Assistant Director of Public Events, General Manager of the Fort Worth Convention Center
Mackenzie Eason & Associates has been retained by the City of Fort Worth to help recruit an Assistant Director of Public Events- General Manager of the Convention Center, that has a proven track record for successfully leading complex and diverse business entities with a background in publicly owned and managed major event facilities, including major convention center venues.
The Assistant Director of Public Events , General Manager of the Fort Worth Convention Center is responsible for providing an Outstanding Customer Experience by leading the day to day operations and team of the Fort Worth Convention Center. This position leads the general management activities over strategy, service, sales, maintenance, and engineering, among other tasks as required. This role is collaborative with Visit Fort Worth and local hotels to provide competitive proposals for events. It will also help lead the future expansion of the Fort Worth Convention Center and development of a new Convention Hotel, as well as support the new Dickies Arena located at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The Public Events Department’s mission is to provide an outstanding customer experience to the 3,000,000 guests served each year. The department operates the Fort Worth Convention Center (FWCC) located in vibrant downtown Fort Worth, the Will Rogers Memorial Center (WRMC) located in the beautiful cultural district, the Office of Outdoor Events that coordinates outdoor events throughout the City, the Fort Worth Sports Authority which owns the Texas Motor Speedway and funds Visit Fort Worth through a contractual arrangement. The department’s philosophies are to Do the Right Thing, Hire Incredibly Friendly Employees, Exceed Expectations at Every Opportunity and Provide Spotlessly Clean and Well Maintained Facilities. The department operates with 142 full time positions; 62 staff members at the FWCC, 78 staff members at WRMC and 2 staff members with the Office of Outdoor Events.
The City of Fort Worth purchased the 31-year-old Convention Center from Tarrant County in 1997 with the intent of turning the facility into a 21st Century meeting and event showcase. A $75M expansion and upgrades were completed in 2003 resulting in 252,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 28,000 square foot ballroom, 13,400 –seat arena, 38 meeting rooms, 1,865 on-site parking spaces and new and expanded dock spaces. This expansion and renovation put Fort Worth in position to compete with larger venues. Today, the number of conventions and other events have more than doubled, providing an Outstanding Customer Experience to more than 750,000 guests, and hosts approximately 150+ revenue producing events including national, regional and state conventions, conferences, concerts, trade shows, and family attractions each year.
Future plans for the Center include adding additional exhibit space, meeting rooms, a larger ballroom and a new kitchen. At some point, a new hotel would be a part of the plan to add sleeping rooms to the walkable footprint of the Center. It’s anticipated that the City will start work to bring this vision to reality in the next five years. In the meantime, the vision and focus of the convention center is to continue to provide an outstanding customer experience to our clients and attendees while generating a positive economic impact to the City of Fort Worth. Over a 2.2 million guests visit the Will Rogers Memorial Center each year which hosts over 250 revenue producing events including a variety of cultural, corporate, educational, sporting, and international-level equestrian and livestock shows, including the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Events not only take place at the Fort Worth Convention Center and Will Rogers Memorial Center, but also community events through the Outdoor Events division and races at the Texas Motor Speedway. The Culture and Tourism Fund, managed by the Public Events Department, promotes increased economic activity through visitor spending. Annual revenue exceeds $59M from the collection of hotel/ motel occupancy tax (HOT), the DFW Revenue Share Agreement, the Project Financing Zone and revenue generated from events at the venues.
The Opportunity The Assistant Director of Public Events, General Manager of the Fort Worth Convention Center is responsible for providing an outstanding customer experience by leading convention center operations. Responsibilities include establishing appropriate service and staffing levels, identifying opportunities for constant improvement, directing and implementing change, managing and scheduling major events which includes contract and space negotiations, directing client meetings and overseeing and monitoring event operations, responding to and resolving sensitive citizen inquiries and complaints, and overseeing and participating in the development and administration of the division budget which includes recommending funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials and supplies and accountability for performance, monitoring revenues and expenditures.
The selected candidate must possess the ability to perform complex management, administrative, and fiscal functions. Additionally, the candidate will have extensive knowledge, experience and understanding of:
Overall activities of convention centers, equestrian centers, destination management organizations and hotels.
Municipal operations, functions, reporting, etc.
Capital projects including design, construction, and related administration
Sales and marketing related to attracting and retaining top tier conventions, equestrian shows and other major events
Ability to train and develop staff to deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience
Some challenges to be addressed over the next 3-5 years include:
Navigating politics and obtaining community support and funding for the Convention Center renovation/ expansion project so soon after the Dickies Arena project.
A complete building assessment was performed 3 years ago, revealing some maintenance items that need to be addressed. Identify funding sources for those items along with funding the Convention Center expansion.
Once expansion/renovation begins, challenges of conducting events working around construction and possibly relocating some to the Dickies Arena.
The Assistant Public Events Director, General Manager of the Fort Worth Convention Center will bring a customer centric approach to develop policies and strategies that ensure customers believe that the City of Fort Worth is a premier meetings and convention destination in all interactions.
2019 Initiatives and City Manager Focus
EXPECTATIONS AND PHILOSOPHY OF CITY
We have a shared responsibility for managing the city/corporation. We establish organization-wide principles, priorities, and values. Department heads run departments as long as they don’t violate the previous statements.
We represent the customer; we represent and protect the taxpayer; we represent our employees. In all our decisions, we must balance these groups.
There’s always a plan. Nothing just shows up. Surprises are the exception.
For a plan to be successful, process and inclusion are important. Having the right process and including the right people will save time (in the end). Include others that do not think like you.
We can question and challenge each other; we support each other.
We are accountable to each other for our commitments.
Our responsibility is to provide the best service at the lowest cost . . . regardless of who provides it. Cost equals total costs.
Our responsibility is to recommend the best “business decision for the city.” These recommendations are supported by thorough evaluation of options using data and objective criteria.
WHAT DO WE WANT CITIZENS, CUSTOMERS, VISITORS, TAXPAYERS TO SAY ABOUT THE CITY OF FORT WORTH?
Open and transparent: nothing to hide and everything to share
Optimistic and future oriented
Employees at the City of Fort Worth provide municipal services to over 850,000 residents. Each day, these employees are moving about the city, doing work that helps make Fort Worth a strong community and a great place to live. There are six values that guide our employees as they go about this work. They are:
As Fort Worth continues to grow and change, these principles help keep employees on point, providing the best service to citizens, businesses and fellow employees.
The Successful Candidate
The successful candidate for the Assistant Public Events Director and General Manager of the Fort Worth Convention Center will have extensive experience in hosting and servicing convention center events, municipal operations and outstanding customer service. Character traits of the successful candidate will include honesty, integrity, fairness, responsible/accountability, cooperation/collaboration and optimism/positivity. The candidate will be passionate about being a leader in one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and dedicated to public service and continuous improvement. Fort Worth is a multicultural community, and an honest appreciation and respect for diversity is essential.
The position requires someone with great communication skills, a strategic thinker, a strong working knowledge of major event logistics and execution, a team builder, and most importantly the ability to implement the strategies that ensure a seamless overall customer service experience. The successful candidate will be collaborative, with the ability to learn from others and to build and maintain close and highly productive working relationships with clients, employees and stakeholders. The selected candidate will be hard-working, decisive, possess the utmost integrity, and lead by example. The ideal candidate will have a collaborative management style with the ability to motivate and engage personnel. The selected individual will maintain a culture of accountability and coach employees to perform to their highest potential. The Assistant Director will be an involved community leader who is also active in professional associations and enthusiastic about advancing Fort Worth as a premier public events destination. The chosen candidate will have in depth knowledge of and experience with public events, regulatory trends and best practices, a sensitivity to community needs, and a proven ability to improve service delivery efficiency and effectiveness.
Education & Experience
The successful candidate will have ten (10) years of increasingly responsible and professional experience in the management of a major convention center, major equestrian venue, major convention hotel, and major hospitality industries including at least five (5) years of senior level leadership over a large team and experience working with hotels and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) to pursue convention business.
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in business administration, public administration, marketing, business management or a related field or equivalent experience.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES Knowledge of:
Operations, services and activities of public events facilities.
Various events and activities held in public events facilities.
Sales and marketing techniques for public facilities.
Methods and techniques of budget forecasting and monitoring.
Efficient and safe techniques in modern facility management.
Recent developments, current literature and sources of information related to public events programs and planning.
Principles of supervision, training and performance evaluation.
Pertinent federal, state and local laws, codes and regulations.
Basic city government and community organizations.
City personnel policies and procedures.
Principles and procedures for developing goals, objectives and management plans.
Problem solving and decision making.
Organization and time management.
Marketing and sales.
Communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing.
Assist in managing and directing public events activities and facilities.
Administer departmental goals, objectives and procedures.
Analyze and assess programs, policies and operational needs and make appropriate adjustments.
Plan, organize, direct and coordinate the work of subordinate employees.
Delegate authority and responsibility.
Select, supervise, train and evaluate subordinate employees.
Analyze problems, identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions and implement recommendations in support of goals.
Research, analyze and evaluate public events planning methods and techniques.
Prepare clear and concise administrative reports.
Establish and maintain effective working relationships.