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Russ Simons

Managing Partner,
Venue Solutions Group
Brentwood, TN, USA
For more than 36 years, Russ Simons has been involved in nearly every facet of the sports and entertainment facility industry including design, construction and management & operations. 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 performing arts & theaters to colleges and universities and every major professional sports league.

Russ currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Homeland Security Commercial Facilities Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector Council.

Russ is a member of the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAVM), and has served on their Board of Directors. He is a current member of the organizations Safety & Security Committee leading the Cyber Security working group. He is a founder and former instructor of the IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security. He is a 24-year Instructor and former Chairman of the Board of Regents of IAVM’s Venue Management School. He serves on the
Board of Advisors for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, the Sports Facility’s and the Law publication and the TEAM coalition for responsible alcohol management. Russ continues to work on industry Safety and Security issues worldwide having recently lead webinars on Ebola and Civil Disobedience, Protests and Demonstrations. He is a 2004 recipient of the GIGI Award of Excellence and member of the Event, Sales and Marketing Association Hall of Fame. He is currently an independent security consultant to the National Hockey League. Russ is also a member of IFMA and the Stadium Managers Association.

He is a former volunteer firefighter, instructor at the Hartford County Fire Training Center and 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’s 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 firms’ facility operations, evaluation and analysis group, which assisted public assembly venues in the renovation and development of new facilities. He works closely with designers, architects and engineers 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 also Russ was a Senior Vice President of Powers Management and President of Powers Solutions, a professional sports and entertainment facility consulting company. Russ has provided services to over 90 colleges and universities.