Events Coordinator: Jack Wheeler from Juanita K. Hammons Hall

Below is the results of an interview between Cesar Molina, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University and Jack Wheeler, the Events Coordinator for the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts at Southwest Missouri State University. The interview was conducted in the spring of 2001.

 

What is your job title and description?

My job title is events coordinator. As for a description, I probably do more than a coordinator at other venues, due to fewer staff members. One of my main duties is to keep a calendar of events of everything that goes on in the hall, including productions, rentals, tours, and even inspections. I also do all of the contracting for the performances and rentals.

Explain a typical workweek, the week of a performance.

The week of a performance is usually pretty calm, unless there is some last minute contracting that needs to be done. Most of the preparation has already been done. The week of is usually spent ordering catering or making hotel and transportation reservations.

What type of education/major is needed for a person in this position?

What you are going into would be great. I was a marketing major. There was a lot about entertainment that I didn’t know, but you learn as you go. In my job I have to work with contracts, so a little background in business law is helpful.

What personal skills or personalities are best for this job?

People skills are a must. You are dealing a lot with the artists, agents, promoters, and even volunteers. You also must be able to handle yourself professionally around the artists.

Where did you start in order to gain experience in this field?

I started out working for Bass Pro Tracker’s marketing department as a coordinator for their dealer’s convention. That is where I met the people that worked here.

What do you feel is the outlook on this job market? Do you see it as a highly demanded field in the future?

It’s not growing and it’s not declining. It’s a pretty constant field that there will always be a need for.

Where do you feel the job opportunities are most abundant for the event-planning field?

Los Angeles and New York.

Does your position have any opportunities for advancement?

Not here on the SMS campus, due to our few employees.

What is the typical salary for an event coordinator?

It ranges tremendously. I guy I knew that did event coordinating for different artists such as Bonnie Rait and Shania Twain said he made around $4,000 a week. I’d say it could range from that to $20,000 per year.

What are some of the pros and cons of working in this industry?

The biggest pro is working specifically in the industry. I love entertainment and the performing arts. Some other perks are that you get to see a bunch of different shows and you get to meet the different artists. The biggest con is the amount of hours you put in. You must have a flexible schedule, because a lot of times you’ll be working early mornings, late evenings, and a lot of weekend hours.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for people just starting into the field, in terms of what to do for experience?

The best experience is to jump in feet first. If I had to do it all over again, I would find a mentor, someone who was good at his job, and shadow him or travel with him.

Do you feel this industry has changed over the past decade and if so, in what aspects?

Yes- in means of computers and e-mail. This is an improvement in some aspects, but it allows larger agencies to wait until the last minute on contracts, etc., which is not a benefit of the new technology. Without the technology, we’d be doing the same things, but it would just take longer to get accomplished?

SAMPLE JOB ANNOUNCEMENT:

Job Title Special Events Coordinator, Full Time
Job Function Other Job Function
Company/Agency SAKS Incorporated
Job Location St. Cloud, Minnesota 56396
Description SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR

Carson Pirie Scott & Co., a member of the Sak’s Incorporated Group, has an opportunity available for a creative and motivated Special Events Coordinator to join our St. Cloud Herberger’s office. Responsibilities include developing, planning and executing promotions, contests, and events for the Herberger’s Department Store markets. In addition, you’ll provide support to the division promotions area in respect to contributing to the overall conceiving and planning of promotion and special events activities. You’ll understand and facilitate community involvement programs and interact with members from our stores, merchandising and legal departments, as well as representatives from outside resources and the general public. The candidate we seek will have a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, Advertising/Marketing or related field, 3+ years or promotion/marketing experience and must be a detail oriented, creative thinker with strong organizational skills, excellent communication skills, and a positive attitude.

If you have a talent for succeeding, we’ll reward your efforts with competitive compensation and benefits package that includes medical/dental/prescription coverage, 401(k) plan and generous discounts on superior quality merchandise. Please submit your resume and salary history to: Carson Pirie Scott & Co., Attn: CJC, 331 West Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203; FAX: (414) 347-5337; Email: chrissy_camps@saksinc.com. A member of the Saks Incorporated Group. EOE/A drug screening company.

Contact Info HR Department
000-000-0000 [Fax]
Job Number 61200
Available as of 12-Aug-00

RECOMMENDED READINGS:
1. The Dictionary of Event Management
2. Event Solutions Magazine
3. Special Events Magazine
4. Successful Meetings

INTERVIEW CONTACT INFORMATION:
Mrs. Susan Miles
Area Director for the Special Olympics
Special Olympics
1342 S. Glenstone
Springfield, MO 65804
(417) 887-7766

Mr. Jack Wheeler
Events Coordinator
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65804
(417) 836-6771

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Facts on File. http://www.fof.com/. 2000.
2. Goldblatt, Dr. Joe Jeff. Special Events: Best Practices in Modern Event Management. (1990).
3. Jackson, Robert and Steven Wood Schmader. Special Events: Inside & Out. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing, 1990 pp. 19-21.
4. Miles, Susan. Personal interview. 23 October 2000.
5. Wetfeet.com. http://www.wetfeet.com/. 2000.
Wheeler, Jack. Personal interview. 23 October 2000.