How did you get into the facility management industry? I start- ed on the concert and promotions side, working for Bill Graham Pres- ents in San Francisco and Sacramento as a stagehand and rigger to put myself through school.

What’s your formal education? I have a Bachelor of Science in Fi- - versity in Collective Bargaining, Labor Negotiations, and more recent- ly IAVM’s Senior Executive Symposium.

What was your first job in the industry? After I graduated, Bill Graham hired me to be the caretaker of the Amphitheater in Sacra- mento, where I lived onsite in a trailer.

In what facilities have you worked? Cal Expo Amphitheater, Pacif- ic Amphitheater, Caesar’s Entertainment in Lake Tahoe, Target Cen- ter in Minneapolis, the Greek Theatre, 17 Live Nation facilities, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and USC. I also work as a consultant from time to time. IAVM and the industry have been good to me.

Where are you currently employed? Tell us about your respon- sibilities. I am an Assistant Professor of Practice at USC’s Thornton School of Music. This semester I teach four courses – three related to the music industry and one venue management course. I am also Director of Industry Relations, where I connect with real (non-aca- demic) world businesses to provide internship and job opportunities for our students.

What do you find most rewarding about being in this industry and a member of IAVM? No two days are the same. IAVM has al- ways been there for me. This organization means the world to me.

Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you consider to be significant. I convinced the Chair of the Music Industry department to add a venue management course to the music program. This is the 

What’s the best IAVM educational opportunity you have par- ticipated in, and what made it special? VMS and SES. VMS is a great program for up-and-coming professionals to meet, learn from, and liaise with peers and industry veterans. VMS builds relationships for your future. SES is similar to VMS, but for more seasoned pro-

     we don’t allocate time for ourselves. If you haven’t attended SES you are missing a huge opportunity to get away and to do something for yourself, learning with other upper-level managers.

What brings you joy in both your professional and personal life? As a professor, teacher, or mentor, I love to see the “light-bulb” turn on. When I worked with interns at the Greek Theatre, I enjoyed walking them up to the stage at the front of house just before the con- cert began. They would be thinking, “Wow, we’re going to have a great view of the show.” Then I’d turn them around facing the audience and ask them to watch the audience, not the artist. I’d tell them “watch the relationship between the fans and the artist. Each of them thinks the artist is singing directly to them. Without that relationship we wouldn’t have a job.” To this day, I encourage venue managers to watch and be aware of this bond. In my personal life, I love to spend time with my daughters. Hanging out, laughing, we love to cook together.

What are your hobbies? I collect fountain pens and really cool me- chanical pencils. I enjoy hiking and attending USC athletic events.

What is something that most people would find surprising to learn about you? I am a pretty private person. I love watching crime dramas. Over the holidays, I binge watched two seasons of Stranger  profession and interaction with students, I do not participate in any type of social media.

Why did you choose to pursue your certification? After many years in the industry, I was at a time in my career where I was trying to stand out from others. I wanted to improve myself and my education.

What would you tell seasoned professionals that for one rea- son or another haven’t pursued their CVE? I’d tell them to do it. Not enough time isn’t a good excuse. The time invested is worth it in the end. It is a great opportunity to learn about other sectors. That doesn’t make me a subject matter expert, but I have more knowledge  of venues. It says, “I want to be better and improve my skills.” FM

Sherman Bass, CVE, is general manager of the Amarillo Civic Center Complex in Amarillo, Texas.


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