Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Originally published in Crain’s Detroit
As Detroit reorganizes the way it conducts business, it has one textbook success as a model.
With regional leadership and professional management, Cobo Center reported last week that it has a surplus for the first half of its fiscal year of $744,000.
It may still post a loss for the full year because of contingencies set aside for its massive, $279 million expansion/renovation project. The renovations are expected to be completed in time for the North American International Auto Show in January 2015.
Cobo was transferred to a regional authority in 2009. Regional hotel and liquor taxes are funding the renovation and expansion of exhibit space. The regional authority hired SMG, an international conference venue management firm, to run the center.
Since Cobo was the tip of Detroit’s political corruption iceberg, leading to the unraveling of the criminal enterprise under convicted ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the center’s improved fortunes make a convincing case that professional management pays off in the short — and long — term.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Originally appeared in US Business Executive, April 2013
Baltimore, Md., is nicknamed “Charm City,” but there was a time when event promoters weren’t as enamored with the historic seaport. Part of a congested corridor, overshadowed by Philadelphia to the north and Washington, D.C., to the south, Baltimore was seen as a tertiary market beginning in the late 1970s and extending throughout much of the ’80s and ’90s.
However, the management staff at the Baltimore Arena, currently known as the 1st Mariner Arena (an SMG-managed facility), knew the quality of both venue and audience that they had, and they have been wooing back the big acts successfully for well over a decade. They have been so success that in 2009 1st Mariner Area was named the No. 1 arena (10,001 – 15,000 capacity) in the United States by Billboard Magazine and Venues Today, and it has continued to rank in one of the top two spots every year since.
“Our building wasn’t designed perfectly – it’s square, it has got its quirks, and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles – but you’re not going to beat the experience,” says Frank Remesch, general manager of 1st Mariner Arena. “It’s more intimate than the giants [Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center], it’s clean, and we never forget the importance of customer service.”