Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast alumnus is new Show Me Center director

Monday, October 1, 2012
Wil Gorman, right, the new director at the Show Me Center, speaks with assistant director Jim Barbatti, left. Photo by Nathan Hamilton

Wil Gorman is the new director for the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University. Gorman is originally from Ralston, Neb., a small town near Omaha, Neb. He began to work in facilities management when he was 11 years old by working as a batboy at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha every summer until he turned 20. Rosenblatt Stadium used to host the NCAA Division I College World Series, was the home of the Omaha Royals and now is the home of the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Gorman attended Southeast and earned a Bachelor of Science in recreation. While a student at Southeast, he worked at the Show Me Center ushering and ticket taking. He also worked in the administrative office and was responsible for the handling of staff, event coordination and marketing sales.

As director of the Show Me Center, Gorman is responsible for overseeing programs, daily operations and overall management.

Q: What is your background in facilities management?

A: After college, I started out working for Arizona fall league that the Major League Baseball owns and operates. I was the general manager for the Tempe Rafters, which has a 16-team winter baseball league. I then worked for the California Angels as a ticket manager for spring training in 1995.

I decided that it was time to find a job with benefits, so I went to work at Sports Service in the old Busch Stadium as retail manager. There I handled all the merchandise inside the stadium and handled the first four St. Louis Rams games that were there. In March of 1997, I went to Tempe, Ariz., and managed the Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex.

I got a job with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006 as senior director at Brewers Enterprises, which was a new position that they created. I was responsible for the non-game events, and we did everything from private events like weddings to cancer awareness events. I got the opportunity to move back home to Omaha, Neb., in the summer of 2008 to help with designing and building TD Ameritrade Park. It was a $143 million project with 24,000 seats in the stadium. This was a great opportunity that I got to be involved with. Once the project came to an end, my job came to an end.

I started working as a consultant for Delaware North Companies in Sports Service. They handle Busch Stadium, but also handle nine other stadiums around the country. From late March this year up until Labor Day I was at Arlington Park handling the operations of the retail for the Texas Rangers, which everyone around here loves to hear. Now, I had the opportunity to come back to Southeast, which I am very excited about.

Q: What do you enjoy about working in this particular field?

A: I enjoy the always-changing environment and how nothing is ever the same. You meet a wide variety of people from the hardcore basketball fan to the little kid who wants to go to the rodeo for the first time. Working at a venue like this you get to meet people of all walks of life, and also the energy you feel here with the entertainment, when a team wins at the last-second shot or there is a wedding proposal during a concert.

Q: What are your goals as the new director of the Show Me Center?

A: The most important goal is to carry on the traditions of the venue that have been here for the past 24 years. We have had performances like Tina Turner, Seven Dust and presidents have been here, so we want to keep bringing in quality entertainment. We need to keep the building running well, and it already has been taken care of very well. I would like to bring in events and activities and possibly expand our offerings in the venue and looking into updating the venue. All of this will take time, though.

Q: Will you make any drastic changes?

A: No, change is the only thing constant. We will look into making adjustments possibly for an expanded venue or consolidated venue. My big thing is customer service, but with my experience working here in the past it always has been. I am not worried about that component, but that's always first and foremost.

Q: Since this year marks 25 years of operation of the Show Me Center, will there be any type of celebration for that?

A: That is something we are looking into. The biggest thing to understand is that for entertainers the business has changed -- where they used to book eight to 10 weeks out, now they are six to eight months out. They are planned so far in advance it makes it a challenge to plan for it. We are looking to possibly do something in the near future, this school year or next school year. It would be something that would be well received and looking at a wide variety of things we could offer.

Q: Coming back to Southeast, what do you think about it now compared to when you were a student here?

A: I was a tour guide when I first started school here, but I love Southeast. There is a lot of different changes, like Pig Lot used to be gravel, there now is a parking garage and the Rec Center didn't have a pool. I had classes in Academic [Hall], which now I know students cannot attend class there. I roomed in Myers. It was a pretty campus then, but now it really is with all the fountains they have now and improvements. It has really expanded in so many different great ways.