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Getting through the pandemic for many has been just that, getting through and, with any luck, coming out of it stronger than ever.
“We retained over 95% of our full-time staff during the year in addition to a successful return to live events in accordance with all local health and safety guidelines for indoor sports and entertainment venues,” says Candace Peguero, formerly known as Johnson, vice president of operations for the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
The aptly named venue, at 4,000 seats, opened in 2018 serving as the training center for the NBA’s Washington Wizards and home court for the G League affiliate Capital City Go-Go as well as the WNBA’s Mystics. At the arena, Peguero oversees administration, public safety, event operations, facilities, event services, guest services and more, bringing 20 years of experience and other roles at Events DC at venues including RFK Stadium, DC Armory, and Walter E Washington Convention Center.
Along with implementing health and safety improvements such as enhancing HVAC systems and retrofitting the venue with automated hand sanitizers, Peguero was pleased to welcome back Mystics fans after a year-long hiatus “with health and safety of our guests and staff as our top priority.” She is also “proud of our efforts to develop and retain staff during this period in which our industry experienced significant turnover.”
The arena is a prime example of the trend of small arenas filling niches in major markets, while also helping to redevelop a historic neighborhood.
With the venue still being mostly new, Peguero says she’s focused on “working on enhancing any infrastructure via various capital projects to continue to be competitive in the industry” and is “looking forward to leading our team through this ‘new normal’ for our industry and provide them the opportunities to learn and develop on our team and within the industry. I am excited to continue to attract and host a diverse portfolio of live events in our venues. Using key learnings from the past year, I am also eager to explore improvements to our existing infrastructure to better serve our guests and staff.” — Ryan Borba