Actor, Singer, Comedian. Currently stars on hit TV series Nashville

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Charles “Chip” Esten grew up in Alexandria, VA.  After starting his acting career in Los Angeles, he was pleased to make his theatrical debut in London, portraying Buddy Holly in the hit West End musical “Buddy.” In that role, he was honored to perform for H.R.M Queen Elizabeth and then, for President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush at both The Kennedy Center and The White House.

Esten currently stars in the hit television series “NASHVILLE” in the role of Deacon Claybourne.  While on "Nashville”, Esten has been honored to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Blue Bird Café, headlining a St. Jude Country Music Marathon Concert at the Bridgestone Arena, and performing on the CMA Fest Riverfront Stage.  In addition, he has starred in the 2014, 2015 , and 2016 “NASHVILLE in Concert” tour with sold out shows across the US and the UK.  

He is a featured artist on the nine very successful "Nashville" soundtracks that have been released to date, two of which include “I Know How to Love You Now” which he co-wrote with Deana Carter. Esten has long contemplated releasing an album or an EP of his originals.  Last summer, he decided that instead, he will be releasing brand new singles “every single Friday.”  The #EverySingleFriday series began in July 2016 and Esten says will last until he “runs out of music.”

He is proud to serve as the National Light the Night Walk Honorary Chair for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Esten and his wife have two daughters and a son.

Project Manager, CSL International

Adam Kerns serves as a Project Manager with Conventions, Sports & Leisure International and brings more than 12 years of sports industry experience.  Prior to joining CSL, Mr. Kerns worked in the media relations departments for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, serving as a statistical analyst and media liaison. Over the past 9 years, Mr. Kerns has completed over 200 consulting engagements for a variety of sports and entertainment sectors, including professional sports franchises, collegiate athletic departments, municipalities and public authorities, investment banks, and private real estate developers. Mr. Kerns has comprehensive experience providing a variety of research and advisory services, including market and financial feasibility, primary and secondary market research and analysis, economic and fiscal impact analyses, facility funding analysis, and management structure recommendations and analysis. In 2015, Mr. Kerns was a featured presenter at the Goldman Sachs Business of Football Conference in London, which discussed the current state of stadium development in Europe and the impacts associated with new facilities.  Mr. Kerns received his Master of Arts in Athletic Administration from the University of Iowa in 2006 and his Bachelor of Arts in Health & Sport Studies / Communication Studies from the University of Iowa in 2005.

President & CEO, Nashville Symphony

Alan D. Valentine joined the Nashville Symphony as its President and CEO in June 1998. Since then, he has presided over an unprecedented period of growth at the Symphony, highlighted by a total of 11 GRAMMY® Awards and 20 GRAMMY® nominations; 30 highly regarded and best-selling CD releases on the Naxos, Decca and New West labels; a total of nine national television broadcasts, one of which won an Emmy Award; multiple national radio appearances, including the internationally syndicated radio series American Encores; a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut and sold-out East Coast tour in September 2000; two consecutive and very successful capital and endowment campaigns in which a total of $145 million was raised; and the construction of the world-class, acoustically superb Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in September 2006.

Valentine currently serves on the Steering Committee for Nashville's Agenda. He is a former member of the boards of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Nashville Chapter), the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Arts Coalition, the Association of Non-Profit Executives, Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Nashville City Club.

Venue Manager, Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center

Alex Keen is the Venue Manager of the Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center. Alex supervised the final construction and grand opening of the MCC Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2014 and currently oversees front-of-house and technical operations for 200+ events and productions per year in the facility. Alex worked on 20+ productions at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine including technical direction of Damn Yankees, South Pacific and Miss Saigon. He served as an Adjunct Faculty member and Technical Coordinator for 15+ productions at Scottsdale Community College. Alex is an ETCP Certified Rigger – Theatre, NFPA Rope Rescue Technician Level I/II, and is a graduate of IAVM Venue Management School. He is active with IAVM and serves on the IAVM Venue Safety and Security Committee as well as the IAVM University Committee.

Alex holds a Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies from Arizona State University (Summa Cum Laude) and completed a season-long Production Apprenticeship at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Security Management from the University of Denver.

Chief Executive Officer, Visual Labs, Inc.

Alex Popof is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Visual Labs, Inc., a Silicon Valley‐based software company that calls itself “the body camera company that does not make body cameras.” The company had its beginnings while Alex was attending Stanford University when he and a team of other computer science majors worked on a smartphone-based video solution as part of a senior project. After graduation, the project was continued as part of the Lightspeed Venture Partners summer fellowship program and Visual Labs, Inc. was formed. Since then, Visual Labs has acquired clients in multiple states in the public safety, private security and industrial sectors. In 2016, Alex was a speaker for the International Association of Chiefs of Police Communications and Technology Committee with a presentation titled “Technology Trends for Body Worn Cameras.” Alex received his Bachelor of Science degree from Stanford University with a major in computer science and a minor in economics. He is also a recipient of Stanford’s Terman scholastic award, which recognizes the top five percent of seniors in the School of Engineering.

EVP, Partner, Venue Coalition, Inc

Andrew Prince has extensive experience in various roles within the live touring industry, most notably as promoter, producer, talent buyer and venue booking representative. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Venue Coalition and is focused on identifying new business and programming opportunities for its member venues. Andrew has played a key role in the in the growth and development of Venue Coalition since its inception. He is also a graduate of IAVM's Venue Management School and has a great passion for live events and confirming shows!

Sr. Director of Booking, VStar Entertainment Group

Andriana Magness has been bringing family entertainment to venues for the past 11 years as Senior Director of Booking for VEE Corporation, now known has VSTAR Entertainment.   Prior to joining VSTAR in 2005, Andriana started out in the Classical Music industry, with gigs at the Minnesota Orchestra, ICM Artists (aka Opus 3), and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO.  When she’s not working with the Paw Patrol pups, Curious George, and Dinosaurs, Andriana is busy carting her 8-year-old and almost 6-year-old to soccer, skiing, piano, swimming, and gymnastics!

Director of Event Experiences, Spectra Venue Management at the St. Charles Convention Center

Angie started at the St. Charles Convention Center as an Event Manager in 2007 and was promoted to Director in 2011. When asked her favorite thing about her job, Angie replied, "Constantly learning. There is always something new in our ever-changing industry." Angie loves that the staff at the convention center are like her family and explains, "Everyone will jump in and bring you up if you are down as well as offer up different perspectives and ideas." Angie is currently serving as the Region 3 Director of IAVM and sits on the Executive Committee. She lives for weekends at the Lake of the Ozarks and loves watching her kids grow, learn and experience life.

President, West Wing Events

Antwone Stigall, CMP is an award-winning and credentialed event planner with more than 10+ years of experience in strategic meetings & events management. Antwone started his career managing and producing events at a mega church in Memphis, TN where he quickly learned the art and science of programming environments for effective and impactful experiences, He’s since then taken that learning to newer heights everywhere he goes. Now serving as Chief Events Officer of Antwone Stigall & Co. (formerly known as West Wing Events), Antwone spends his days helping clients achieve maximum potential for their programs while also teaching Meeting and Event planning courses and industry certification courses to seasoned, mid-career, and aspiring event professionals.  In his spare time, Antwone proudly serves as the International Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force for Meeting Professionals International, he’s a member of the Shelby County Mayor’s Young Professionals Council, and volunteers as a mentor to several youth nonprofit organizations. Beloved Son, Favorite Uncle, Pesky Big Brother, and Loving Godfather – Antwone’s family is proud of the work being established on the Stigall family’s name and hopes that he can make the professionals of this industry just as proud of that work as well.

Assistant General Manager, Arena Operations, Sacramento Kings

Aran Rush is entering his third season with the Sacramento Kings as the Assistant General Manager for Arena Operations.  Rush provides day-to-day direction of facility programming, maintenance and operations of Golden 1 Center.

Golden 1 Center opened in October of 2016 as the first LEED Platinum Sports Venue in the World.  Golden 1 Center was named Sports Facility of Year by the 2017 Sports Business Awards.   Fast Company named the Sacramento Kings the Most Innovative Company in Sports for 2017.

Rush has a Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Facility Management, a Master of Science degree from St. Thomas University in Sports Administration and a certificate in executive leadership from Cornell University.  He is graduate of the Oglebay Facility Management School.

Creative Director, Project Development, BRC Imagination Arts

Brad Shelton is a creative leader who transforms the aspirations of clients into exceptional projects. As an expert at practical, hands-on project development, Brad has overseen the project development of entire theme parks, entertainment resorts, attractions, media and sports experiences, and urban retail/entertainment/dining districts, while, at the same time, serving as a writer and Creative Director on projects in the United States, China, Dubai, South Korea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. 

Brad has created work for the Milwaukee Brewers including The Selig Experience at Miller Park, The Ryman Auditorium, the Dreamworks Animation Park, Hainan Space Park, Royal Caribbean Cruise Airlines, Magic Planet, The Grand Ole Opry and more.

Brad’s experience comes in many different entertainment forms from story structure and screenwriting to live production and theater to management and fundraising. In the theater, Brad worked as a producer and director around the world for over a decade, including productions in Arezzo, Italy and Cairo, Egypt, with the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York City, and award-winning productions in Chicago, New York City, North Carolina and Los Angeles. 

A native of East Tennessee, Brad is a graduate of Rhodes College and the American Repertory Theater’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Director of Sports & Entertainment, Johnson Consulting

Brandon specializes in market and financial analysis for public assembly facilities, with specialized expertise in financial modeling, market research, data analytics and industry best practices. He is also experienced in economic and fiscal impact analysis and has assisted cities and communities in their application for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other public funding.

Since joining Johnson Consulting in 2008, Brandon has completed over 75 public assembly facility feasibility studies. His most recent achievements as a sports consultant came in 2015 with the successful opening of four sports facilities in which he served as lead feasibility consultant, including three collegiate facilities and one minor league ballpark, resulting in over $200 million in successful development.  Brandon led an economic and fiscal impact analysis, as well as a community improvement district revenue study, on behalf of the St. Louis Blues for the recently approved $130 million renovation of the Scottrade Center.  He also led the feasibility analysis for a $200 million, 19,000 seat arena which was just approved by the City of Virginia Beach and is expected to break ground later this year. Additionally, the feasibility analysis he led for the University of Louisville and the proposed premium seating mix of the $60 million expansion to Papa John’s Stadium is outpacing original projections and it expected to be complete by opening day 2018, one year in advance.

Brandon is affiliated with several industry associations and has been invited to speak at past events. He currently serves as a stadium committee member for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).

He holds a Bachelor degree in Business and Urban Planning from Arizona State University and resides in Chicago, IL.

Agent, CAA

Brian Hill has been an agent for nearly 25 years. He loves the clients and his coworkers at CAA but would much rather talk about his awesome wife and four nearly-perfect children.

Principal, Event Partnership

In 1995 Brian, began his career in the professional sports industry with the Golden State Warriors. Several years later he transitioned to a position with the Sacramento Kings selling Corporate Sponsorships, a move that allowed him to hone his craft and cement his reputation as an astute sales and marketing professional. In 2001, Brian re-focused his career by looking outside of the professional sports industry and founded Honebein & Associates. That very same year he was awarded the contract to sell sponsorships for the California State Fair, as well as several other events throughout Northern California. These early ventures proved tremendously successful, and provided Brian with a solid foundation upon which he’s built throughout his career; in January 2012 the rapid growth of his business necessitated re-branding and Event Partnership, LLC was established.

Brian is very innovative, energetic and passionate about his career in sales and marketing. He’s highly regarded and trusted as a resource for event sponsorship and has conducted seminars for CalFest and the Western Fair Association Annual Conference and Managers Conference. Through the duration of his seventeen year sponsorship sales career, he has sold well over $53,000,000 in corporate sponsorships—an impressive figure that’s truly a testament to his tireless work ethic.

General Manager, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Brian Sipe has been the General Manager of the SMG-managed Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA since October 2014. Since his time in Wilkes-Barre, the Arena has hosted sold-out concerts from Blake Shelton to Amy Schumer to Barry Manilow, two rallies with now President Donald Trump, record breaking Feld Entertainment shows and two sold-out WWE Television events among many other events. The arena is also home to the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Previous to Wilkes-Barre, Brian managed the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV which was nominated twice for an ACM Venue of the Year award and where he was a recipient of the Venues Today Generation Next Award. Sipe somehow convinced his lovely wife Kaitlyn to marry him and loves his dog Kooshball!

Agent, CAA

Bryan began his career in music after moving to Nashville in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Business, Recording, and Production from The University of Alabama and an Associate degree in Recording Engineering from Full Sail University. In 1998, he was invited to help grow the Contemporary Christian music roster for CAA. More than 19 years later, he and his team enjoy working alongside some of the biggest artists in the genre including Chris Tomlin, Tobymac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Danny Gokey, Passion, and many others. For two years, Bryan sat on the board of Porter’s Call, a counseling service for musicians who make their living on the road. He is also closely involved with Food For The Hungry in helping end poverty around the world and has been to Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic to further those efforts.

Event and Facility Operations Manager, Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment

David Bennett is the Event and Facility Operations Manager for Kennesaw State University’s Department of Sports and Entertainment. He supervises event logistics, facility operations, and security management for multiple venues across two campuses, including the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park and Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Regular events include KSU Football, Soccer, and Lacrosse, Major League Lacrosse (Atlanta Blaze), Concerts, Tournaments, and Festivals. Prior to working at Kennesaw State, David served as the Associate Director of Facilities and Operations at Clemson University, and the Technical Operations Coordinator at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David holds both a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master of Business Administration from Clemson University. He recently earned the Certified Venue Professional designation and was recognized as a member of the International Association of Venue Manager’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2016. David is also a graduate of IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security, and is active on the University Committee.

Senior Director of Operations, AT&T Center

David has been in the facility management industry for over 30 years and is currently the Senior Director of Operations at the Spurs Sports and Entertainment’s AT&T Center in San Antonio. Before coming to the AT&T Center in 2015, David was the Director of Operations at the SMG Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City and SMG’s Regional Director of Operations for the Central Region. David began his career as the Building Manager of the Mabee Center on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK where he also oversaw 30 other university facilities as the VP for Operations. After leaving ORU, David worked three years as the CFO of LeSEA Global Feed the Hungry, an international charity, and the LeSEA Radio/Television Broadcast Network in South Bend, Indiana. David has a degree in Telecommunication and a Master’s degree in Business Finance. Over the years, he has also worked part time as a Site Manager and Production Coordinator for Encore Productions for Promise Keeper stadium events, concerts, and trade shows.

David has been a member of IAVM for over 30 years representing District VI as their Vice President, being on the Board of Trustees for the IAVM Foundation, and earning his CFE. David also has certifications from IFMA as a Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Sustainability Facility Manager (SFP). David and Elizabeth have four sons and one grandson.

Assistant Athletic Director, University of Delaware

Frantzer serves as Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations at the University of Delaware.  In this position, he oversee the day to day operations of the Bob Carpenter Center, which is a 5,500 seat Arena that host over 450 events per year with over 700,000 guest each year. Frantzer oversees 3 full time employees and over 120 part-time employees. He also oversees the event management team for all events and serves as event manager for all concerts, shows, major events and Men’s and Women’s basketball games. He also oversees all technology and audiovisual operations, capital projects for the Arena, maintain the building practice, meeting and event schedules, oversee all of the set-ups and breakdowns for every event.  Frantzer also serves on the Guest services and Revenue generating committees within the Athletic department. He also serves on the University committee for the International Association for Venue Managers. Prior to working at Delaware University, Frantzer worked with Facilities and Operations at the Hofstra University, Wagner College and American University. Frantzer received his Bachelor degree from Temple University where he studies Sport and Recreation management and he earned his MBA from Wagner College with a concentration in management.

Principal, The Mackler Law Firm, PLLC

James focuses his practice on advising businesses, governments, and investors on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as “drones”. He works with clients on various regulatory, compliance, and litigation elements of drone usage across a variety of applications including hospitality, real estate, insurance, construction, security, video production, energy, manufacturing, and surveying.

Although James continues to work in the drone industry, the majority of his time is currently devoted to his campaign for United States Senate for the State of Tennessee.

Previously, James served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. After spending seven years developing a successful private legal practice in Colorado, James was inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 to join the military. He spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division, including a one-year deployment to Iraq. After returning from Iraq, James transferred to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, where he served as a legal adviser to high-level commanders and as a supervising criminal prosecutor. Today, he continues to serve as an attorney in the Tennessee Air National Guard, and he also holds a commercial helicopter pilot's certificate.

James has been quoted in several media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, National Defense Magazine, The Tennessean, The Guardian, Nashville Public Radio, Politico.com and local television news affiliates.

Senior Associate Director of Athletics / Facilities, Max Sports Complex

Jay Artinian is the senior associate athletic director for facilities at Hofstra, a position that he has held since 2007. He is responsible for the maintenance and operation of all 11 athletic facilities on campus as well as seven natural grass practice fields. During the 2012 Presidential Debate at Hofstra Artinian served as the director of internal operations, acting as the liaison between the University and the Commission on Presidential Debates and the U.S. Secret Service. He had served as the assistant director of internal operations during the 2008 Presidential Debate. Artinian has also served as tournament director for three NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals, three NCAA Softball Regionals, two NCAA Soccer Tournament Championships and one NCAA Lacrosse First Round contest as well as numerous conference championship events. A 2000 graduate of Hofstra with a degree in marketing, Artinian played for three seasons on the Hofstra Men’s Lacrosse team and was part of Hofstra’s NCAA Tournament team in 1999. He was hired as an event coordinator in the facilities department after graduation and has worked in the department ever since. A native Long Islander, Artinian was born in Huntington, New York, currently resides in Massapequa, New York.

Chief Administrative Officer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority

Jennifer LeMaster is Chief Administrative Officer of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, presiding over finance, human resources, communications and marketing. In addition, she is responsible for facilitating the Authority’s 2020 Vision strategic plan.

LeMaster joined the Authority in 2007 serving in the Georgia Dome’s premium sales and service units, external affairs and administration. Prior to her current position, she was the Authority’s director of communications, serving as the public affairs lead on major public-private partnership initiatives, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, renovations to Centennial Olympic Park, and an expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center’s exhibit halls.

Before moving to Atlanta, LeMaster spent 10 years working at the University of Kentucky (UK), where she guided the establishment of the university’s sports hall of fame in 2005, inducting the inaugural class. She also produced more than a dozen high-profile annual events, including UK’s beloved basketball kick-off, Midnight Madness, and other state-wide branding and engagement opportunities.

A native of Ashland, Ky., LeMaster earned a dual degree in Communications and Political Science from UK. LeMaster and her husband, Zach Whipple, reside in Decatur, Ga. and have two children, Brennan, 7 and Marlee, 3.

Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Jill Schinberg is an Assistant Professor of Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky. She started her professional career at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa and has subsequently held positions with Bay Area music promoter Another Planet Entertainment, Festival Internacional de Videodanza in Buenos Aires, Rena Shagan Associates in New York, and (most recently) Cal Performances in Berkeley. Along with producing and directing, she has served as a consultant to emerging arts organizations, venues, and dance companies in the United States and South America.

Schinberg researches gender gap issues in arts administration along with the notion of presenter as aesthetic gatekeeper. The gender gap in American society has always been part of her consciousness; now, as an ‘expat’ from a 25-year career in arts administration, she explores the dynamics and impact of gender disparities through her scholarship. She also studies the interdependent, and sometimes mysterious, relationships amongst contemporary audiences, artists, and presenters. Through consultancies and ongoing participation in the industry, she continues not only to research but also to seek opportunities for consultation and curation.

Schinberg holds an MFA in Modern Dance with an emphasis on Aesthetics and Arts Management from the University of Utah and BAs in both Spanish and Latin American Literature and Culture and Dance from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers and the Association of Arts Administration Educators.

Convention & Cultural Services Director, City of Sacramento

Ms. Ulich currently manages convention center and theater operations along with a range of associated cultural services for Sacramento. This includes facility administration for the Convention Center, Center Theater, Memorial Auditorium and Runyon Theater. The Department has a budget of $18M, and oversees a staff of 245. In addition, the department oversees the Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Sacramento Zoo, Powerhouse Science Center, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Historic Old Sacramento Foundation, Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance.

Prior to Sacramento, Ms. Ulich served in similar positions with the Arts Council of Fort Worth, the Cultural Services Division of Tempe, AZ and the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Phoenix, AZ.

She received her degree at Oklahoma City University and has spent her entire career working in the arts. She serves on the United States Urban Arts Federation Board; IAVM Performing Arts Committee and has been named honorary AIA Fort Worth.

Director of Event Services, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts

With Portland’5 Centers for the Arts since 2004, Joe Durr oversees front of house operations, safety, security and admissions for the five theatres of “P5.” Each year P5 hosts over 900,000 people at 900+ performances of symphony, ballet, opera, Broadway, lectures, theatre and dance.

A former professional dancer, Joe’s prior career includes 15 years as a fund raiser and development officer for non-profits and higher education. He has completed IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay (years 1 & 2, and Graduate Institute) as well completing two years of the Academy for Venue Safety and Security. Past chair of the IAVM Mentoring Committee, Joe currently serves on IAVM’s GuestX and VenueConnect planning committees.

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, VenuWorks

John Siehl entered the public assembly industry 52 years ago in 1965 at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. In 1990 he joined the staff at the Ervin J Nutter Center, retiring from the Nutter Center in 2010 as Executive Director.

Siehl is currently the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for VenuWorks.

Siehl joined IAVM in 1978 and has held the CFE designation since 1995, Siehl is also a Past Chair of IAVM. He is currently on the Certification Board for IAVM. Within the IAVM, Siehl served as Chair of the Board of Education, and Chair of the Life Safety Council. Siehl also served as Chair of the Board of Governors, on the Universities and Arenas Committees.

He is a past chairman of AVSS and the Safety and Security Committee. Siehl has been an active participant since its inception, as a student and subsequently joining the faculty. He also has been on the Board of Regents and faculty of the Venue Management School.

At Wright State, Siehl received the President’s Award for Excellence in Human Relations in 2001; also in 2001 Siehl received the Dayton Business Journal’s Corporate Caring Award, as well as the Fairborn Chamber President’s Award and the Beavercreek Civic Award in 2008.

Chief Executive Officer, OC Fair & Event Center

Kathy Kramer joined the OC Fair & Event Center in January of 2015 as CEO. The OC Fair & Event Center produces the annual OC Fair each summer that attracts over 1.3 million guests. In addition the 150 acre facility plays host to over 150 event days annually and is home to Centennial Farm, Hero’s Hall Museum and the Agricultural Workers Memorial – Table of Dignity. Kathy is a Board Member of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, a Board Member of the nonprofit Taller San Jose and is part of the International Association of Venue Managers Fair and Amphitheater Committee. She is a member of IAVM, IAFE, IFEA and WFA. She was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in Orange County in 2016. Kathy comes from a diverse background in for-profit, government and not-for-profit organizations, holding key roles in the areas of strategic planning, sales & marketing, venue operations, production of major events and corporate sponsorship. Her previous position was with Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she was the Vice President of Business Operations. She was also Deputy Director of the Phoenix Convention Center and Venues, Vice President of Convention Sales & Marketing for Century Link Center in Omaha, Midwest Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for Six Continents Hotels and Resorts and Director of Sales & Marketing for Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. She holds a CFE (Certified Facility Executive) from the International Association of Venue Managers and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).

General Manager, ENMAX Centre

25 years experience as Sales & Marketing Manager and General Manager of various facilities that include Convention Center, Theatre, and Arena, all in Canada. Have been involved in a series of Change Management and Business Structures for different venue organizations and associations, and have worked with employees that are union and non union, civic, private, and contracted.

Senior Director of Ticket Operations, Bridgestone Arena

Lonnie Wilkerson is the Director of Ticket Operations for the Nashville Predators and the Bridgestone Arena, and has been involved in ticketing for several years. Prior to his position, he worked at various venues in Nashville doing everything from being a stagehand to merch seller and anything in between.

President & CEO, APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals

In October 2011, Mario Garcia Durham became the fifth President and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) since its founding in 1957.

Prior to his leadership role with APAP, Mr. Durham was posted at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) where he served as Director of Artist Communities & Presenting from 2004 – 2011. At the NEA, Mr. Durham contributed to programs such as An Evening of Poetry hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama and the NEA Opera Honors. He inaugurated the NEA’s Artist Communities granting program and was the initiator of Live from Your Neighborhood, a groundbreaking study of the impact of outdoor arts festivals in the U.S. After holding numerous management positions and serving as artistic director at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the 1990s, he founded Yerba Buena Arts & Events in 2000, the producing organization of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The outdoor event offers more than 100 free performances by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and more for an audience of 100,000 attendees.

Throughout his career of over 20 years as a presenter, Mr. Durham has served on numerous boards, special advisory committees and funding panels. He is currently on the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities and Data Arts (formerly the Cultural Data Project). Durham serves as vice chair of the Performing Arts Alliance, a board of the leaders of the major performing arts service organizations in the U.S. Durham had previously served on the APAP Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee. He is on the Community Advisory Council of the PBS station WETA in Washington, DC.

A graduate of the University of Houston, Durham is passionate about a broad range of performing arts and evolving forms of performance and media arts.

Marketing and PR Manager, Music City Center

Mary Brette Wylly is the Marketing & PR Manager for the Music City Center (MCC). She has been with the convention center since the building opened in 2013 and oversees the public relations and sustainability departments. She works closely with the Sustainability Coordinator to effectively communicate the sustainable initiatives and successes at the Music City Center as well as organize all community outreach efforts. Mary Brette is a member of the Nashville Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and she earned a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s degree from the University of Mississippi.

Associate Director, Events, National Basketball Association

Micah’s interest in a venue management career began during college by managing a collegiate hockey team as a student employee. From that experience his interest grew into working for two NBA franchises, two Olympic games, and coordinating venue logistics for events around the globe. Now working for the National Basketball Association, he is responsible for carrying out NBA marquee events such as the NBA Finals, All-Star weekend, NBA Draft Combine, as well as the NBA’s Global Games series of pre-season exhibition games held internationally in places such as: London, Mexico City, Turkey, Brazil, China, and South Africa. He holds a M.S. in Sports Management from Columbia University and is also employed as a part-time associate instructor at Columbia University as well.

President/CEO, Walton Arts Center

Peter joined Walton Arts Center in May 2009. Since then Walton Arts Center has tripled in size and has grown to become Arkansas’ premier arts presenter. More than 342,600 people attend events at Walton Arts Center venues annually, and the organization’s education programs reach 45,000 students, teachers and citizens statewide. Walton Arts Center serves as home to four resident companies.

Under his leadership, Walton Arts Center opened the state’s largest outdoor entertainment venue, the Walmart AMP, one of Pollstar’s 2016 Top 60 best-selling amphitheaters in the country and recently completed a $24 million campaign to renovate and expand Walton Arts Center’s performing arts campus.

During his tenure Peter has overseen the creation of The Artosphere Festival, a month-long celebration of arts and nature. Signature programs such as Trail Mix - a series of free concerts along the regions extensive trail system and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra with Maestro Corrado Rovaris have received national acclaim. Lane also developed the 10x10 Arts Series, a presentation of 10 arts performances with all tickets at $10 and spearheaded VoiceJam, a new a cappella festival with Deke Sharon. Peter came to Northwest Arkansas from previous leadership positions with the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

President, Hunden Strategic Partners

Mr. Hunden and his Chicago-based firm offer extensive experience in the economics and strategy of developing transformative real estate projects. He has provided economic development, finance, feasibility, impact, developer selection and planning expertise for more than 350 projects and
studies over the past 20+ years, totaling more than $3.1 billion in developed real estate. 

His expertise has helped communities and developers understand, develop and successfully open catalytic economic development projects, including conference and convention centers, arenas, performing arts centers, entertainment districts, sports facilities and compelling hotels like the 21c
Museum Hotels, the Omni Fort Worth and numerous other large convention hotels across the country. He has also worked on compelling and transformative convention and exposition centers, arenas and performing arts venues, including the Murat Centre for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis, the Travis County Exposition Center in Austin and the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center in Oregon. 

Last year, Hunden completed a high-profile study regarding the proposed San Diego Chargers’ Convention Center and Stadium project. Hunden has also consulted on major and minor league sports facilities like Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and a new football stadium for the University of South Alabama, as well as more than twenty youth sports complexes across the country. Mr. Hunden received his degree in Finance from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Director of Sustainability, Henderson Engineers, Inc.

The director of sustainability, the director of both Henderson University and Henderson Research, and the director of probably something else, Ryan Evans is a man of many titles, and talents; that’s why he’s Henderson’s go to guy – for a lot of stuff. When he’s not presenting the latest and greatest trends in the sport and venue industry or heading up our internal, company-funded research program, Ryan can be found consulting on projects’ mechanical systems and how they interact with the building structure and occupants, leading to high performance designs. A professional engineer and LEED accredited professional, Ryan’s considerable knowledge and credibility is one of the many prominent reasons his clients continuously request him. When it comes to finding the right balance between work, family, and community involvement, Ryan’s your guy. His lighthearted attitude and major dedication in and out of the office is what make him a valuable player to the Henderson team.

Executive Director, SaskTel Centre

Scott Ford is the Executive Director of at SaskTel Centre one of Canada’s busiest arenas and the premiere sports and entertainment venue in the great province of Saskatchewan. Scott has over 25 years of experience in the event management and entertainment business. He is a board member of Saskatoon Sports Tourism and has been on the Executive Committee of many National and International events hosted in Saskatoon such as the IIHF World Juniors Hockey Championships, Memorial Cup, Tim Horton’s Brier, Canadian Country Music Awards, PBR Canadian Finals, CIAU University Cup, Juno Awards and many more. Scott is involved in hosting, managing and producing some of Saskatoon’s and Saskatchewan’s largest and most successful events.

Executive Director, VenuWorks

Scott has worked almost 20 years for VenuWorks in a number of facilities in the Midwest. His entire career in the entertainment and sports industry has spanned over twenty-five years serving various positions with a wide range of organizations including the NHL Minnesota North Stars, St. Paul Saints, NBA San Antonio Spurs, MLB Colorado Rockies, NCAA Division I Hockey, United States Hockey League, Central Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and currently with NCAA Division I Basketball and Southern Professional Hockey League. His experience has not limited to the sports side of the business, but also extends into privately owned arenas, historic theatres and numerous multi-use facilities. Scott has been married to his wife Annie for 22 years and is father to twin nine-year-old boys and a six-year-old daughter. During his off time, Scott enjoys traveling with his family, playing hockey and alpine mountain climbing

Deputy Manager II, Big Fresno Fair

Stacy Rianda attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business. In 1987, Stacy began working for fairs in the livestock department and immediately fell in love with the industry and the people. Before she even graduated from college Stacy began working with the Tulare County Fair in Tulare, CA and was there from 1991 – 2000. She is currently the Deputy Manager of the Big Fresno Fair in Fresno, CA where she has been employed since 2001.

Stacy has been a member of the Rotary Club of Fig Garden for sixteen years and is a past president of the club. She has also served on the board of California Women for Agriculture, Fresno Area Crime Stoppers and the Pop Laval Foundation. Professionally, Stacy served on the board of the Western Fairs Association from 2008 – 2014 as well as the California Fairs Alliance Board.

As the Deputy Manager of The Big Fresno Fair, what Stacy enjoys most is “doing a little bit of everything.” No two days are ever the same!

Deputy Assistant Director, Directorate of Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Special Agent Stephen P. Rees entered the FBI in 1995 and has worked a variety of violations to include Organized Crime/Drug matters, White Collar matters, violent crime matters and counterterrorism. Agent Rees has served numerous positions at home and abroad and is currently a Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) within the Directorate of Intelligence. 

Agent Rees is a 1990 graduate of California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo (California) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is also a 2013 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (California) with a Masters of Arts in Security Studies. Prior to the FBI, Agent Rees served as an Infantry Officer in the U. S. Army, which included combat and peacetime assignments. Agent Rees is a second generation law enforcement officer from San Diego, California. He is married with two children and currently resides in Virginia. 

Executive Director, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)

Executive Director Riseling leads IACLEA with over 3,100 members in 15 countries. E.D. Riseling retired from UW-Madison as the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Police in August of 2016. She held the UW-Madison position for 25 years. During her time at UW-Madison Chief Riseling was a former IACP Vice President. The IACP is the world’s largest police leadership organization with close to 30,000 members in 120 countries.

Sue is the Past President of the Dane County chiefs of Police, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and the first woman and first University Police Chief to hold that particular position. She is the Past President and founder of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives. In 2003 Sue was awarded the Motorola Law Enforcement Executive of the Year. In 2015, the UW-Madison bestowed the Chancellor’s Award to Sue for her work serving students, staff and faculty.

Operations Analyst, Georgia State University

Todd Ballew has a strong background in the operations and management of sporting events and large spectator gatherings, working as an Assistant Athletic Director for Operations for nearly a decade. As part of these duties, Todd worked as the user’s representative on several capital improvement projects for sporting venues. Todd’s background brings a unique perspective to the Heery organization. His practical experience in event management and project responsibility from the “client-side” blended with his experience from the “provider-side” affords both client and staff with a true understanding of sport facility goals. Todd is the Operations Analyst for GSU Stadium redevelopment project working closely with the user group and the design team to ensure functional efficiency.

Todd has a Master’s Degree in Athletics Administration and has worked in Athletic Programs at Clemson University, Florida State University, and University of Tulsa.

Booking Manager, Tacoma Dome

Tom Alexander started off his career 25 years ago in Santa Monica, California at PACE Concerts as the booking assistant for ex-ICM and CAA agent Hal Lazareff.

This early opportunity introduced Tom to several key industry people including John Meglen, Bob Roux and Louie Messina, who remain allies to this day. The touring bug caught Tom and he jumped on the road with Yanni, Andrea Bocelli and others.

Opportunity knocked again and Tom spent seven years working for AEG Live in L.A. and Dallas managing the tour and regional contract administration reviewing venue, artist and co-pro deals.

Tom joined Live Nation Touring in 2009 to work on the worldwide Nickelback tour immediately followed by Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” tour. The road bug was cured with the arrival of two wonderful kids.

Following a couple more booking gigs in Houston with Live Nation and the Allen Event Center in Dallas, in 2013 Tom joined the team at the Tacoma Dome in Washington as the Booking Manager. With the Pacific Northwest being his favorite spot in the country, he has firmly dug his heels in and plans to help continue a revenue growth trend while booking meaningful and exciting content.

Associate Vice President, Business Advancement, Ohio State University

With 35 years of experience in the live event and facility management industry, Xen Riggs has provided management oversight of multiple facilities and operations including four arenas, six theaters,  student unions, recreation complexes, campus dining services, movie theatres, hotels and conference centers.  

Currently Xen’s titles at The Ohio State University (OSU) include Associate Vice-President of Business Advancement, Associate Vice-President of Student Life, and Executive Associate Athletic Director.  He is also COO for Columbus Arena Management (CAM) and President of Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment (CASE), where he is the senior officer in charge of joint management for the Jerome Schottenstein Center and Nationwide Arena - both 20,000-seat multipurpose arenas in Columbus, Ohio.  He serves on several Boards including the Executive Committee for the Arena Network.

In Xen’s various positions at OSU, he oversees multiple campus facilities and new program development.  As Associate Vice-President of Business Advancement, Xen supervises the Schottenstein Center, the Blackwell Inn, Drake Performance and Event Center, Fawcett Conference and Event Center,  and Strategic Business Advancement which includes Trademark and Licensing and university-wide Affinity Agreements and Sponsorships.

Assistant General Manager, SMG Jacksonville

As the Assistant General Manager and Arena Director for SMG Jacksonville, Zane is responsible for the six city owned venues; EverBank Field, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center and Ritz Theatre & Museum. His primary focus and oversight is on booking, programming, event development, the five sports tenants, the box office department, event management, client relations and overall customer experience.

In addition to his SMG Jacksonville duties, Zane serves as the SMG Southeast Regional Booking Director to assist Jim McCue and John Bolton to drive concerts and other programming into the SMG venues in the southeastern United States.

Prior to Jacksonville, he spent seven years in Pennsylvania as a Regional General Manager for SMG with duties that included day to day operations, booking and marketing of the Santander Arena, Performing Arts Center and the Reading Royals hockey team of the ECHL. Zane’s regional oversight included the Canton Civic Center, Akron Civic Theatre, Cambria County Memorial Arena and Ebensburg Ice Rink.

Zane spent three years in Saginaw, MI as the General Manager of the Dow Event Center, two years as the Director of Operations of the Sovereign Center & Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA and two years in Connecticut as the Director of Operations of the New Haven Coliseum. As a member of the IAVM, he is part of the Arena Sector Committee and Industry Affairs Council. He enjoys spending time with his wife Kathy of 23 years and two children, Charles (17) and Emily (11), plus playing golf, hockey and racquetball.

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