Author: Dave Brooks
Date: April 18,2007

LAS VEGAS — When it comes to entertainment, there is nowhere
in the U.S. that does it bigger and better than Las Vegas, the
location of IAAM’s District 4, 6 and 7 combined meeting. From
April 13 to 16, venue managers, their staff and sales personnel
gathered at the Orleans Hotel and its attached Orleans Arena, which
served as a backdrop for the event.About 205 participants
pre-registered for the conference, which included a full day of
core-track training on Administration and Fiscal management, Sales
and Marketing, Facility Services and Operations and Leadership.
With stadiums making a poor showing at this year’s meeting,
the most lively discussion took place at the arena roundtable,
moderated by Trey Bell, the Everett (Wash.) Events Center’s
assistant general manager for Global Spectrum.Bell said the Everett
Events Center is looking at a proposal to switch from halogen light
bulbs to a more environmentally friendly format that uses much less
energy. “As far I can tell, we’re the first building to
do this and I was wondering if anyone else had tried something
similar before,” Bell said. No one had implemented the new
system, which will be paid for with government funds, but the
question prompted a large discussion about relationships with local
authorities and governments. The only thing that seemed to stay the
same across the board was that nothing was the same.When it comes
to hiring police, Bell said his company was expected to pay an
overtime rate to officers and to police management, which usually
included a sergeant or in some cases, a lieutenant. Chuck Walters
at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas said his facility pays the going rate
for police, while Michael Dils at Cox Arena in San Diego said he
usually paid the hourly rate, but that wasn’t necessarily a
good thing.“Since we are a campus at a state university, we
fall under the authority of the state and can’t receive fire
marshal inspections from local authorities,” he said.
“That means we have to use the state fire marshal, who lives
several hours from the campus. Whenever we need an inspection, we
have to pay her an hourly rate from the minute she leaves her house
to the minute she returns at night.”All the news wasn’t
so dreary. Live Nation’s Michael Enoch is back in his
hometown of Las Vegas working as the company’s director of
venue design and construction, heading up the expansion of the
House of Blues brand as well as efforts to expand the Fillmore
brand. He said his company is pushing forward with plans to extend
chapter meetings in U.S. cities with House of Blues clubs.Orleans
Arena Operations Director Damian Costa showcased the 9,500-seat
building on a series of tours of the self-managed facility, which
also hosted the closing reception. The Orleans Arena is home to the
Las Vegas Wranglers ice hockey team, as well as the Gladiators
Indoor Football team. With concerts, Costa estimated the arena held
about 180 events per year.“We’re definitely going after
the locals crowd, and what’s nice about being aligned with a
hotel and casino company is that we can have those extra amenities
to really improve our overall experience,” he said. —
Dave BrooksInterviewed for this story: Trey Bell, (425) 322-2607;
Michael Enoch, (702) 632-7610; Michael Dils, (619) 594-3533; Damian
Costa, (702) 365