A Rising Star in His Field

BGSU alumnus Nick Byer, far right, presents a gift to country music star Alan Jackson before his performance at the USF Sun Dome, where Byer worked as senior event manager.

By Anne-Margaret Swary

Another outstanding BGSU alumnus has been recognized with a 30 under 30 award by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Foundation, highlighting the effectiveness of BGSU’s programs in helping prepare students for career success in their fields.

Nick Byer ’10 was one of 30 professionals selected nationwide to receive the 2016 honor, which recognizes emerging industry leaders and their talents.

The program selection process is challenging, and each candidate has to be nominated and then submit a video application that is reviewed and scored by industry leaders and foundation members, according to IAVM Foundation Trustee Mark Gnatovic.  

“Those that earn the right to be recognized, truly earn the right,” Gnatovic said in a recent announcement about 30 Under 30 winners. “It’s inspiring and gratifying to see how creative and passionate these young professionals are. It will be fascinating to watch them as they develop into the future leaders of our industry.”

Byer has ascended rapidly in his industry in the six years since he graduated from BGSU with his bachelor’s degree in sport management. He currently works as assistant general manager of the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia, where he helps oversee the planning and operations of the entire facility, including booking shows and events and managing a team of hundreds.

He credits an internship opportunity with the Tampa Bay Lightning – an internship he doesn’t think he could have landed without the knowledge he gained through his BGSU coursework and professors – for helping propel him into an exciting career path.

“Bowling Green is really what set the foundation and allowed me the opportunity get my foot in the door with an internship that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of things you can’t learn in the classroom, which is why it’s important to get involved in these internship opportunities. And it’s great professors like Dr. Ray Schneider that help make sure we’re ready for them.” 

Byer ended up being hired by the Lightning after graduation as a guest services manager and spent three years with the organization

“I learned so much from that experience,” Byer said. “I was thrown into managing 350 people of all different ages and diverse backgrounds. That was challenging for me as a young person coming out of college. But I learned from that experience, and it really helped me grow. It also opened my eyes to the other side of the industry that a lot of people don’t think about and really got me involved in event production.”

Byer soon caught the attention of Spectra Venue Management, part of Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, a global hosting and entertainment company with over 300 clients at 400 properties. He first joined Spectra as a senior event manager at the University of South Florida Sun Dome, where his responsibilities included dealing with everything from artist management and contracts to concert advancement and sound and lights. Not longer after, he was promoted again to director of events at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center at Florida State, where he oversaw event production, security, parking and front of house operations.

“Our company really believes in promoting from within and building young talent,” he said. “In that role, I had the opportunity to build the department from the ground up and play a role in an overall culture transformation, which was very rewarding.”

In his various roles, Byer has helped coordinate a number of exciting national events, including the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, the NHL Eastern Conference Finals and NCAA tournament events, as well as dozens of concerts from world-renowned recording artists, from Lil Wayne to Alan Jackson. Through all the stressful and exciting moments – whether trying to figure out how to fly a fake plane from one end of the arena to the other during a show, making sure a certain artist only has red Skittles in their dressing room, or shaking hands with one of his favorite musicians – Byer said the work is most gratifying when he looks into the stands and sees people having a great time.

“We can’t always control what happens on the court or on the stage, but we can absolutely have an impact on the fan experience,” he said. To look up in the crowd and see people smiling and know that you played a part in creating that experience for them, that’s my favorite part of my job.”