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The Earl and Hunt families embrace parents and children working in the industry. By Kelly Pedone

Passing down the skills of a family trade has existed since the cre-

ation of families. Whether it is a blacksmith, family farm, mercantile, or even a law practice, there is a sense of pride a mother or father ex- periences knowing that their children plan to follow in their footsteps. Such is the case for families within the facility management business. When a parent works the hours required in most positions, often times the only way families see one another is on the job. Experiencing the excitement of a circus, concert, or sporting event widens the eyes of children who envision themselves in the midst of the action. Thinking that putting on a concert means rubbing elbows with award-winning artists, it is not unusual for a child to say they want to be their mom or dad when they grow up. For several, upon realizing the reality of event  of a game - is still enough for them to want to walk in their parents’ footsteps.  -

ly business has meant showing the ins and outs of what can be a crazy, yet rewarding profession.

Todd and Abby Hunt Abby Hunt has her sights on being a third-generation facility man-

ager. Her grandfather, Gaddis Hunt, opened Humphrey Coliseum at -  the same building with the women’s basketball team, as she prepares  work over the years are very similar to those he had when he was a kid – it was the only way to see dad.  

with me,” Abby, a sports fan, says. “We would tailgate with another family whose father also worked (at Mississippi State), then dad would swoop in with his golf cart and take us to the game.” Todd Hunt, current director of BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, managed the Humphrey Coliseum from 1999 to 2007. Aside from booking concerts and working with the university basketball team there, he was responsible for the concessions operations at the univer- sity’s football stadium. The business end of running Humphrey Coli- seum had changed a bit in the two decades that his dad had run the fa- cility, but helping to provide a fun environment for fans has remained. “At that time (mid-70s to late-80s) campus buildings were doing all

22 Facility Manager Magazine

 busy seasons, I knew that my dad went to work before I got up in the morning and typically came home after I went to bed. I had to go to the arena if I wanted to see him. I was aware of his crazy hours.”          knew he would not make it in those professions himself, and fell in love with the behind-the-scenes work that he witnessed when hanging out with his dad. Often times he jumped in to help, whether it was helping pop popcorn or running messages from one end of the arena to the other. That passion was passed on to Abby. Abby remembers that when her family lived in Tupelo, during

 Various shows, especially the circus, were something she and her sib- lings enjoyed attending. Of course, attending sporting events when her dad was at Humphrey Coliseum was a coup. It was not until she was in high school that she realized the magnitude of her father’s position. She attended the 2013 VenueConnect and noticed how people were  say “hi” and to seek his opinion. “I saw how important he is and how much respect people have for him,” Abby says. “It made me take a closer look at what exactly he did.”

Neither of Todd’s other children ever showed interest in his busi-

  explore other career options, so he embraced the opportunity to men- tor his daughter. “I told her that she needed to get involved with IAVM and build

her own network,” he says. “Relationships are the key to everything in this business.” Connect events. Her

dad forwards industry news to her, including information relating to safety and security issues. “I learn more from him than I get from my classes,” she says. Growing up around the industry, Abby says she feels that she has

an advantage over other students pursuing facility and event manage-  - ment can require on a personal life. “In the end, the industry and the people in it drew me to want to pursue this as a career,” she says.


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