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By R.V. Baugus

In the May/June issue of Facility Manager, I used this column to talk about the topic of community, how our patrons attend our venues and share a common bond for the play, show, game, or convention they are about to enjoy. These are folks who are mostly total strang- ers to each other before entering the venue, but once inside, become a united community. It is an interesting concept and dynamic and speaks to the social need to gather.  I am not. There is another community that too is made up of indi- viduals who, unless part of IAVM and attending Association events, probably do not know each other. They share the bond of being venue managers. The places where they work and call their home away from home varies in capacity from a few hundred to tens of thousands, from scant square footage to square footage in the mil- lions and occupying city blocks. They are a community that recently I have seen come together

as never before in the wake of the tragedy in Manchester, England, when a soulless terrorist decided to blow himself up along with kill- ing 22 innocent people and injuring dozens more who were inno- cently leaving the Manchester Arena on a Monday night following an Ariana Grande concert. The venue is managed by SMG, a true friend and a giant in pri-

vate management all over the world. This particular facility ranks as one of the busiest in the world and is a hub of activity in providing entertainment for citizens inside and outside the region. It is an are- na like so many others in that it welcomes and serves guests to come out for a few hours to just enjoy themselves. It came to an abrupt halt shortly after the lights went up after the concert, and guests were happily exiting from a fun night to go to their next destination. Many of those attending were not of legal driving age and had parents or other adults waiting outside to pick them up. Within hours, I witnessed our industry community come together on social media as one venue manager after another after another turned to Twitter, Facebook, and IAVM’s VenueNet to express their sadness, sorrow, and sympathy all while tinged with a tone of anger at what had unfolded in Manchester. This was now getting personal and striking close to home. I don’t necessarily mean home in the literal sense (although that becomes truer with each attack), but home as in another venue, another place where fellow professionals in this great industry work. It was an en-

4 Facility Manager Magazine

croachment, an invasion of personal space, if you will. It became the latest example of the “not if, but when” mantra that is discussed throughout the industry. The venue management industry had been mobilized and united

once again through tragedy. -

one, when I ask the question about what makes the industry great,  one manager can pick up the phone and call a colleague in another city for some advice. That is especially true in concert touring when a manager can call the previous venue where a show played to ask if anything needs to be addressed before the show comes to the next town.

Our members are in the business of competition, generating

events, and boosting the bottom line for their, yep, communities. Yet while competitors, those same professionals understand that their group is a unique and rather small one, that of individuals who are trained and manage public assembly venues. That creates a bond, an instant bond. That is part of what makes VenueConnect so great. It is beauti- ful to see so many great venue professionals interact and share with each other. That is part of the answer to another question of “What do you like most about VenueConnect?” The answer of networking always pops up near the top along with educational opportunities. This means networking with old friends as well as creating new friendships. Just as the public should continue enjoying opportunities to go

to arenas, stadiums, convention centers, performing arts theaters, racetracks, fairgrounds, and more, those who manage those types of venues will continue working even more diligently to provide a safe and secure environment for those patrons. How do I know that? It is the answer to yet another question I

frequently pose, asking “What is the most important thing to know about your venue?” That answer, not surprisingly, always comes  Manchester Arena certainly practices that. A bad guy was hell- bent on carrying out destruction, however. It could have happened at any venue, and all venue managers realize and understand that. It is also part of what galvanizes industry practitioners, of what makes them a community. That, dear friends, will always hold true. FM

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