After a two-month search, the Ralston Arena has a new general manager.
Friday morning, the city made the announcement Paul Hendrickson will be taking over duties at the arena beginning Feb. 4. He succeeds Curtis Webb, who abruptly left the position in November.
Hendrickson comes to the arena with more than 25 years’ experience in the arena industry, most recently at Reliant Park in Houston, a large sports/entertainment complex which is the home of the Houston Texans of the National Football League. The complex also includes the Astrodome, the first domed stadium in Major League Baseball, which housed the Houston Astros from 1965 to 1999.
He also spent six years as an operations manager at the Richard E. Berry Educational Support Center in Cypress, Texas. The facility has an 11,000-seat stadium and a 16,000-square-foot conference center.
Hendrickson has never been the general manager of a facility, but Ralston Mayor Don Groesser said he has all the component parts necessary to play the role.
“Paul’s got a lot of different pieces, done a lot of different things in his career,” Groesser said. “He’s seen all the areas a GM needs to see and we’re excited to see him put it all together for us. He’s got all the experience we were looking for.”
In a statement, Ralston said Hendrickson has “vast knowledge and experience in operations, promotions and event booking” and has worked in tour and event management services.
Hendrickson has signed a five-year contract at an annual salary $90,000.
Ralston received more than 100 applications for the position. The initial pool was whittled to three candidates and then two finalists for the position.
Groesser said Hendrickson is expected to arrive in Ralston Jan. 28 and begin his duties at the arena on Feb. 4.
Job No. 1 for the new general manager, Groesser said, will be to help the Ralston Arena attract more general entertainment.
“We’ve got all the sports things we can handle, just about,” Groesser said. “We need to really work on the entertainment side. More concerts, more shows. Paul’s been involved on that end of the business and he can work very well there.”
So well, in fact, that on Day 2 on the job, Hendrickson is expected to be jetting to the West Coast to work with promoters and bookers to attract talent to the arena.
The Ralston Arena has been without a general manager since Nov. 21 when Webb left the position after just under a year of service. Webb took a position as executive director of the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.
Since Webb’s departure, Lynn Higginbotham, the arena’s director of marketing, and Steve Lind, director of operations have been splitting the general manager’s duties with help from Groesser.