Tag: Generation Next Awards

Generation Next: Michael Owens

Assistant General Manager, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, SMG Michael Owens learned early on how to pamper touring acts, a skill that helps him stay on the competitive edge as the assistant general manager of Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Oklahoma City arena is in direct competition with the BOK Center in Tulsa, so taking care of artists and their management teams is a high priority for Owens in trying to lure them to his venue. “You’d be shocked at the amount of capital you can buy with some of these touring acts by taking a little extra effort to show them hospitality and take care of them,” Owens said. “You have to roll out the red carpet and take care of these people.” His strategy has worked, and he’s one of VenuesNow’s GenerationNext winners in part because he and his team helped the 18,200-capacity arena achieve record concert ticket sales in […]

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Next Question: Customer Service

Customer service touches nearly everyone’s job. On the other side, we all get the chance to be customers ourselves. Here’s who our Generation Next honorees thought of when we asked them to name a company in any sector that does it right (outside of their own, of course!). Andrew Saunders: Article.com, a furniture company. Brittanie Delava: Nordstrom loyalist over here … you can return anything! Corey Margolis: Starbucks. David Garcia: Disney Cruise Line — there is no experience like it. They make everyone feel like a VIP and you build real relationships with the staff. Joe Dolan: Chick-fil-A. Keller Taylor: Disney’s emphasis on and commitment to great customer service is unmatched and should be the barometer for our and other industries. Lisa Niess: The Parasole Group owns several of our favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities. They do an excellent job with service across each of the different brands and […]

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Generation Next: Keller Taylor

District General Manager, Spectra Venue Management; General Manager, Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Colo. Keller Taylor has two passions: large live entertainment facilities and the people who work in them.  At age 34, Taylor is the general manager of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo., for Spectra as well as a district general manager, assigned to three of Spectra’s Texas venues — in Beaumont, Kerrville and Robstown — plus five other buildings in Kansas, Nebraska and New Mexico. “I think the thing that most interested me in taking on the DGM role was learning more about people management, as well as working with clients on how to drive value through resources on the Spectra side,” Taylor said. “Interpersonal communication and talking to people are what I do. I value my ability to get our GMs to get connected internally or get them booking contacts. Anything I can do to help […]

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Generation Next: Corey Margolis

General Manager for Angel of the Winds Arena, Everett, Wash., Spectra Corey Margolis loves getting a sense of the market before he kicks in with creativity. He’s done just that in Everett, Wash., as general manager of Angel of the Winds Arena, not only getting to know his market north of Seattle but also having some big victories along the way.  Margolis, 30, an eight-year veteran of Spectra, has served in the 10,000-capacity arena for about a year, his first stint as a general manager. Along the way he’s landed the WNBA’s Seattle Storm for home dates, drawn the Live Nation Backstreet Boys show for July and worked with the arena’s naming-rights partner — a casino about 20 miles from the arena — to promote Toby Keith for an August show.  Getting there, though, was about “figuring out what works.”  “It always takes time to get a sense of the market, […]

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Generation Next: Lisa Niess

Marketing and Communications Manager, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, SMG When Lisa Niess was a student at Iowa State, she landed an internship at Stephens Auditorium, a 2,700-plus capacity theater on the university’s campus. Before the experience, she’d never considered a career working at venues, but her eyes were soon opened to the possibilities. “It didn’t take me long to realize how cool it was to be there on show night and to see the theater fill up with people excited to be there,” she said. “They’re taking a break from whatever else is going on in their lives to spend time with family and friends and to relax and enjoy themselves. And I realized quickly that that’s where I wanted to be.” Today, Niess, marketing and communications manager for U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, helps create those enduring experiences for fans for the largest events in the business, ranging from the […]

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Generation Next: Mike Melisi

Aramark’s General Manager for Fenway Park, Boston  Aramark executive Mike Melisi has been a fixture at Fenway Park for 13 years, ever since he was hired on the spot as an intern in the company’s finance department. Melisi, 33, now serves as the concessionaire’s general manager at the historic ballpark, home of the Boston Red Sox. It’s a position he has held since midway through the 2017 season after being promoted from senior controller. It all started in the spring of 2006. Marco DePalma, a friend and Suffolk University student (now a police officer), had just landed an operations internship with Aramark. DePalma contacted Melisi and gave him a tip that the food vendor had a finance internship to fill over the summer.  “On his first day, he called me and said if I could make it down to Fenway within an hour I’d have the job,” Melisi said. “I […]

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Next Question: Best Professional Decision

Maybe it was a career choice, to go instead of staying. Perhaps it was taking a risk, not knowing how it might pay off. And maybe it was incorporating a concept that made a whole operation run better. That’s what we wanted to know when we asked Generation Next honorees about a decision that made a difference for them. Andrew Saunders: To get back into booking after being on the road as a tour accountant. Brittanie Delava: Saying yes to every opportunity at the beginning of my career. Without going out of my comfort zone a few times on tour or working for free just to gain experience, there is no way I’d be where I am now. Corey Margolis: Accepting an event manager position in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. David Garcia: When I was at Disney, I had the opportunity to work on the MyMagic+ project on the finance […]

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Generation Next: David Garcia

Vice President of Guest Experience, Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena David Garcia leaned on his personal Disney experience to help transform the culture for three big league teams in his hometown of Atlanta.  In his role as vice president of guest experience for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, Garcia touches all aspects of event operations after the NBA team combined its premium and guest services departments into one group under Hawks owner Tony Ressler.  The Hawks hired Garcia after he spent about three years as director of fan experience for AMB Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC of MLS, and operator of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For Garcia, 33, the common thread for both positions was The Walt Disney Co., where he took a job out of college as a financial analyst in Orlando. Over the past 20 years, multiple teams have […]

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Generation Next: Joe Dolan

Assistant General Manager, Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C. When Joe Dolan was in high school in Chester County, Pa., he dreamed of becoming the general manager of an NHL team, preferably the nearby Philadelphia Flyers. His brother played youth hockey with the son of Peter Luukko, a longtime executive with the Flyers and Comcast Spectacor, and Dolan had the opportunity to ask Luukko for career advice. Luukko, now executive chairman of the Florida Panthers, advised him to start on the venues side of the business, because he “would get to work with a lot of different people and learn about a lot of different things,” Dolan said. (Luukko also now holds a position with Oak View Group, owner of VenuesNow.) Between his love of sports and his love of live music, Dolan didn’t need much more encouragement than that. Years later, he is not yet calling the shots for the […]

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Generation Next: Brittanie Delava

Director of Club and Theater Touring, AEG Presents As director of club and theater touring at AEG Presents, Brittanie Delava plays a critical role in optimizing the programming and strategy of the promoter’s ever-growing portfolio of venues. “I wear many hats,” said Delava, 32, who joined AEG in early 2016 and assumed her current role a year later. “I am the go-between between agents and our local talent buyers — so, figuring out how to take an artist’s vision for what they want to do and use AEG’s resources to execute it.” Given that AEG’s list of partnerships with regional promoters and venues — not to mention AEG-backed rooms themselves — seems to grow with every passing week, Delava’s role is a substantial one. “I’m talking to the buyers for all these venues every single day,” she said. “A lot of what I’m doing is figuring out how to adapt what […]

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Generation Next: Meghan Blood

Director of Marketing, BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla., SMG When Meghan Blood was the interim director of marketing at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., the arena was in the middle of managing seven shows with Garth Brooks.  She desperately wanted the permanent position as director of marketing, and she believes her leadership during that moment helped her land the job. “One of the things I love about BOK and (arena operator) SMG as a whole is they’re very good about promoting within. I had a good feeling I’d get the job, but I think it played a big part in me getting that promotion,” she said.  She’s been the director of marketing for almost five years now and continues to impress her peers, bosses and those who work with her industrywide.  “She’s probably one of the calmest senior leaders I have. She’s so calm in the middle of chaos. She never […]

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