Below is the official voting ballot for the 10th Annual VenuesNow Generation Next Awards “Social” recipient.  Subscribers, please vote using the email sent directly to you, which will be used to announce the “Readers’ Choice” recipient. Generation Next is open to any individual 35 years or under who is currently working or is affiliated with the venue/facility side of the live entertainment business.

Winners of the Generation Next Awards will be highlighted in the June 2020 issue of VenuesNow. Voting will be accepted through April 17, 2020.

Please review the list of candidates below and cast your ballot by selecting the nominee of your choice at the bottom of the page. Information on the nominees was provided by nominators and has been edited for length and clarity. All nominations submitted to VenuesNow were reviewed by editorial staff.

Voting on this page will be for the 2020 “Social” recipient, an award voted on by the industry at large. There will be 10 awardees, including one Readers’ Choice awardee and one Social awardee.

2020 Generation Next nominees:

Connor Fitzpatrick
Executive Director
25-29 years old

Connor Fitzpatrick couples his background in emergency medical services with his extensive experience in venue operations to build strategic partnerships with venues, festivals, and theaters. Connor has served as medical operations director for some of the world’s largest events, including Burning Man, the U.S. Open, Madison Square Garden, Chase Center, and Yankee Stadium. Additionally, Connor is an internationally recognized speaker on event safety and medical services and has appeared on CNN’s “This Is Life With Lisa Ling,” International Mass Gathering Medicine Conference Jeddah, at the Event Safety Summit, EMS World Conference, Mass Gathering Medicine Summit, Live Design International, and is guest faculty for the International Association of Venue Managers and their Academy for Venue Safety and Security.

William Bridwell
Club Owner and Talent Buyer
Airbound Entertainment and The Blue Room
30-35 years old

William Bridwell owns Airbound Entertainment and is a partner of The Blue Room, in Statesboro, Ga. William, single-handed, revived the live entertainment scene in Statesboro. His work with Airbound created a platform for live music to thrive in the community, leading to a partnership opening The Blue Room, which in its first year and a half has already taken awards for Best Live Music Venue and Best Dance Club by Statesboro Magazine. He also buys talent for private events, primarily in the college realm, all over the Southeast and Midwest. I think these accomplishments are only the beginning for William!

Chris Corl
General Manager
Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville
30-35 years old

Chris has transformed a former Civic Center into a regional entertainment center. In the past year he negotiated and secured $7.6 million in sponsorship agreements, received the 2020 WNC Red Cross Disaster Response Hero Award and received an Asheville 40 Under 40 award. He has worked for the venue for over seven years and taken their annual budget from around $2 million to over $5 million. He’s been responsible for big change in the concert and sporting events that come through Asheville. Chris manages the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville, which includes the Arena and the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.

Sean Dolan
General Manager, MassMutual Center
25-29 years old

In less than two years at the helm of the MassMutual Center, Sean has driven measurable results that resulted in two of the best financial performances in facility history. Highlights during this time included four consecutive sellouts for Aerosmith and a sold-out Cher concert that produced over $1 million in ticket sales for the first time in facility history. These events now rank as the five highest-grossing events in facility history. In addition to his efforts with arena programming, Dolan has championed new business in the facility’s convention center, utilizing existing relationships and cultivating new opportunities alongside MGM Springfield.

Nick Vaerewyck
SVP, Programming and Business Operations
NYCB Live: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
30-35 years old

Nick Vaerewyck, senior vice president of programming and business operations at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, oversees programming, marketing, sales, and communications for the Long Island, N.Y., venue. Vaerewyck previously served as VP of programming ahead of Nassau Coliseum’s reopening in 2017. Prior to that, as senior director of programming, he managed the venue’s programming calendar, including concerts, sports events, family shows, and Exhibition Hall bookings. Before joining Nassau Coliseum, Vaerewyck spent a decade at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, where he managed more than 130 sports, concert, and family events annually.

Samantha Zastrow
Senior Event Manager, U.S. Bank Stadium
ASM Global
30-35 years old

I had the pleasure of working with Samantha for several years at the AT&T Center where she was my event management contact. She handled all situations with a professionalism, tact and level of organization far beyond her years, and was constantly learning. She bettered herself through IAVM Venue Management School and was deservedly named to their 30 Under 30. I was personally saddened to see her go this year, but so thrilled for her move from arena to stadium as she took her skills to an even bigger stage. She has an ability to patiently implement change and create organizational processes, and is making her mark on Minneapolis.

Damien Rogers
General Manager
25-29 years old

He has far exceeded the expectations we had for the live music end of our business. He has proved to be very professional with the booking and advancing of shows. I get calls from bands after playing our venue and we get praise as we treat the artist with respect and professional courtesy.  He is a musician that understands the business from the loading dock to the soundboard and everything in between. A graduate of Lee University. He is on the road to be the best of the best in the live music venue arena.

Bret Jenkins
Director of Operations, Canalta Centre
ASM Global
30-35 years old

Bret has been working at major sport and event arenas for over 12 years — he began as an arena operator at 18. Since then he has been instrumental in three facilities and three different provinces in helping to run the operational side of events. In his current role he is known as the “guy in the suit driving the zamboni.” He efficiently runs his team and his department so that every detail is taken care of. He is extremely knowledgeable of ice building and maintenance, building operation systems, and all of the intricacies of running  a 7,000 seat arena in the most efficient way. He is here for every event — never wavering when the needs of this crazy world demand that he be here for long days followed by an early morning and then a repeat of that a day later. He can be counted on as the voice of authority in emergencies, as well as being the leader that his team looks to for direction. At 31 years old, he has a very bright future in this industry.

Kyle LaValley
Talent Buyer
Sleeping Village
30-35 years old

Since becoming Sleeping Village’s talent buyer in the fall of 2018, Kyle has doubled the venue’s ticket revenue and been instrumental in establishing Sleeping Village as one of the country’s premier live music venues and event promoters. Her ear for music and penchant for discovering breakout artists have made SV an arbiter of taste, and on top of that, she is also responsible for steering the venue’s marketing and production teams. She’s an all-star.

Gina Molina
Senior Manager, Ticketing Services
Dallas Summer Musicals
30-35 years old

Gina Molina was hired a little over a year ago by Dallas Summer Musicals at a time where the organization was restructuring itself. Right from the start, she started with a five-weeks run of Hamilton that required her to spend her days and night overseeing the day to day operations, patron services and financial settlements. A true trial by fire. Since, she has trained and hired staff members to expand the box office operation and provide greater service to its patrons, established an off-site box office during a run of “The Band’s Visit” at AT&T Performing Arts Center and taken an active role to ensure patron safety during the recent outbreak. Gina has been an essential part of Dallas Summer Musicals’ success.

Brooke Bockelman
Vice President, Booking and Events
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
30-35 years old

Brooke Bockelman was named vice president, booking and events for Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in March 2019. Joining the organization from Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment just months prior to the completion of RMFH’s $185 million transformation in September 2019, Brooke played a central role in the grand reopening of Cleveland’s newly modernized world-class venue. At just 32, Brooke’s leadership and commitment to execute at the highest level has elevated her rise to becoming one of the most successful professionals in the industry. Brooke masterfully manages all aspects of booking for one of the busiest venues in the country. She is responsible for scheduling and managing RMFH’s complex calendar of over 200 ticketed and 1,400 private events that includes the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and AHL Cleveland Monsters games, in addition to other sports, entertainment and private functions. She also works with community leaders on bidding to bring national events to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. In the last year, Bockelman has secured bookings for highly sought shows including Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, The Lumineers, Tool, Foo Fighters and Rage Against the Machine. Bockelman oversees a team dedicated to banquet and meeting room sales, client event execution and concert ticket sales and is a member of the Cavaliers Inclusion, Diversity, Engagement & Leadership team. In 2016, Brooke was the recipient of the International Association of Venue Managers’ 30 Under 30 Club. Brooke is a total pro who is talented beyond her years. She approaches every conversation with the right mix of professionalism, personality, and a positive attitude.

Cindy Huang
Junior Talent Buyer
Nederlander Concerts
30-35 years old

Cindy Huang started as an intern with Nederlander Concerts in 2011, jumping into action at the sold-out Adele concert at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Within months she was hired full time as a talent buying assistant and then promoted to junior talent buyer. In 2017, Cindy booked her first show, which was Trevor Noah the famous comedian and host of Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles. Since then, she has booked notable artists across California, including Joe Bonamassa, Sara Bareilles, Darren Criss, Hasan Minhaj, and Gabriel Iglesias, among others. Cindy has generated nearly $2 million in gross ticket revenue, with 33,000+ in ticket sales. This year, Cindy expanded her booking footprint nationally with A.R. Rahman at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.  Additionally, she remains at the forefront of researching industry trends and has been instrumental in booking nontraditional events.

Kate Dordick
Director of Booking, PPG Paints Arena
ASM Global
30-35 years old

Under Kate’s booking direction, the Spectrum Center in Charlotte had its best year in 2019 before she left to pursue another opportunity at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Before leaving Charlotte, she started a women’s empowerment initiative that began including local, female-owned businesses providing back of house activations for tours.

Tucker Lougee
Director of Events and Operations, Utah Valley Convention Center
30-35 years old

Tucker defines what it means to be a people leader. He is one of the few people that I have come across in this industry than is able to manage the FOH as well as the BOH masterfully. His personality and passion for events have his clients raving about working with him yet his knowledge, understanding and attention to detail make him a huge asset in our management of our building systems and operations. And yet his strongest and most admirable trait may be his humility, always looking to lift and recognize others.

Adam Armit
Marketing Manager, Live Entertainment
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
25-29 years old

Adam Armit is where strategy, creativity, and executional excellence intersect. Adam handles a wide range of responsibilities for us here at MLSE. From working alongside our tours to ensure full houses and best in class fan and artist experiences, he has also revolutionized our digital platforms to drive even greater marketing return for the events we host and our partners, helped bring to life a new record-setting venue naming rights partnership with Scotiabank Arena, and is paramount in working with our executive teams to drive the launch strategy behind our new member clubs and venues. Above all of that, he is a tremendous, thoughtful team leader for his staff. He is called upon to oversee an incredibly wide range of responsibilities in a market that is pressure filled and unforgiving of even the smallest mistakes. Forget the next generation. Adam Armit is best in class today.

Seth Tackett
Event Manager
Memphis Grizzlies / FedEx Forum
25-29 years old

Seth started with the Memphis Grizzlies and FedEx Forum about two years ago. He came to FedEx Forum from the Liacouras Center at Temple University in Philadelphia. Seth immediately made a great impact at FedEx Forum by taking over as event manager for all of the Memphis Grizzlies home basketball games as well as event manager for many major concerts that have come through FedEx Forum the last few years. Seth has done an amazing job with helping to streamline and improve our staffing and operating procedures for all areas (guest services, security, housekeeping) and has found ways to cut our costs to save the company a significant amount of money. We have additional cost savings measures that we will be implementing in the 2020-21 NBA season that were suggested by Seth. Some of the concerts/events that Seth has overseen while at FedEx Forum: Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” tour, Chris Stapleton, Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Farewell Play Tour,” the 2019 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, Zac Brown Band, New Kids on the Block, Yo Gotti’s Annual Birthday Bash (three years), The Backstreet Boys, Bob Seger, Tool and Post Malone. Seth does an amazing job for us and has definitely led the way in improving the level of service and performance at FedEx Forum.

Kaaj Patel
Account Coordinator
Bauer Entertainment Marketing
20-24 years old

Kaaj has delivered extremely effective marketing campaigns that generated as high as 59X ROI for Hobart Arena, Brown County Music Center, Honeywell Center, Anderson Paramount Theatre, Clowes Memorial Hall, and many more.

Jake Nishimura
Director of Digital Marketing
Messina Touring Group
30-35 years old

We hired Jake when none of knew or understood digital marketing — and I feel like we cannot live without him now. He directs the placement and the creative of all digital outreaches, helps us form cool partnerships, and leads his department of three.  Beyond all the creative, his team developed an internal system for us to track ticketing which we all adore — it’s easy to use and full of info. And finally, he’s been able to educate the older (ahem – me) folks in the office so I actually know what I’m talking about. Oh, and he’s a great, fun human even though he’s addicted to diet Sunkist.

Chris McGrail
Director of Ticketing, Cross Insurance Center, and Regional Director of Group Sales
30-35 years old

Nominating Chris McGrail for the 2020 Generation Next Awards. A nearly seven-year veteran of Spectra Venue Management at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine, Chris has done an outstanding job in his time with Spectra, serving in multiple roles at his venue as well as a leadership role with Spectra corporate. In addition to running the box office and selling group tickets at his venue, Chris for the last year has served as regional director of group sales, assisting in the oversight and management of the the group sales portion of the Spectra box office, marketing and sales department. Venue responsibilities includes managing all box office operations, including show builds, show settlement and event management. Venue responsibilities also includes group and premium sales in the form of traditional group sales, packaging and asset sales for the various events they host in Bangor. Regional corporate responsibilities include, alongside three other sales regionals, the implementation of best practices, sales training and support of our nearly 40 sales reps from around the company in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to everything else, Chris participated and completed the leadership training program offered by Spectra this past season, expanding his knowledge base as a current and future leader of the company. Chris does everything and does everything very well.

Kieley Crisp
Director of Client Success
25-29 years old

EventBooking is a software as a service company specializing in online booking software for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, performing arts centers, and more. We take pride in the clients we serve, who oversee the many moving parts that make a concert, conference, or sporting event possible.  To organize these moving parts, reliable software is key. But any software is only as reliable as the customer support behind it — individuals that provide exemplary service when the technology alone cannot. One such individual is Kieley Crisp, who is the embodiment of humble leadership and exemplary service to this industry. Kieley joined EventBooking in 2016 as a client success advocate, answering phone calls and providing technical assistance to our customers. As our latest software platform debuted in 2017 and became more popular, our company gained more customers and employees at an accelerated rate. In this time of rapid growth, EventBooking needed an individual to spearhead client service efforts and Kieley stepped up to the challenge. In early 2020 she became the director of client services and began to lead our Client Success Team, which serves over 1,000 venues internationally and over 12,000 individual users. Kieley prioritizes genuine relationships with coworkers and clients alike and strives to know more than their immediate technical difficulties. She often travels to meet with clients in person to perform more in-depth training at their venue, and is always challenging our team to stay abreast of best practices and innovative tools.

Aaron Hurt
Executive Director
Butler Arts & Events Center
30-35 years old

In early 2019, Aaron was named executive director of the Butler Arts & Event Center, a complex of Butler University’s five performing arts venues including the flagship Clowes Memorial Hall. Aaron is not only the youngest person to hold this leadership position in the more than 55 year history of Clowes, but also one of the youngest in the country to be in an executive level position in venue management. It is evident through his work ethic that Aaron is committed to bolstering the city of Indianapolis through bringing in artists for all communities, high level entertainment, and support of our local arts organizations that need a place to perform, and he was recently recognized in the 2020 class of Forty Under 40 for the Indianapolis Business Journal. Before officially being named the permanent executive director in early 2019, Aaron held the interim position starting as the 2018 performing arts series kicked off. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, Aaron managed to complete the year significantly under budget, with the most favorable end of year financials that Clowes had seen in over 15 years. At the same time as he’s navigated through a highly successful fiscal year, he was charged with leading the university’s Conference & Events team, responsible for event planning and space leasing throughout campus, including guest housing. With this move, Aaron created the Butler Arts & Events Center moniker to reflect a cohesive department but also show the community the vast offerings for events at Butler University. With a combined budget of more than $4.5 million, the event business is a significant enterprise on campus.

Alayna Best
Social Media and Marketing Director
20-24 years old

Alayna was recently promoted to the position of social media and marketing director at Songbirds but has worked in the business for four years. Not only does she promote Songbirds’ concerts and events to our community, but she encourages the preservation of music history and diversity of music knowledge within the community through the guitar museum, attached to the venue. Because our city of Chattanooga is so close to Nashville, many discount our contributions to the music culture in the Southeast. However, with Alayna’s contributions to our business and to our city, Songbirds is able to flourish by emphasizing and enhancing the music culture in our city and in our region.

LaRaisha Dionne
Director of Operations
The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College
30-35 years old

LaRaisha Dionne has competence, drive, enthusiasm and an unwavering willingness to take on new challenges. Though her official title is director of operations, it actually encompasses far more than most would expect. Over the last year, she has assisted in implementing a new ticketing platform; sourced and implemented new management software; overseen a team which has grown concessions sales into a major revenue stream; overseen the expansion of our Americans with Disabilities Act offerings, including getting a professional American Sign Language interpreter on staff. She also directly supervises the team that handles both artist and guest services, which have developed a significant reputation in the industry. Our executive director was attending a booking conference in Asia, and people attending the conference told him that they had heard of The Wilson Center — from artists who had performed in our venue (artists from Asia and around the world)! She and her team have been directly responsible for The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College having a worldwide reputation.

Lucas Sacks
Senior Talent Buyer
Brooklyn Bowl
30-35 years old

Lucas has continually provided a level of professionalism and passion for his work that is second to none. Brooklyn Bowl has been more successful each year in huge part thanks to Lucas and the immense amount of work that he does.

Troy Lusk
30-35  years old

Troy is one of the best new agents to work with. He is developing a number of great new artists that are quickly becoming headliners. From The Frights, The Garden, Eliza and The Delusionals, and TV Girl.

Julia Heath
Director of Visual Marketing
25-29 years old

Ever since adding Julia to the team at Harlow’s, we have been the only venue in our market who has been able to grow. We are one of the largest independent venues in our market and have been able to completely rebrand and transform our upstairs space into a full-time music venue as well. If it weren’t for her as a part of the team, we wouldn’t see said growth and that second venue would not exist as it does today.

Lauren Spahn
Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP
30-35 years old

Lauren is the youngest partner at a large firm practicing entertainment law. Lauren represents talent buyers, promoters, and venues in all matters pertaining to live events. In the past 12 months Lauren has been elevated to partner because of her ability to generate new business and grow existing clients while maintaining strong relationships in all facets of the music business. Lauren was also nominated and selected as a finalist for the Nashville Emerging Leaders Award in 2019. Lauren also received Nashville’s 30 under 30 Award in 2019 for her dedication and contributions to the Nashville community.

Patrick Van Wagoner
Talent Buyer
Lincoln Hall + Schubas
30-35 years old

Patrick is an empathetic leader who consistently makes the effort to help others around him. His job title is talent buyer for Lincoln Hall, but that title doesn’t take into account how much this one guy does for all of us on a daily basis. The passion and focus he brings to work every day never ceases to inspire me. Patrick is the bomb and also a huge sweetie.


Sibyl Kemp
Showroom Manager
Motorco Music Hall / Duke Performances
25-29 years old

Sibyl is one of a kind! She deeply cares about her profession and always goes above and beyond to make sure everyone and everything is taken care of. Her attention to detail is key, and there have been countless time that tour managers, band members, venue owners, customers and employees had felt necessary to tell us how awesome Sibyl is. From advancing the show to settling up an the end of the night and everything in between, she took care of it. Sibly is a rock star!

Becca Higgins
Talent Buyer
Blue Note Entertainment Group
25-29 years old

Becca Higgins books at least six venues at a time for Blue Note Entertainment while being sure to add on one-off events and local community projects to her agenda as well. She is the primary talent buyer for the Blue Note Hawaii and Jam Cellars Ballroom in Napa, Calif., and co-buyer for Sony Hall in New York City, The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the Blue Note Jazz Fest in NYC. She also was the opening buyer for Blue Note Rio and Blue Note Napa (which she booked from 2016 opening to 2019 and still contributes to), and she routes shows out to Blue Notes in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo. She also booked shows at Highline Ballroom, Subrosa and BB King’s Blues Club in NYC before their closing. In 2019 she spoke at SponsorshipX in Nashville on leveraging strategic partnerships for small venues, at FestForums in Santa Barbara on modern music festival booking and was on the XLive Executive Visionary Committee. She co-produces an intimate Brooklyn-based concert series called Space and is working on a new project called Anti-Viral which will directly support local venues, artists, and promoters in NYC during the COVID-19 crisis.

Alex Evans
Brand Manager
Lucid Light Lounge
20-24 years old

Following the completion of his bachelor’s degree in May of 2019 (Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design), Alex Evans has committed the majority of his time towards developing innovative nightlife events, curating national talent and marketing said events. Alex is currently the youngest nightclub manager (at Lucid Light Lounge) in the city of Milwaukee, possibly the state of Milwaukee, and has been actively working in nightlife (concerts, nightclub, photography, videography, advertising, radio) for the last six years. His experience thus far has positioned him to be sought after by multiple markets and a strong model for students and youth to break through into the entertainment market. Already in 2020 Alex has debuted a new black light party, “Glow4ever,” that has gained national attention. Additionally, through unique advertising methods, he has been able to bring Lucid 60% more online interaction resulting in a 25% increase in online sales whilst utilizing the same budget. Alex has a unique ability to analyze his surrounding market in order to create events and promote shows that engage the community and leave lasting impressions. Every night is “the night,” whether that is managing Lucid Light Lounge or working on a personal event. His mind continues to operate around the clock, leaving his team inspired, energized and prepared for the future of entertainment and nightlife.

Maria Rainsdon
General Manager, Grand Junction Convention Center and Avalon Theatre
Oak View Group
30-35 years old

Maria has been making a positive impact on the live entertainment and hospitality industry for over 10 years. Most recently, as the general manager of the Grand Junction Convention Center and Avalon Theatre, and event booker for the Amphitheatre at Las Colonias Park, she has helped to bring significant change to the live entertainment business in the region and the venues she oversees.  Since arriving in Grand Junction, Maria grew the frequency and diversity of events at the Avalon Theatre resulting in a 300% increase from 2017 to 2019 and the most sold-out events in venue history. The amphitheater, which opened in 2018, is on pace to host 22 events this year. With support from her team and area partners, they have created several events for the Western Slope region, including consumer shows, an annual biker rally, and food & beverage festivals, to name a few. Additionally, she has increased revenue, streamlined processes, and aligned with local partners to improve the venue’s overall operations. Maria transformed unused space to create a rooftop entertainment destination that showcases local talent. In just a few short years, with her guidance and expertise, she helped to cut the city’s subsidy in half annually.

Casey Cormier
Events Manager
The Cabot Theatre
20-24 years old

Casey Cormier at age 24 managed over 150 live events at the Cabot in the last year. As events manager, she advances the artists’ needs with tour managers, handles artist hospitality and guest lists, is the liaison between the artists and front of house staff and settles most shows at the end of the night. She’s also been our promoter rep at events we have been presenting at other venues. She’s a rock star.

Billy Langenstein
Director of Security Services and Investigation
30-35 years old

Billy was named to the security industry’s 30 under 30 for being an advocate in demonstrating leadership within the industry. He takes the time to learn about technology and how best to implement and create solutions that work with every facet of his business. His ability to network and connect makes him a highly respected individual within his organization and the industry. Billy was the NFL security lead for Super Bowl LIV in Miami and demonstrated outstanding leadership and support which led to the success of the America biggest sporting event.  He coordinated a massive interagency operation which geographically covered all of Dade County. Billy currently oversee the NFL Security operations for the Western region and built a fan conduct platform for all 32 NFL clubs to analyze game-day trends. I’ve never witnesses an individual with a higher level of work ethic, dedication, and integrity than Billy. Billy opened U.S. Bank Stadium and, in the process, created protocols and procedures under which we all operate for best practice values.

Craig Manfra
Director of Marketing, The Rooftop at Pier 17
Howard Hughes Corp.
30-35 years old

Craig is a superstar and exemplifies the determination, adaptability and tactical thinking today’s marketer needs to really differentiate their entertainment venue from others in a meaningful way. In the nation’s most competitive market, Craig launched The Rooftop at Pier 17, which translated to being named Pollstar’s 2018 Best New Concert Venue, but with a never satisfied attitude he pushed for ways to improve in 2019 and ensure a bigger and better second Summer Concert Series. After doubling the number of programmed concerts from last year, Craig reacted by executing an impactful integrated marketing campaign that drove 32 of the hosted 41 shows to sell out! Additionally, finding creative ways to enhance the fan experience while producing revenue generating opportunities, Craig introduced two new premium ticket products in 2019. First, the Heineken Green Zone, a reserved fan section with prime location near stage, sold 97% of its inventory. And second, the Bridge Lounge, an add-on option available to purchase for access to the rooftop’s ultimate hideaway hangout, sold over 3,000 passes. Craig has managed the marketing process between promoter Live Nation and HHC for its third season. He manages the branding and works hand in hand with Live Nation to optimize media and messaging. Becoming a “bucket list” live concert destination, the venue was even recognized as VenuesNow’s inaugural Club All-Star award. Learning from his time at Barclays Center, I know Craig genuinely values doing the behind-the-scenes work that makes a difference in providing a memorable experience to guests and artists a like. On top of the concerts, Craig also launched Pier 17’s Winterland Ice Rink which the rooftop space transitions to in the colder months.

Nathaniel Porter
Director of Event Services, Chesapeake Energy Arena
ASM Global
30-35 years old

Nathaniel came to Oklahoma City with years of experience and has been an incredible asset to our team. He has expanded our Event Services department’s relationship with other departments as well as our major tenant — the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has helped build the reputation of a top arena to tours with our incredible staff and hospitality. And — probably the most difficult task — he led company initiatives in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Not only did he work to collect information from all the tasks implemented during the virus attack, but he also helped lead collecting data and making plans for all hourly staff and distributing supplemental income during the time our arena did not have events. He is genuinely liked by everyone around him and has been a great leader during an unprecedented time in the industry.

Dan Bain
Director of Booking & Events
Hornets Sports & Entertainment
30-35 years old

Dan has been with the organization since 2009 and became director of events in 2017 before adding booking to his responsibilities in 2019. In this role, Dan balances the needs and requests of the Hornets and the NBA, concert and event promoters, and other clients in order to provide the best mix of content for the arena. During his tenure with the organization, he has established a reputation for excellence in executing events, which in 2019 alone ranged from NBA All-Star Weekend to the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament to the highest-profile concerts such as Justin Timberlake, Pink and more. In the year since Dan has taken over booking, Spectrum Center has seen increased diversity and variety of events, including a sold-out crowd for Marc Anthony in our first concert in the Latin genre, and has continued to grow its reputation as an elite venue with promoters and production teams. His extensive knowledge of event production and building operations, along with his meticulous attention to detail, allows Spectrum Center to provide exceptional service to each show that comes to the venue. Dan is a team player and an outstanding communicator, providing clear directions and expectations that allow all arena staff to be as prepared as possible in the often-unpredictable live event business. This leads to a smooth and enjoyable experience for promoters, which encourages them to return to Spectrum Center in the future.

David McKay
30-35 years old

Seated is a rapidly growing, profitable, beloved solution for artist- and venue-specific ticketing. And thanks to amazing planning and supportive investors, Seated is here for the long haul. When live events come roaring back, Seated will be there for artists and venues. David is a forward-thinking leader when it comes to ticketing and live events. He’s focused on building innovative technology to make our industry even better both for the artist and the fans.

Keitha Spears
Director of Marketing
Billy Bob’s Texas
30-35 years old

Keitha began her career in 2011 as a part of the marketing team that opened Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in downtown Austin, Texas — the “Live Music Capital of the World.” In November of 2019, following a lengthy process to find the right candidate, Keitha returned to the music industry after a brief hiatus into public education as the director of marketing for Billy Bob’s Texas. The position had been previously held by Pam Minick, a Fort Worth icon, rodeo legend, and Billy Bob’s Texas owner, for almost 30 years. Though Keitha has only been at the helm of The World’s Largest Honky Tonk marketing machine for a few months, she is already racking up some big wins for the club. Billy Bob’s Texas was recently nominated for ACM Club of the Year for the first time since 2013. Before COVID-19 stopped concerts in their tracks, BBT had logged three sold-out shows in the first two months and set the record for bar and restaurants sales. Her collaborative work with other departments led to an award-winning recipe in the Honky Tonk Kitchen and an increase in awareness for this particular revenue stream in the organization. With fresh eyes and new energy, Keitha is wasting no time in telling and selling the story of Billy Bob’s Texas. In her first year, she will plan the 40 Year Anniversary Celebration set to take place throughout 2021.

Alex Wenrich
Senior Event Manager, Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall
Spectra Venue Management
25-29 years old

Alex joined the Spectra Venue Management Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall team two years ago as the assistant manager in the Operations department. At the time, we had two Alexes at Boardwalk Hall. He acquired the nickname “little Alex.” Not sure if he liked it, but he entertained it. “Alex always was the first one in at work to make sure he put out the daily work list for our operations staff and finish up on work that he might have not finished the day before. He always took every task and completed it and still managed to make sure the crew was setting up, cleaning and completed. Alex is one of the most dedicated, hard working individuals in our company, he makes sure to always do his best and gives 100 percent in everything he is involved in,” says D. Peyton, operations manager. A senior event manager position opened in June 2019. We began interviewing outside candidates. One day, we asked Alex, “Would this be something that you may be interested in?” He said, “Sure.” He quickly absorbed this role, learning the logistics of our historic building. Self-taught himself CADD and met with other departments to see their involvement in events at Boardwalk Hall. He was ready and willing to be a “one-man show” for a full lineup of events that ranged from concerts to wrestling tournaments to film taping. Alex navigates the extensive event load in and load outs and schedule coordinating a variety of union teams ensuring that all events are built according to client’s specifications. There were several weeks when Alex worked nonstop without a single day off. He always maintained a smile, exhibited Spectra passion and accountability. Regardless of how tired he may have been from working entire event days ranging between 16 and 18 hours.

Ali Turley
Director of Marketing
Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc.
30-35 years old 

Ali joined Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2014 as marketing coordinator. In 2017, she was promoted to marketing manager and in 2019, she was promoted to director of marketing. Ali has overseen a marketing budget of $1.3 million to advertise and promote a wide range of performances and events at Ruth Eckerd Hall, The Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre and Ruth Eckerd Hall on the Road, representing 405 ticketed events and 280,247 total attendance. She also oversaw $63,000 in Facebook advertising, which generated $1,235,785 in revenue and accumulated 10,599,209 impressions. Recently, industry trade publication Pollstar named Ruth Eckerd Hall the No. 1 venue in Tampa, the No. 3 venue in Florida, the No. 7 venue in the U.S. and the No. 9 venue in the world with 2,500 seats or less. Pollstar named The Bilheimer Capitol Theatre the No. 1 venue in Tampa and Florida, the No. 12 venue in the U.S. and the No. 14 venue in the world with 800 seats or less and named Ruth Eckerd Hall on the Road the No. 49 concert promoter in the country and No. 81 overall in the world. Ali oversaw the marketing campaigns announcing the recently completed $11 million renovation of Ruth Eckerd Hall and for the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts, the performing arts school at Ruth Eckerd Hall helping us to achieve our mission of changing lives through the performing arts. Ali has a dual bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a master’s in marketing from the University of South Florida.

Daniel Romandia
Marketing Director/Talent Buyer/Manager
25-29 years old 

Daniel Romandia started as a marketing intern at Harlow’s in late 2016. Within two years, he was promoted to marketing director and took on a huge chunk of the booking (Harlow’s sees upwards of 500 shows/year in both rooms). When the second room at Harlow’s (The Starlet Room) was rebranded in the summer of 2019, he took on the lead booking role for the room and has consistently filled the calendar with anywhere from three to seven shows a week, all while still booking bands in the larger room, overseeing all marketing efforts and actively pursuing ways to better the oldest independent entertainment venue in Sacramento. Daniel also recently took on the role of daytime manager and oversees all venue operations during the day. If anyone at the venue has a question about absolutely anything, they go to Daniel for the answer. When he’s not at Harlow’s, Daniel is also an active music journalist, with stories frequently being published by local arts and culture publication Submerge Mag. I’ve never known anyone who has their finger on the pulse of the local and international music scene as much as Daniel.

Emily Jensen
Marketing Manager
Tacoma Venues & Events
25-29 years old 

Emily Jensen leads social and digital media and (unofficially) all-things-fun for the Tacoma Venues & Events team (Tacoma Dome and Greater Tacoma Convention Center). Her social content management has resulted in explosive growth in followers. She creates viral videos, handles complaints with aplomb dashed with humor and she is vigilant at keeping fraudulent ticket sellers off our social channels to protect our guests.     Her adventurous spirit led her to participate in an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course and she recently completed a comedy class, culminating in a five-minute original performance at the Tacoma Comedy Club. Her incredible sense of humor makes her not only a joy to work with but someone who connects with our community, promoters, clients and guests. She actively supports employee morale (which is critical more than ever as we experience COVID-19) managing internal communications to our team. She has participated in developing our office’s mission, vision and values and represents our organization in local community groups like the Market the Arts committee. She takes all opportunities to learn and grow, including being an active member of the local Toastmasters chapter, where she serves as VP of PR managing their social presence, recruiting new members and managing the website. In her free time (what?), she volunteers for the local Humane Society and Special Olympics Washington.

Charles Hamilton
Manager, Venue Programming
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
30-35 years old 

Charles started as intern and has now grown to be a integral part of the venue programming team for MLSE, contributing to bookings at all three venues (Scotiabank Arena, Coca-Cola Coliseum, BMO Field) as well as being the scheduling contact for Toronto Rock lacrosse, the Toronto Marlies (AHL) and Toronto FC (MLS). Highlights of the past year include overseeing the first WWE SummerSlam for Toronto, the return of Disney on Ice to Scotiabank Arena and being part of the EAMC local organizing committee for the June 2019 conference. Charles is a highly respected and hard working member of the LIVE events team capable of handling the high volume of new venue inquiries and converting to new business, while maintaining a steady list of clients. Fun fact: He also acts as Adam Silver’s venue guide whenever he is in attendance at games!

Seth Bailey
Director of Technology
BOK Center
30-35 years old 

For championing a complete and full redesign and build-out of BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center’s wired network and infrastructure. Seth completely transformed the venues’ technology into a state-of-the-art, silo-based network design in an unheard of timeline of six months. This project included eight high availability network cores, scalable firewalls, DHCP/DNS appliances and the building’s full edge network. In conjunction with the wired network needs, Seth solely redesigned the Wi-Fi structure in both facilities to better serve the needs of ASM Tulsa’s clients and the ever-growing list of technological demands of world class facilities. He constructed this state-of-the-art High-Density wireless network that is used for both public and private events. The network has the ability to handle over 40,000 concurrent users between both facilities. Seth’s accomplishments within ASM Tulsa are unprecedented for many facilities in the world, and he has grown an in-house technology department in Tulsa to take all IT and AV tasks in-house for clients and tours. Seth is a Large Public Venue Technology expert and professional in every sense of the word, and is also called upon to assist other buildings locally and across the country for ASM Global.

John Griffin
Chief Technology Officer / Co-Founder
30-35 years old

John has helped bring artist ticketing forward leaps and bounds in three short years.  Since launching Seated in 2017, John’s technology team has built software that has become a crucial part of the tour announcement strategy for John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, The Chainsmokers, Harry Styles, Maggie Rogers, and 500+ other artists who use Seated to power their website tour listings and text message ticket alerts.  He’s 35, so it’s his last shot at the award. He deserves it.

Andrew Shreve
Business Development Manager
Cow Palace Arena & Event Center
30-35 years old

Andrew came to work with little experience in the specific role he would be responsible for at the Cow Palace. He has had to take over all the outreach on our social media platforms, learn about the venue to develop new business, give client tours, prepare an RFP/quote for prospective rentals, write contracts, become familiar with CBAs, and has worked with the CEO creating forms/policies to improve efficiency within the event department. He has tirelessly organized and participated in outreach/ marketing events, trainings/webinars/conferences, and networking opportunities. Additionally he participates in industry committees, is enrolled in the IAFE Fair Management training program and will be testing for his CVP at IAVM VenueConnect this fall. Most recently, he unexpectedly had to step up to manage all the duties of Rentals & Contracts for the venue and has done an remarkable job. He took on the challenge wholeheartedly, with limited training and little supervision. Andrew has made huge strides in his knowledge and understanding of departments within the venue. He always has a positive attitude, asks for input of others,  and includes everyone in the team. He is not afraid to learn new skills, make a decision, or make a mistake. He continually strives to learn more, gain new “tools for his toolbox,” and seeks mentorship from a variety of industry individuals. Andrew has developed tremendously in the past year.

Ben Bosse
Vice President of Event Services and Technical Operations
Bridgestone Arena / Nashville Predators
30-35 years old 

Ben Bosse has excelled at every task and assignment during his tenure at Bridgestone Arena. He currently oversees all the event services, technical operations and information technology departments for Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators. He helped coordinate groundbreaking in-game presentation for the Predators’ Stanley Cup Playoffs run. Over the last eight years, Ben has been at the center of Bridgestone Arena’s $70 million in capital improvements. This includes a new center-hung scoreboard and ribbon board system. Also comprehensive Wi-Fi upgrades and expansive security camera upgrades.

Liana Alpino
Social Media/Merchandise Manager
The Bluebird Cafe
25-29 years old 

Liana Alpino started in our admin team in 2017, almost three years ago. Within the first year, she went from being our administrative assistant to managing our merchandise (super critical to our bottom line) and raised our revenue in one year by 25%. Her tactics are inspired and she is always exploring new avenues to continue that success. In early 2019 she took over The Bluebird’s website and social media accounts while continuing to handle our merch. With the new role, she has raised our profile by constant attention and creative inventions. She also assists with our sponsors and creating and maintaining their visibility — critical to sustaining those relationships.  She’s a professional harpist with a full performance calendar, to boot! Liana is a star, and I am eternally grateful to have her on our team — she brings out the best in everyone by being such a shining example.

Rachel Baudhuin
Senior Event Manager
United Center
25-29 years old 

Rachel after arriving at the United Center has brought a “fresh approach” to event operations management, much needed at a venue undergoing restructuring from the top down. She has skillfully managed some of the bigger events there since her arrival, not the least of which was the very successful NBA All-Star Weekend 2020. There are many more to mention, but in the interest of time let me just say from a major promoter in this venue, I feel very secure when Rachel is assigned my events. Thank you, Rachel!