The new Lucas County arena set to open in November 2009 doesn’t have a name yet, but its manager does.
Steve Miller, 36, of SMG Management Company, has been selected as the new general manager of the SeaGate Convention Centre and the Lucas County arena. His goal is to host 100 to 150 events in the arena every year, which will be helped by the football and hockey leagues expected to play there.
Miller replaces Jim Donnelly, who served as president of the SeaGate Centre and the Greater Toledo Convention Visitors Bureau. With his retirement, the convention center and visitors bureau operate separately. SMG was hired to run and book events for the SeaGate Centre and the Lucas County arena.
“It’s exciting to be here in Toledo; it feels a lot like home,” Miller said at a Jan. 24 press conference.
He worked for SMG as the assistant general manager/director of sales of DeVos Place in Grand Rapids., Mich., where he oversaw a $200 million expansion of the convention center. He was also event coordinator at Van Andel Arena, responsible for more than 100 events, including International Hockey League games, Continental Basketball Association games and family shows. He also assisted in opening the new 12,000-seat arena.
One of the first steps is calling vendors to let them know “we are a destination,” he said.
Miller inherits staff and will hire more employees for the new arena. The flat floors in the SeaGate Centre will be primarily used for conventions, he said. The arena will be better for entertaining and sporting events. The distinction is important.
It might be hard to get the first leg of a concert tour here, Miller said, but a second leg would be doable. If Toledo shows support and buys tickets, Toledo could eventually be first.
Richard Nachazel, who served on the selection board, said SMG presented Miller to board members. SMG manages stadiums, arenas, convention centers and theaters throughout the world.
“The success of the arena is important to those in the beds and heads industry,” Nachazel said, who is general manager of the Hilton Toledo.
Miller has also worked as the coordinator of events at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C. He also worked at the Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, N.C., as an events manager.