Date: September 19, 2002

Scott Williams, Delta Center general manager and a member of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games organizing committee, and former talk show host and reporter Vicki Hitzges will be featured speakers at the upcoming International Crowd Management Conference, Nov. 10-13 at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno, Nev. Williams will give an assessment of what went right and what went wrong at the Games and Hitzges will deliver a keynote on how to stay focused in the world of change.

Approximately 300-350 security executives are expected to attend the Reno confab, a 15 percent drop from last year, according to event chairman Larry Perkins, who is also assistant general manager at the Raleigh (N.C.) Entertainment & Sports Center. “The recession has played a part in lower attendance for every convention and we're no different.”

In addition to sessions on new technology and threat-level assessment, Perkins said the Safety and Security Task Force will conduct a five-part seminar covering risk, crowd, arena, and crisis management, along with a media relations session.

ICMC will also feature a session reviewing the Best Practices Planning Guide, a step-by-step set of instructions on how to handle different degrees of threatening situations. The planning guide was put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. – Eileen FitzpatrickInterviewed for this article: Larry Perkins, (919) 861-5490

ONE MORE STEP IN OPENING HOBBY CENTER SET FOR OCTOBER 4

The opening of the 500-seat Zilkha Hall on Oct. 4 will bring the new $92 million Hobby Center for the Performing Arts one step closer to completion, according to Michael Taormina, general manager and chief operating officer of the Houston hall.

The center is comprised of the 2,650-seat Sarafim Hall, which opened in grand style May 10, as well as a three-story administration building and a 250-seat restaurant called Artista, set for opening in January. Zilkha Hall is another piece of the project which started seven years ago with fundraising efforts.

“Zilkha Hall will be geared toward the smaller to mid-size arts groups that haven't had a home,” Taormina said. “We will structure our rates for them in the smaller venue.” Taormina said there was a need for a smaller venue like this one in Houston's Theatre District. For this reason, programming produced by local arts groups will be held under the umbrella name of Uniquely Houston, a name created by the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Interviewed for this article: Michael Taormina, (713) 227-2001