SportsEvents Magazine

MAR 2018

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Page 19 of 75

March 2018 20 ONE- on- ONE t One-on-One features an interview with an influential member of the sports community concern- ing a specific topic. This month we interviewed Jason Clement, founding partner and CEO of The Sports Facilities Management. What is your background and how did you become involved in sports management? Growing up in Iowa, sport was foundational to my development. In many ways, my siblings and I grew up on ball fields: my dad was a successful high school baseball coach, my sister a good softball player, my two brothers played baseball profession- ally and one now coaches for Ole Miss in the SEC. I tell people that as the oldest of four siblings, we became more talented and athletic as we got younger, which made me pretty average. Despite my mediocrity, sport was important to my family dynamic, foun- dational to my character development, and provided a set of habits that I still carry in every aspect of my life today. My formal education and degree is in architecture with an emphasis on entrepre- neurial studies. Upon graduating, I worked for one of the leading sports architecture firms in Kansas City. While young in my career, I was provided the opportunity to work on and manage great sport-related projects such as the Naval Academy's Memorial Stadium, Oklahoma University's football stadium and Missouri University's basketball arena. One project I managed was an 80-acre development in north Kansas City consisting of outdoor ball fields and an indoor sports complex focused on youth and amateur participatory sports. Through the work, my passion emerged for building and developing operations specific to youth and amateur sports. I came to understand that while I enjoyed working on spectator venues like stadiums and arenas, the youth and amateur "participatory sports" industry is where I could make the biggest impact. Producing successful venue operations for families to develop character and pro- ductive life-long habits became my passion. Following that experience, in 2003 a group of us began serving private devel- opers and municipalities desiring to build youth and amateur complexes. The Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA) was formed and over the years we have served the industry as it has evolved, including the creation of The Sports Facilities Management (SFM). There was a time when city and county governments floated bonds and built ball fields and recreation centers in their communities. Has this changed? How did SFM/SFA con- vince communities to become clients? We don't believe in convincing a community of anything. We simply listen to what com- munities are trying to accomplish. Based on the objectives we hear, there are a number of funding strategies that could be appropri- ate. It sounds cliché but our approach is to listen first and determine whether we can help. If we cannot, we do not want to waste anyone's time, including our own. If we can help, we collaborate with communities to design an approach that allows them to achieve their objectives. Because we have worked with over 1,200 communities, we certainly have a set of experiences and methodologies of value to anyone desiring to take an idea from "concept to con- crete." The approach has included bonds and, additionally, there are a number of approaches that are innovative and can be applied to a development depending on the unique situation for that community. What is your mission for SFM? To improve the health and eco- nomic vitality of the communities we serve. One- on- One The Sports Facilities Management (SFM) Q Q Q The SEC Fan Fest at Hoover's Finley Center BY SHERRI MIDDLETON

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