History of SMA

The first informal gathering of what was to become the Stadium Managers AssociationSM was held in Memphis, TN in January 1974. This small group of dedicated industry leaders wanted to establish a meeting that centered on stadium specific issues, i.e., day to day opertions, problems, etc. The idea of an annual stadium managers seminar was born. Col. Robert Sigholtz (formerly of RFK Stadium) ws given the task of organizing the first official seminar. 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.

Stadium managers throughout the U.S. and Canada were invited to attend. At the beginning, the meetings were limited to stadium managers and a few industry related sponsors.  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.

The meetings were informal with the stadium managers leading the discussions and participating in panels with an occasional industry related lecturer invited.

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.

The SMA Annual Seminar continues to meet each year directly following the Super Bowl

SMA is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 6 reagular members and 1 corporate sponsor member.   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.

Past Board Presidents & Seminar Locations


2018 - Troy Brown, Hollywood Beach, FL

2017 - Tony Pereira, San Diego, CA

2016 - Mark Burk, Fort Lauderdale, FL

2015 - Mark Burk, Hollywood, CA

2014 - Mark Burk, Palm Springs, CA

2013 - David Scott, Miami Beach, FL

2012 - David Scott, Palm Springs, CA

2011 - Joe Abernathy, Huntington Beach, CA

2010 - Joe Abernathy, Orlando, FL

2009 - Jim Folk, Palm Springs, CA

2008 - Jim Folk, San Diego, CA

2007 - Bill Squires, Key West, FL

2006 - Bruce Schulze, Hollywood, CA

2005 - Bruce Schulze, Miami Beach, FL

2004 - Jimmie Sacco, San Antonio, TX

2003 - Jimmie Sacco, Palm Springs, CA

2002 - Bill Lester, Tucson, AZ

2001 - Bill Lester, Orlando, FL

2000 - Bill Lester, Hawaii

1999 - Bill Wilson, San Diego, CA

1998 - Bill Wilson, Palm Springs, CA

1997 - Bill Wilson, Orlando, FL

1996 - Rick Nafe, Tucson, AZ

1995 - Rick Nafe, St. Pete, FL

1994 - Rick Nafe, Orlando, FL

1993 - Rick Nafe, Anaheim, CA

1992 - Rick Nafe, Hawaii