Chief Listening Officer and Management Partner Venue Solutions Group
For more than 35 years, Russ Simons 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.
Russ is a member of the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAVM), and has served on the Board of Directors and Life Safety Council. He is a founder and instructor of the IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security and is an Instructor and former Chairman of the Board of Regents of IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay. Russ continues to work on industry Safety and Security issues having recently led webinars on Ebola and Civil Disobedience and Demonstrations. He is a 2004 recipient of the GIGI Award of Excellence and member of the Event, Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. He is currently the independent security consultant to the National Hockey League. Russ is a member of IFMA and the Stadium Managers Association.
Russ currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Homeland Security Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector for Commercial Facilities. He is a former volunteer firefighter, instructor at the Hartford County Fire Training Center, and an Emergency Medical Technician.
Russ is the architect of the Walmart “Black Friday” crowd management plan, including the development and training of over 1.6 million Walmart Associates in more than 4,000 Walmart stores in the United States. Russ’ plan is now standard operating practice for all Walmart “Retailtainment” events.
Prior to creating Venue Solutions Group, Russ was a Senior Principal with the global design firm Populous. There he managed the firm’s facility operations, evaluation and analysis group which assisted public assembly venues in the renovation and development of new facilities. He also worked closely with designers and architects as they created functional and secure sports and entertainment facilities. 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.