We love what we do and who we work with. That’s why we want to celebrate the people we serve by highlighting what they do and what makes their venue so great. We spoke to Marie Arighi, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Von Braun Center (Hunstville, AL) for this “Coffee and Conversation” feature. Named after Wernher Von Braun, The Von Braun Center has seen an impressive variety of guests, from the original “Rocket Man” (Wernher himself), to the “Rocket Man” of music, Sir Elton John. Hosting an estimated 600 events and 800,000 guests per year, the Von Braun Center is an invaluable landmark in the Huntsville / Madison County area. We are extremely honored to serve them!
Q. What does a day in the life look like as Director of Sales and Marketing at the Von Braun Center?
A. No two days are ever the same at a facility such as the Von Braun Center, where such a variety of events are hosted. There are so many moving parts within every event and as the Director of Sales & Marketing, I never know what new opportunity/challenge will be presented daily. My day is usually guided by the needs of the client and/or employees, which usually includes logistics and problem–solving.
Q. What is the best part of that position?
A. It is so hard to pinpoint just one part as “the best” because there are so many things that make my position wonderful.
First, I love making a big sale!! There is no greater feeling than seeing an event come to life at the facility!
Second, I have great employees – they all bring lots of knowledge to their position and they do such a wonderful job.
Third, working for someone that demonstrates passion for the industry and leads with this philosophy: “Let’s give our clients something they didn’t know they were missing.” This philosophy has become a part of our culture at the Von Braun Center and is set by our Executive Director, Steve Maples, and Assistant Director, Mike Vojticek.
Q. How did you get involved in the industry?
A. Years ago, I decided that I wanted to work for a hotel because of the TV show, “Hotel.” When I went to work in my first hotel I realized that the Hospitality Industry was truly where my I wanted to build my career. I have never looked back…
Q. Who inspires you?
A. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” -Walt Disney
I have always been fascinated with Walt Disney from the moment I heard the story of how he purchased swampland west of Orlando for $1.00 an acre, known today as “Disney World.” Walt Disney was definitely a man that took an idea and turned it into a reality. It is said that he worked very hard to build relationships with each of his employees and knew each by name. He would work with each employee to help improve their craft. I truly admire a leader that takes the time to know his employees and treats each with respect and kindness. Today, Disney World is known for creating “magic” moments through its employees and the extensive customer service training that they undergo.
Q. What do you love about the VBC?
A. The staff and their “can-do” attitude. We truly do live by the famous words of Wernher von Braun: “I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.”
Q. What makes the VBC unique?
A. The VBC is unique in the sense that we have everything under one roof. We have the Propst Arena, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, Playhouse, and over 170,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. We have a full in-house Catering Department, Audio-Visual Department, and Exhibitor Services. We are literally a “one-stop shop” venue.
Q. Are there any favorite events/shows you’ve experienced that come to mind from your time there?
A. Through the years there have been so many events that I have enjoyed being a part of – most recently I enjoyed the Dolly Parton concert. She is so genuine that you cannot help but have a great time – whether you are a country music fan or not.
Q. How does EventBooking affect your work day?
A. EventBooking affects every aspect of our work at the Von Braun Center. The facility lives and breathes by its booking software. When we went searching for the perfect booking software, we wanted one that would allow all employees to work from one file and we found that in EventBooking. As the Director of Sales & Marketing I am in the program all day every day.
Marie, thanks for letting us get to know you and the Von Braun Center even more. It’s a privilege to serve you!