Friday, March 25, 2011

The City of Canton, Ohio Contracts with SMG for the Management of the Canton Memorial Civic Center

SMG and The City of Canton have executed a 5-year agreement for SMG to manage the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

SMG's full management began on March 15, 2011. In addition to day-to-day operations, SMG will handle the marketing, event booking, sales, food and beverage, maintenance and financial reporting for the Civic center. SMG has provided consulting and booking services to the City for the Civic Center since May 1, 2004.

“SMG is thrilled to continue and expand our relationship with the City of Canton at the Canton Memorial Civic Center,” stated Wes Westley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SMG. “With our new, full management contract in place, we look forward to working with the City to increase the quantity and quality of programming while continuing efforts to reduce operating expenses and City subsidies.”

“The execution of this contract turns the page and opens an exciting new chapter in the history of the Canton Memorial Civic Center,” stated Warren Price, Canton's Director of Public Service. “This agreement is the result of almost two years of hard work and negotiations between the Office of Public Service, City Council, and our largest labor union, AFSCME 2937. We were only able to move in this direction by working together. The New Year brings with it the promising hope of new life at the Civic Center. This latest evolution in our relationship with SMG is expected to cut costs and make operations at the Civic Center more efficient, thereby helping the City to balance the budget for 2011 and beyond while still providing essential services to hard working Canton families.”

John Bolton, CFE Announced as IAVM’S 2nd Vice Chair 2011-2012

SMG congratulates John Bolton, General Manager of the BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center, on his nomination for 2nd Vice Chair of the International Association of Venue Managers Board of Directors. This prestigious honor denotes exemplary leadership and dedication to the Sport, Entertainment, and Convention/Exhibition Industry. In this role, Mr. Bolton will become a Senior Officer of the organization, a four (4) year term, ascending to the Chairman position in 2013-14.

Mr. Bolton is the General Manager of the SMG Tulsa/BOK Center and Tulsa Convention Center and has served in this position since 2007. He has been in the industry since 1986, and joined SMG in 2003 as the General Manager of five venues in Evansville, Indiana.

“John Bolton is a great example of the talent we are fortunate to have at SMG. We are extremely proud that his dedication to the industry and local community is being recognized by this honor. The demonstrated success of the Tulsa BOK Center, as displayed by the numerous impressive events and awards for the facility, is evidence of his leadership ability. He has been a dedicated employee of SMG and we're delighted to see him achieve this well-deserved recognition from the industry's premier organization, IAVM,” said SMG President and CEO Wes Westley.

In 2008, Mr. Bolton won Venues Today's magazine “Hall of Headlines Award” for most outstanding bookings in addition to being nominated as “Facility Executive of the Year” by Pollstar magazine (2008 and 2009).  The BOK Center under Bolton's leadership also has been recognized with nominations of New Major Concert Venue of the Year (2008) and Arena of the Year (2009 and 2010) by Pollstar Magazine, IEBA, and the Academy of Country Music. The arena routinely ranks among the best in the country, recently being ranked by Venues Today as the fourth best tour stop, based on concert and event grosses in 2010.

A member of IAVM since 1994, Mr. Bolton has served the industry as a volunteer member in many capacities, including Chair of the Professional Development Committee, Chair of Board of Governors for IAVM's Senior Executive Symposium at Cornell University, and served as the local host for the 2010 Arena Management Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Currently he is the Director for Region 6 and Chair of the Arenas Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors of IAVM.

“I am very humbled by the honor of representing an industry I love so much.  IAVM and its programs and services have played a major role in the success I have enjoyed throughout my career. Having the opportunity to give back in a leadership role like this is truly a dream come true for me,” stated John Bolton, CFE.

“John Bolton is one of the rising stars of our industry.  John has demonstrated unique imagination, creativity and drive, in his professional approach to venue management. He has been a valuable and productive member of our association through a myriad of volunteer positions and assignments and is a great choice for Second Vice Chair.  IAVM will benefit significantly from his energy, skill and enthusiasm,” said John Christison, CFE, President & General Manager of the Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington.

John Bolton, CFE follows in the path of a great number of predecessors that, over the past 86 years, have helped to shape the industry, and ultimately, the communities we serve.  IAVM members will vote on this nomination, and, if elected, Mr. Bolton will take office during the Annual Conference & Trade Show, VenueConnect, set for July 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lewis H. Dawley, III to Receive 2011 APEX Award

Lewis H. Dawley, III, SMG Regional Vice President of Convention Center Operations and Business Development, has been selected to receive the 2011 APEX Award for Distinguished Service. The award is presented by Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to tourism and travel. The award will be presented during the Travel Professionals of Color's (TPOC) 9th annual conference, on Friday, May 13, 2011 at the Galt Hotel in Louisville, KY.

“SMG is really pleased to see Lew receive this industry recognition. Lew is a senior member of our Convention Center Management Team and is very deserving of this award. All of us at SMG congratulate Lew on this accomplishment,” said SMG President and CEO Wes Westley.

Dawley is an accomplished veteran of more than 30 years in the convention center industry. He has been with SMG since 2003, where he serves as a senior consultant of convention center operations and labor relations, and also currently as General Manager of the Albuquerque Convention Center. Prior to joining SMG he was General Manager and CEO of the Washington Convention Center Authority, Washington D.C. Dawley is one of a handful of industry experts to manage the planning, construction and grand opening of four convention centers. Before Washington, he served as the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority's general manager, where he developed a strategic operational plan for the opening of the 1.3 million-square-foot facility and directed day-to-day operations. He also opened and operated the COBO Convention/Exhibition Center in Detroit, where he was General Manager from 1977 to 1989, and the Minneapolis Convention Center, where he was Director of Operations from 1989 to 1991.

Dawley is a member of several professional organizations including the International Association of Assembly Managers, the National Association of Exposition Managers, and the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SMG in the News: Cambria Arena Upgrades Improve Handicapped Access

Recent upgrades at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, PA have made a huge positive impact in handicapped access. The improvements include renovated bathrooms, a new steel ramp, and 21 new seating areas for patrons in wheelchairs. “My goal, as general manager, is to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to attend events,” said Michael Silva.

“I think these guys really did a fabulous job,” said [Don] Rullman, who uses a wheelchair. “Change is always something that takes a series of steps, and this is a step in the right direction.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SMG in the News: Jackson Convention Complex Wraps Up its Second Year with Big Gains on All Fronts

The Mississippi Business Journal just published a feature on the great things happening at the Jackson Convention Complex. Some highlights:

“The Jackson Convention Complex is doing some noticeably important things for the City of Jackson and the state,” [General Manager Linda] McCarthy said. “The numbers tell the story. Event job creation nearly doubled in 2010 compared to 2009. We had an impressive impact on the local economy, and received over a million hits on our website.”

The motto for the complex is “where Mississippi meets the world.” The facility received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for green environmental practices. And it is particularly proud of the vibrant colors and captivating designs on its Kinetic Vapor displays.

“The Jackson Convention Complex is truly an innovative, forward-thinking, inspiring, and genuinely friendly place to host an event,” McCarthy said.

The total impact on money spent on goods and services in the local economy was about $28.6 million in 2010, compared to about $21 million in 2009. And the estimated number of visitors in 2010 was 146,635 people.

“We take our obligation to provide the best possible management very seriously,” McCarthy said. “The SMG team has provided our clients and visitors with exceptional customer service, professional sales and event services, and high-quality food service. We have implemented and embraced standard-setting sustainable practices, and through expert operations, have kept this facility in first-rate, state-of the-art condition.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Venues Today Names BOK Center #4 Tour Stop

BOK Center has been named one of the Top 10 “Top Stops” by Venues Today magazine, for concert and event gross revenues in 2010.

“We were thrilled about this ranking, which is another feather in our cap for the BOK Center. It’s the fan support that helps us accomplish this and we owe it to every ticket purchaser in Tulsa and the surrounding communities,” remarked General Manager John Bolton. “This year has started strong and we plan to keep bringing A-List entertainment to Tulsa, including this month’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Second & Third Rounds.”

Monday, March 7, 2011

Antiques Roadshow Pulls into Tulsa this Summer

The Antiques Roadshow has announced that it will be stopping at the Tulsa Convention Center on July 23, 2011 to offer free evaluations of antiques and collectibles, and reveal their often surprising history. The program will air on PBS in 2012, as the Roadshow celebrates its Sweet Sixteen. "We won’t be serving cake with candles, but we promise a party atmosphere with lots of surprises,” said executive producer Marsha Bemko.

To apply for tickets, visit the Antiques Roadshow website.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Artist Reception to be Held at the Lynnwood Convention Center

SMG  has once again partnered with the Lynnwood (WA) Arts Commission to showcase artwork from nationally and internationally acclaimed artists at the Lynnwood Convention Center. The exhibition features quilts generously loaned by the members of the Contemporary QuiltArt Association. "The Contemporary QuiltArt Association sees quilts as an exciting, emerging medium of expression and a viable contemporary art form," said Fred Wong, Cultural Arts Supervisor with the City of Lynnwood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.

The Artist Reception will be held at the Lynnwood Convention Center March 10th from 6pm - 8pm and is free to the public. It will remain on display through June. For more information, visit

New Children's Expo at the Tulsa Convention Center!

This June 18-19 the Tulsa Convention Center will host the first OK PLAY! Children's Expo, two adventure-filled days of hands-on activities, high-energy entertainment and educational exploration through various exhibits and vendor booths.

John Bolton, General Manager, says of the new event: “With successful events such as the Rock ‘n Rib Festival and Winterfest in the fall and winter months, we identified the need for a fun-filled summer event for families to enjoy. By mid-June, families have often spent hours at the pool or parks and are looking for something new to spike interest –OK PLAY! will be a great addition to the calendar and will serve as a valuable resource for parents to learn about new activities and educational programs for their kids.”

More information about the OK PLAY! Children's Expo, including exhibitor applications and entertainment schedules, can be found at