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June 6, 2023 Jackson, Mississippi – The Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) announced today the inaugural inductees in its International Sports & Entertainment Industry Hall of Fame. Winners were selected for their lifetimes of distinguished meritorious service to the sports and entertainment industry and its fans.
The 2023 inductees are (detailed bios can be found below): Richard “Rick” Fenton, Vice President/CSO, Corporate Security & Safety | Ilitch Holdings, Inc.; Jim Mercurio, an industry consultant who most recently served as San Francisco 49ers Executive VP and General Manager of Levi’s Stadium; and William (Bill) Squires, a consultant, advisor, lecturer at Columbia University and former manager of both the NY Yankees and NY Giants stadiums.
Inductees will be permanently enshrined in a virtual Hall of Honor experience made possible by Linkroom. It will be unveiled at the IIFX conference, in association with the 33rd Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD) Conference and Tradeshow, July 9-11 in Indianapolis. On Monday, July 10, IIFX will host a celebration reception at the NCAA Conference Center and Hall of Champions presented by the Joe Lewis Company to induct the three leaders.
See more about each inductee below:
Richard “Rick” Fenton, Vice President/CSO, Corporate Security & Safety | Ilitch Holdings, Inc. Rick has demonstrated his passion for safety, security, and service with his 27 years in law enforcement, retiring as the Executive Commander, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, and as the former Police Chief, Detroit/Wayne County Metropolitan Airport. Rick has spent the last 25 years leading various components of Ilitch Holdings (Detroit Tigers – Comerica Park, Red Wings – Little Caesars Arena, Fox Theater, and Olympia Entertainment). Rick and his team are the leaders in the security industry and esteemed advocates of the Safety Act. Rick is praised by his peers for being the leading voice on the best safety and security practices in the sports and entertainment industry, including the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Rick is always exploring new ways to enhance fan experience, like using simulation modeling to improve crowd management capabilities. He is always trying new technologies to find the best fit, willing to give vendors opportunities to prove their products. Rick co-founded the innovative and successful LIGHTHOUSE PROGRAM, a public safety/private security partnership, which is a multifaceted Law Enforcement/Private Security program developed for the City of Detroit’s Central Business District. Rick is a Certified Sports Security Professional (CSSP), NCS4/University of Southern Mississippi, the National Co-Chairman for the NCS4 National Advisory Committee and concurrently serves as a Distinguished Fellow on the IIFX Advisory Board.
Jim Mercurio, an industry consultant who most recently served as San Francisco 49ers Executive VP and General Manager of Levi’s Stadium. Jim has spent 30 years in service to the sports and entertainment event industry. Jim began his career in an entry-level position, working in the San Francisco 49ers locker room and advanced through the ranks to become Executive Vice President and General Manager of Levi’s Stadium. Jim served in the roles of Executive Vice President and General Manager of Levi’s Stadium, VP of Stadium Operations & General Manager, and Director of Stadium Operations for the 49ers at Candlestick Park. During his time at Levi’s Stadium, Jim oversaw all aspects of stadium and event operations, including executive oversight of the food and beverage operations, engineering, grounds, guest services, operations and logistics, parking, and transportation. He also managed all police, safety, and security services, including 24/7 stadium security operations and game and event day medical services at Levi’s Stadium. He was instrumental in bringing the Super Bowl’s golden anniversary event to the Bay Area in February 2016, an event regarded as one of the most successful Super Bowls in NFL history. Under Mercurio’s leadership, Levi’s Stadium garnered international recognition, including the prestigious Sports Business Journal 2015 Sports Facility of the Year award, several green and sustainability honors, and SAFETY Act designation for Levi’s stadium. Jim has worked with both NFL and MLS to establish best practices for each sport in preparation for the 2026 FIFA World CupTM. Jim serves on the NCS4 Board of Directors and concurrently serves as a Distinguished Fellow on the IIFX Advisory Board.
William (Bill) Squires is a consultant, advisor, lecturer at Columbia University, and a Facility Manager. Bill has over 35 years of involvement with the sports and entertainment business in various capacities from managing venues, to managing broadcasting to consulting. Bill began his career in the sports and entertainment facilities and event management industry in 1987 following active duty in the United States Navy. During his career, he managed NY Yankees Stadium and NY Giants Stadium on two separate occasions, ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, Disney Sports, and the and the Cleveland Browns Stadium. Bill was hired as ESPN’s Wide World of Sports first General Manager and was hired to open Cleveland Browns Stadium in 1999. Squires was responsible for all aspects of operations at all these venues. He is currently a consultant to the New York Giants as well as many companies that provide services and products to the sports and entertainment facilities industry. Squires is a past President of the Stadium Managers Association whose members are facility managers from the NFL, MLB, MLS, CFL, motor speedways, colleges/universities, and several international facilities. He also serves on several boards that support the sports and entertainment facilities and event management industry. As the General Manager of Disney Sports, Squires was involved in the construction phase of the 200-acre, state-of-the-art Sports Complex and was responsible for the maintenance of facilities (nine venues). Squires has taught the Sport Facility and Event Management course in the Masters of Sports Management program at Columbia University for over 10 years and continues to consult on all aspects of sports facility and event management through his company, The Right Stuff Consulting, Inc.
“We are honored to recognize these individuals who have dedicated their lives to our industry, said Dr. Lou Marciani, Director and Co-Founder of the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience. “This new virtual Sports & Entertainment Industry Hall of Fame will be available for people all over the world to help celebrate them and their contributions to the industry, while preserving history for generations to come.”
About the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience
The Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) was founded in 2020. IIFX’s vision is to be the leading and most trusted global authority on providing exceptional, memory-making fan experiences for the sports and entertainment industry. The Institute focuses on the fan journey and creating the ideal fan experience for its member organizations, one that results in increased revenue, sustainable growth, operational efficiency, a diversified workforce, new and repeat attendance, and maximized health, safety, and security through best practices, innovative technology solutions, and high-quality services. IIFX produces content and events and facilitates dialogue and collaboration around its core areas of expertise.
Learn more about Dr. Lou Marciani HERE.