Chief listening officer and managing partner
Venue Solutions Group

By looking carefully for unique niches and taking stock of others’ needs, Russ Simons has not only made a name for himself, but also has created unique opportunities to help better the industry.

Though his focus over the last year has mainly been on development of the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District, which will become the home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers next year, Simons also has expanded Venue Solutions Group with a training program for those working part time in sports and entertainment facilities as well as provided consulting for premium services and resources.

“It was as a consultant for the Los Angeles Football Club (for Banc of California Stadium)that I began doing work on the stadium and entertainment district project,” Simons said. “I oversee operations, engineering, transportation, guest experience and security.”

Among the firm’s other projects, business partner Mike Wooley is the operational consultant for the new Chase Center.

 Simons has focused on expanding his consultancy to include VSG Advantage Training.

“I was disappointed in how training has been conducted in sports and entertainment, so I helped develop a program that is unique in our space centered on adult learning,” he said. “This focuses on how to keep casual employees, who work nights, weekends and holidays, motivated and let them know they’re valued.”

Another new division of VSG, Premium Service People, assists new venues or those undergoing renovations in creating premium services.

“First there were suites, then clubs and loge boxes and now we have opera boxes and party suites,” Simons said. “We want customers to feel the value of their investment is met.”

Simons, who has worked on countless projects during his long career, said he never hesitates to lend a hand or provide advice free of charge to his colleagues.

“I consider myself a friend of the industry,” he said.