Posts Tagged ‘Grand Rapids’

Mom Gets Back Into Sports through Mary Free Bed Program

January 25, 2016

Editor’s note: Leading up to the NASC Symposium this spring, the NASC is highlighting adaptive sports athletes. The proceeds raised for the 2016 NASC Sports Legacy Fund will go toward offsetting expenses for the Mary Free Bed and Adaptive Sports Wheelchair Tennis program, which provides equipment to individuals who are unable to afford their own. Each month we feature one of the adaptive athletes: This month we feature Suzanne Egeler.

Hi, I am Suzanne Egeler, a 44-year-old mother of four girls.  I have been involved with Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Sports for almost 14 years.

Suzanne photo

I got involved in the sports programs shortly after my third daughter was born.  I was really discouraged with my weight gain and asked my doctor at Mary Free Bed what he suggested I do to lose some weight; his immediate and enthusiastic answer was TENNIS!

I met with a recreational therapist and tried out a few different activities…swimming, wheelchair racing, basketball, handcycling, and (yes) tennis.

I purchased a handcycle, which enabled me to go on bike rides with my husband and children.  I’ve even done the 5/3 Riverbank 25k a couple of times. But tennis ended up being exactly what I needed to get motivated to exercise.  After one tennis practice, I was hooked.   Lots of cardio, great competition, and lasting friendships with other wheelchair-using athletes.

I was always involved in sports from a young age and had forgotten how much fun exercising could be, with a group of friends. I am so grateful to have Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Sports and all of the programs it provides.

2016 NASC Sports Marketplace Appointment Process

January 12, 2016

As reported in the September edition of the NASC Playbook, the Symposium Committee, based on member feedback, has created a new framework for the 2016 NASC Sports Marketplace. In this edition of the “Tips from the Mentoring Committee”, we offer the following thoughts on improvements to the appointment process and how all members can benefit from hitting the reset button on what to expect from the NASC Sports Marketplace in Grand Rapids.

Individual Appointments

Think “New Relationship NASC Sports Marketplace”

From its inception in San Antonio, TX in 1997, the purpose of the NASC Sports Marketplace has been to provide opportunities for NEW BUSINESS development for our members.

Individual appointments, which are 10 minutes each, offer destinations and vendor exhibitors the opportunity to share information about their community and/or products/services with event owners.  Ideally, individual appointments should be requested by organizations that are not currently doing business with one another.  Anyone who has attended the NASC Symposium knows the schedule includes ample time for current business partners to conduct meetings and network with each other.

For the first time, participating members will have an extended window to request, accept/decline, and prioritize individual appointments. The online appointment portal will open the first week of January and remain open until February 26, 2016.

Why the extended time?  Eight weeks gives everyone time to properly evaluate and research the organizations with whom they are requesting an appointment and organizations requesting an appointment of them.  The goal is to eliminate individual appointments taking place between a destination and/or vendor and event owner where there is clearly no opportunity to do business. For example, if a destination doesn’t have facilities required to host a particular sport and/or event, then the destination should not be requesting an appointment with that event owner.  With time to evaluate and research, these potentially embarrassing situations can and should be avoided.

Event Overview Appointments

Think “Learning & Listening Marketplace”

Event Overview Appointments offer event owners the opportunity to share information about their organization and what it takes to host an event with destinations whom they have not done business.  This is not a time to sell your destination or product/service to the event owner, but rather listen to the event overview and gather information about event requirements, future opportunities, etc. If your organization qualifies to host an event or provide a product/service based on what you learn during the appointment, then follow up after the Symposium.

How does this work?  Destinations, vendor exhibitors, and event owners will have the opportunity to request, accept/decline, and prioritize event overview appointments. These appointments will take place at tables in the Sports Marketplace, not at the event owner’s booth.  Up to five (5) destinations and/or vendor exhibitors will be seated at a table with one event owner. The event owner will provide information on what it takes to host their event and may allow a minute or two at the end of the 10-minute appointment for questions.

Key Dates

  • Week of January 4 – Individual Appointment schedule portal opens
  • Midnight PT February 19 – Last day to registered to be guaranteed appointments
  • Midnight PT February 26 – Individual Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 14 – Individual Appointment schedules released and Event Overview Appointment portal opens
  • Midnight PT March 18 – Event Overview Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 28 – Event Overview Appointment schedules released

It is important to note, registration fees must be paid in full before the first attendee from your organization can view the online appointment portal.

Direct any questions about the appointment process to your member services coordinator.

Active Members:

Meagan McCalla, or 513.842.8307.

Allied and Rights Holder Members:

Allison Deak, or 513.250.4366.

Yours in sport,

John David, CSEE
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair

Mike Price, CSEE
Greater Lansing Sports Authority
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair


NASC hosts board retreat in Grand Rapids to Preview City for 2016 NASC Symposium

August 13, 2015

The NASC Board of Directors were in Grand Rapids this week for their annual board retreat while previewing the region’s venues, hotels and restaurants in anticipation of Grand Rapids hosting the 24th NASC Sports Event Symposium April 3-7, 2016. Today, they named Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports as the beneficiary of the NASC Sports Legacy Fund in 2016 – an NASC tradition to make a lasting impact on the community hosting its annual symposium.

“This is an exciting week for Grand Rapids to showcase its incredible sporting event assets while the NASC is in town for its summer board retreat,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “And just as important as leaving with positive impressions about our region, they leave with a promise to invest in our community by naming Mary Free Bed as the 2016 beneficiary of the NASC Sports Legacy Fund.”

As the only nonprofit 501 (c) (3) trade association for the sports tourism industry, NASC produces the NASC Sports Event Symposium that it has held annually since 1992 – and Grand Rapids will host it for the first time, April 3-7, 2016 at DeVos Place.

Mary Free Bed Named 2016 Beneficiary of NASC Sports Legacy Fund

Established in 2006 by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the NASC Sports Legacy Fund awards an annual grant and sports equipment donation to an organization in need in the host city of the NASC Symposium. The Sports Legacy Fund is a way for members of the sports tourism community to make a personal and lasting impact on sports programs and initiatives. The West Michigan Sports Commission nominated Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports and its wheelchair tennis program since it fits with the NASC’s criteria of donating to not-for profit organizations that provide individuals – particularly at-risk youth, veterans, or physically or intellectually disabled individuals – opportunities to participate in sport and encourage healthy lifestyles.

“Choosing Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports as the NASC Sports Legacy beneficiary means that our athletes are provided more opportunities to participate in the many sports we offer without a financial burden, allowing them to gain confidence, empowerment and life skills as individuals,” said Alicia Hass, sports coordinator at Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports. The NASC Sports Legacy Committee organizes a silent auction and raffle to raise money for the Sports Legacy Fund at the NASC Symposium each year. Proceeds from the auction and raffle will support the 2016 beneficiary and the NASC Sports Legacy Fund endowment. Originally developed as an equipment donation program by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the NASC Sports Legacy Fund became a monetary donation in 2009 and has contributed more than $63,000 since then to programs in its conference host cities, including $20,000 in 2015 to the Running Rebels Community Organization in Milwaukee.

“The NASC has seen steady growth in donations to local charities in the host cities of the annual NASC Sports Event Symposium since 2009,” said Don Schumacher, CSEE, executive director of the NASC. “It is very exciting to come to a new market and raise funds to assist in the development of programs that will benefit the residents of the community.”

As an added benefit to the host city, the NASC also organizes a community service project as a program that all NASC Symposium attendees have the option of volunteering for while in town for the conference. This was launched as a new initiative at the 2015 NASC Symposium in Milwaukee, and due to its success, will be continued for the 2016 Symposium in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids project and location will be named at a later time.

About the West Michigan Sports Commission

The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 400 sporting events and tournaments that attracted 560,000 athletes and visitors, generating $145 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit

About the National Association of Sports Commissions

As the only nonprofit 501 (c) (3) trade association for the sports tourism industry, the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), and sports event owners. The NASC is committed to the success of more than 700 member organizations and 2,000 serious-minded, sports tourism professionals. Our promise is to deliver quality education, relevant industry research and ample networking opportunities to our members – sports destinations, sports event owners, and vendors to the industry – and to protect the integrity of the sports tourism industry. For more information, visit

About Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports

Mary Free Bed started wheelchair and adaptive sports programs more than 40 years ago with a single tennis team. The program has grown tremendously, and now approximately 400 children and 300 adults participate in a variety of organized team sports, clinics and camps every year. The Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program is designed for anyone age 7 or older who cannot participate in traditional sports in the typical way, whether they were born with their disability or are challenged as a result of an injury, accident or illness. For more information, visit

BOD_Retreat 2015

NASC Board of Directors Summer Retreat

BOD_SLF Beneficiary

NASC Board of Directors with 2016 Sports Legacy Fund Beneficiary, Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program.

Comfy Chairs

NASC Board of Directors testing out comfy chairs at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI.

National Association of Sports Commissions Announces Major Sponsors for 2015 Annual NASC Symposium

April 23, 2015

CINCINNATI (April 23, 2015) – The National Association of Sports Commissions announced today its major sponsors for the 2015 NASC Symposium to be held in Milwaukee next week from April 27-30 where a record turnout of 925 sports events industry professionals will be in attendance.

Elite and Diamond sponsors include: VISIT Milwaukee, West Michigan Sports Commission, Louisiana Association of CVBs, Foley, Alabama, Sports Tourism Complex, Michigan Sports, TEAM Maryland, Mobile Sports Authority, TEAM Kentucky and Visit Greenville, SC.

Foley Sports Tourism Complex will sponsor the Keynote Luncheon, TEAM Maryland will support the Sports Marketplace Aisle Signage, VISIT Milwaukee will host the Welcome Reception, and West Michigan Sports Commission will host the Closing Celebration. Mobile Sports Authority is sponsoring the Countdown Clocks in the NASC Marketplace. TEAM Kentucky is sponsoring Extra Innings on Monday and Tuesday and Visit Greenville, SC is sponsoring Extra Innings on Wednesday.

Grand Rapids and the West Michigan Sports Commission will serve as the host for the 2016 NASC Symposium, Monday, April 4 through Thursday, April 7 in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We are grateful to our sponsors who continue to support the NASC Symposium,” said Don Schumacher, executive director of the National Association of Sports Commissions. “With their sponsorship, the NASC can continue to present the industry’s leading education and networking event for sports event professionals.”

The NASC Symposium is the annual meeting for the only not-for-profit association for the sports tourism industry. For more than 20 years, the Symposium has been designed for sports tourism professionals by sports tourism professionals.

For more information, visit

National Association of Sports Commissions Names Next Host Cities for Symposiums; NASC Wraps Up Oklahoma City Meeting with Record Attendance, New Board Leadership

April 3, 2014

The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), the governing body of the $8.7 billion sports events industry, celebrated record attendance for its annual symposium here this week.

More than 800 attendees, including 170 first-timers, participated in this week’s NASC Symposium to elect new NASC leadership, honor members with industry awards and participate in dozens of continuing education programs led by industry leadership.

Also, during the event the NASC Sports Legacy Fund raised $14,000 to benefit Oklahoma Cleats for Kids, an Oklahoma City-based organization that collects, recycles and distributes new and gently used athletic shoes and equipment to kids in need.

NASC Selects Future Host Cities for 2016 and 2017

The NASC also announced future locations for its annual meeting: Grand Rapids, Michigan will be the host in 2016 and Sacramento was named the 2017 host city. Previously announced, Milwaukee will host the 2015 NASC Symposium from April 27-30.

“We feel we have an exciting lineup of cities that will be the hosts for our Symposiums,” said Don Schumacher, executive director of the NASC. “With our return to Milwaukee in 2015, we’ll visit some of our most dynamic sports cities.”

NEW NASC Leadership Elected

New NASC board leadership was also announced, including Kevin Smith, CSEE, the director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, as the new chair of NASC.

Additional officers include: Vice Chair/Chair Elect, Greg Ayers, CSEE, president & CEO, Discover Kalamazoo; Treasurer, Ralph Morton, CSEE, executive director, Seattle Sports Commission; Secretary, Mike Anderson, CSEE, director of sports, Visit Charlotte; and  Immediate Past Chair, Terry Hasseltine, CSEE, executive director, Maryland Office of Sports.

The slate of NASC directors includes: Board term expiring 2015, Tammy Dunn, CSEE, sports marketing manager, Snohomish County Sports Commission; Greg Fante, CSEE, director of sports development, Louisville Sports Commission; Kindra Fry, CSEE, SMP, vice president of sales and marketing, Bryan-College Station CVB and Nancy Yawn, CSEE, CDME, director, Round Rock CVB.

Directors with Board terms expiring in 2016: John Gibbons, CSEE, executive director, Rhode Island Sports Commission; Michael Price, CSEE, executive director, Greater Lansing Sports Authority; Janis Schmees Burke, CSEE, executive director, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and Holly Shelton, CSEE, manager of sports business development, Oklahoma City CVB.

Directors with Board terms expiring in 2017: Brian Hickey, CSEE, director of sports, Visit Tallahassee/Tallahassee Sports Council; Janis Ross, executive director, Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports; Benjamin Wilder, CSEE, director, Savannah Sports Council and Marc Zimmerman, CSEE, sales & events manager, Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing.

Allied representatives with a board term expiring in 2015 include Rick Hatcher, CSEE, director of business development, PSA, and board term expiring in 2016, Mike Hill, CSEE, senior director of sports sales, Hilton Worldwide-Sports Sales. Rights Holder representatives are, with a board term expiring in 2015, Jeff Jarnecke, associate director of championships and alliances, NCAA, and board term expiring in 2016, John David, chief operating officer, USA BMX.

NASC Members Honored

Also presented this week were the Member Awards, signifying outstanding work in the field of sports events, marketing and promotion. This year NASC added the prestigious Sports Event Professional of the Year award, honoring the person deemed most influential in Sports Events planning and management. This year’s inaugural Sports Event Professional of the Year award goes to Ron Radigonda, recently retired as executive director of Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball.

Other award winners include:

  • Locally Created Event of the Year, under $200,000 budget; Hampton Roads Sports Commission
  • Locally Created Event of the Year, $200,000 budget and above; Kansas City Sports Commission
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year, $200,000 budget and above; Round Rock CVB
  • Sports Commission of the Year, under $200,000 budget; Erie Sports Commission
  • Sports Commission of the Year, $200,000 budget and above, Harris County-Houston Sports Commission
  • Sports Tourism Organization of the Year, under $200,000 budget; Butler County Visitors Bureau

The NASC this week also recognized its latest class of graduates in its Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) continuing education program. The Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 CSEE graduates include: Cissy Aberg, Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau; Christopher Ackerman, Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau; John David, USA BMX; Katie Fencl, Des Moines Area Sports Commission; Michael Guswiler, West Michigan Sports Commission; Scott Hofmann, Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Meaghan Hughes, Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Matthew Libber, Elite Tournaments; Leah Mitcham, Mooresville Convention and Visitors Bureau; Jason Philbeck, Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance; Beth Porreca, US Lacrosse and Meghan Ziehmer, Greater Lansing Sports Authority.

Grand Rapids Named Host of 2016, Sacramento Named Host of 2017, National Association of Sports Commissions Sports Event Symposium

April 3, 2014

2016 Logo for NASC

The host cities for the 2016 and 2017 NASC Symposium were announced at the NASC Symposium held this week in Oklahoma City. The  24th NASC Sports Event Symposium will be held April 3-7, 2016 in Grand Rapids and the 25th anniversary Symposium will be March 26-30, 2017 in Sacramento.

The 23rd annual Symposium is scheduled for April 27-30, 2015 in Milwaukee, WI.

2017 logo for NASC

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2018 and 2019 NASC Sports Event Symposium will be released on the final day of the Oklahoma City Symposium.

Visit for more details.