VenuesNow Ticketing Stars Alex Renfrew of Spectra/Tsongas Center, Jonathan Lack of the Milwaukee Bucks and Christina Allen of the Ottawa Senators/Canadian Tire Centre. (Courtesy INTIX)

Ticketing association hands out honors at 40th annual conference in Texas

INTIX presented Ticket Philadelphia Vice President Linda Forlini with the Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award at the ticketing association’s awards luncheon during its 40th annual conference and exhibition last week in Grapevine, Texas.

Linda Forlini, winner of the 2019 Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award. (Courtesy INTIX)

Forlini, who joined Ticket Philadelphia in 2015 after 12 years at the New York Philharmonic, where she was director of customer relations, is a 33-year veteran of the ticketing industry. She received VenuesNow’s Ticketing Star Award at last year’s INTIX convention in Baltimore and was INTIX chairman in 2004.

A standing ovation accompanied Forlini as she made her way to the stage Wednesday, and she was visibly moved as she gave a short speech while accepting the award.  “I don’t know what to say, and I’m usually very talkative,” she joked.

The box office and TOBi Services at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio was named Outstanding Ticket Office. Aren Murray, director of ticketing, and Kevin Stephenson, box office manager, accepted the award.

Murray spoke of a year of extensive turnover among the building’s resident companies and a resulting loss of institutional memory that had new executives looking to the ticketing operation for answers. “I said, ‘Our team can handle it,’” Murray said, “‘because we are your face. We are not the face of our building. We are the face of our clients.’”

John Harig, vice president of ticketing services for the Cincinnati Arts Association, won the Outstanding Ticketing Professional Award. The nonprofit organization oversees the Aronoff Center, Music Hall and the Weston Art Gallery.

“I get so much support here. I get so much support at home,” said Harig, who is preparing for the arrival of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” this month. “The people I work with in ticketing services, everybody I work with in the Cincinnati Arts Association is part of this. I could not be successful without them.”

Duncan Moss, associate director of ticketing operations for the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill., received the FutureTix Young Ticketing Professional of the Year, awarded to an outstanding member of the organization under 35. Presenting the award to Moss was Angus Watson, the festival’s retired director of ticketing operations and one of the people Moss thanked for getting him interested in INTIX.

Moss started with Ravinia in 2003, “never thinking I was going to have a career in ticketing. I’m sure a lot of you probably thought the same,” he said, echoing the sentiment that working in the box office is a calling sometimes discovered through experience rather than instinct.

Gail Anderson, Minnesota State Fair ticket office manager, received the Spirit Award, given to a member representing the organization’s spirit of “enthusiasm, friendship, participation and cooperation.” Anderson has been with the fair since 1994 and won the Ticketing Star Award, then known as the Box Office Star Award, in 2013.

She advised new members to dive right in. “Take the time to participate in this organization,” Anderson said. “You’ll get back a thousand things more than you put in.”

Rebecca Throne of Burning Man accepts her Ticketing Star Award. (Courtesy INTIX)

A day earlier, VenuesNow presented its 2019 Ticketing Star Awards to this year’s winners, who were announced in late November. Christina Allen of the Ottawa Senators and Canadian Tire Centre, Jonathan Lack of the Milwaukee Bucks, Alex Refrew of Spectra and the Tsongas Center and Rebecca Throne of Burning Man were all on hand to collect their awards.

At the end of Tuesday’s luncheon, INTIX Board Chair Kay Burnham, vice president of Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Calif., presented the inaugural INTIX Impact Award to Venues Today/VenuesNow founder Linda Deckard for her support of the ticketing industry and INTIX during her time at the magazine as well as at Amusement Business.

The award came as a surprise to Deckard (as well as to one reporter who had dessert silverware in hand rather than a pen to take notes from Deckard’s acceptance speech). On her blog,  though, Deckard offered some lessons learned, which included, “Pack light because you might have a heavy award to transport home.”