The first Stadium Seminar was organized by Colonel Robert Sigholtz, formerly with RFK Stadium. He continued in this capacity through 1985 and chaired the Seminar each year. This began a vital source of information, guidelines, and needed resources for the unique stadium industry.
The meetings were informal with the stadium managers leading the discussions and participating in panels with an occasional industry related lecturer invited.
Stadium managers throughout the U.S. and Canada were invited to attend. Early attendees were some of the “giants” of the stadium industry: Bill Cunningham, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Bob Wachter, Kansas City Arrowhead, Glenn Walsh, St. Louis Stadium, Tom Leigler, Anaheim Stadium, Jim Hardy, Los Aneles Coliseum, Gordon Walker, Exhibition Stadium, Toronto, Joel Ralph, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Herman Graves, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Glenn Redmer and Carl Buck, Cincinnati Riverfront Stadium, Don Collins, Astrodome, John Hoaglin, San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Some early sponsors were American Seating (Ray Kenega, Don Spadola), HOK Architects (Ron Labinski), Rent-A-Tarp (Jim Curry and his Dad) (now Covermaster). Some of the other early attendees were Charley Sims, Ottowa, Don Poss, Minnesota (on loan to Miami), Harry Renaud, B.C. Place, Bill Wilson, Rose Bowl, Irv Alsobrook, Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Ray Ward, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium.
Consideration was given to associating with the IAAM (then the International Association of Auditorium Managers), however, the stadium managers voted to remain an independent organization.
Beginning in 1986, the responsibility of managing the Stadium Seminar Committee was placed in the hands of Harry Renaud with B.C. Place; Rick Nafe with Tampa Stadium; and Bill Wilson with the Rose Bowl. Rounding out the first official Stadium Seminar Committee was Jerry Bell with the Minnesota Twins, and Gabe Paul with the Milwaukee Brewers. Jerry Oliver with the Florida Suncoast Dome and Bill Turner with Anaheim Stadium were also eventually appointed to the Committee.
Following the format development at the 1986 Seminar in New Orleans, the Stadium Seminar Committee became what we know today as the SMASM Annual Seminar and in 1991 SMASM became an officially incorporated industry trade association.
SMASM is dedicated exclusively to stadium operations and promotes professional, efficient and state-of-the-art management of stadiums around the world. Our members are administrators and operations personnel from teams, colleges and universities, facility managers and public sports authorities, and suppliers to the industry. It is a member driven organization where stadium managers and vendors collaborate on issues and solutions that enhance the safety, profitability, and service of their facilities. Click here for information on SMASM's Board of Directors.
SMASM would like to thank Betty Underwood for her memory and contribution to this historical narrative.