Dr. Thom Mayer and Russ Simons Join Speaker Lineup at IIFX Summit  

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March 8, 2021 Jackson, Mississippi – NFL Players Association Medical Director Thom Mayer will join a strong speaker lineup that also includes Lee Zeidman, President of the Staples Center in L.A. on March 25 for the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) one-day virtual summit “Prepping for the Return of Fans!

Mayer will join IIFX Distinguished Fellows, Dr. Tilman Jolly and Russ Simons. Their panel, “Trust and Confidence is the Name of the Game” will round out the one-day event that will provide sports and entertainment industry professionals with a deep dive into the latest innovative ideas being used by industry leaders to safely return to work, play and spectate at live sports and entertainment events.

Dr. Thom Mayer currently serves as the Medical Director for the NFL Players Association with experience as a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University and the University of Virginia Schools of Medicine, as well as a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University. Dr. Mayer is the founder of BestPractices, Inc. and has published dozens of articles and book chapters as on of the nation’s foremost experts in healthcare customer service, trauma and emergency care, medical leadership, and sports medicine. Dr. Mayer is also a multiple recipient of the “Over the Top” award, given to the highest rated keynote speaker of the year by the American College of Emergency Physicians. In sports medicine, his work at the forefront of changing concussion diagnosis and management in the NFL has changed the way in which athletes are diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Tilman Jolly is a board-certified emergency physician with a wide range of clinical, government, special event, and private sector experience. He is currently Chief Medical Officer of Aveshka, Inc., where he directly supports clients by providing clinical leadership and direction for all public health and healthcare matters. His current consulting work includes leadership of the Telemedicine Work Group for COVID-19 response as a Senior Emergency Care Consultant to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS. Dr. Jolly previously worked with the NFL as a member of the medical staff for eleven Super Bowls (XXXVI-XLVI) overseeing coordination of emergency management, public health, and medical preparedness, along with representing the NFL in exercises related to terrorist and other threats. In this capacity he directly supported security, operations, and event management staff at major venues around the country and participated in the development of NFL Best Practices for Stadium Security. He currently serves as IIFX’s Medical Director.

Russ Simons currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Facility and Campus Operations at SoFi Stadium and has been involved in nearly every facet of the sports and entertainment facility industry including design, construction, and management. At Venue Solutions Group (VSG), Russ directs the firm’s safety, security, risk, and crowd management operations. He works with operators at every level from college to every major professional league. Prior to creating Venue Solutions Group, Russ was a Senior Principal with the global design firm Populous. Russ’ previous positions include: Senior Vice President and General Manager of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, home to the NHL Nashville Predators as well as Senior Vice President of Powers Management and President of Powers Solutions, a professional sports and entertainment facility consulting company.

The Innovation Institute for Fan Experience is ecstatic to be hosting speakers of this quality during this month’s virtual summit, true experts in their craft,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, director and co-founder of IIFX and former director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), “We are honored to have such a prestigious line-up of industry professionals.

The summit is being produced and offered as a complimentary service to anyone in the industry who can benefit as part of IIFX’s mission to “build and support a global alliance of thought leaders and stakeholders centered around safety, security and the services that contribute to the ideal fan experience.”

As outlined in the agenda below, summit topics cover common challenges being faced as organizations adapt and innovate to a new fan experience paradigm. Key areas covered will be health, safety, security, operations, and management.

While the Summit is open and complimentary to anyone who can benefit from the knowledge that will be shared, all attendees must register HERE to attend.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

9:00 am – 9:45 am 

Opening Remarks/ Keynote“Strategies to Get Fans Back”

Lee Zeidman, President, Los Angeles Staples Center Arena/Microsoft Theater/LA Live

9:45 am – 11:00 am

“Translating Ten Tough Business Lessons Learned from Pandemic into Reopening Actions”

Danny DeLorenzi, Vice President Security and Safety Services, MetLife Stadium

Jennifer Sullivan, Senor Director, Corporate Safety and Security at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Matt Kenny, Vice President Stadium Services and Events, Kansas City  Chiefs Football Club

Nick Spampanato, Vice President Venue & Operations, AEG Presents

11:00 am – 11:30 am

Premium Lounge Meeting /General Networking

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

“Where’s my Staff? Building a Confident and Capable Post- Pandemic  Workforce”

Rick Fenton, Vice President Corporate Security, Ilitch Holdings

Paul Turner, Senior Director, Event Operations at AT&T Stadium

Mark Briggs, Senior Vice President Sports & Entertainment Health & Security, Parsons 

12:30 – 1:45 pm

Mid-Day Keynote Address – “Re-Defining Relationships with Fans”

Mario Coutinho, Vice President Operations and Security at Toronto Blue Jays and Roger Centre

David Allison, Director of Safety and Security, Department of Athletics, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Pranav Kothari, Medical Director, Rock Family of Companies

Ryan McConnell, Senior Vice President, Kantar

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

“Health Safety Passports and Access Control”

Jerome Pickett, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Sports & Entertainment of Clear

Dr. Til Jolly, Chief Medical Officer, Aveshka

Brian Herbert, Vice President, Security, Golden State Warriors

3:15 – 3:45 pm  

Premium Lounge Meeting /General Networking 

3:45 pm – 5:00 pm 

“The Re-Defined Post-Pandemic Venue/Event Safety, Security and Services”

Nick Treder, Director of Sports & Entertainment, Johnson Controls

Eric Neuburger, Stadium Director, Lucas Oil Stadium

Lisa Schroeder, Vice President, Financial Operations, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Andy Major, Vice President Operations and Guest Experience, Buffalo Bills

5:00 pm   

Ending Keynote/Closing Summit

“TRUST and CONFIDENCE are the Name of the Game”

Dr. Lou Marciani, Moderator, IIFX

Dr. Thom Mayer, Medical Director, NFLPA

Dr. Til Jolly, Chief Medical Officer, Aveshka

Russ Simons, Managing Partner, Venue Solutions Group

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