With the Glendale Arena in the west valley of Phoenix, Arizona slated to open on Saturday, December 27, 2003, Cindy Kamradt has no such thing as a regular day around the office. She explains, “We are currently setting up all the operations from procurement to staffing and hiring, training, the development of emergency response plans, and coordination with traffic, police and fire departments; the whole gamut involved in opening a new building.”
Opening a new facility is nothing new to Kamradt. Her passion for sports and servicing people started with a degree in Human Resources from Northern Illinois University in 1986. From there, she worked at a newly remodeled Arlington Race Track in Arlington Heights, Illinois as a senior manager in Human Resources.
Following that, she developed and started the in-house staffing company in Chicago, Illinois called “At Your Service”, owned by the United Center and Comiskey Park. As General Manager, her job was to provide event planning and staffing for both the White Sox of Major League Baseball at what is now known as US Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park), and the United Center which hosts the Chicago Bulls of the NBA, Blackhawks of the NHL, as well as major concerts and family shows.
Most recently, Cindy worked as Administration Manager in the Olympic and Paralympic Villages during the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Once the building is open, I’ll be working with all the other departments to coordinate, staff and manage the successful operation of over 120 events in the Glendale Arena.” This may not sound like a huge task, but the list of departments that she will oversee is quite extensive. “I expect to have a staff of about 700 people and will be in charge of Guest Services, Guest Relations and Suite Operations, Event and Facility Security, Event Planning and Coordination, Parking and Traffic Management, Police and Fire, and Emergency Medical Services.”
If you are looking to ‘Work in Sports’, particularly in this field, Kamradt offers up the following advice. “Get your foot in the door, whether it is through an internship if you are in college, just to learn as much as you can.”
She adds, “Just try to get an understanding of how to operate an arena from as many different angles as you can. There is staffing, event coordination and event management for a variety of events including professional sports, college sports, concerts, family shows and other sporting events. The more you know, the better your odds are of finding employment.”
Additionally, Cindy stressed that the sports industry is a close-knit group of professionals and that experience will pay off in the future. “When we are looking to fill one position, we’ll usually pick the person with the most expertise in that particular field. Internships can teach you a lot about one thing or a little about a lot of things. The best thing to do is try out several different departments within an arena and see which one you like the best. It will benefit you to have a well-rounded understanding of how an arena operates.”