San Diego Convention Center’s Rip Rippetoe will be taking on second chair on the IAVM board. (Courtesy San Diego Convention Center Corp.)

Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, CEO of San Diego Convention Center and former president of the Kentucky State Fair Board has been selected as the new second vice chair of the IAVM board. He’ll officially take on the position during the organization’s annual conference this month in Toronto.

VenuesNow caught up with the veteran facility manager to discuss how he won appointment to the post and what his approach will be when he steps into the role.

How did you get involved with IAVM?
I started with the organization in 1988, so this is my 30th year with IAVM. I was chair of the performing arts committee when we launched the very first performing arts facility management sector in 1992, and that went on for 25 years. Since then I chaired the sustainability committee, the affairs council, and I served on five or six different committees and on the board as well. I was also an allied member back when I had my own consultancy firm, so I’ve been a professional member and an allied member, which gives me unique insight into both sides of IAVM membership.

When did you entertain the idea of tackling a bigger role in the IAVM structure?
I explored it last year but took it up seriously this year. It’s something that’s important to me. I really love this organization; I’ve had a great opportunity to serve, and I feel like I still have something that I can offer to the IAVM membership.

Who is on the current board?
The current chair is Doug Booher, director, Indiana University Auditorium; the first vice chair is Michael Marion, GM, Verizon Arena (North Little Rock, Ark.); and the second vice chair is Tammy Koolbeck, executive director, Iowa State Center. The way it works is that Michael moves up to chair of the board for 2018; Tammy will become chair in 2019; and I’ll be the chair in 2020.

That’s quite a commitment.
It’s a four-year commitment and none of us takes it lightly at all. It’s not only your personal commitment, but it also requires a commitment from the organization that employs you, recognizing what it means and giving you the time, ability and support to serve as an officer. It’s really a well-thought-out process of a personal commitment, the education and experience on committees and boards, and endorsement from your employer, letters of recommendation from leaders in the industry, and an interview process. It’s all to make sure your goals are compatible with the strategic goals of the organization. I take it seriously.

Do you feel like you are stepping into some big shoes?
Absolutely. We’re standing on the shoulders of people like Ray Ward, Dick Shaff, Carol Wallace and Robyn Williams and many other legends who have led our organization. It’s very humbling to be included with the former IAVM board members.

What are your goals as an IAVM board member?
We are all endorsing the governance model with the CEO and the board being policymakers. We’re going to continue to build the legacy of the organization. We are in the business of providing information to our members.

Were you in favor of the one member, one vote initiative (which allows honorary, retired, allied and associate members to vote in the organization’s affairs)?
I endorsed it and voted for it. I strongly believe in the contribution of our allied members— remember, I was one of them for many years. They have so much commitment and love for our industry and they deserve a voice. The measure passing was a great step in advancing the idea that IAVM stands with all its members.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference in Toronto?
It’s going to be the second full year of IAVM folding the individual sectors into the annual conference. I’m anxious to see how we build off the educational components within the sectors, and the boot camps. Building on the professional educational experience we can provide is always a highlight of the VenuesConnect conferences. I’m also personally looking forward to getting to know the rest of the leadership team.

Any last thoughts?
I would not be in the position of CEO at San Diego Convention Center without IAVM. The organization gave me educational opportunities, networking opportunities and places to serve, and I hope that others that are in the midst of their journeys find ways to use all the benefits of IAVM to grow their careers