Detroit Lions. Since joining the organization in 2017, she has worked closely with the Premium Sales and Ticket team to assist with the development and implementation of their year round benefit platform for Suiteholders and Premium Seating clients. In addition to managing daily communications with these clients, she also focuses on planning their exclusive events and trips as well as enhancing game day gifting and touchpoint opportunities. Prior to joining the Detroit Lions she spent two seasons with the Detroit Pistons in the Premium Sales Department. Kathleen attended Wayne State University and currently resides in Oxford, MI with her two children, Keilana and Calvin.
Mr. Short is in the IBM Sports and Entertainment Practice and has over 30 years of experience in the information technology services profession. He is focused on developing solutions for clients in the Sports and Entertainment industry that involve creating an integrated IT platform for Fan Experience, Team Performance and Venue Optimization in stadiums, arenas, and multi-use venues. Mr. Short works with clients, sales teams, and business partners globally to create unique solutions for personalizing fan or guest engagement through pervasive network infrastructures that leverage analytics to deliver a relevant personalized experience. Areas of focus include ICT systems in the venue including Converged Networks, Analytics, Cabling, Passive Optical LANs, Wi-Fi, Distributed Antenna Systems, IPTV, Digital Signage and Access Control.
As the Senior VP of USL League One, Short leads the daily operations and growth of the country’s only professional Third Division. Under Short’s leadership, League One launched and began its inaugural season in the span of two calendar years. Short developed and implemented the comprehensive launch strategy and is now responsible for leading the league’s day-to-day business operations, expansion efforts, and U.S. Soccer Federation sanctioning.
With nearly two decades of experience working in sports, Short has built a track record of business development, project management and team leadership. Short graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Master of Science in Sport Management. Most recently, Short earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida – Hough Graduate School of Business.
Alen Paul Silverrstieen is the CEO/Founder of Imagination Park Technologies, an Augmented Reality Cloud-based Enterprise Platform designed for business users to create and implement AR activation campaigns in minutes without requiring a programmer. Mr. Silverrstieen is a global serial entrepreneur with over 20 years experience and recently founded Recruitment USA/India software firms leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to optimize job candidate sourcing. Alen Paul has represented one of the leading Indian Post-Production Studios and contracted over 60 Hollywood movies in the past 5 years. He is also known as one of the pioneers of the North American prepaid phone card marketplace and led his company public on NASDAQ within 3 years of launching it and executed license deals with MLB, NHL, 1980 Olympic Team, 69 NY Mets, Marvel, Led Zeppelin, and many others.
Chris is a 2010 Graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He began his career in the sports industry as a Ticket Sales Representative for the Boston Bruins. Soon after the Stanley Cup victory in 2011, Chris joined Kraft Sports & Entertainment as a Premium Seating Account Executive for the Patriots.
Rebecca is Canadian but has called Indianapolis, Indiana her home for 18 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Her career path has taken her from being a Retail Bank Manager to managing Official Partnerships at the Verizon IndyCar series then on to Schmidt Peterson Motorsports IndyCar team traveling the IndyCar circuit, event to event, city to city. Currently, Rebecca enjoys staying home and her work at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway alongside a fabulous team of professionals dedicated to ensuring a VIP experience for premium guests. If you have ever been a guest in a suite, hospitality space or club at any marquis event, such as the Indianapolis 500, you have likely been the recipient of their hard work. Rebecca holds a leadership position in her Business Network International (BNI) chapter, serves on the Board of Govenors at the Skyline Club of Indianapolis as well as an advisory board member for the Women of Skyline. She proudly participates in a formal women’s mentoring program through Pass The Torch Indianapolis.
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.”
Mr. Slater is a project manager in B&D’s Irvine (CA) office. He possesses a business degree from Indiana University and a masters from Southern Illinois University. His expertise is in the areas of financial forecasting, public finance, and economic and fiscal impact analyses. At B&D, he applies his skill set to develop market-responsive, economically viable solutions primarily for sports, athletics, and recreation planning assignments. He is also a former lecturer at The George Washington University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, teaching sports and event facility management.
Mr. Slater is a project manager in B&D’s Irvine (CA) office. He possesses a business degree from Indiana University and a masters from Southern Illinois University. His expertise is in the areas of financial forecasting, public finance, and economic and fiscal impact analyses. At B&D, he applies his skill set to develop market-responsive, economically viable solutions primarily for sports, athletics, and recreation planning assignments. He is also a former lecturer at The George Washington University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, teaching sports and event facility management.
SELECT PROJECT EXPERIENCE
ALBANY CONVENTION CENTER AUTHORITY
Arena, Performing Arts Center, and Convention Centers Management Assessment, and Operator RFP Development and Selection Assistance
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
Arena Renovation Market and Financial Analysis
Arena Renovation Advisory Services
CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY
Events Center / Hotel / Conference Center Feasibility Study and Economic Impact Analysis
CAPITAL REGION DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Stadium and Arena Renovation Financial Analysis and Management Review
CITY OF COLUMBIA, SC
Ballpark Feasibility Study, Financial Review, and Lease Negotiations Advisory Services
CITY OF HARTFORD, CT
New Ballpark Planning and Financial Analysis
CITY OF PROVIDENCE, RI
MiLB Ballpark Feasibility Study
CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
Ballpark Complex Market Assessment, Financial Analysis, Economic Impact Analysis, and Public-Private Partnership Selection Support; Commercial Office Space Demand Confirmation and Financial Analysis
CUMBERLAND COUNTY CIVIC CENTER
Economic Analysis of Renovation Options
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES
MLS Stadium Market, Financial, and Economic Benefits Analysis
Armory Asset Repositioning Study
MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Event Center Building Program Review and Financial Analysis
SACRAMENTO STATE UNIVERSITY
Events Center Financial Analysis
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Scottrade Center Renovation Advisory Services
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Scottrade Center Renovation Advisory Services
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Amalie Arena Revenue Enhancements / CIP Planning
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY
Stadium Market Evaluation and Premium Seating Analysis
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
Stadium and Arena Renovation Market Study and Financial Analysis
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA
Arena and Stadium Feasibility Analysis and Sports Performance Enhancement Study
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO
Arena Feasibility Study
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY
Arena Feasibility Assessment
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
Arena Premium Seating Analysis
Melissa Smart originally joined the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, now Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), in 2014 as the Partnership Media Specialist in the Corporate Partnerships department. In 2015, she transitioned into the Executive Suites department, as Executive Suites Coordinator and assisted with the relocation of premium clients to the new arena, Rogers Place, which opened its doors in 2016. She then took on the role of Manager of Premium Services and helped build the newly developed Premium Services team.
Most recently Melissa was appointed as the Director of Premium Seating, Season Seats and Services for OEG. She is charged with establishing and strengthening relationships with Premium Seating and Season Seat clients by overseeing all areas related to high-quality service, hospitality, events and renewals. Melissa graduated from MacEwan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Sharon Smith is entering her 10th season with the Cleveland Browns and currently serves as the team’s Manager of Suiteholder Experience. In her role, Smith establishes and strengthens relationships with Browns Suiteholders and prospects by facilitating all areas related to high-quality service, hospitality, events and renewals for the group.
Under her guidance, the Browns emphasize year-round engagement with their Suiteholders through unique opportunities catered to individual personalities and preferences, including special experiences at FirstEnergy Stadium and premier sports and entertainment events across the country. Prior to joining the Browns, Smith worked in multiple service and sales roles for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the CHL’s Wichita Thunder. Smith earned an associate’s degree in communications from the University of Toledo.
Janet Marie Smith
Senior Vice President Planning and Development
Los Angeles Dodgers
Renowned architect and urban planner Janet Marie Smith was named the Dodgers’ senior vice president of planning and development in August 2012. Smith is overseeing upgrades and enhancements to Dodger Stadium. This post reunites Smith with Dodger President Stan Kasten. Smith worked for Kasten in a similar position to create the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field and the Atlanta Hawks’ Philips Arena.
Smith is probably best known in the baseball world for her work on the influential Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Smith worked for the Orioles from 1989-94 as vice president of planning and development during the design and construction of the park. Opening in 1992, Camden Yards immediately became the standard-bearer for a new wave of traditional baseball parks that have been built in subsequent years. Smith played an instrumental role in the design of the ballpark, creating a state-of-the-art unique facility that blends with the urban context of downtown Baltimore while taking inspiration from baseball parks built in the early 20th century.
Prior to joining the Dodgers, Smith had a second tour with the Orioles as vice president of planning and development from September 2009-August 2012. In that role, Smith directed renovations and expansion of the Orioles’ new spring training facility in Sarasota, Florida, as well as upgrades and enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to celebrate the park’s 20th anniversary.
From 2002-2009, Smith served as senior vice president of planning and development for the Boston Red Sox, overseeing the preservation of historic Fenway Park and leading the program that placed this significant ballpark on the National Historic Register.
From 1994-2000, Smith held the position of president of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, and was the vice president of Planning and Development for the Atlanta Braves. Her work in Atlanta helped transform the 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field, home of the Braves, and she also oversaw the development of the Philips Arena, home of the NBA Atlanta Hawks and NHL Atlanta Thrashers.
Smith also worked as senior advisor of planning and design with Baltimore-based Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse on many of their development and rehab projects from Nashville, Tenn. to Providence, R.I., including concept planning for the renovation of the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, Calif. She was also part of the THINK team, one of the final two teams in the competition for the World Trade Center site in New York City in 2002.
In 2012, the Boston Baseball Writers honored Smith with a Special Achievement Award for her work at Fenway Park. In 2011, she was named in the Inaugural Class of the Sports Business Journal “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business.”
Before working in sports, Smith worked on urban development projects, including Pershing Square in Los Angeles and Battery Park City in New York City, where she served as coordinator of Architecture and Design.
Smith holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning from City College of New York and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mississippi State University. She is an associate member of the Urban Land Institute, American Institute of Architects, and the American Planning Association. She also serves on the board of directors for Berklee College of Music in Boston and the advisory board for the University of Michigan Sports Management Program.
A native of Jackson, Miss., Smith resides in Baltimore with her husband, Bart Harvey, and their three children.
Smoots has more than 25-years-experience in the foodservice industry, working in locations as diverse as Charlotte, North Carolina and Singapore. This has immersed Smoots in food service, product innovation, sports marketing, business development and facilities management. Most recently, Smoots brought self-serve, automated click and collect retail to BAS for Carolina Panthers fans. This is the first ever use of this retail technology on behalf of an NFL team.
Vincent Spataro is the Director of Sports Venues at the national construction management firm, Shawmut Design and Construction. Bringing with him his extensive retail, hospitality, and sports experience, he is responsible for overseeing all national sports venue accounts, project teams, and operations. Vincent’s technical knowledge, presence in the market and ability to build long lasting relationships in a highly competitive environment, are key attributes to the sports division’s success.
Initially working in the retail then hospitality practices, Vincent joined Shawmut in 2007. In 2014, as Director, he helped build Shawmut’s Los Angeles office which has since undergone unprecedented growth. Some of his most notable recent sports clients include the Esports Stadium Arlington, Baltimore Orioles, and the Los Angeles Kings. He has participated on speaker panels for organizations including the Stadium Managers Association, Major League Baseball, and the ALSD.
For nearly 30 years, Bryan R. Sperber has been an integral part of the motorsports and entertainment industry at its highest levels, spearheading change and innovation from coast to coast. Currently the President of ISM Raceway, Bryan leads the strategic and operational vision for one of the most popular venues in the sport.
Throughout his 15 years as president of ISM Raceway, Bryan has guided the track through significant capital expansion, overseen the addition of a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as helped secure the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the Raceway. The highlight of his tenure at ISM Raceway is the current $178 million modernization project – the ISM Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar – which will create a best-in-class facility in Phoenix that will serve as a destination for motorsports fans everywhere.
An active and connected leader in the Phoenix and Arizona business communities, Bryan has been cited as a “Power Broker” by Arizona Sports & Leisure Magazine four times during his decade and a half at ISM Raceway. He also was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2006 – after only four years as track president.
Prior to arriving at ISM Raceway, Bryan was the president of Watkins Glen International, where he was the youngest track president in NASCAR, being elevated at age 30 from the Director of Sponsorships at International Speedway Corporation (ISC).
Away from the track, Bryan has been an involved member of the Phoenix community through a number of local organizations, and is a member of the Arizona chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He is president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl.
A graduate of Florida State University, he and his wife Lara, live in Phoenix with their son, Aaron.
Jon Spoelstra’s reputation as one of the most innovative and successful sports marketers is well earned. He has demonstrated this at every stop in his career:
- SRO Partners LLC. Jon is co-founder of SRO Partners, LLC, a sports marketing consulting firm that works with teams in the NBA, NHL, MLB and teams in the minor leagues.
- Mandalay Baseball Properties. As president and managing director of Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC for eleven years, Jon created the most profitable minor league baseball teams ever. Mandalay owned/operated seven minor league teams. One of the teams, the Dayton Dragons, set a record that had never been achieved before—it sold out every ticket to every game during a season. The Dragons have now sold every ticket to every game for twelve straight seasons.
- New Jersey Nets. As president and COO of the Nets for three years, Jon dramatically increased ticket and sponsorship sales. During his tenure, the team set its all-time attendance record. Sellouts at Meadowlands Arena increased from zero to 29. Local sponsorship sales went up from $400,000 to $7,000,000.
- Portland Trail Blazers. In the 11 years with the Blazers as Senior VP/General Manager, Jon helped make the front office a model for all team sports. During his time there, there was never a game that wasn’t sold out.
He has written numerous books. His latest is Group Sales Superstar Online Course, co-authored with Steve DeLay. That joins their writing efforts The Ultimate Toolkit—Sponsorships and its companion toolkit to The Ultimate Toolkit to Sell the Last Seat in the House, which has been purchased by more than 170 teams. Marketing Outrageously Redux, How to Increase Your Revenues by Staggering Amounts, was released in February, 2011. It is a sequel to Marketing Outrageously which became a Wall Street Journal best-seller. Ice to the Eskimos -- a general marketing book based on his sports marketing strategies -- was published by HarperCollins in June, 1997. It became a top seller in Japan. Success Is Just One Wish Away—a motivational book on how anybody can develop a passion for their job and life—was published by DelStar Books in June, 1999. Jon’s fiction book, Red Chaser, was published in December, 2009.
Jon was the focus of what was perhaps the strangest trade in sports history. Portland was in need of a guard to fill a hole created by injury. The guard that the Blazers wanted was the starting point guard for Indiana Pacers. The compensation to the Pacers wasn’t a player, but one week of Spoelstra’s time. Jon played a key role in the restructuring of the Pacers front office during that time frame.
Jon was a judge at the Miss America contest in September, 2003.
Andrea St. Urbain (Smith) started Premium Sports Business Consulting in 2019, a business that specializes in Premium Seating strategies and solutions for sports organizations and entertainment venues worldwide. Previously, she served as the Senior Director of Premium Services for AEG at STAPLES Center & Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA from 2013-2018.
With over 15 years of experience, St. Urbain began her career as an intern with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers in 2003 and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour in 2004. By 2005, she joined the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks as the Community Relations Coordinator and after two seasons transitioned to Manager of Client Relations. In 2007, St. Urbain started at STAPLES Center as an Account Manager for Premium Services. In 2010, she moved on to Petco Park to oversee suites and key corporate partnerships for MLB’s San Diego Padres. Four seasons later she returned to STAPLES Center to manage her previous department.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, St. Urbain earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from Cortland State University (SUNY) and captained the Women’s Volleyball Team. She was inducted into Frontier High School’s Wall of Fame in 2015 for her achievements as a three-sport athlete, and she currently serves as a Mentor in the WISE (Women in Sports and Events) Mentorship Program.
She grew up, and still is, immersed in the world of sports and comes from a family of talent evaluators. Her father A.J. Smith was an Executive in the NFL for 30 years and her brother Kyle Smith is the Director of College Scouting for the Washington Redskins. Andrea and her husband Noah, a Scout for the Chicago White Sox, reside in Southern California with their daughter Reese.
Sam is a long-time restaurant industry professional and executive based in Chicago. As the former Director of Partner Product Development & Industry Relations, Sam’s focus was evolving the strategic direction of partner products to advance the interests for the membership and the restaurant industry. Sam has worked with foodservice executives from all of the multi-unit restaurant brands in North America, is a franchisee with Firehouse Subs, a member of CHART and consults other foodservice operators.
Charles H. (Chuck) Steedman has been with AEG since June of 2008, and since March of 2014 has served as AEG Facilities LLC Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations of stadia, arenas and convention centers around the globe. He directly manages the Company’s financial, content development, operational, human resources and business intelligence concerns and plays a significant role in business development.
During his tenure as AEG Facilities’ COO, the company’s venues have played host to some of the most iconic events in sports, entertainment and global affairs, including the FIFA World Cup (including the 2014 finals), Olympic Games (including 2014 opening and closing ceremonies), the NHL All-Star game, the Grammy, Emmy, People’s Choice and ESPY Awards, the G20 Summit, NCAA men’s basketball tournament games and the League of Legends World Finals (twice).
Since 2012, he has led a partnership with USA Gymnastics to manage and co-promote a postOlympic gymnastics tour. The venture secured major sponsorships (including a presenting sponsorship deal with Kellogg’s) and the Tour has blossomed into one of the most successful touring sports/exhibition events in history, selling $18mm worth of tickets over 38 events following the 2016 Olympic Games.
In 2016, he led the creation of a strategic partnership with ESL, the world’s largest eSports company. In the venture, AEG and ESL will create and co-promote events at AEG’s global venues, taking advantage of the tremendous growth of the sport. The venture started with the ESL One Championships at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in October of 2016 and is expanding to Hamburg, Germany and Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018.
Steedman is a member of The Anschutz Companies Data Steering Committee and has been driving the Company’s advancement in Big Data focusing on the creation of business intelligence and analytics surrounding customer acquisition and retention. He currently is leading a movement in social media listening, allowing each of the company’s venues to monitor social media channels and interact with fans in real time.
Upon joining AEG, Steedman served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of AEG Connecticut LLC until 2013. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all business activities of the 16,200-seat XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center) and the management for 40,000-seat Rentschler Field. Steedman also lead business management of the Hartford Wolf Pack / Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, the New York Rangers’ top minor league affiliate.
In addition to the duties in Connecticut, Steedman also coordinated a number of stadium and arena business development projects. In that capacity, he oversaw deals that resulted in AEG securing multi-year management agreements for four stadia in Brazil, including Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro and Allianz Parque in São Paulo. In addition, he was directly responsible for all legal, financial and operational aspects for the start-up of AEG’s companies in Brazil.
Prior to his appointment with AEG, Steedman spent the previous seven-plus years under the employ of New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network (NESN) and Fenway Sports Group (FSG). Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President of FSG and also as Vice President for the Boston Red Sox.
During his period of management, the Sox’ Fenway Enterprises (non-baseball uses of Fenway Park) business more than doubled its revenue and profitability to the team, operating over 400 events annually. In 2007, the Fenway Park Tour program hosted over 250,000 guests at the venerable ballpark, making it the largest ballpark tour business in Major League Baseball. In his role with FSG, Chuck was devoted to the Boston College relationship since the school signed on as FSG's first client in 2004, spearheading revenue growth in excess of 350% in just three years of his management.
In 2006, Steedman was part of the team that negotiated the largest radio broadcast agreement in MLB history as the Club announced a groundbreaking 10-year deal with Entercom and its Boston Flagship stations WEEI and WRKO. He also directly managed a significant expansion of the Club’s radio network affiliates.
In 2004, Steedman led a deal that resulted in Fenway Park and the Red Sox being prominently featured in the Farrelly Brothers feature film, Fever Pitch. He also created and coordinated both the 2004 and 2007 World Series Trophy tours, including visiting all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts following the Club’s historic 2004 World Series victory. He dramatically expanded the Red Sox marketing footprint throughout New England, launching popular “State Days” at Fenway Park while also spearheading numerous grass-roots marketing initiatives in the region.
Prior to his appointment at NESV in 2002, Steedman was the founder and principal of Steedman & Partners, and worked extensively on the acquisition of the Red Sox and NESN by New England Sports Ventures. In his capacity with the prospective ownership group, he coordinated financial analysis, legal and financial due diligence, relations with prospective investors, and the Major League Baseball owner application process. He was also responsible for securing several of the external firms used by the bid group in its successful acquisition (investment bankers, legal representation, accounting, public and media relations and ballpark architects).
Steedman has an extensive background in the venue, media, sports and entertainment business that includes tenures at The University of Connecticut (Director of Athletic Marketing), Raycom Sports (Vice President Programming and Events), the American Skiing Company (Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing) and Resorts Sports Network (Managing Director). In addition, he has served as a consultant for a number of arena and stadium revenue projects, broadcast negotiations, and event creation and management projects. He has directly managed professional tour golf events, college football bowl games, collegiate basketball tournaments and numerous made-for-TV events, including ESPN’s Winter X Games' two-year stay at Mount Snow, Vermont.
Over the course of his career, Steedman has negotiated numerous major sponsorship deals including naming rights agreements, managed long range capital project planning, numerous successful union/labor negotiations, major vendor and service contracts and engaged in governmental relations at the local, state and federal levels.
He has received numerous awards during his career including the University of Massachusetts Sport Management Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996 and being recognized as one of the Charlotte Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Executives in 1995. In 2011 he received the Thomas J. Shortell Award from the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau, recognizing his role in attracting major events to the Hartford region. Three times he was named by Hartford Magazine as one of the region’s most influential people. In 2012, he was elected as the first-ever chair of the Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau’s Sports Advisory Board (state-wide sports commission) and also served on the CCSB’s Executive Committee. USA Gymnastics presented Steedman with its “Person of the Year” award in 2013.
He has been very active with his undergraduate Alma Mater, serving as Chair of the inaugural Industry Advisory Council for the Sport Management program and later as Chair of a capital campaign for Sport Management. He has also served as a member of the Isenberg School of Management’s Business Advisory Council and has served as an adjunct member of the faculty at Western New England University’s School of Business.
A native of East Brookfield, Massachusetts, Steedman graduated from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management and added an MBA from the McColl School of Business at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1994. He is married to the former Lisa Allen and has two children, Andrew, an Ithaca College graduate and Manager of Premium and Partnership Sales for New York Red Bulls, and Michael, age 21, a junior at Washington and Lee University.
In his leisure time he enjoys cycling, swimming and golf. He has successfully completed 14 consecutive Pan Massachusetts Challenge cycling events, covering 192 miles over two days each year as part of the nation’s largest athletic-based fund raising event. In the process, he has personally raised over $200,000 in the fight against cancer. In the summer of 2012, he created #CHUCK512 Cycling for Cancer Research Tour, a 512-mile solo cycling ride that took him from Niagara Falls, NY to Sturbridge, MA and raised over $50,000 for Boston’s Dana Faber Cancer Institute. He also has competed in numerous marathons and triathlons.
Brett Stefansson joins the Atlanta Hawks as the new Executive Vice President, General Manager of Philips Arena. He bodes more than 20 years of experience in the sports industry in professional (NBA, WNBA and NHL) and minor league sports (IHL, indoor soccer and arena football). In his career, Stefansson has worked more than 5,000 events. Prior to joining the Hawks, he served as Vice President and General Manager of the AT&T Center (San Antonio, Texas) which is home to the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), San Antonio Stars (WNBA), San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. His experience concluded with a $110-million dollar renovation to the AT&T Center. During his leadership, he also oversaw other facilities including the Spurs practice facility (now known as Medistar Training Facility Ltd.,) and Toyota Field, (now known as the home of San Antonio FC of the USL).
Earlier in his career, he served as the General Manager of BB&T Center located in Sunrise, Florida, from 2007-09 and returned for a similar role from 2012-14. The 19,000-seat arena earned consistent top-15 rankings in Pollstar throughout his tenure. Stefansson spent a combined 15 years of his career at this venue in South Florida. Stefansson started his career in sports as the Event Coordinator at The Summit (then, the home of the Rockets (NBA), Comets (WNBA), Aeros (AHL) and Thunderbears (AFL)) in Houston, Texas. Stefansson received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University. He and his wife, Nadia, have three kids, Zach, Ella, and Cruz.
Direct marketing expert with 9 years of experience running 1,000+ new customer acquisition campaigns with over 375 sports and entertainment organizations. Primarily responsible for helping execute all NFL, NHL, College, Minor league baseball and hockey sales and marketing initiatives.
William Stephens joined the Atlanta Hawks in March of 2003. An industry veteran of more than 20 years, Stephens has worked closely with some of the country’s top corporations and executives. In his role as Director of Premium and Suite Services, Stephens leads a team responsible for the year over year retention, growth, day-to-day account management, benefit fulfillment and contractual negotiations for the Atlanta Hawks & Philips Arena corporate and VIP clientele. Widely known for his ability to forge strong partnerships, provide unparalleled service and invest in his client’s vision, Stephens is frequently sought-out across sports disciplines to share his expertise and serve as an advisor.
Before his tenure with the Atlanta Hawks, Stephens worked for International Sports Management as their National Sales Manager where he was responsible for sales, sponsor activation, as well as creating ticket and sponsor platforms. His supervision in this role covered some of the country’s most elite events including the Final Four, Super Bowl, PGA, NASCAR, and musical festivals throughout the nation. Stephens has given back to the local community by serving on the board of several charitable organizations and civic groups. A lifelong and native of Atlanta Ga., Stephens attended West Virginia University where he also played Football for the Mountaineers, and earned his B.S. degree, cum laude, before returning back to his hometown.
Jenny Stephens is a Principal and the Director of Marketing for Perkins+Will Denver’s Sports+Recreation+Entertainment Practice. She has been with the firm since 1990 for twenty-eight years, playing a key role in strategic pursuits within the US and Internationally. She has been instrumental in the pursuit of high profile projects such as the Pepperdine University Event and Recreation Center national design competition, the Target Center Renovations, and Red Rocks Visitor Center. Jenny is an active member of several industry organizations, including NIRSA, ALSD, and IAVM. Motivated by sharing insights with other professionals working in the sports recreation and entertainment environment, Jenny is an active member in a numerous industry organizations including NIRSA, ALSD, and IAVM and has co-authored numerous articles in industry trade publications. Jenny is a proud Colorado native and alum of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Over 18 years of sales experience in the 2D/3D venue mapping industry working with NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, and NCAA properties among others. Steve Led sales effort that positioned previous company for acquisition by the Comcast Corporation. He has his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley.
As Director of Populous Design Build, Adam has played an integral role in reshaping the standard of interior and premium spaces within sports facilities. He has an innate ability to design, direct and contribute innovative spaces to projects around the globe, including off-season renovations, unique premium spaces, brand activation and sponsorship spaces and retail and dining destinations. As leader of the firm’s design led design build practice, Adam applies this extensive experience to provide clients with a streamlined, expertly guided approach to seasonal projects. His passion for creating unique solutions for his clients, including the Chicago Cubs, Indiana Pacers and Nashville Predators, has resulted in long-lasting relationships with clients time and time again looking to Adam as their trusted advisor. He listens, understands and honors his clients’ brands and then, delivers forward-looking design solutions elevating the guest experience and generating revenue.
Named to the 2013 Building Design and Construction’s 40 under 40 class, Adam’s work and design philosophies have been included in the country’s top design publications. Named as the 2012 ten year alumni honoree for the College of Architecture Planning and Design at Kansas State University, he continues to play an important role at the university, residing as chair of the college’s interior architecture advisory board. Adam also remains dedicated to the advancement of the interior design profession, currently serving on the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees. For his professional and philanthropic work, Adam was selected to the 2016 Ingram’s Magazine 40 under 40 class.
Constellation Brands is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand and Italy. Constellation is the third-largest producer and marketer of beer for the U.S. market and the world's leading premium wine company with a leading market position in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. Constellation's wine portfolio is complemented by select premium spirits brands.
Dale joined Constellation in 2006 as Vice President, Strategic Insights overseeing consumer insights, consumer affairs, business analytics and market research. In his current role Dale is responsible for building out and resourcing the Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) shopper, commercial analytics, and sales enablement capabilities. Prior to joining Constellation Dale spent 22 years working at E. & J. Gallo Winery where he began his career. During his time with Gallo, he covered a wide range of responsibilities that included distributor management, account management, strategic insights and Lean Six Sigma.
Dale has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations from Colorado State University.
Jeremy Strife is the Senior Vice President of Braves Development Company and General Manager of The Battery Atlanta where he leads the development’s team and oversees operations, leasing, marketing, financials, special events, and all business functions of running The Battery Atlanta. Prior to joining the Braves, Strife spent over eight years with S&P 100 company, Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), most recently as the General Manager of Newport Centre, Newport Crossing, and Newport Plaza in Jersey City, N.J.
Jeremy brings a wealth of real estate development, property management, and diverse leadership experience to The Battery Atlanta, having completed $3B in asset acquisition transitions, developments, and redevelopments while holding various positions including: Area General Manager of ABQ Uptown and Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque, N.M; General Manager of Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; The Westchester in White Plains, NY; The Galleria at White Plains in White Plains, N.Y.; and The Domain and The Arboretum mixed-use developments in Austin, TX.
In addition to his management experience, Jeremy spent two years in the Legal Operations department at Simon’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jeremy also served on several corporate leadership projects including the Executive Strategy Team, EBITDA Enhancement Team, Asset Optimization Task Force, and Simon Property Management Training, among others.
A native of Carthage, N.Y., Jeremy currently resides in Cobb County’s Smyrna area. He is a graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs Law and minor in Business Management.
Eric serves in a dual leadership position as Vice President of Corporate Partnership Sales & Service for the Dallas Cowboys and as SVP of Global Partnerships for Legends. Legends is an outsourced sports and entertainment company that is owned by the Cowboys, New York Yankees, and a private equity company.
Eric joined the Cowboys in 2007 to focus on new business suites sales for AT&T Stadium and was later promoted to the Director of Sales, where he oversaw twelve senior sales representatives that set records in both seat licenses and suite sales. He now oversees the 20-person team that leads the NFL in sponsorship revenue. The Cowboys sponsorship team recently embarked on a highly successful sales campaign surrounding its new practice facility and mixed-use development, The Star, which has quickly become an icon in the sports world.
At Legends, Eric oversees and lead the company’s sponsorship portfolio that includes selling for properties such as the LA Rams & Chargers New Stadium & Development, the LAFC expansion Major League Soccer team, and the Irving Music Factory to name a few. Though recent in his formal position with Legends, Eric served in a consulting & sales training role for the company for the past seven plus years.
Eric is a native of a small town in Northeast Iowa, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Business from Cornell College, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Sports Administration from Ohio University, and was selected to the Dallas Business Journal’s 40 under 40. He and his wife Kate live in Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Alex has been with the Cubs since January 2010 and was promoted to Executive Vice President, Business Operations and Chief Strategy Officer in January of 2018. In his current role, Alex oversees all ballpark operations for the organization, including event operations, facility management, and safety & security operations. Additionally, Alex is responsible for the organization’s strategic planning and corporate development functions.
Alex joined the Cubs as vice president of business development and was promoted to senior vice president, strategy and development in January 2013. He was named senior vice president, strategy and ballpark operations in June of 2015. He joined the organization following four years with Galatioto Sports Partners, LLC. While at Galatioto Sports Partners, LLC, he served as an advisor to the Ricketts Family in the acquisition of a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. He also completed multiple other financial advisory engagements and lending transactions in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. Prior to his time at GSP, Alex was a financial analyst for the National Hockey League from 2003-04.
Alex graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science in 2002 and earned his M.B.A. from the Columbia Business School in 2006. Alex and his wife, Eileen, have two children - Aidan and Anna.
As the winner of NBC’s hit TV show ‘Phenomenon’, Mike Super is the only magician in history to win a LIVE magic competition on primetime US network television and voted America's Favorite Mystifier! Through spectacular illusions and his own inimitable down-to-earth style and personality, Mike Super has pioneered a new form of magic that transcends the "trick". With captivating performances for more than 6 weeks airing on ‘America’s Got Talent’ as a top finalist and Season Premier Episode of Penn & Teller’s ‘FOOL US’ -Mike has emerged as magic’s newest celebrity, with a legion of fans numbering in the millions.
Served as VP of operations and development from 2011 to 2014 at KY speedway as well as Sr. Construction Manager for SMI during that time.
Worked as a project manager for a eneralG Contractor for 9 years prior to working with SMI.
Graduated from East Tennessee State University with B.S. in Construction Engineering
Managed various construction projects in the past 22 years including but not limited to:
- Zmax Dragway – 60 million dollar 4 wide drag strip in Charlotte North Carolina- Golden Eagle award from the Association of Builders and Constructers, Golden Trowel award from the American Concrete paving association,
- Bristol Motor Speedway reconfiguration, infield restructuring( included new tunnel, media center, care center, and tire building) and resurface –Presidential award for paving excellence from the American Concrete Paving Associations, AGC awards for building excellence.
- “Colossus” big screen at Bristol Motor Speedway - center hung 4 sided TV screen inside of Bristol Motor Speedway – ENR project of the year honorable mention.
- Neon Garage, Media Center, and Track resurfacing and reconfiguration at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – 68 million dollar project, multiple awards from the AGC, ABC, and ACPA
- Reconfiguration of Texas Motor Speedway and Kentucky Motor Speedway
- Addition of 40k seats, restructuring of parking lots, pit road, and midway at Kentucky Speedway
Micaela is a founding member of Loop & Tie. She has played many roles to help revolutionize the gifting space, including operations, product development, merchandising, and fulfillment/logistics.
A native of Woodbridge, Virginia, and a lifelong baseball fan, Mary Kate joined the Washington Nationals in the summer of 2011 as an inside sales representative. After graduating from James Madison University in 2009, Mary Kate embarked on her sports career by working with the Hagerstown Suns. She became a member of the Nationals Season Ticket Services Department in February of 2013, and was promoted to her current role with the club in 2015.
Hall of Famer Jim Thome, one of eight players in major league history to hit 600 home runs, rejoined the White Sox on July 2, 2013 as a special assistant to General Manager Rick Hahn.
Thome’s responsibilities include consulting with Hahn and Director of Player Development Chris Getz, working with the White Sox major league staff and players, and visiting Sox minor league affiliates throughout the summer to evaluate player performance.
Thome, who was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2018, hit .276 with 612 home runs, 1,699 RBI, 1,583 runs scored, and 1,747 walks in 2,543 games over 22 major league seasons with Cleveland (1991-2002, 2011), Philadelphia (2003-2005, 2012), the White Sox (2006-2009), Los Angeles Dodgers (2009), Minnesota (2010-2011), and Baltimore (2012).
He ranks among baseball’s all-time leaders in numerous categories, including home run ratio (5th, 13.76), walks (7th), home runs (8th), OPS (18th, .956), slugging percentage (22nd), and RBI (27th). Thome’s 612 homers are the fourth-highest total in major league history by a left-handed hitter, trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Babe Ruth (714), and Ken Griffey Jr. (630).
Thome hit 40 or more home runs six times and drove in 100-plus runs nine times. His 17 postseason home runs are tied with David Ortiz for the seventh-highest total in major league history.
Thome batted .265 with 134 home runs and 369 RBI in four seasons with the Sox. He hit his 500th home run on September 16, 2007 vs. the Angels and a game-winning solo shot on September 30, 2008 to give the White Sox a 1-0 victory over Minnesota in a one-game playoff at U.S. Cellular Field.
Thome and his wife, Andrea, reside in Burr Ridge, IL, with their two children: Lila and Landon.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Richard Thornton is the Sr. Manager, Ticket Sales with the Atlanta Braves. In this role, Richard oversees 15 team members that focus on a few key areas for the Atlanta Braves. Their responsibilities include Business to Business Membership Sales and an entry level sales trainee program. The sales trainee program is an inside sales program that looks to hire recent college graduates and introduce them to sports ticket sales. Over the last 10 seasons, this group has generated millions in revenues and been a great asset for the team as a large portion of the full time staff in the sales department originated in this role. Finally, Richard manages all of the ticket broker relationships for the Atlanta Braves and works to ensure that mutually beneficial connections are created and maintained.
Richard holds a B.S. in Sport Management degree from Georgia Southern University. After his first few years with the Braves, Richard enrolled at Mercer University and received his M.B.A shortly thereafter. Currently, Richard serves as a board member for the Mercer University Advisory Board that works with the Sports Business program to generate new ideas for the university and help students learn more about the sports industry.
Richard has been married for 13 years and enjoys coaching his two boys (Avery, 11 and Connor, 8) in youth athletics.
In 2005, Joshua Tillman began building DialSource - an engineering firm dedicated to changing the way modern enterprises communicate. In 2009, DialSource launched its flagship product: a full-stack CRM-native solution designed to seal the gap between business and consumers through analytics and automation. At Dreamforce 2013, Dialsource made the list of “30 Most Powerful Apps” on the Salesforce AppExchange.
Tillman and DialSource have continued to gain recognition for their role in shaping the modern telephony industry. In 2015, DialSource earned a spot on the Global list of the Top 100 companies to watch by Red Herring, a global media company identifying and connecting the most exciting innovators in technology and business. In 2016, the Business Intelligent Group named DialSource Denali Product of the Year. In the same year, Tillman received the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” award, given annually to forty local leaders in recognition of professional accomplishments and community involvement.
Since starting his career with the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers in 2009, John has held various sales and leadership positions in professional sports. Before joining the Suns he was the Inside Sales Manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves where he was responsible for hiring, training, and developing the sales talent for the organization. Prior to that he sold premium seating, suites, and corporate sponsorships for the San Diego Padres.
In his current role John oversees all new sales teams for the Phoenix Suns, Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix Mercury, and Arizona Rattlers. John also directly manages the Premium Team responsible for the sales, service, and retention efforts for all of the premium areas of Talking Stick Resort Arena – including suites, courtside seats, and club seats. Over the past two years, the Suns have grown their premium business significantly by finalizing 41 new Suite and Theater Box lease partnerships. They have also sold out of all courtside seats and renewed over 85% of all premium customers.
John is originally from Denver, Colorado and graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a degree in Marketing. He lives in Phoenix with his wife Katie and their three children Hailey, Trey, and Hunter.
Robert is an Executive with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Prior to joining Creative Artists Agency, he started and sold two successful experiential companies – TSE Sports & Entertainment in 1997 and Goviva in 2011. TSE created corporate and consumer experiences around sporting events. TSE was named to the Inc.500 in 2005 as one of America's fastest growing companies. TSE was acquired by private equity firm Pfingsten Partners in 2006. TSE became the platform company for Pfingsten's initiative in event hospitality where I worked to help build the business through acquisition and organic growth. In 2011 I left the business to form Goviva, a company offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences around culinary, sports and other lifestyle events. Goviva made the Inc.500 list and was then acquired by Creative Artists Agency. He Authored: 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live. Published By Benbella Books and Young Guns,The Fearless Entrepreneur's Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own. Published By AMACOM Publishing and is a Contributing Journalist to Entrepreneur and Forbes. Robert is a Board Member for ALS Association Greater New York Chapter, Sports and Arts in School Foundation (SASF), and Groundswell Group. He is the founder of two different companies named to the Inc 500.
Jeff Tucker has more than 20 years experience with the San Francisco Giants. He is responsible for the development of business strategy and sales process for several revenue lines including: premium sales and luxury suites, group sales/special events, and season ticket sales. Tucker sharpened his skills in creating exclusive experiences during his five-year tenure in Giants Enterprises. For the last eight seasons, he has been an innovator in developing and introducing premium experiences at Oracle Park such as Docker’s Deck, Anchor Brewing Suite, and the Vintner’s Suite. His latest projects include the Lexus Lounge and the all-new flexible credit concept, the ‘Cloud Club.’
Ashley is a contributing member of the Orlando Magic’s premium activation efforts. She works closely with her team to deliver legendary, world-class service to all premium partners while implementing short- and long-term retention strategies that increase fan affinity and continue to strengthen the Orlando Magic brand. She is responsible for effectively leading her team while executing an effective year-round customer service strategy that maximizes revenue.
Before joining the Orlando Magic, Ashley worked at Madison Square Garden as part of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers retention team. She graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and is also a graduate of the DeVos Sport Business Management program.
Founder of Strategic Pipeline, a Fortune 1000 outbound sales process improvement consulting group, Marylou Tyler's client roster includes such prestigious companies such Apple, Bose, AMA, Talend, CIBC, Prudential, UPS, Orkin, AAA and Mastercard. Tyler is also co-author of the #1 Bestseller Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com, which has sold over 50,000 copies and has over 250 reviews on Amazon averaging over 4.3 stars, as well as Predictable Prospecting: How to Radically Increase Your Sales B2B Pipeline. Embraced by corporate America, her second book is essential course material for Harvard University’s MBA program on Sales and Technology and endorsed by luminary sales thought leaders such as Neil Rackman, author of Spin Selling.
In 2016, Tyler was nominated for the prestigious 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management Award. When it comes to sales process improvement, she specializes in optimizing top-of-funnel sales process and implementing predictable new sales opportunity engines. Her unique approach walks clients through a specific 7-point outreach process/framework that is part behavioral, part predictive and part creative (persuasive storytelling).
Additionally, Tyler’s services include online training giving Sales Managers & Professionals access to an entire system in an online, “Do it Yourself” format. With 25 years of sales process consulting work, Tyler is an experienced implementer and engaging presenter on the topic of Sales Process Improvement for individual companies and industry conferences. She offers customized, on-site as well as off-site sales process consulting services, helping businesses deploy predictable Sales Opportunities systems that can scale rapidly. The results can be dramatic, with often a 2X to 5X increase in new sales qualified sales opportunities within 3 months.
Over the past two decades Lance Tyson has continually elevated his entrepreneurial skill and spirit in a variety of industries but always returns to his passion of developing strong business leaders. As owner, President, and CEO of Tyson Group, Tyson facilitates, trains and conducts over one hundred workshops annually in areas such as performance management, leadership, sales, sales management, customer service and team building. Tyson moved to Ohio in 2002 to build out the Midwest region for Dale Carnegie Training. By 2007, Lance had built the most successful Dale Carnegie operation in North America, operating the marketplaces in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Lance transitioned from trainer, to partner, to key business adviser for such clients as Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and McGohan Brabender. In 2010, Lance sold his interest in Dale Carnegie & Associates to form a new company, PRSPX in Dublin, Ohio, to help clients build an efficient sales ecosystem. PRSPX has been restructured as Tyson Group in order to provide services to assess sales teams, diagnose their needs, and equip them to be better salespeople and leaders. Lance now focuses on the mission of Tyson Group: to coach, train, and consult with sales leaders and their teams to compete in a complex world.
John Urban brings more than 30 years' experience in the sports, entertainment and venue management industry to his role as COO for the Fire. In his most recent role as VP, Legends Attractions (a partnership of the NY Yankees and Dallas Cowboys), he oversaw the successful launch and managed all aspects of the day-to-day business operations of One World Observatory. The acclaimed project has welcomed nearly 5 million visitors since opening atop New York City’s One World Trade Center in May 2015.
Urban began his career at Madison Square Garden, where he held a variety of positions in the publicity, marketing and event booking areas over a 16-year span. In 1999, when Radio City Music Hall was added to the MSG family, Urban joined the project team for the venue's historic $70 million restoration and then served as GM of the legendary 6,000-seat theater for the next seven years.
Immediately prior to joining Legends, Urban served as EVP, Events & Booking at the Scottrade Center complex (home of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues), where he was responsible for a wide range of sports and music programming and helped oversee the $80 million restoration and re-launch of another famed concert venue, the Peabody Opera House.
Urban holds a BA in Journalism and Master's in Sports Administration/Facility Management, both from Ohio University. He and his wife Anne reside in Streeterville.
Jeanene graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in Film & Television. After working in the industry for a few years, she quickly changed her focus to sports and entertainment venues. With 20 years of ticketing experience, Jeanene quickly found her niche within the industry after assisting with the transition for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She has managed over seven venue/stadium transitions and openings, most recently U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently, she is collaborating with Mobile Media Content-3D Venue and SeatGeek in the opening of Allianz Field, a soccer specific stadium for Minnesota United FC.
Tim leads NCR’s global Software organization, including Software Innovation and Software Engineering. Tim most recently served as CTO of the Tax and Accounting division of Thomson Reuters, where he was responsible for global technology strategy and product delivery. Before Thomson Reuters, he enjoyed an 18-year career with IBM, starting as an undergraduate co-op and eventually becoming Vice President of IBM’s cloud platform services, known in the market as IBM Bluemix.
Dana Veitch is the founder and President of KissCam LLC. Veitch resurrected the 1-2 minute Kiss cam video we all see at the games into social media and an expanded fan engagement Contest in the arena. Veitch has also expanded the KissCam brand globally (the current Kiss cam is only produced at US and Canada arenas). KissCam LLC owns the KissCam trademark in 27 countries and built the only KissCam app in social media. KissCam LLC received a patent for hosting contests in an arena that uses technology to collect digital images of participants’ public displays of affection.
In a recent article written in the Denver Business Journal, Veitch was quoted, “The KissCam brand is so well-known that we think it’s going to be a huge opportunity for sports and concert venues globally." Veitch is hitting the streets to sell licenses and turn the KissCam Contest into an engaging experience that sports teams and event organizers can sell to sponsors. He's already spoken with sports leagues around the world who are very interested in KissCam's Contest that built inside our KissCam app.
Veitch says sports leagues and advertisers will be interested in engaging the Contest during their games and concerts to create new advertising revenue, new data while the fan's are engaged with the new KissCam app.
Allan C. Vella is the President and CEO of the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, a position he has held since June 2006.
A graduate of the University of Iowa with a BA in Liberal Arts and Arts Management, Vella served as the Director of the Student Commission on Programming and Entertainment while at Iowa.
Vella has worked professionally in the Facility Management field since 1986 managing theatres, arenas, amphitheaters and exhibition facilities. His experience spans a wide range of events including NCAA Tournaments, MLB, NHL, Ballet, corporate events, concerts, Broadway and Presidential visits to name just a few.
As the President and CEO, Vella is responsible for overseeing all operations that make up the Fox Theatre as well as programming for the facility. The Fox Theatre averages 175 performances and hosts over 600,000 guests annually - offering an impressive range of events from rock concerts to Broadway, ballet, comedy and movies.
Under Vella’s direction, the 4,665-seat Fox Theatre has been consistently ranked in the top three non-residency theatres in North America for gross ticket sales by industry trade magazines, Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today. In addition, the Fox Theatre was declared a Top Stop of the Decade by Venues Today and the #1 non-residency venue worldwide for the decade by Billboard Magazine.
Prior to joining the Fox Theatre, Vella worked for SMG, the world’s largest facility management company. His positions included that of General Manager for Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas where he operated a 227-acre facility consisting of a 16,000-seat amphitheater, a 10,000-seat arena, an exhibit hall, and a State Fair Grounds. Vella’s first assignment with SMG was at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan, where he oversaw the securing of naming rights, privatization, renovation and operation of a 7,200-seat arena and a 2,300-seat theater.
Other notable experience for Vella includes: 13 years with Olympia Entertainment in Detroit, Michigan, where he held influential positions such as Senior Director and General Manager of The Fox Theatre, Detroit. Director of Merchandising for the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Zoo and parent company Little Caesars Pizza and Executive Director of the Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York.
Vella is a Member of the International Association of Venue Managers, a graduate of IAVM’s Venue Management School, the Broadway League and a board member of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Midtown Alliance, Rotary International as well as Variety of Georgia, a children’s charity.
He and his wife Nicole have three children and reside in Decatur, Georgia.
Kerry Vick joined Triple-A Baseball’s Indianapolis Indians as an intern in 2000 and promptly fell in love
with the industry, the organization, and the city of Indianapolis. He’s spent his career dabbling in nearly every facet of the business while leading teams in ticket services and operations, suite sales and suite holder services, and anything else premium and hospitality related.
Vick spent many years hiring and developing interns and new employees – over 100 to his credit – and still finds great joy and worth coaching up the next generation of sports professionals. A champion for corporate culture, he heads up the club’s learning management and employee training program, chairs the Fun Committee, and enjoys the daily challenge of trying to modernize an aging, albeit award-winning, Victory Field.
A native of Auburn, Indiana, and graduate of Ball State University, Vick credits his wife Jill and daughter Kelsea as his driving forces and creative inspiration.
Adam Vogel is the Senior Director of Training and Development with Sports Business Solutions. Since joining SBS in April 2018, Adam has led training sessions for over 30 teams and organizations across the professional and collegiate sport landscape—helping the company grow by 35% during his first campaign. Prior to SBS, Adam led successful Inside Sales programs for five years with the New York Mets and Miami Dolphins; directly over-seeing the promotion of 68 sales representatives in to Senior Sales or Services roles within the sport industry. Adam began his professional career in ticket sales with the Pittsburgh Pirates on their new business development team. For more information on the services Adam can provide for your sales culture, email him today at email@example.com.
Jamie has been with the Fox for over 12 years. As the Senior Director of Sales & Marketing for the Fox Theatre, Jamie is responsible for planning, development and implementation of all of the Fox Theatre's marketing strategies, marketing communications, and public relations activities, both external and internal. Jamie oversees the development and implementation of all Ticketing and Sponsorship Sales strategies. He directs the efforts of the ticketing, sponsorship marketing, and public relations staff and coordinates at the strategic and tactical levels with other departments in the Organization. He’s the proud father of Alexx, Andrew, and Arynn, and his crazy Boston Terrier Berkeley.
Since joining the Rays in 2007 Bill has led a number of business development efforts for the club, including capital projects management, concessions and retail strategy, market analysis, technology investment, and business analytics. Prior to his work with the Rays, Bill served as Vice President of Real Estate Development for the New York City Economic Development Corporation during the Bloomberg administration, where he worked with developers and community groups on public private development projects totaling over $1 billion in private investment. Bill earned a Master's degree from Columbia University in 2003, where he studied Urban Planning and Development.
Having been Director of Engineering for National Video in Manhattan; Rick moved from the television engineering side of the business to the system integration business at Diversified Systems over twenty years ago. He has been involved in the design, build and integration of over thirty Professional Sports infrastructures. During this time both the technology as well as the fans’ expectations have changed dramatically. Diversified has stayed on the leading edge of driving the fan experience by making new technology both available as well as accessible to the content creators who ultimately create and deliver the event experience.
Vanessa Ward joined the Cubs as the assistant director of Guest Services in 2016. In this role, she is responsible for the planning, organization and execution of events at Wrigley Field. In order to develop and foster a service-focused culture, Vanessa also leads the training and implementation of the organization’s service program and is responsible for developing a shared services function for scheduling and office administration.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Vanessa served as a project manager at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts where she oversaw teams supporting the implementation of MyMagic+, a massive technology rollout that sought to seamlessly integrate the Disney experience, and creating innovative ways to utilize data in order to enhance the guest experience. She held other positions at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including Resort Field Leader and Resort Guest Service Manager. She graduated from University of Kentucky in 2009 with degrees in management and marketing. Vanessa lives in Chicago with her husband, Steve, and their dog Wrigley.
Carly Warren is entering her 7th season with the New York Giants. As the Suites and Premium Services Manager, she handles service for full season and single game suite accounts as well as sales operations support. Her primary focus is to maintain strong relationships with Giants only clients as well as provide secondary support on two team accounts. She offers exceptional service and hospitality year round. Carly is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and son.
Justin Watkins is the Director of Business Intelligence for the Atlanta Braves. This role is responsible for managing, integrating, and operationalizing data to promote revenue growth and to provide strategic direction to the company. Additionally, his team is responsible for setting and optimizing ticket prices, market research, reporting, and CRM strategy. His primary areas of interest include revenue management, discrete choice modeling, and consumer segmentation. Justin received an M.I.S. degree from the University of Georgia and is an MBA graduate of Georgia Tech. He spends his free time playing guitar, fishing, hiking, and camping. Justin currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and son.
• Curt Waugh enters his first season in the role of senior director, ticket sales and membership services. He joined the Padres in June 2014, overseeing all areas of tickets sales and membership services, including season ticket memberships, group tickets, suites and premium sales.
• Waugh came to San Diego after spending four years in San Antonio, where he was the manager of ticket sales for the Rampage (American Hockey League). He managed all day-to-day operations of season ticket, group ticket and individual game ticket sales for the club, which is owned and operated by Spurs Sports and Entertainment. Prior to his time leading the department, he spent time in a selling capacity with the Rampage and Spurs.
• A 2009 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Waugh majored in marketing. He resides in San Diego with his wife, Allie and their daughters: Averie, Olivia and Molly.
Alison Weber is Chief Creative Officer for Levy. In her role, Alison inspires the vision for the company’s industry-recognized experience design capabilities, future forward pipeline, as well as Levy’s culture of innovation. She leads a team of creative strategists, brand specialists, graphic designers and culinarians to experience solutions for food and hospitality business challenges.
During her two-decade plus career, Alison has had a seat at the table crafting the revolution in sports food and pushing for continual relevancy around the fan experience.
Alison started as a hot dog and beer vendor at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In 2014, she was recognized as one of the top influencers in her industry and received Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers Award.
Alan Wheeling currently serves as Director of Luxury Sales & Services for Hornets Sports & Entertainment. In this role, Alan oversees all sales, service and retention efforts for luxury products, including suites, courtside and all-inclusive seating for the Charlotte Hornets and Spectrum Center. Since joining the Hornets in 2009, Wheeling has been instrumental in the growth and development of the ticket sales and services department. Wheeling initially joined the franchise in season ticket services, where he spent six seasons building relationships with current clients, serving as the day to day contact for members and retaining over 90% of his accounts while exceeding sales goals. In 2015, he was promoted to a management position where he spent two years helping to identify, interview, train and develop new hires as well as oversee all sales and marketing campaigns for the Luxury Department prior to being promoted to his current role in 2017.
In addition to Charlotte Hornets games, Wheeling has played an integral part of the company’s sales efforts for a number of marquee events including the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, the 2015 and 2018 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championships, the 2019 ACC Men’s Basketball Championship and a wide variety of the biggest concerts and shows on tour.
Prior to joining Hornets Sports & Entertainment in 2009, Wheeling worked with Disney Sports Attractions and the ESPN Wide World of Sports, where he helped develop and grow key programming and partnerships with ESPN, ABC, MLB, NFL, NBA, USOC, Pop Warner and other third-party clients to enhance brand awareness, increase profitably and position them for future expansion.
Wheeling is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, where he was a four-year starter and letterman for the Tribe football team, including serving as team captain for the 2006 season. He went on to earn his master’s degree in sport leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008.
Wheeling and his wife, Amanda, reside in Charlotte with their two children, Emmitt and Charleston.
Jeffrey White is a member of the firm’s Tax Practice Group. Hispractice involves federal and state tax planning as well as audit and controversy work. Mr. White focuses primarily onadvising sports leagues and teams on their state and local tax obligations and representing them in disputes with state revenue authorities.
He also has significant experience advising clients on various federal and state tax matters related to fringe benefits, payroll and wage withholding practices, information reporting, employment and unemployment taxation, worker classification, cross-border payments, tax nexus, income and sales/use taxation,apportionment, property taxation, Circular 230 requirements,preparer tax identification number registration, withholding taxon foreign entities, combined reporting, and foreign bankaccount reporting.
White has represented various teams in a professional sports league in connection with state income tax audits.
- Assisted a professional sports league with an Illinois state sales tax qui tam action.
- Advised a professional sports league on the tax treatment of signing bonuses and other remuneration.
- Advised a pharmaceutical company with successor and transfer tax liability issues related to an asset purchase.
- Assisted a political national committee on sales and use tax obligations for direct mailings.
- Advised a beverage company on sales and use taxation of retail transactions of dietary supplements.
- Represented a finance company regarding tax
White graduated University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1997 and Duke University, B.A.,1994, cum laude. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia and Virginia.
John Whitehead MA, PCC, CEC, is an experienced leader, facilitator and coach with over 40 years of senior sales management experience. John started his sales career at 16 yrs. of age selling Fuller Brush door-to-door. At 18, John became the youngest store manager Kinney Shoes of Canada had appointed at the time. Over the years John has experienced various sales training & management experiences from retail to direct sales, selling both tangible and intangibles. Along with holding a Certified Sales Professional designation (CSP) with the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA), he also holds a diploma in the Executive Program in Sales Management from York University, Toronto. John has held senior operational positions with national organizations achieving significant recognition for his results.
In 2010 John decided to return to school and in 2012 graduated from Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC with an MA in Leadership. John describes himself as a continuous learner, motivated to learn more so that he can better help others achieve their goals. Since 2012 John has become a certified in Hogan® Assessments, Tracom's SOCIAL STYLE® and Versatility process and a level one facilitator and LPI coach with The Leadership Challenge®. John is also a certified coach with Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching®. In 2015 John completed the Certified Executive Coach program (CEC) at Royal Roads University and is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF). On top of all that John is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Management at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus where he teaches Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
Illinois alumnus Josh Whitman was hired as the University’s 14th permanent director of athletics on February 17, 2016. At the time of his hiring, Whitman, then 37 years old, was the youngest athletics director in the Autonomy 5. In a relatively short time, Whitman’s “We Will Win” mantra and message of unity, optimism, and bold action have rekindled the fire in the hearts of Illini fans everywhere.
Whitman has formulated an aggressive agenda since his hiring. Highlights have included launching the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame, opening construction of a new $79.2 million football performance center scheduled to open prior to the 2019 season, and creating plans for Demirjian Park, a new home for the Illinois soccer and track and field programs opening by 2021. He has also undertaken an ambitious fundraising effort to renovate and expand the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility and is studying the potential addition of Division I hockey to the Fighting Illini sport portfolio.
Whitman has hired six new head coaches, including iconic football coach Lovie Smith, who led the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI; Brad Underwood, who has won more than 73 percent of his games in five years as a Division I head coach; and women’s basketball coach Nancy Fahey, who arrived in Champaign-Urbana having already been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Other Whitman head coach hires are Chris Tamas for volleyball, Evan Clark with women’s tennis and Nadalie Walsh with women’s gymnastics, all of whom led their respective programs into NCAA postseason play in 2017-18. Whitman also restructured the Illinois men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country programs, bringing those six programs under a single, unified coaching structure led by veteran coach Mike Turk.
Whitman has been a visible presence and frequent speaker at Illini events nationwide. He has canvassed the country, meeting with supporters of the program from coast to coast, which has led to a spike in fundraising. In Whitman’s first two full years at the helm, DIA has generated more than $50 million in donated dollars, highlighted by $20 million toward the football performance center and one of the largest single gifts in DIA history, $7 million from the Demirjian family to create the new stadium and related facilities for soccer and track and field. In total, DIA has received 15 gifts of $1 million or more during Whitman’s tenure. The annual fund, meanwhile, has experienced year-over-year growth in consecutive years for the first time in more than a decade.
Internally, Whitman reorganized the department’s leadership structure and created the Committee on Diversity and Inclusivity, which hosted DIA’s first Diversity Summit in the spring of 2018. He has led a comprehensive effort to develop a new DIA mission statement (Unify. Develop. Inspire. Achieve.) and is working actively to implement that mission statement into DIA’s daily activities. Fiscally, he has also helped return DIA to an operating surplus for the first time in six years.
Since Whitman’s arrival, the competitiveness of the Illinois programs has seen marked improvement. In the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, Illinois has advanced 18 spots, from 54th in 2015-16 to 36th in 2017-18. In the 2017-18, the 36th place national finish was good for 7th place in the Big Ten. During Whitman’s tenure, Illinois teams have made 18 NCAA postseason appearances, highlighted by 13 teams finishing in the top 16 nationally and five finishing in the nation’s top four. In addition, three Illinois student-athletes have captured individual national championships (wrestler Isaiah Martinez, 2016; men’s gymnast Brandon Ngai, 2016; and men’s gymnast Alex Diab, 2018). In Big Ten competition, the men’s golf program has won three consecutive Big Ten crowns and men’s gymnastics captured the conference title in 2018.
Whitman, a former Academic All-American at Illinois, emphasizes strong performance by the Fighting Illini student-athletes in the classroom as well. In each year of his tenure, student-athletes have posted a combined GPA of above 3.15. Fifteen of the 19 teams, along with more than 60% of the individual student-athletes, earn GPAs above 3.00. In the last two years, Illinois student-athletes have garnered a total of 426 Academic All-Big Ten selections. Teams have also set records for APR scores.
Prior to coming to Illinois, the 40-year-old Whitman spent nearly six years as an athletics director at two universities. He came to Champaign-Urbana following almost two years as director of athletics at Washington University in St. Louis, a nationally recognized NCAA Division III program with 19 varsity sports and approximately 500 student-athletes. During Whitman’s tenure, the program posted seven top-five NCAA finishes, a combined GPA of 3.35, and a graduation rate of 99 percent. Before joining Washington University, Whitman served as the director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, another of the nation’s leading Division III programs. Combined at those two institutions, Whitman’s teams earned four national titles and 24 top-five team finishes, plus 34 conference championships.
Whitman has two Illinois degrees. He graduated with Bronze Tablet honors in 2001 while earning a bachelor’s degree in finance. In 2008, he graduated summa cum laude from the Illinois College of Law before serving as a judicial law clerk for Judge Michael Kanne on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. From 2005 to 2008, he worked for DIA and former Illini athletics director Ron Guenther in various administrative capacities.
On the gridiron for the Fighting Illini, Whitman was a four-year starting tight end from 1997-2000 and two-time First Team Academic All-American. He then spent parts of four seasons as a player in the National Football League, including stints with the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills.
Prior to embarking on his career in athletics administration, Whitman practiced law in Washington, D.C., with Covington & Burling LLP, a firm with a preeminent sports practice that represents, among other clients, the National Football League.
Whitman grew up in West Lafayette, Ind., and is married to Hope Whitman. Their daughter, Tate, was born in 2016, and their son, Will, was born in July of 2018. He remains a licensed attorney and is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Whitman’s leadership has earned national attention, highlighted in early 2018 when Sports Business Journal named him to their prestigious Forty Under 40 list. In July 2017, Whitman was selected Central Illinois Business Magazine’s Forty Under 40 Man of the Year. The Whitmans have become engaged in several Champaign-Urbana community organizations, including the United Way, Coaches vs. Cancer, and the Tom Jones Challenger League. He and Hope are also significant contributors to the I FUND.
Nick Wierciak has been with the St. Louis Blues / Enterprise Center for the past 14 years. He has been a top performing premium sales producer and leader throughout his time with the organization. Nick got his start with the team as an inside sales representative and has advanced his career, working his way up to the leader of the Blues & Enterprise Center ticketing, premium & suite sales departments. In his time as the head of premium sales department, he and his team have grown revenues over 50%. Enterprise Center is in the process of a three-year renovation project in which each of their premium spaces is being completely re-imagined. He was previously with St. Louis Rams during the days of the “Greatest Show on Turf”. Nick resides in Edwardsville, IL just across the river from St. Louis with his wife, Lisa and his three children- Addie (11), Cole (8) and Finley (3). He is blessed to work for the hometown team he grew up loving, watching and cheering for as a kid.
Randy Wills is the Director of Premium Sales for the Orlando Magic. In his role, Randy is responsible for developing and executing strategies to maximize new business revenue for all Premium and Suite areas of the Amway Center, including multi-year leases and rentals for both Magic games and concerts/events. He has experience successfully selling Premium in multiple markets in each the NFL, NHL and NBA. Randy, his wife Whitney, daughter Ayla and son RJ reside in Orlando, FL.
Wills has a 31 year career in the Enterprise Mobility industry, holding leadership and officer positions with industry leaders including Motorola, Zebra, Intermec, Avery Dennison and Honeywell. He is responsible for the Apex go to market organizations including marketing, product management and global revenue generating teams. Wills joined the Apex Supply Chain Solutions organization in August, 2016.
Thomas S. “Tom” Wilson has enjoyed a long and successful career in the sports and entertainment industry. In 2010, Wilson was named president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment (OEI), the sales and marketing organization for the Detroit Red Wings and operating company for Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, the Fox Theatre and City Theatre. His vision for creating innovative sales and marketing solutions is acclaimed throughout the sports and entertainment industry. Shortly after the start of Wilson’s tenure, the Red Wings began a sellout streak that remains in effect today.
In 2016, Wilson’s organization teamed with several Michigan colleges and universities to successfully complete the NCAA tournament application process. Little Caesars Arena was awarded one-of-eight first-and second-round sites for the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, an astounding feat marking the first time ever the NCAA awarded a tournament site to an arena still under construction. In all, Olympia Entertainment was granted four NCAA tournament events (2018 Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds, 2020 Men’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four, 2021 Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds, 2022 Wrestling Championships).
Wilson and his team at Olympia played a pivotal role in the design and construction of Little Caesars Arena, the world’s most dynamic multi-event arena, which opened its doors in September.
In October, Wilson was also named interim president of 313 Presents, a joint venture combining the entertainment businesses of Olympia Entertainment and Palace Sports & Entertainment. The development of 313 Presents ensures that Southeast Michigan continues to attract the most exciting acts in the world, while simultaneously supporting local and emerging artists. The venture will lead to better quality, more shows, and increased activity in and around downtown Detroit.
Prior to Wilson’s move downtown, he had an illustrious 32-year career with the Detroit Pistons, including the final 22 years as president and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment, Inc. (PS&E). Wilson oversaw the Detroit Pistons and the organization’s three venues: The Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival.
Palace Sports & Entertainment reached unprecedented success in 2004 when the Detroit Pistons won the NBA World Championship, the Tampa Bay Lightning – then owned by PS&E – earned the NHL’s Stanley Cup and the Detroit Shock began defense of the WNBA title it earned the previous season. It marked the first time in pro sports history that a single ownership group held three trophies simultaneously. The organization won nine World Championships among its various teams during Wilson’s tenure as President and CEO.
Erin Wilson joined Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment in the Fall of 2011. She interned with the Executive Suite and Sponsorship Departments for the Tampa Bay Lightning during her senior year at the University of Tampa and accepted the position of Membership Services Coordinator in March of 2012. In October of 2013, Erin was promoted to Executive Suite Specialist. She is currently a Manager of Suite Services, and is responsible for servicing suite accounts for all Lightning games, concerts, NCAA tournaments and all other events at AMALIE Arena. Erin also manages all VIP hospitality events throughout the Lightning season and playoffs. Erin grew up in Rye, NH and currently lives in South Tampa with her husband Scott.
Jeff Wineman is Executive Vice President of Development for Levy. Jeff began his career with Levy in 1988 and has led the company’s strategic growth and development for the past 30 years. Jeff has initiated and maintained business relationships with a myriad of professional and college sports venues, entertainment destinations and convention facilities elevating the sports and entertainment services to be Levy’s core business. Jeff received his Bachelor of Science from Indiana University and his Masters in Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University
A graduate of the University of Missouri, Chris has been a member of the marketing profession for over forty-five years providing proprietary market intelligence for his clients, giving them critical customer and competitive insights. Chris also produces the Voice of the American Fan which tracks trends related to fan engagement/disengagement behavior.
All his work focuses on providing vital market information to strategically-focused organizations – including professional and collegiate sports.
Lars Wold is the Senior Vice President of Sales for DialSource focused on accelerating the digital sales transformation of DialSource, our customers and partners. Lars’ strengths include global leadership, sales strategy, tools and processes optimization, operational excellence, performance management, and coaching with a focus on quantifiable results and material business impacts.
Prior to joining DialSource in November 2018, Lars held a variety of roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise over the last 18 years. During his tenure, he led the Enterprise Group’s Global Inside Sales and Support Organization, with more than 1,200 sales, support and business development professionals in over 40 countries and was accountable for $27 billion in quota annually. Lars also led the worldwide sales process transformation initiative for the PointNext Services organization, representing more than twenty-thousand individual contributors as one of twelve global business unit project leaders successfully implementing one of the largest and fastest SFDC implementations on record.
Lars has received numerous recognitions and awards including for sales, operational leadership, customer service, and innovation. Lars was recognized as one of the top sales leaders while at Hewlett Packard. Lars describes himself as an innovative and motivational leader and is dedicated to mentoring many individuals from the past and present. This includes both his professional work history as well as his personal involvement with local schools and politics within the community.
With nearly 20 years experience in communicating and developing meaningful projects with clients, Justin Wood brings an unparalleled range of experience to Dimensional Innovations as the Sports Practice Director.
Justin feeds his passion for developing matchless, engaging experiences for clients by focusing on dynamic environments primarily in the sports and entertainment industries. For the last five years, Justin has led the charge on building DI’s sports portfolio through developing sponsorship activations, halls of fame and branding experiences.
His leadership in projects help sports brands improve the fan experience by connecting their story to the interactive and physical environments. With over ten years of experience at DI, Justin’s resume also boasts seven years of running his own design-build consulting company and three years experience in education.
Justin is an active member of the International Association of Assembly Managers, the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, the American Association of Museums and the Society for Environmental Graphic Design. He has presented at ALSD, SEGD’s Dynamic Environments series and his work has appeared in the Sports Business Journal.
Chris Wright joined Minnesota United in October of 2017 as the club’s first Chief Executive Officer. It marked a return to his soccer roots as a player and coach in his native England and his work as a general manager for the Pittsburgh Spirit and the Minnesota Strikers of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Prior to joining MNUFC, Wright worked for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx for 27 years, serving as President for the last 13 seasons and overseeing all of the franchise’s business operations and major projects including the Target Center renovation and the development of Mayo Clinic Square.
San Francisco 49ers
As chief executive officer of the San Francisco 49ers, Jed York oversees all aspects of the organization. Now in his fifth year as CEO, York has been a driving force behind the 49ers recent success on and off the field making bold decisions to return the team to its winning tradition and ultimately the Super Bowl. York recognizes and shares the ongoing passion of the team’s faithful fans.
Many now point to 2011 as a significant year in the history of the storied franchise, as York led the organization through a year of great change and prosperity. His promotion of Trent Baalke to general manager, and the subsequent hiring of Jim Harbaugh as head coach, set the wheels in motion for the team’s resurgence on the field. The team has since won two NFC West Division titles, advanced to three consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl, while posting a 41-14-1 overall record.
York’s strong leadership was instrumental in providing his team and its fans a state-of-the-art new home a year ahead of schedule. On April 19, 2012, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority broke ground on Levi’s® Stadium and enlisted the 49ers to manage the construction process which achieved a ribbon cutting just two years later. Designed to set a new standard for the stadium experience, Levi’s® Stadium is certain to become known as one of the iconic sports and entertainment venues in the world.
RECOGNIZING THE 49ERS FAITHFUL
A 49ers fan since birth, York recognizes that the success of the 49ers hinges on the team’s faithful fans, and he is committed to honoring them for their passion and enthusiasm. Most recently, York recognized the unique opportunities Levi’s® Stadium presented the team and its fans, and he directed the organization to capitalize.
From the time Levi’s® Stadium was just a concept, creating the ultimate game day experience for 49ers fans was at the core of the York family’s vision. The unique approach taken to designing the venue and bringing that vision to life incorporated one of the Bay Area’s most notable natural resources – innovative technology. As York has repeatedly stated, Levi’s® Stadium may not be the biggest stadium, but it will be the smartest.
With technology woven into its backbone, the building will not only allow visitors to customize their own individual experience through the use of the Levi’s® Stadium App, but it will also be able to seamlessly evolve throughout the decades to come. In addition to groundbreaking design elements that bring fans closer to the game, the venue is a showcase for the region’s sustainable efforts and world-class wine and cuisine. Fans will also come to recognize Levi’s® Stadium as a year round destination that features a restaurant headlined by an award-winning chef and a museum dedicated to honoring the team’s storied history, while also using football as a means to educate Bay Area youth.
Under York’s leadership, the team established the Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame in 2009, to commemorate the significant accomplishments of some of the team’s biggest stars and key contributors. Named for his grandfather and the beloved patriarch of the 49ers, the Hall of Fame automatically inducted those 49ers greats that have either had their jersey numbers retired by the team or have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. York, shortly thereafter, announced the Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductee, his uncle, Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., who was enshrined during the 2009 season. The 49ers Hall of Fame now has a home inside the new 49ers Museum presented by Sony at Levi’s® Stadium.
Also located inside the 49ers Museum is the newly created Denise DeBartolo York Education Center, which will provide learning platforms that connect, inspire, and engage students. Featuring content-rich lessons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the center will be highly interactive as it promotes physical activity and valuable life skills.
CARRYING ON THE FAMILY’S LEGACY
York’s roots with the 49ers run deep. He is the oldest child of Denise and John York, the co-chairmen of the team. York’s uncle and godfather, Eddie DeBartolo, also known to fans as “Mr.D”, has long served as a mentor.
York began his career as a financial analyst at Guggenheim Partners, a diversified financial services firm. He worked in the firm’s New York office in several areas, including private wealth management, hedge funds risk analysis, and collateralized debt obligations.
Born and raised in Youngstown, OH, York was a student athlete at Cardinal Mooney High School where he was captain of the baseball team as well student body president. After high school, York decided to carry on a family tradition by attending the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a degree in both finance and history. York was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honors Society.
York credits his parents, his uncle Eddie, and his grandfather Edward DeBartolo, Sr. as being positive role models and for teaching him character values such as integrity, a strong work ethic, and respect for others. He is pleased to carry on his family’s commitment to community by serving as a board member at Tipping Point Community, the Common Wealth Club, Bay Area Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Brett Zalaski is the Founder of Get After It Sales and runs the website Empowerment of a Salesperson (empoweredsalesperson.com). Through both of these platforms, his entire goal is to support sports business ticket sales Account Executives in becoming more effective and efficient in their roles.
Prior to those roles, Brett was a senior executive in Major League Soccer, acting as Vice-President for the Houston Dynamo over sales and service, leading the Columbus Crew's ticket sales team to MLS