CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 14, 2015 – When Abbie Jo Vander Bol began working as a Show Me Center ticket taker during her freshman year at Southeast Missouri State University, little did she know 11 years later she would find herself in the inaugural International Association of Venue Managers Foundation 30ǀUnderǀ30 Class of 2015.
“The industry has always intrigued me,” Vander Bol said. “I fell in love with it. This has been my lifeblood since my freshman year of college. I am very blessed to be a part of the industry.”
From Buddy Guy and Toby Mac to circuses and the Heartland Home and Garden Show, Show Me Center Event Supervisor Vander Bol has had the opportunity to dabble in just about every aspect of event management at the Show Me Center over the past 11 years.
Her efforts extend beyond “dabbling,” says Jim Barbatti, assistant director of the Show Me Center.
“Abbie Jo is probably the most driven person I’ve seen in this business at a young age,” he said. “I think she’s going to go far if she chooses to.”
Today, the International Association of Venue Managers announced Vander Bol’s inclusion in their first ever 30ǀUnderǀ30 class. This new program awards young talent in venue management with prominent recognition amongst industry leaders, as well as a year of professional development from corporate recruiters and executive venue managers.
Vander Bol will be honored at an awards luncheon Aug. 3 in connection with the IAVM Foundation’s VenueConnect Annual Conference & Trade Show Aug. 1-4 in Baltimore, Maryland. With the award come complimentary registration to the conference, a travel stipend and a one –year complimentary Young Professional IAVM membership. She also will receive access to year-round continued education for professional growth in the venue industry to help her become a better, more productive employee through increased access and exposure to industry networking and thought leadership.
IAVM members are managers and senior executives from auditoriums, arenas, convention centers, exhibit halls, stadiums, performing arts centers, university complexes, racetracks and amphitheaters.
“Identifying and developing future leaders is an important priority, and IAVM has stepped up to the plate in a big way with this initiative,” said Mark Gnatovic, senior vice president of SearchWide, a sponsor of the program, and a Foundation trustee. “Venue management is an exciting and challenging career path, and it is crucial we prepare this group for the complexities of leading this industry forward. Having access to industry education and industry leaders will create significant learning opportunities for these individuals. I’m looking forward to meeting the 2015 IAVM 30ǀUnderǀ30 class.”
“I am still a little bit in shock,” said Vander Bol after learning she had been recognized. “It’s an honor to be nominated for the first class of 30ǀUnderǀ30. I am speechless.”
Vander Bol is responsible for coordinating and supporting all activities produced in and by the Show Me Center. Her responsibilities include event staffing, collection, organization and dissemination of event-related information. She has been instrumental in coordinating, staffing and the successful production of every Southeast Missouri State University commencement since 2008. She also has been integral in the success of taking on the Heartland Home and Garden Show, said Wil Gorman, Show Me Center director.
“Abbie assisted in coordinating every aspect of the event (the Heartland Home and Garden Show), from vendor diagrams, vendor meetings, floor marking and scheduling load times,” he said. “With her assistance, we were able to increase attendance by 76 percent in the first year.”
Vander Bol says she is looking forward to the opportunities the distinction will offer her, including meeting new people in the venue management industry from whom she can learn when she attends the IAVM Foundation’s annual conference in August.
Gorman says this is a well-deserved honor for Vander Bol, underscoring her recent efforts in overseeing staffing for the Miranda Lambert concert.
“The basic elements for success in any career – knowledge, commitment, attention to the smallest detail and plain old hard work, to just name a few are what Abbie’s made of. Her talents have a significant impact on literally every event and all patrons who pass through our doors. The recognition of IAVM’s 30ǀUnderǀ30 is truly deserved.”
Barbatti agreed, adding, “Abbie’s drive and dedication to learn and grow as a manager make her a standout not only with those of us that work with her on a daily basis but also with other professionals within our industry.”
A Campbell, Missouri, native, Vander Bol holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing management, both from Southeast. She also has graduated from the Public Assembly of Facility Managers School in Wheeling, West Virginia.
After beginning at the Show Me Center as a ticket taker, she participated in an events internship at the facility in fall 2007. She served as an administrative assistant there in 2008 before becoming the interim events supervisor in June 2008. She became the full-time events supervisor in October 2008.
She is a member of IAVM, editor of the IAVM Region III Newsletter and is an IAVM Certified Trained Crowd Manager.
Vander Bol says she loves everything about her role.
“From basketball games to dinners, this is where the magic happens. It’s great to be a part of it.”