Arts & Entertainment, Human Resources, and Travel & Tourism

Magazine names venue execs award finalists

October 31, 2016
Text Size:
Hilarie Szarowicz
Hilarie Szarowicz. Photo via

Four executives from a pair of downtown venues have been named finalists for industry awards.

Venues Today Magazine has nominated four Grand Rapids finalists for its annual Hall of Headlines Awards. The local nominees work at SMG, which manages Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place.

Richard MacKeigan, SMG regional general manager for Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place, was nominated in the bookings category for breaking records, including Paul McCartney’s record for gross ticket sales for a single event and Garth Brooks’ record for most tickets sold for a single engagement. Gross ticket sales is the total dollar amount from the tickets sold. Most tickets sold represents the actual number of tickets.

Hilarie Szarowicz, director of marketing at Van Andel and DeVos, was nominated in the marketing category for a social media campaign, where she encouraged users to share their favorite event memory or photo using the hashtag #MyVAA20 for the 20th anniversary of Van Andel Arena. The campaign reached almost 42,000 people, with 3,100 sharing their memories.

Jeff Dubin, director of food and beverage for Savor at Van Andel Arena, was nominated in the concessions category for introducing a new take on salad bars for the bands, staff and crew of the San Francisco Fest Tour in August. The tour featured rock bands Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason.

Eddie Tadlock, assistant general manager at DeVos Place, was nominated in the operations and technology category for decreasing energy usage by 6 percent through installing new equipment and reducing waste. His efforts resulted in the venue finishing second in the second-annual Michigan Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit.

MacKeigan said the nominations are about cumulative effort.

“It feels good and provides some validation for work that really has been going on for years, not just this year,” he said.

MacKeigan said the recognition speaks to the success of community partnerships with the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority, promoters, staff, and downtown restaurants and hotels.

He said the nominations will mean Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place are more likely to catch the eye of promoters, managers and agents who are basing their decisions on location, financial success, good staff, good customer experience and green initiatives.

“I think the recognition afforded us in Venues Today is a very direct and clear reflection of the fact we have what the promoters are looking for,” he said. “Creative, talented and dedicated staff who know the industry and can provide the best possible environment for an event's success.”

The award winners will be announced in the December issue of Venues Today Magazine.


Philadelphia-based SMG has managed DeVos Place since 1994 and Van Andel Arena since 1996.

Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 240 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. 

Recent Articles by Rachel Watson

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus