WHEELING, W.Va. (CelebrityAccess) Michael Marion, GM of Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., is apparently in the middle of a big 30 days when it comes to the International Association of Venue Managers.
Marion, CVE, was recently named 2018 recipient of the organization’s Ray Ward Award, which was handed to him at the conclusion of the Venue Management School in Oglebay.
The award is bestowed upon an individual with VMS whose dedicated service and extraordinary contributions over a period of at least six years have resulted in significant and long-lasting improvements to the overall success and quality of the school, according to the IAVM. It is named after Ray Ward, who passed away in early May, and who created by him in 1996.
Marion is expected to become chairman of the board of IAVM when the organization holds its annual VenueConnect conference in Toronto next month, receiving the gavel from Doug Booher, CVE, according to IAVM.
“I was sitting at the table the night of graduation and Bob Hunter, VMS chair, started talking about the recipient,” Marion said when accepting the award. “I had no idea it was me, but when he said the recipient had been teaching nine years, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve been here 9 years, umm.’ Once he started talking about Mississippi State, the cuss jar and the fact I was friends with Saved By the Bell’s Mr. Belding, I figured it out.
“It was quite moving. Ray taught me when I was in school in the early 90’s. After coming to teach, I sought him out and made a point of getting him to tell me some Bill Graham stories. He was super committed to VMS and when I went through the chairs, he sent me a file of documents of ideas that he had collected over the years to improve the school. I was saddened to hear of his passing, but I know his legacy will live on at VMS. As overwhelmed as I was, I did have a sad moment that I couldn’t call Ray and let him know.”