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By James Zoltak
In the wake of the George Floyd killing, Frantzer Le Blanc wrote an essay on his experience as a Black male in America and his own encounters with law enforcement.
The piece, titled “Why I’m So Angry,” was posted on the International Association of Venue Managers’ website and struck a resounding note with colleagues, many of whom reached out to Le Blanc. At the time, he was director of events and operations at the Oak View Group Facilities-operated UMBC Event Center but has since become corporate director of operations for OVG Facilities. (OVG is the owner of VenuesNow.)
In a subsequent interview, Le Blanc expounded on his views on race relations in America and the degree to which people of color, particularly Black people, are and should be represented in the facilities industry.
Since then, Le Blanc said, he has received an outpouring of support from colleagues and has been encouraged by heightened awareness of racial discrimination and disparity in the venues industry and beyond, while at the same time dismayed at more recent fatal law enforcement encounters with Black men and the decision not to prosecute officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
“To be honest, I’m worried,” he said. “There’s a growing movement of understanding that there’s a need for change … but on the other side there’s a growing campaign that there’s nothing wrong, and protesters are looters, and it’s kind of taken away from the narrative of what the change should be. It’s scary. You want to be hopeful, but you’re scared, because as a country it feels like we could teeter either way.”
Le Blanc has served as assistant athletic director in charge of operations and events at Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware and before that was assistant director of athletics facilities at Hofstra University. He has also held similar roles at Wagner College and American University. He has served for the last three years on IAVM’s university committee, also serves on the IAVM board of directors and is the trade association’s Region 1 director.
Le Blanc was part of an OVG contingent that served inside the NHL playoff bubble at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, where he spent 44 days working to ensure compliance with security and COVID-19-related health and safety protocols and distributing personal protective equipment, among other tasks.
“It was a great experience,” he said, noting that with testing and safety measures in place, it was the first time in months that he felt safe from infection. He formed bonds with people he worked with “from 6 in the morning to 12 at night.”
“You miss your family and home, but I wanted to go back the minute I left,” Le Blanc said.