Hartman Arena lands cover of trade publication

WICHITA — Hartman Arena has landed on the cover of Facilities & Event Management, a trade publication for the venue business.

It’s not just any cover, says arena general manager Aran Rush. It’s the booking issue.

“This is huge,” Rush says. “The timing is everything.”

He says the biggest booking conference of the year is in Nashville in two weeks.

Rush says Iowa-based VenuWorks, which manages Hartman Arena, “has a really good relationship with” the publication.

The article delved into the arena’s five years in business and the Wichita market as well.

“Every market has their reputation,” Rush says.

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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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Wink Hartman Sr. hires Iowa-based VenuWorks to manage Hartman Arena

Wink Hartman

WICHITA — A new company is going to manage the 4-year-old, 7,200-seat Hartman Arena in Park City.

Wink Hartman Sr. has hired Iowa-based VenuWorks, which will book events and handle food and beverage services among other things

Previously, Hartman and his staff have been running the arena.

“I was not doing a very good job,” Hartman says.

“We need to book more events. You know, more concerts, more local events, and I just felt like it was a time for a change in management to try to meet our objectives.”

VenuWorks president Steven Peters started the company 16 years ago to manage arenas with 5,000 to 10,000 seats.

The company manages United Wireless Arena in Dodge City and the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

Peters says his goal with Hartman Arena is clear.

“One word: events. We’ve got to bring more events.”

Hartman Arena has been averaging close to 50 events a year, including soccer games with Hartman’s Wichita Wings and football games with his Wichita Wild.

“Most of our arenas, we try to do 90 a year,” Peters says.

Being the smaller arena to the larger Intrust Bank Arena isn’t a negative, he says.

“That can be the really enviable place to be.”

Peters says there are more shows to fill 6,000 seats than 12,000.

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