What does it take to run Central Florida’s premier sports and live entertainment venue? Lecturer Brian Avery’s Hospitality/Event Risk Management class found out during an exclusive tour of the Amway Center on Nov. 19. Phil Hastings, director of arena operations for the Orlando Magic, served as their guide, providing a front of house and back of house tour as well as a one hour Q&A session. The students also watched the team’s pre-game shoot around and cheered them on later at the game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Hastings gave Rosen College students an inside look at the inner workings of the multifaceted facility and their risk management strategy, a critical aspect of venue operations. Through this unique experience, the students saw the concepts they learned in class come to life.

“The goal was to show the students that quality event locations incorporate risk management policies and procedures into everyday operations policies and procedures– they are never separate if you intend for them to work,” said Avery. “Some of the concepts I discuss in class seem far-fetched…that is until you see them in place, being used and working.”

Hastings’ assistant Josh Blackman, ’13, who attended Rosen College and double majored in event management and hospitality management, accompanied the students and discussed Amway Center security, emergency management and essential operations. Blackman is currently a UCF graduate student studying emergency management, but says Rosen College gave him the necessary foundation to excel in his current role.

“My education at Rosen College provided me with instructors who had a balance of academic and industry specific experience, and could offer insight about what to expect in the workplace as an event and venue operator,” said Blackman. “It is very different seeing what you are learning in action rather than simply reading or hearing about it in the classroom. This is why I was so excited about the opportunity to give the Amway Center tour and share my experiences with current Rosen College students.”

For more information about hospitality and event management education at Rosen College, please visit hospitality.ucf.edu.