Sullivan Arena management laid off for 'economic reasons'
SMG, an entertainment and convention venue management service, says a handful of people have been laid off after the Sullivan Arena lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Steve Tadlock, regional vice president of SMG, says seven people in total have been let go — five, a few weeks ago, and two more, Joe Wooden, the general manager, and Tanya Pont, the marketing director, were dismissed this week.
“That’s nothing we ever take lightly,” he said. “And we do that as a last resort.”
Tadlock blames the layoffs on economic reasons, namely the $600,000 loss to Sullivan Arena’s bottom line.
SMG officials will be meeting with staff from the Municipality of Anchorage this week to discuss streamlining efforts at the Arena. The private company also oversees the Dena’ina Convention Center and Egan Civic and Convention Center, which is also owned by the city. Tadlock says staff from the two convention centers will be helping out the Sullivan Arena in the meantime.
“Short term – it’s kind of all hands on deck because we’re all the same company,” Tadlock said. “Right now, we need everyone’s help.”
Tadlock says he doesn’t expect the layoffs to affect any shows at the Arena, including both current and future bookings.
Christopher Schutte, director of economic and community development for the Municipality of Anchorage, said the turf field that’s getting added to the facility should help attract a larger crowd and help revitalize it.
“I think that overall, providing an additional indoor space for a winter climate like ours, for people to be active, is a great thing,” he said.
Tadlock says they will also be cutting back on utilities and streamlining how the facility purchases things and no further personnel cuts are expected.
SMG of Alaska holds several other management contracts, for Ben Boeke Ice Arena, Dempsey Anderson Ice Arena and the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
KTVA reporter Steffi Lee contributed to this story.