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The 2021 seminar was filled with informative content, engaging speakers and two highly entertaining emcees! From keynoter Joe Maddon to the Stadium Manager Panel and everything in between, we hope you learned something new, made some connections and enjoyed a few laughs over the two days.

We can never say this enough... thank you to our speakers, sponsors, technology team, our hosts Rick Nafe and Jim Folk, participants and Raymond James Stadium for making this year a successful seminar!

2021 New Board Members
The annual meeting was held in conjunction with Seminar and included a vote for two open board positions. Please welcome incumbent Mario Coutinho and Kevin Kahn!

2021-2022 SMA Officers:
Mario Coutinho- President
Angie Nix - Vice President
Justin Durfey - Treasurer
Matt Kastel - Past President 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Joe Abernathy! Joe 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 Tuscon, AZ - the monsoon year, not the snow and sleet year.

He has been a member of the SMA Board of Directors for fourteen years, serving on a variety of committees, as Treasurer, Vice President and President, and most recently as the ex officio Chair of the Alumni Committee.

Joe has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining relationships with our industry partners, including Green Sports Alliance, TEAM Coalition, and NCS4.

SMA will hold a formal presentation honoring Joe at next year's seminar in Margaritaville.
Most Engaged Managers
Congratulations to the top three most engaged managers!  Each person won a cash prize for their participation in a variety of activities including Seminar, the new mobile app, SMA Foundation, and more! Thank you to Daktronics for sponsoring the contest and all who participated! 

1st Place - Angie Nix
2nd Place - Jason Feysk
3rd Place - Jason Feysk


Save the Date!
February 6-10, 2022 in Margaritaville, Florida!

The Stadium Managers Association (SMA) held its annual vote for the 2021 Board of Directors at the Association’s February hybrid seminar.

Following the general election, the Board elected officers to serve a term of one year beginning in February 2021.

Mario Coutinho, Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club was elected as President. Angie Nix, Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco 49ers, was elected as Vice President. Justin Durfey, BYU LaVell Edwards Stadium, was elected as Secretary/Treasurer. Matt Kastel, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Maryland Stadium Authority will serve as Past President.

Nicole Andrews, Matrax, Inc; Matt Kenny, Kansas City Chiefs Football Club; Kelsey Smith, CenturyLink Field, Seattle Seahawks and Kevin Kahn, Coors Field Colorado Rockies, were elected to serve on the SMA Board of Directors.

The Board recognized Joe Abernathy, St. Louis Cardinals, for his 14 years of board service including serving on a variety of committees, as Treasurer, Vice President, President, and most recently, as the ex-officio Chair of the Alumni Committee.

Ex-Officio advisors include Seminar Chair Rick Nafe, (retired), Seminar Co-Chair, Jim Folk, Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians, Legal Counsel Mike McCormick, McCormick & Associates, LLC, Advisory Council, Troy Brown, Alumni Chair, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland Browns, and Historian, Bill Wilson.

The Stadium Managers Association (SMA) is an organization that educates and provides industry resources to assist professional and collegiate stadium managers in achieving the highest levels of facility administration and operation. SMA supports and promotes the professional relationships and networking among stadium managers, league officials and industry suppliers that contribute to the success of our members.

The Association is committed to being the primary industry resource for Sports Facility Managers and Leading Suppliers in the stadium industry.

SBA Launches Portal to Begin Accepting Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applications on April 8
National informational webinar to review application process on March 30

Release Date: March 19, 2021 Contact:
Release Number: 21-22 Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs & Instagram

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal today in anticipation of opening applications for the much-anticipated critical economic relief program on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

“Help is here for venue operators hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA has worked diligently to build the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program from the ground up to assist and address the diverse eligibility requirements of each type of applicant and we will open for applications on April 8,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “The SBA knows these venues are critical to America's economy and understands how hard they've been impacted, as they were among the first to shutter. This vital economic aid will provide a much-needed lifeline for live venues, museums, movie theatres and many more.”

Prior to the official SVOG application opening, the SBA will host a national informational webinar to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities from 2:30 to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Those interested in participating can register here.

The SVOG program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, which appropriated $15 billion for it. The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, appropriated an additional $1.25 billion, bringing the program funding to a total of $16.25 billion, with more than $16 billion allocated for grants.

To ensure eligible venues do not miss a window to receive assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, the American Rescue Plan Act also amended the SVOG program so entities that apply for a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, can also apply for an SVOG, with the eligible entity’s SVOG to be reduced by the PPP loan amount. The PPP loan applications have been updated to reflect this.

As the SBA builds and prepares to open the program, the dedicated SBA website,, which includes frequently asked questions, video tutorials and other SVOG details, is the best source for information for those looking to apply for a grant. To prepare in advance of the SVOG application portal opening on April 8, potential applicants should get registered in the federal government’s System for Award Management (, as this is required for an entity to receive an SVOG, and reference the preliminary application checklist and eligibility requirements.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

BEST Crowd Management


WESS, a GardaWorld Company, Announces Rebrand to BEST Crowd Management

New name highlights company’s continued growth and commitment to providing world-class event staffing and security services

Coon Rapids, Minn. — February 22, 2021 | WESS, a GardaWorld company and nationwide provider of event staffing and security services, today announced its rebrand to BEST Crowd Management.

BEST Crowd Management will carry the longstanding expertise and demonstrated success of WESS, providing guest services, gate management, perimeter protection, security response and field intrusion teams, access control, parking management, and executive protection and consulting services.

Who is BEST?

  • Decades of experience providing world-class security solutions for crowd management solutions.
  • Current partners include the country’s largest stadiums professional sports teams, college sports teams, major concert venues, and convention centers for corporate events.
  • Present in more than 27 markets and a growing footprint that reaches from California to Las Vegas, Florida and New York.

“The decision to rebrand follows from decades of experience and demonstrated success in providing the BEST for our clients. It’s time we updated our branding to reflect our standing,” said Jeff Spoerndle, Vice President of BEST Crowd Management.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, BEST Crowd Management has demonstrated its leadership, flexibility and adaptability, introducing services including temperature screenings, social distancing supervision, capacity monitoring and vaccination checks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought crowd management to the forefront,” said Spoerndle. “Event staffing and security is no longer just about ticketing or physical security—it’s about securing staff and guests from an invisible health threat. As a result, sports venues, corporate events, and even non-traditional event venues and organizations require a partner that brings highly-cultivated expertise with adaptable skill sets and services.”

“We’re proud to announce the rebranding of WESS to BEST Crowd Management Services,” said Prentice Robertson, Chief Operating Officer, Security Services, U.S. at GardaWorld. “BEST represents the very core of the GardaWorld family, bringing energy, innovation and world-class expertise and resources to deliver highly customized security solutions.”

To learn more about BEST Crowd Management and its services, visit  

About BEST Crowd Management

BEST Crowd Management offers decades of experience providing world-class security solutions and staffing for crowd management solutions with partners including some of North America’s largest stadiums professional sports teams, college sports teams, major concert venues, and convention centers. With headquarters in Minneapolis, MN and in Montreal, Canada, BEST Crowd Management is part of GardaWorld Security Services, the largest privately held integrated security services company in the world.

About GardaWorld

GardaWorld is the largest privately owned integrated security, cash solutions and risk management company in the world, with an emphasis on integrity, vigilance, trust and respect. With a strong presence in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and other regions servicing more than 35,000 clients, GardaWorld and its brands are uniquely positioned and resourced to support security needs, whether they are local, regional or international. The company’s brands include GardaWorld Security Services, GardaWorld Cash Services, BEST Crowd Management, ECAMSECURE and Crisis24. For more information, visit

Media Contact

 Lorianne Walker

Abel Communications for GardaWorld

(410) 688-1330

GardaWorld Media Relations Team

Interested candidates can send their resumes to Ed Mangan at

This position has 2 openings and will remain open until filled.

• Field manager assists with the operation and management of the playing surface.
• Total playing surface maintenance, including cutting, game ready preparation, complete fertilization application and equipment maintenance.
• Interviews, hires, trains, directs and supervises a staff of employees for the purpose of maintaining the field.
• Keeps accurate and complete records on payroll, inventory, weather data, maintenance procedures, and chemical applications.
• Assist with equipment maintenance and supplies/materials to maintain the playing surface and adjacent landscapes.
• Baseball Specific: Manages infield skin, mound and home plate areas, grass to skin transition.
• Should be able to lift and carry 50 lbs.
• Job requires running, pulling and lifting heavy material at times.
• All other duties as assigned.



• High School diploma or equivalent to 2 years of trade school or apprenticeship program, 3 years additional practical experience can be substituted for schooling.
• Must have at least two years’ experience in professional baseball setting. Preferred 5 years’ experience.
• Can operate a turf spray rig for liquid chemical applications.
• Have knowledge of fertilizers and understand their application properties.
• Ability to manage, supervise and train seasonal staff.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills.
• Familiarity and understanding of current federal, state and local laws and regulations affecting the management and operations of sports fields and facilities (including, but not limited to employment, safety and environmental standards, laws and regulations);
• Work non-traditional hours, including baseball season and stadium special events.
• Knowledge of warm season grasses wear and replacement, zoned irrigation, tarp deployment and weather preparation procedures.
• An understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures and an ability to work effectively and relate well with individuals of diverse backgrounds.
• The candidate must pass a drug test and criminal and credit background checks.

CLICK HERE for full job description.