Lifetime Achievement Award

The Stadium Managers AssociationSM Past Presidents Council founded the SMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, to commemorate the Association’s 30th Anniversary and honor long term members who have achieved the highest level of impact and contribution to the stadium industry.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual whose extended career in the industry as a leader, and exceptional contribution to the Association exemplify SMA’s mission to provide resources to assist professional and collegiate stadium managers in achieving the highest level of facility administration and operation.

The Council considers the following selection criterion for eligibility:

The individual has been an actively participating member of SMA for a minimum of 15 years, and continues to contribute and remain involved in the association.
The individual nominated should be one whose contribution as a SMA member has in a fundamental way advanced or improved the Association.
This SMA member’s accomplishment and leadership have been acknowledged by the stadium industry.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the industry, and outstanding service to the Association. It is given at the discretion of the SMASM Past Presidents Council and is not necessarily awarded every year.

Past Recipients

Col. Robert (Bob) Sigholtz - 2006

A founding member of the SMASM, a highly decorated war veteran and respected figure in the stadium management industry. Colonel Sigholtz served as the General Manager of the Robert F. Kennedy stadium in Washington,  D.C., and a consultant to the NFL. The decorated war hero received numerous honors, including three Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Bronze Stars for Valor, thirteen Air Medals and three Commendation Ribbons. His granddaughter Taryn Sigholtz Gosch accepted the posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of his family.

Tom Liegler, C.F.E. - 2006

Tom Liegler is a founding member of the SMASM Annual Seminar format as we know it today. Mr. Liegler’s career spans 50 years, which began at the original Comiskey Park in Chicago and progressed to helping oversee the construction of the Colt Stadium in Houston and managing the Houston Astrodome. From Houston, he moved to Anaheim, CA where he held the role of the Anaheim Stadium and Convention Center General Manager until his retirement.

Raymond Kenaga - 2007

Ramong Kenaga was a founding Sponsor member of the SMASM. Mr. Kenaga has represented American Seating, Irwin Seating and most recently serves as a consultant for BOSS Electrostatic Painting Company. He has always been a strong vocal advocate of retaining the SMASM Seminar format of a non-tradeshow meeting and in his 45-year sales career of working on seating planning of many major league ball parks and stadiums, Ray continued—even in his acceptance recognition of the Lifetime Achievement Award—to attribute his sales success to the extremely knowledgeable SMASM managers who ‘coached’ him so well in understanding each facility’s unique seating requirements, both current and future.

Larry Staverman - 2008

Larry Staverman was a former SMASM Board member and Honorary member, Retired Vice President of Operations for the Cleveland Stadium Corporation and Retired Consultant hired to oversee the construction and start-up of the new Tennessee Titans Stadium in Nashville. He was a well known and respected figure in the stadium management industry. Unfortunately, he lost his battle with leukemia in 2007. His family, including his wife Joyce Staverman; son Rob Staverman, Sr. Director of Event Operations at the Chicago United Center; and daughter Sharon Bowen, attended the 2008 SMASM Annual Seminar to accept Mr. Staverman’s posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bill Wilson - 2008

Bill Wilson was a founding member and current Emeritus Director / Official Historian of the SMASM and retired in 2005 after 21 years managing Qualcomm Stadium. Prior to that he served 27 years with the Pasadena Police Department. During his tenure at Qualcomm and the Pasadena PD, Mr. Wilson was involved with 6 Super Bowls and during a brief interim between the 2 organizations, helped oversee the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.

John Scarcella - 2009

John Scarcella was longtime sponsor and SMASM member from Sony Electronics. He was honored with the Stadium Managers Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the industry and to SMASM. John Scarcella is the president of the Broadcast and Business Solutions Company of Sony.  Among Scarcellas accomplishments at Sony and for the industry was his pivotal role in launching the Sony JumboTron as the de facto standard for large screen displays. John has been involved in sponsoring some of the most memorable SMASM Seminar events in the history of the association.

Rick Nafe - 2010

Current Vice President of Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, Nafe recently celebrated his 30th year in stadium management. Prior to joining the Rays in 1997, he served as Director of Operations at Tampa Stadium and Executive Director of the Tampa Sports Authority. He served as President of the SMASM from 1986 to 1997, and has been Program Chairman and has acted as Emcee of the SMASM Annual Seminar since 1986. His lifetime career in the industry as a leader, and his exceptional contribution to the Association exemplify SMASM’s mission to provide resources to assist professional and collegiate stadium managers in achieving the highest level of facility administration and operation.

Ron Labinski - 2011

Ron Labinski's career as a sports architect has spanned 40 years, beginning with his role as project architect for Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. That facility was the first modern stadium built solely for professional football. It revolutionized the way people think about stadium design and was the catalyst of a building boom that has redefined the international sports landscape. Ron’s contributions to stadium projects are scattered throughout the world. Even after retirement, he remains an active participant in SMASM activities.

Mike McCormick - 2012

Mike McCormick has been legal counsel for the Stadium Managers Association since 1990, and was Executive Director/Project Manager for the Jackson County Sports Authority (Arrowhead & Kauffman stadiums) from 1987 - 1990 and again from 2001-2005. He has also worked with more than a dozen other stadiums on issues related to leasing/contracting, construction and stadium development, procurement, and dispute resolution. His overall knowledge, coupled with his legal background, has served the SMA well over his 22 years on the Board.

Bill Lester - 2014

Bill Lester served for 25 years as executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, managing the Metrodome. During his time at the helm, the Metrodome was the home of the Vikings, the Twins and the Gophers football team. It also hosted the World Series in 1987 and 1991, baseball's All-Star Game in 1985, the 1992 Super Bowl, and NCAA Final Four basketball championships in 1992 and 2001. It also was home for the Timberwolves during the team's inaugural season, and host of the 1991 International Special Olympics. Bill has been a longtime member of SMA, serving on the Board of Directors and as President of the organization. He was instrumental in creating the SMA Scholarship Foundation. He currently serves as ambassador for the Senior Games that will be hosted in the Twin Cities in 2015.

Bob Curry - 2020

Bob Curry has been a long-time member and ongoing Annual Seminar supporter. His company, Covermaster, was started in the 70’s and has continued strategic growth under the Curry family. As a company they’re always looking at new things and striving to find “What would work better” and they’ve been recognized in the industry for their efforts.

For years, Covermaster, Inc. has been a top choice for fields around the world. It’s truly a testament to his commitment to the industry and continued innovation.


Joe Abernathy - 2021

Joe Abernathy is a thirty-year veteran of the Stadium Management industry, beginning his time with the St. Louis Cardinals when his employer Anheuser-Busch loaned him to the Cards. Joe has been a member of SMA since 1996, attending the first of his 26 consecutive Annual Seminars in Tucson, AZ. He served as a member of the SMA Board of Directors for fourteen years, participating in a variety of committees, as Treasurer, Vice President, and President, and most recently as the Ex-Officio Alumni Chair Joe has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining relationships with our industry partners, including Green Sports Alliance, TEAM Coalition and NCS4.