2018 June Quick Hits


June 2018

More Than a Village

Best Practices shared by the SMA Operations Committee

Written by Matt Kastel

The expression “it takes a village” doesn’t do justice to operating and maintaining a stadium. Between employees, contractors, vendors, media, athletes, technology, security and millions of annual visitors, operating a stadium is more akin to managing a metropolitan city than a mere village.

But this much is true, stadium managers can’t do it all on their own and are dependent on a whole array of competent and talented contractors to help get the job done. As stadiums have many moving parts and finite budgets, the relationships between stadium managers and their contractors are one of the key components to a successful operation. Whether you are a stadium manager or contractor, click here for some tips on how to get the most out of the stadium manager - contractor relationship.

2019 Seminar

SMA Board
of Directors


Troy Brown
VP, Stadium Operations
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland, OH

Past President

Tony Pereira
VP, Stadium Operations
Arizona Cardinals
Phoenix, AZ

Vice President

Joe Abernathy
VP of Facility Planning & Engineering
Busch Stadium
St. Louis, MO

Treasurer / Secretary

Matthew Kastel
Stadium Manager
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baltimore, MD

Corporate Director

Nicole Andrews
Managing Director, Global Sales
Matrax Inc.
College Park, MD

Director at Large

Matt Kenny
VP of Stadium Services and Events
Kansas City Chiefs Football Club
Kansas City, MO

Director at Large

Mario Coutinho
VP Stadium Operations & Security
Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
Toronto, Ontario

College Director

Justin Durfey
Director, BYU LaVell Edwards Stadium
Provo, UT

Ex-Officio - Annual Seminar Chair

Rick Nafe
VP of Operations
Tampa Bay Rays
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL

Ex-Officio - Annual Seminar Vice Chair

Jim Folk
Vice President, Ballpark Operations
Cleveland Indians
Cleveland, OH

Ex-Officio - Legal Counsel

Mike McCormick
McMcCormick & Associates
Greenwood, MO

Emeritus Director & Historian

Bill Wilson
Retired Stadium Manager
Big Bear Lake, CA


Jim Minish
Retired Stadium Manager
Cedar Grove, NJ

It's Membership Renewal Time!

It’s amazing how fast a year goes by! It is time once again to renew your membership to the Stadium Managers Association. We appreciate your past participation in SMA and hope you are finding value in your membership.

To renew your membership online, log in to the SMA website using your username and password! CLICK HERE for step-by-step directions.

In order to have your membership remain in good standing, dues must be received by June 30, 2018.

Contact our offices with any questions or concerns.
P: (515) 282-8192
E: sma@stadiummanagers.org

The Ron Labinski SMA Foundation Scholarship

The Foundation has put together a slideshow to help people understand the impact Ron Labinski has had on the sports industry. Take a minute of your day to watch how much Ron has truly done in his career.

CLICK HERE to see what Ron has accomplished over the years.

Every dollar donated between February 4 and June 30 will be matched by SMA to reach the Foundation’s goal of a sustaining scholarship in Ron’s name.

How can you donate?
  1. Go to the YouCaring website to donate online.
  2. Email Molly in our office and she can send you an invoice.
  3. When you receive your membership renewal, elect to donate to the Ron Labinski Foundation Sports Scholarship.

SMA Women In Leadership

The Women In Leadership group has recently joined Facebook!

To connect with us, use this link!

Would you like to receive information on upcoming discussion topics hosted by the WIL Committee? Email Molly and she will keep you updated as opportunities come up.

New Members

Corporate Member

Lost and Found
James Loutit

Partner News

May Training Opportunities with ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR offers many webinar training's each month, click here for a complete listing or use the links below to learn more.

Ask The Expert Sessions:
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:00pm EDT
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 12:00pm EDT

New Topics:
  • Engaging commercial tenants and occupants in energy efficiency
  • Preparing for EPA's ENERGY STAR metric updates
  • Success stories on hosting energy efficiency competitions
  • The value of benchmarking higher education buildings
  • Make a splash with quick water wins

Department of Homeland Security

DHS has reissued this perimeter barrier vehicle crash test methods document due to the increase in the frequency and scale of attacks using vehicles, with or without explosives.

Although the study is outdated, it offers valuable tips if you need to test your own barriers.

Click here for document.

2018 Green Sports Alliance Summit Invitation

June 26th-27th, 2018

Register today to attend the 8th annual Green Sports Alliance Summit in Atlanta at the LEED Platinum Mercedes-Benz Stadium June 26-27, 2018. The Summit brings together hundreds of leaders from professional sports teams, collegiate programs, venue management companies, and other pioneers in environmental stewardship to exchange the latest thinking around greening the sports industry and engaging fans and communities.
Green Sports Alliance would appreciate your help spreading the word about the Summit through newsletters, blogs, social media, press contacts and any other means. CLICK HERE for some resources to help you communicate Summit information. If you have questions, please email kelley@greensportsalliance.org.

Other News

Weather Insights Can Bring Fan Engagement to New Levels for Entertainment Venues

Advances in streaming technology and HD video make it easy for consumers to watch concerts, theatre, and sporting events from almost anywhere. Yet, millions still attend live events because there is something special about being surrounded by hundreds or thousands of fellow fans. However, that extraordinary experience can easily be disrupted by high winds, uncomfortable temperatures, lightning, or severe storms.

Stadiums, both indoor and outdoor, must have a documented weather strategy for addressing severe conditions. A growing number of entertainment companies are investing in advanced weather strategies that go beyond keeping their audience safe during extreme conditions; they leverage day to day weather fluctuations to create a remarkable customer experience.

For more information on advanced weather strategy resources, CLICK HERE or sign up for a webinar on July 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET.

Sports Facilities: How the law affects the sports facilities industry and the law

Hackney Publications delivers valuable and important information about the legal side of the sports industry. Its overriding mission, through its publications, is to maintain a narrow editorial focus on issues that matter to its subscribers.

The company was founded by journalist Holt Hackney, who has spent more than 30 years writing about sports, business and the law.

Hackney is also involved on the corporate side, where he helps companies achieve their corporate communications objectives through the effective use of newsletters through a sister company, Hackney Communications.

Click the magazine cover to view March-April articles.

Communicating With Executives When Your World's On Fire

When your world’s on fire, and you’re working around the clock to survive, it feels like the last thing you have time for is formal updates. And of course, the bigger the fire, the more the senior team needs to know what’s going on. What’s the secret to communicating with executives efficiently so you can stay focused on critical operations?

CLICK HERE to find out!

2018 Seminar Event Sponsors:

AwareManager Covermaster Daktronics, Inc. Hunt Construction Group Irwin Seating Company Populous Terraplas, a division of Checkers Safety Group Walter P Moore Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams Inc.

RFP/RFQ Portal: Open for Bid

Click here for more information on open RFP's

RFP for LED Lighting at Raymond James Stadium
RFP for Supply and Maintenance of Portable Toilets - M&T Stadium

Interested in having your RFP posted to the SMA website? send an email to SMA including a link back to your website (where members can view the complete RFP/RFQ) or a full electronic version, as well as the due date and any pertinent information. SMA vendor members are notified by e-mail when a proposal is posted. Must be a current stadium manager member in order to utilize this service. Must log in to the website to view.

Member Spotlight

Andy Major

Buffalo Bills | Vice President, Operations & Guest Experience
What is your favorite thing in your office?
I have too much memorabilia and collectibles saved over the years, but my family photos and my Slippery Rock University football “stuff” are my favorite things…Slippery Rock reminds me of where everything started for me both personally and professionally, and my wife, kids and family mean everything to me, so these are easily my favorite items in my office. I also have a Bills football helmet signed by my operations and guest services team that I received from them as a gift one Christmas, and a framed photo of my Miami career signed by my former co-workers and friends in South Florida that I really love.

Who is an influential person in your career?
My father, Herb Major, instilled the hard work ethic that I have, and taught me not to listen to the naysayers or ever give up on anything. He was always very supportive of my athletic endeavors and career direction, even though he absolutely thought I was nuts to work in sports…he couldn’t believe the low hourly pay rates I made in the early part of my career, but encouraged me to follow my dream. Bill Galante of the Miami Dolphins was also a great mentor who has very similar personality traits as mine. He helped me learn how to trust my team without micromanaging and always remain positive despite any negative circumstances…he also knew how to have fun on the job and we were able to experience a Marlins World Series Championship together. Bill is now one of my closest friends.

What was your first job?
My first job was a grocery stock boy for a supermarket, and I hated that so much that I became a house painter. My first sports job was with the Pittsburgh Pirates public relations department…Barry Bonds was a skinny rookie leadoff hitter, and I was a skinny rookie intern. I answered fan mail, kept statistics on game day, worked the “ticker” in the press box, and helped produce the media guides and game notes. A highlight of mine at Three Rivers Stadium was meeting legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray who treated me like I was his best friend…I always remembered if someone as big-time as him at the time could treat a rookie intern from Slippery Rock University like that, I would make sure I would do the same throughout my career.

What is your fantasy job?
Well, I would love to own an NFL team. I once thought that being the Commissioner of the NFL was something I wanted to pursue, however I realized how passionate I was about working for one team in one community…Being a part of the current One Buffalo movement in Western New York, and contributing to making the Fan Experience for the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field the best in the NFL (and, in my hometown area) is an opportunity of a lifetime. I feel like working for my hometown/favorite team, the Buffalo Bills, is my passion and my fantasy job.

What would you change about the sporting industry?
Somehow convince and educate the media to focus more on the positive aspects of what the players and teams do in their community vs. the negativity that the media sometimes creates to generate a story. There are some amazing stories out there, and our players and teams are so very involved with many different community and charitable endeavors…the media could do a whole lot more with this. Over the past few seasons we have seen a tremendous growth in how teams are sharing content with their fans whether through social media, broadcasting or website. Instead of hoping for external media coverage, teams are gladly taking ownership of sharing positive stories about their players and organizations, which is great for their fans and the community.

What is an idea or invention you wish you had thought of first?
The game of football…it is the best spectator sport in the country, and it is also a great way for participants to learn about teamwork, camaraderie and the importance of individual roles contributing to the good of the whole team. The same is also true working for a football organization. I probably would have named the game of football something else...maybe after my dog, Buster. Busterball.

What is your favorite story you tell about this business?
Sometimes I share a story about working in the Box Office at Joe Robbie Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, (now Hard Rock Stadium) during the Orange Blossom Classic football game a bunch of years ago. This game attracted nearly 30,000 fans for two small NCAA Division I football programs that had a big-time number one nationally ranked marching band – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching 100. The game basically sold as many tickets as they did only because everyone wanted to see the band play at halftime. During this one particular Orange Blossom game it poured rain, and the field was a drenched muddy mess, so we had to make the decision to cancel the halftime band performance to protect the field and keep the playing conditions as safe as possible. When we announced this over the public address system, the fans in attendance went into an uproar and a frenzy began where the fans started booing, getting angry, and clamoring for a refund. When fans showed up to the box office, I had to politely tell them that there were no refunds, the game was not cancelled and the teams were still playing. As I turned more and more fans away who continued to visit our box office, things became a bit ugly and concerning with the crowd – the crowd become larger and unruly, to the point where we needed the Sheriff to control things and handle the security. I provided an update (over the phone) to our stadium president at the time regarding the situation and, although he originally told us to not provide refunds, he then changed his mind and told us to handle refunds on a case-by-case basis. Once word got out that we refunded a few, we were then obligated to refund them all…and we ultimately ran out of cash handling refunds all game and postgame. When we physically couldn’t provide refunds, we provided certificates for fans who could later return their tickets with the certificate for a refund check payable later. We refunded Orange Blossom Classic game tickets and handled phone calls for over a year following the game…an administrative nightmare. Moral of the story: Make the right decision quickly. We were too wishy-washy with the decision to refund or not refund the game tickets. Although I believe we ultimately made the right decision to refund anyone who asked, the decision should have been made sooner, and no cash should have been refunded on the night of the game. It also would have made for a safer, and more customer service friendly experience for those fans…and, I wouldn’t have gotten screamed at all night. Great learning experience!

What is a quote that inspires you or makes you laugh?
I have three quotes that I basically live by, and a fourth that makes me laugh every time;
  • “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” is a quote that goes a long way in my personal and professional life.
  • I love many of Yogi Berra’s quotes, but “It ain’t over till it’s over” is my favorite of his because, although funny, it is also exemplifies never quitting and always keeping the faith.
  • “It is what it is,” reminds me that sometimes there is nothing you can do and to just go with the flow.
  • However, the quote that makes me laugh every time is from the movie, Caddyshack, “He’s a Cinderella story. A former assistant groundskeeper about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!"
Thank You to Our Corporate Sponsors
These SMA Corporate Sponsors have committed their financial support and industry expertise to support the Stadium Managers Association's mission to be a primary resource for sport facility managers.

Find them in one click and listed by their products on the SMA website vendor guide, or click on their name below to go directly to their website. Consider them first as your industry resource for products and services this year!
24/7 Software * Able Services * ABM Industries * Anheuser-Busch, Inc. * Arena Maintenance Solutions, LLC * AwareManager * Barton Malow Company * BASF Construction Chemicals * BASF Performance Floors * Birdair, Inc. * BOCA Group International * BrandSafway * Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, Inc. * Caddy Products, Inc. * CEIA USA * Centerplate * Clarin by Hussey Seating * CLEAR * Contemporary Services Corporation * Covermaster, Inc. * Crown Castle * Daktronics, Inc. * Dant Clayton Corporation * Delaware North Companies SportService * Detex Corp. * Eaton's Ephesus Sports Lighting * EMSEAL Joint Systems LTD * eVerifile * Evonik Corporation * FabriTec Structures LLC * FieldTurf USA Inc. * Flock Free * Gensler Sports* Gilbane Building Company * Hardesty & Hanover, LLC * HOK * HKS, Inc. * HNTB Architecture, Inc., * Hunt Construction Group * IBM Sports and Entertainment * Idibri * imageOne Uniforms * Impark * Iowa Rotocast Plastics * Irwin Seating Company * Jani-King International, Inc. * Knight Facilities Management, Inc. * Landmark Event Staffing Services, Inc. * Langan Engineering & Environmental Services * Legends Project Development * Manhattan Construction * MARSH USA * Matrax, Inc. * Max-R * MCMcCormick & Associates, LLC * Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc., Diamond Vision Division * Mortenson Sport + Entertainment * Neogard * Osborn Engineering * Panasonic System Communications Company of North America * ParkHub * PC Sports * Pecora Corporation * Peerless-AV * Performance Clean, LLC * Petrone Risk * Philips Lighting NA * Pioneer Athletics * Poly-Tuff Systems International Corporation * Populous * Prismview - A Samsung Electronics Company * Pritchard Sports & Entertainment * PSAV * Quick Bridge Systems * Res-Tek Inc. * Royal Corporation * Rust-Oleum Stadium Group * Schuff Steel Company * Sentry Event Services, Inc. * SGL * Shawmut Design & Construction * Show Pros Entertainment Services* Signature Systems Group LLC. /EventDeck * Southern Bleacher Company * SP Plus Gameday * Spec Seats * SPS North America * Stantec * StageRight Corporation * Staxi Corporation Ltd. * Stratacache * Sunbelt Rentals * SunBrite TV * TEAM Coalition, Inc * Terraplas USA, Inc. * The Vollrath Company * THP Limited, Inc. * Tremco * Trex Commercial Products * TURF NATION * Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment * Venue Solutions Group * Visiontron Corp. * Walter P Moore * Western Specialty Contractors * West Pond Enterprises * Whelan Security * World Class Athletic Surfaces, Inc. * Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon, & Williams, Inc.