Category Archives: Hartman Arena

You don’t say

“It’s scary. It’s like caution, meet wind.”

Jared Estes on leaving a steady job at Hartman Arena to become a motivational speaker

Hartman Arena has a new general manager

UPDATED – James Snodgrass is out as the third general manager of the 5-year-old Hartman Arena, but he’s reluctant to discuss it.

“They still haven’t given me a reason why I was let go.”

Snodgrass, who was hired in spring 2011, won’t say more.

“I would like to take the high road on this one.”

Arena owner Wink Hartman Sr. says he didn’t make the decision alone.

“It was a group decision with VenuWorks, his employer, having the final decision,” Hartman says.

“It’s been our view all along that we were going to take a look and evaluate and … see if a change was necessary,” says John Siehl, regional vice president for VenuWorks.

He says the company decided “to bring in a person that we had picked so that we could improve the program and the operation.”

Aran Rush is the new general manager for Hartman Arena. Rush most recently was executive director for the Sioux City, Iowa, events facilities department, which included the convention and visitors bureau and the Tyson Events Center. Siehl says Rush is new to VenuWorks.

Hartman says if there are leadership issues at the arena, “I take full responsibility.”

He says he doesn’t think there have been problems with leadership, but he says the arena isn’t where it should be financially.

“The production of events at the arena can significantly increase, and hopefully it will,” Hartman says.

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City Council member Michael O’Donnell II takes job with Wink Hartman Sr.

WICHITA — Wichita City Council member Michael O’Donnell II has a new job.

After more than six years of working in sales for Clear Channel Radio, O’Donnell is going to work for Wink Hartman Sr. He’s done some past work for Hartman, but never full time.

“He’s spread so thin,” O’Donnell says. “He owns over 50 companies. I don’t know how he does it.”

O’Donnell will handle public relations, communications and government affairs for Hartman, which includes his Hartman Arena, restaurants and other companies.

“Everything,” O’Donnell says.

Although Hartman occasionally has a zoning issue that comes before the planning commission, O’Donnell says he’s not a regular in front of City Council, so he doesn’t expect a conflict of interest to arise.

“He never asks for any sort of incentives,” O’Donnell says. “Wink’s a do-it-yourself kind of guy.”

He adds, “If there ever was an issue … I would obviously recuse myself from that.”

You don’t say

“It’s a very unique job. (For) one thing, you get to work for Wink.”

– Former Hartman Arena general manager Eric Blockie, who is helping Wink Hartman Sr. find his replacement since he’s taken a job as GM at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas

Hartman Arena sues wind turbine maker Enertech Inc.

nullWICHITA — Hartmoor Arena, which does business as Hartman Arena, has filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court against Newton-based Enertech Inc., the company that installed the arena’s wind turbine.

“Hartman Arena . . . was always conceived of as a green venture,” says Zoe Newton, businessman Wink Hartman Sr.’s vice president and general counsel.

“The wind turbine was supposed to be the centerpiece of our green initiative,” Newton says. “Unfortunately, the turbine has never worked or has never worked properly. Mr. Hartman was really disappointed because he was really committed to these green initiatives.”

Newton won’t go into the specifics of the case. Nor will Enertech’s attorney, Paul McCausland, though he says the turbine is working.

According to the lawsuit, here’s what arena officials claim:

The arena entered in an agreement to buy the turbine for $264,400 in October 2008 and paid a deposit of $118,980.

The arena further paid $133,822 to provide a foundation and wiring for the turbine, $19,134 to erect it and an additional $118,980 to Enertech in February 2009.

The hope was to have the turbine operational by the March 2009 Alan Jackson inaugural concert at the arena.

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