George Messina, from left, Dan Barrett and Dan Vaillant, all have extensive experience in sports venue development (Courtesy CAA Icon)
All three have expanded roles as part of appointments
CAA Icon has named Dan Barrett, George Messina and Dan Vaillant as presidents of the company.
Messina and Vaillant, previously senior vice presidents at CAA Icon, have both worked for the Denver, Colorado firm for 15 years. The company specializes in owner’s representation for developing arenas, stadiums and convention centers.
Barrett, founder of Barrett Sports Group, has 30-plus years of experience in planning, negotiating and financing sports, entertainment and other real estate projects. He’s completed work on more than 1,500 sports venues.
CAA acquired Barrett Sports Group, as well as the old Icon Venue Group, in 2017.
Barrett will continue to oversee the firm’s Strategy Advisory Group as it moves into new areas of business. He’s been a valuable resource for CAA Icon on the front end of facility development, Thornton said.
“All the work he’s done across the board closing deals in the public and private sectors gives us a better understanding of how the mechanics of these deals work,” he said.
Messina, currently working on Coachella Valley Arena in Palm Springs, California, a minor league hockey venue, and Vaillant, tied to Moody Center, the new University of Texas basketball arena, remain responsible for project delivery, said Charlie Thornton, CAA Icon’s co-CEO.
“As part of our core business, that’s who we are, that’s the fabric that we were all brought in as part of the organization,” Thornton said. “We all maintain fingers in specific projects.”
Moving forward, Vaillant’s focus will be more on a strategic approach to business development, targeting older venues in need of full renovations and upgrades, especially when it comes to technology improvements, Thornton said.
“As you peel back through the NBA, NHL and down to MLS and minor league baseball, we’re trying to get more of a comprehensive understanding of things moving forward and what those areas look like,” he said.
Messina will take the lead on appointing people to the right projects that best fit their capabilities, Thornton said.
In addition, CAA Icon has promoted Rob Stephens to executive vice president and Art Aaron to managing director of new ventures with a focus on international expansion.
Stephens, employed with CAA Icon for about 17 years, served as owner’s rep for building Climate Pledge Arena, new home of the NHL expansion Seattle Kraken. His portfolio covers a dozen projects across sports and convention centers.
Aaron, most recently president and chief operating officer, has been with CAA Icon and its predecessors for 20 years. Over the years, he’s worked on about 20 projects spanning all five major leagues.
All told, CAA Icon now has 77 full-time employees under the direction of Tim Romani, the firm’s founder and chairman, according to the company’s website. Romani has 30 years of experience dating to construction of the Chicago White Sox ballpark, now Guaranteed Rate Field.