Executive director
Iowa State Center, Iowa State University

At a university with an enrollment of 35,000, Tammy Koolbeck has been able to not only attract top talent for a diverse market but also become a well-respected professional in the industry.

Here, the 2019-20 board chair for the International Association of Venue Managers provides insight on the high points of her year, what’s ahead, and her career highlights: 

  • A 2019 highlight was the launch of our Goldfinch Room, our version of (Nashville’s) Bluebird Café. This theater space in ISU’s Stephens Auditorium has room for about 100. We started out featuring Iowa singer/songwriters on Saturday nights and have 10 shows planned for the school year.
  • We’ve had a breadth of major events this past year, including Ringo Starr. Our November and December 2018, in particular, was filled with 60 days of shows.
  • For the year ahead, we anticipate a great performing arts season, with five Broadway shows making their first trip to Ames. The Avett Brothers, Vince Gill, The Head and the Heart and Nick Offerman are on the agenda for the coming season.
  • We’ve been emphasizing audience development to reach those who represent our full demographic, since our community doesn’t reflect the rest of Iowa. Inclusivity is important to us.
  • When I took on an IAVM leadership role at its leadership conference 20 years ago, it helped me build relationships and friendships, and also gave me the confidence to continue on my career path and go into venue management. Also, my five years managing the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena gave me the knowledge and background I needed to oversee buildings.