A Day in the Life of a Smart City General Manager

Michael Nolan, Smart City General Manager, Charlotte Convention Center

Last month the kings of the NBA returned to the Queen City for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game Feb. 15-17, 2019. It was the biggest sporting event Charlotte had ever hosted, and the city was abuzz the entire week. The Charlotte Convention Center (CCC) was active with every department coming together for one goal; a successful NBA All-Star Events weekend. With more than 150 city-wide events expected, a number of them occurred here at the CCC. It was a hectic time for Smart City Charlotte! This is an account of one day in the life of a Smart City General Manager.

Today started like any other, bringing the Smart City team together for our morning Lineup. Lineup is our time to make company announcements and read aloud one of our Daily Basics & Business Principles. These principles define our business, relationships, and values as an organization. To start, our Customer Service Manager walks us through each customers’ order. The NBA has purchased a “Wi-Fi buyout” which allows any number of their guests to access an upgraded high-speed network. Our technician will be keeping an eye on their numbers throughout the day, monitoring total customer usage. Next up on the agenda, an NBA Sponsorship Event where a customer ordered a dedicated 10mbps hard-wired connection to register guests into their event. Now that everyone is on the same page with our customer’s orders, I take this time to boost my team members for their continued hard work throughout the year. Without my dedicated team success would not be possible. It’s a perfect segue to today’s Daily Basic: “Team members will recognize their membership in several teams and will actively participate in the team’s collective success.” After Lineup, it’s time for us to go out and welcome our customers into the building and introduce ourselves.

This morning we have an “NBA Pre-convention” meeting in which all departments involved come together and discuss opportunities for improvement or successes for the upcoming NBA All-Star Event. At this time the Convention Center Event Manager introduces everyone to the NBA Event representative who in turn explains the day’s agenda and highlights of the show. I introduce myself and briefly describe the role that I will play throughout the event. I explain how very excited we are to have them in our great city and breakdown the services that they have ordered with Smart City. My technician and I hand them our business cards and assure them we will work to give them a tremendous event! As the General Manager, It is my job to build a rapport with the client that makes them feel at ease and lets them entrust us with their business over the coming days.

As the day progresses, the team stands by on their radios, listening for any calls requesting assistance. We have met with all our clients, tested their products, and are confident there will be no issues. Currently, the Charlotte Convention Center is undergoing a $110 million renovation adding 26,000 sq. ft. of breakout space for visitors to relax, recharge, or hold informal meetings. Although the building will not be closed over the next 24 months, we have had to get creative on how we can continue to service customers and generate revenue throughout this process. I take a moment to reach out to the building sales team to set up a time to meet with the hope of discussing pricing strategies for possible hotel meeting displacement. Effective communication and creative thinking will drive our success as we look towards the future.

Before the day ends, I reach out to my customers again to request their feedback. I take this time to reconnect with them and tie-up any questions or issues they may have. Fortunately, it’s been a successful event so far.

As a General Manager, it’s easy to become distracted by all of the administrative reporting and paperwork, but it’s just as important to be on-hand for each event. Customers always come first, and that extra personal touch of speaking with them directly can make their event just a little bit more special. A good General Manager and a great team are what makes Smart City a terrific company and my job a pleasure to do.

If we participate in the team’s collective success, where are we going? To the top! Where at the top? The very top!