It's time to vote for the 2019 Ticketing Star Awards, a tradition Venues Now magazine initiated ten years ago. We will be honoring this year's outstanding ticketing professionals during the INTIX convention in Texas, January 29-31, 2019. Vote now to make your voice heard.

The voting deadline is Nov. 25, 2018.

These individuals have been nominated for their newsworthy achievement or outstanding service in their own ticket office or in the ticketing industry at large.

We will showcase the winners in our January issue.

Subscribers, please login and vote online. INTIX members who do not subscribe or subscribers can also e-mail choices – select three individuals – to vote@venuesnow.com (include your name and affiliation).

ONLY SUBSCRIBER AND INTIX MEMBER VOTES WILL QUALIFY AND BE TALLIED.

 

2019 TICKETING STAR AWARDS NOMINEES:

Capsules provided by nominators and have been edited for length and clarity.


Christina Allen
Box Office Manager, Ottawa Senators Hockey Club & Canadian Tire Centre

Christina oversaw the transition to Ticketmaster in summer 2016 and spearheaded the host conversion, working tirelessly through the summer and fall to ensure we were positioned well to support the new platform. The Canadian Tire Centre Box Office, through her submission and under her leadership, was recognized as the INTIX Box Office of the Year in 2016, and she was nominated for the INTIX Ticketing Professional of the Year award in 2018.
She goes out of her way to advance her professional development, having applied for and been the recipient of the Intix grant so she could attend Intix in FY17 when budgets were tight and we didn’t have the funds to send her. She also places a high importance on the development of her team, encouraging her assistant manager to do the same, leading to her selection as the successful candidate for the grant this fiscal year.
She has for the last five years been on committees at INTIX and now co-chairs the Professional Development and Grant Committee and the Education Committee. She has been selected to present her submission “Ticketing ‘EH!” at this year’s conference.
She and two others, noting a lack of networking opportunities in the Ottawa area for ticketing professionals, launched and is a driving force behind Ottawa-Gatineau Regional Ticketing Group, which meets quarterly to share stories, opportunities and best practices.
Identifying a gap within our organization, she has implemented and chairs two cross-functional team meetings, the first a monthly roundup to review past event successes and challenges and to discuss coming events, and the second to rally managers across all departments to create awareness of interdepartmental challenges, increase the level of communication and discuss how they can help one another achieve their objectives.


Jamie Brandt
Vice President of Sales and Service
San Francisco 49ers

Jamie is a trailblazer in the professional sports ticketing world. With the 49ers since 2008, he oversees all aspects of suite, ticket and hospitality sales and service for the club. He was instrumental in establishing the sales and service culture within the organization. One of his most important tasks was to methodically construct a team of dedicated sales and service professionals focused on growing and maintaining the 49ers ticket-buying fan base. The sales and service department includes dedicated staff for suites and SBLs, respectively, as well as ticketing and hospitality.
While maintaining a 97 percent season-ticket renewal rate and setting NFL records for highest regular-season single-game gate three years in a row, the 49ers are holding the line on season ticket prices for the sixth consecutive season. While Brandt and his team work tirelessly to provide added value for season-ticket holders, the 49ers are one of only two NFL teams with average ticket prices in 2018 equal to or lower than 2014.
Under his leadership, the 49ers have become one of the league’s foremost authorities in leveraging digital ticketing technologies. The 49ers became one of the first NFL teams to eliminate print-at-home ticketing in 2018, a year ahead of the NFL’s digital-only ticketing initiative becoming leaguewide policy. This change to only offering tickets through the team’s Levi’s Stadium mobile app, the first of its kind, not only delivers a more personal experience for guests but also reduces the potential for fraud or duplicated tickets being sold to unsuspecting buyers.
Brandt also spearheaded the launch of a new AccountManager online interface in 2018, which enhances the Levi’s Stadium Mobile App experience and simplifies the transfer flow for both members and single game buyers.


Sherry Caldwell
Director of Box Office, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Sherry joined the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1980, starting as a part-time employee while in high school. She worked alongside her father who was also an employee at the Memorial Sports Arena. After graduation, she began her career climb, working her way up over the years from ticket seller to director. She has seen the evolution of event ticketing, implementing the transition pre-computers of hard ticket sales to the computerized processing system that we currently use. She has had a front-row seat to nearly 40 years supporting USC Trojans football, as well as two NFL teams, the Raiders and Rams; countless sporting events, including international soccer matches, motorsports, mixed martial arts, track and field, and cricket; sold-out concerts with such artists as The Rolling Stones, U2, Prince, Pink Floyd, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan; the 1984 Summer Olympics and the Special Olympics World Games of 2015; papal Mass by Pope John Paul II (1987); appearance by Nelson Mandela (1990); and the 50th anniversary L.A. Dodgers game against the Boston Red Sox, which set a world record for attendance of 115,300 (2008).


Lauren Dugan
Director of Ticketing
Select-A-Seat Ticketing and Intrust Bank Arena, Managed by SMG

Lauren joined our team in July 2017 and has worked tirelessly to create a better-organized and structured Select-A-Seat ticketing agency that services Intrust Bank Arena, The Orpheum Theatre, Lawrence Dumont Stadium, and several other local venues in Wichita. She accomplished this by creating event files, establishing a relocation plan with guest services/events department, creating a system-down procedure and a reorganization of the department duties for the three full-time employees.
Additionally, in 2018, Intrust Bank Arena hosted the NCAA men’s basketball first- and second-round tournament games for the first time, and she was a critical to the overall success of the tournament in the venue. She created a temporary new space for the Select-A-Seat phone room, making room in the box office for the NCAA team representatives. Additionally, she coordinated with eight teams (two of them went to the Final Four) on their ticketing needs and ensured NCAA policies were being followed for all ticketing aspects. Further, the NCAA tournament occurred during two major on-sale preparations (Imagine Dragons and Metallica).


Sharon Dunaway
Director of Ticketing for SMG Tulsa (BOK Center and Cox Business Center)

Sharon not only understands everything there is to know about our venue’s ticketing structure, but she also understands future challenges that the entire industry faces. She consistently impresses and inspires her staff and co-workers with her passion for what she does. In the office, we will share articles and breaking news stories as they pertain to ticketing, and she is the first to jump on a call to talk about it and the potential effect on our business. She consistently fights for our venue to stay at the forefront of box office changes and has increased our revenue sources exponentially.
She is an industry veteran who has won this award in the past and deserves it again this year with her work on many nontraditional events we accomplished this year, including our first NHL preseason game at BOK Center; first outdoor concert, featuring Jack White at ONEOK Field, a minor league baseball park; and her execution in ticketing for our 10 For 10 Concert series, which has grossed over $18.5 million so far. As a leader, she treats every moment as a learning opportunity for the staff who works under her, and she has a phenomenal track record of grooming future box office stars in the industry.


Kathryn Howell
Box Office and Group Sales Manager for Spectra, Abbotsford (British Columbia) Centre, and Ticketmaster Box Office Regional Director for Spectra

Kathryn is the box office and group sales manager at Spectra-run Abbotsford Centre in British Columbia. She is also Spectra’s Ticketmaster box office regional director, overseeing 16 venues. In her almost 10 years with Spectra, she has been a leader in group sales, surpassing her sales targets year after year. Most recently, her team received the Golden Ball Award from the Harlem Globetrotters for the best year-to-year growth in sales.
She is a driver of new ideas, regularly beta testing new products for Ticketmaster. She is consistently the first to implement new software and generate new ideas for selling group tickets. For example, she introduced a craft whiskey lounge concept in Abbotsford, which quickly sells out at every event. She also expertly identifies strategies to help promoters generate the optimum revenue.
“Kathryn is progressive and thoughtful in her business ideas to sell shows,” said Jacque Holowaty, vice president of client experience and ticketing. “But, on top of her tangible accomplishments, what I find most remarkable is her impactful leadership, which boasts an exceptionally low staff turnover and high productivity. She strikes an unexpected balance between hard work, high expectations, fun and enthusiasm.”


Jonathan Lack
Senior Director of Ticketing
Milwaukee Bucks

Fiserv Forum, which opened Aug. 26, is on the forefront of innovations in the ticketing industry due in part to its Fortress technology and digitized ticket office. Overseen by Jonathan, Fiserv Forum is the only NBA arena to be fully integrated with Fortress and Ticketmaster Presence for Access Control, Loyalty and Loaded Value. With this relationship, Fiserv Forum is fully prepared to handle the current changes in digital ticketing, but also be ready for future changes that are coming with mobile ticketing.
With 41 Falcon Pods, fans can scan their own tickets themselves, making for quick and efficient entry into the building. In many instances, Fiserv Forum has been able to scan in over a thousand guests in a five-minute period.
He oversaw the development of Fiserv Forum’s cutting-edge ticket office. Fiserv Forum is the only venue in the United States to use dual screens in its ticket office as a means of serving its customers. The second screen faces the customer and displays customized seating information, stage layout and 360-degree “views from the seat” using IOMedia technology. All the information shown to a customer is digital and can be updated in real time from the back office, giving the most current information on all shows to the ticket office staff at the front counter. Using Archtics as point-of-sale has also opened up a wealth of digital ticketing options for Fiserv Forum’s customers.
He has 12 years of experience in the ticket industry and leads a team of eight full-time and 24 part-time employees at Fiserv Forum. Before joining the Milwaukee Bucks in 2017, he worked at The O2 Arena in London and The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.


Toni Manzella
Box Office Manager
Wintrust Arena and the Arie Crown Theater, Chicago

As the second employee hired, Toni was instrumental in the opening of the new SMG-managed Wintrust Arena; a 10,000-plus capacity arena that is home to DePaul University men's and women's basketball and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, as well as concerts, other sporting events and private events. She also oversees box office operations for the Arie Crown Theater, which along with Wintrust Arena is part of the McCormick Place Convention Center campus, and is the box office treasurer for special events at Soldier Field, another SMG managed facility. In that capacity, she has worked every non-NFL sporting event and stadium tour that has come through in the last six years, including the Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well Tour in 2015.
She also managed and executed all aspects of the venue ticketing for the Garth Brooks concert at Notre Dame Stadium, the first concert to be held there. Even though it was also the venue's first event on Ticketmaster, her expertise in stadium show ticketing and operations made for a smooth show from start to finish, making 85,000 fans happy despite October weather in South Bend, Ind.
At the Wintrust Arena and Arie Crown Theater. Matchroom Boxing USA and Intel Extreme Masters E-Sports competitions made their debut in Chicago, and it was because of her astute knowledge of ticketing that each of these events were built and went on sale flawlessly. Her keen attention to detail and customer service sets her apart. She never says, “We can’t.” She always says, “Let’s see what we can do to help.”


Kristina Meier
Director of Box Office Operations, Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota Wild, Saint Paul RiverCentre and Roy Wilkins Auditorium

“Kristina Meier is without question one of the best box office managers I get to work with. She is incredibly detailed and efficient, and above all, she thinks like a promoter. She is always looking out for depleting inventory and suggesting ways to increase our gross. I feel she is always focused on the artist and promoter’s best interest. We consider ourselves lucky that she works in our area of the country.”
The above is a statement from Jason Wright, president of Live Nation Midwest, speaking on his experience with Xcel Energy Center’s director of box office operations, Kristina Meier. And Jason isn’t alone in his sentiments. We reached out to some of the most well-respected promoters and event organizers in the industry, and they overwhelmingly shared the same feeling.
She began her ticketing career nearly 27 years ago, oversees a team of six full-time and 56 part-time staff, and has a work ethic and ticketing knowledge that is second to none. She’s willing to work “outside the box” to find tailored solutions for each promoter, client or event, and has helped lead the charge in record-breaking event attendance year after year at Xcel Energy Center.
In 2018, Minnesota hosted Super Bowl LII, and she had the opportunity to spearhead two unique ticketing events. Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade and The Night Before concert featuring the Dave Matthews Band offered several unique ticketing challenges, but she rose to the challenge, creating and executing unique and complex ticketing plans.

Justin Mondine
Box Office Manager, SMG Huntington Center and SeaGate Convention Centre, Toledo, Ohio

Justin has been a key staff member as we have grown the amount of events at our buildings. He started nine years ago as the box office manager. He has great relationships with all of our promoters, and they enjoy doing business with him. He sets up all of the shows for Huntington Center and SeaGate Centre. Whether it be a superstar entertainer or the local public show vendor, he treats everyone with respect. He is dedicated to the box office and works tremendous hours keeping the on-sales on target and making sure settlements are easy.
We recently took on the added task of an outdoor venue in downtown Toledo. It is a city park with GA seating for 8,000. He led the team with our ticketing vendor to get scanners and Wi-Fi set up for the park to allow tickets to be easily bought and scanned at the door. The eight national acts did over 60,000 tickets for the summer. We plan to expand this to 10 national acts in 2019.


Michael Moravick
Box Office Manager-Ticketmaster for Tacoma Venues & Events (Tacoma Dome and Greater Tacoma Convention Center)

Michael’s career in ticketing began as a happy accident for the hockey fan when he was hired as assistant box office manager at the BMO Harris Bank Center, a midsize American Hockey League arena in Illinois.
He moved to Tacoma in 2014 to lead ticketing in a unique position: As Ticketmaster box office manager, he acts as both a client support specialist and an event support specialist. He manages two full-time staff and oversees 30 part-time staff, including some that have worked at the venue for more than 20 years.
His sharp customer-focused mind understands how to balance both the fan experience and the client’s needs. He is patient in providing new innovative solutions to the most stalwart long-term promoters (some of whom have produced shows at the dome for 35 years) as he is guiding the first-time event producer. He is an expert at problem solving and provides practical solutions to often complicated challenges set forth by clients (and the dome’s marketing department!).
He accomplished a remarkable feat in 2018. Multiple concerts went on sale while the dome was undergoing a $31 million modernization that included replacing every seat in the house. Working with CAD drawings and Excel files detailing the seating manifest, He competently built ticketing charts with seating locations that matched the end product precisely. All this in spite of working in an “improvised” box office at times as power was shut off for the massive remodel. The venue reopened Nov. 1.


Greg Mouw
Box Office Operations Manager, TaxSlayer Center, Moline, Ill.

Greg has managed the box office operation at the TaxSlayer Center since the building opened as The Mark of the Quad Cities in 1993. He is an invaluable asset when it comes to scaling shows and being in tune with ticket buyers in the Quad City market. He has learned firsthand for 25 years what consumers think when it comes to selecting events to play the arena and identifying price points. He is known and respected by promoters throughout the industry as a veteran box office manager who always has answers and an intelligent point of view.
He graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1989 with a recreation and psychology double major and worked on the event staff for the college for four years. He began his professional career at the old St. Louis Arena as the marketing assistant in 1990 and was swiftly promoted by industry veteran Roger Dixon to box office assistant manager and subsequently came to start up box office operation at the The Mark in 1993. He has also consulted at the Peoria Civic Center and Busch Stadium in St Louis.
His ability to create CAD drawings and set up show production significantly adds to his value. He has been a great mentor over the years and has had numerous subordinates move on to further their careers at arenas throughout the country.


April Paris
Director of Box Office Operations, Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn.

April oversees 150 to 200 events per year at our Mohegan Sun property in Connecticut along with assisting Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment operations throughout North America. She coordinates her team to deal with some of the largest tours in the country, ranging from artists like U2, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears to sporting events like Bellator MMA, WNBA and National Lacrosse League sporting events.
Mohegan Sun is a unique arena that is not designed for hockey dimensions, yet most of the major tours coming through are built to fit those facilities. So each show is unique and challenging to maximize ticket opportunities for both the property and the touring artists. She executes flawlessly and with ease tasks that are extremely difficult, but does so in a manner that satisfies all events and guests coming through.


Alex Renfrew
Director of Ticketing, Marketing and Sales for Spectra, Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass., and Ticketmaster Northeast and Southeast Box Office Regional for Spectra

Alex has been with Spectra for over 10 years. After taking on a leadership role, he discovered that reporting procedures within his region were not standardized and could benefit from strategic improvements. He built customized dashboards to aggregate and measure venue-specific data analytics for Tsongas Center and created a hub of real-time data to improve efficiencies.
One of his most impactful dashboards was used to help the Tsongas Center tenant, the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s ice hockey team, track upcoming ticket renewals. He tracked the progress of the renewals alongside benchmark numbers for the venue, providing the team with critical facts and figures for year over year growth.
He has designed efficiencies to guide strategic business decisions and streamline the reporting processes not only for the Tsongas Center but also for the entire Spectra Northeast and Southeast box office regions. “Alex is a thought leader who helps propel Spectra forward with his innovative ideas. His team admires his knack for thinking outside of the box, but also trusts him as their dedicated leader. He’s the first to give a helping hand to new Spectra accounts,” says Jacque Holowaty, Spectra’s Vice President of Client Experience and Ticketing. “Alex continually helps grow our Box Office and Sales Department to be the best it can be.”


Nathan Schumann
Box Office Manager, Pinnacle Bank Arena and Pinewood Bowl Theater, Lincoln, Neb.

Soon after joining our staff as the box office manager in October 2017, Nathan’s first event was a five-show Garth Brooks run. Since then, he has quickly demonstrated his leadership in the ticketing field. In his first year, he oversaw a schedule that included 51 ticketed events at Pinnacle Bank Arena and a record 16 concerts at the outdoor Pinewood Bowl Theater. While managing this hectic schedule and learning the nuances of two unfamiliar venues, Nathan found time to make improvements to streamline the overall box office operation. This included restructuring box office staffing, cleaning up event map templates, implementing electronic daily sales reports and digitizing box office records. On an industry level, he is eager to test and implement new technologies that improve ticketing efficiency and customer service. He was an early volunteer to test Ticketmaster’s new TM1 Events event building module. A quote in a recent tmWIRE article stated, “As an early user, Nathan’s feedback has been an important guiding force as we continue to build new features and enhance the TM1 Events experience for all.” In addition to his technical skills, he fosters a positive atmosphere in the box office and encourages the professional development of his ticketing staff.


Mike Tanda
Senior Director of Booking and Arena Ticketing
Hornets Sports & Entertainment, Charlotte, N.C.

Mike is our senior director of ticketing and has been with our organization since its inception in 2005. He oversees all event ticketing including booking and arena marketing activations for concerts and special events. He played an important role with the activation of our Hornets App and Ticketmaster to create paperless entry for our events. He is our team lead for Ticketmaster, promoter reps and concert settlements, as well as overseeing our ticket resolution program.
He provides support and has been a member of each local organizing committee for our partnerships with the NCAA and the ACC, SEC and CIAA basketball conferences and part of our promoter partnerships with Live Nation, AEG, Feld Entertainment and Cirque du Soleil.
Within the ever-changing industry of sports and entertainment we can count on him to guide our team with new trends to help fans with their ticket purchases as well as keeping the team informed of day-to-day ticket sales. He has never missed a concert in 13 years and always has time to share positive feedback on how we can improve internal communications. He knows it all begins with a strong team to provide great experiences for our fans!


Rebecca Throne
Ticketing Department Manager and Box Office Operations Manager
Burning Man, San Francisco

Rebecca has managed Burning Man ticketing since 2007, through two vendor changes, the first time the event sold out in 2011 and every sellout since, as well as Burning Man’s infamous ticket lottery of 2012, all this while ensuring that the dominant income stream for Burning Man remains uninterrupted, and never losing sight of her focus on volunteerism and working to support the needs and wants of the Burning Man community at large.
She always says that selling tickets is the easy part, building community through ticket sales is the hard bit. Year after year she innovates new programs and sale structures to support this goal. This includes Burning Man's Secure Ticket Exchange Program, the Low Income Ticket Program that supports 4,000 low-income participants in purchasing reduced-price tickets to the event, and the creation of our Directed Group Sale programs, which ensure that art project groups, theme camps, and volunteer teams have enough core members to produce their projects at the Burning Man event.
She also designed our modular 18-window box office, composed of three 20-foot shipping containers, which enables our crew of volunteers to man the 24-hour box office at Burning Man for 14 days straight. Rebecca has managed this crew for over 10 years in some of the harshest box office conditions on earth — through blinding dust storms, off-grid network outages and satellite uplink failures, rain closures, hail, 100-plus degree days and bone-chilling nights. Her focus on both acknowledging the crew’s achievements and supporting their work has enabled Burning Man to have a 90 percent year-over-year retention of box office.