A Day in the Life: Events Manager

A Day in the Life: Events Manager

I have had the privilege of working a few roles within the Air Force Marathon office over my time here in 6 years. Each role has taught me more about the success of the event and how every detail matters. I spent a year and a half in the role of the Events Manager, which encompasses our ancillary events – the Health & Fitness Expo, the Green Program, the Pasta Dinner and the Breakfast of Champions as well as the After Party at the Greene.

Through these events, there are many moving pieces that are required and are executed at the same time through race weekend. Thus, it isn’t just me, but takes a team of great volunteers to help those all unfold successfully. Day to day for me, helping each of those parts grow to be successful requires meetings, spreadsheets, emails, calls and organization. To make it a little easier to understand, I will break down each of these events. Some are more simple, others require more attention.

Pasta Dinner

The Pasta Dinner takes place on Friday evening of our event, from 5:30-8:30, during the same time as the 5K, the Tailwind Trot and the Health & Fitness Expo. Due to this, it is impossible for me as the Events Manager to be (at all places) and so I heavily rely on a lead volunteer for this event, as well as our Sponsorship Coordinator. They are there to open the venue for the ticket holders and make sure that it runs smoothly for those coming to eat.  I work with them leading up to the event to ensure all details are in order for their success. Through the year, I work with our club on Wright Patterson Air Force Base to prepare the menu and the desired table settings. Once that is solidified, I work with the National Museum of the United States Air Force to coordinate the space inside the museum, which is typically staged in the 2nd hangar of the museum. The pasta dinner is a buffet style meal, but we do host a program at 6 pm. For that program, I coordinate with the Band of Flight of the Air Force for the music as well as coordinating with our protocol team.  Protocol is a group on base who specialize in working with the leadership on the base and coordinates their schedules. In working with them, we can adequately place who is on stage at what time. Lastly, in regards to the program, there is strong involvement with the Sponsorship Coordinator in the schedules of sponsors being at the event and presenting their award for our gratitude of their help. If you have never been to our dinner, it is in a great venue with delicious food and it is open for anyone to buy tickets! You don’t have to be a runner or even family of a runner of the event- it’s open to the public!

Breakfast of Champions

The Breakfast of Champions is hosted Friday morning of the event, before the Health & Fitness Expo opens. Again, I rely on a lead volunteer to help me with the check-in of ticket holders, and I work with her in coordinating that. Through the year, I work with the Holiday Inn of Dayton-Fairborn to coordinate the  meal, the staging and the set up for the tables and speaker panel. I work with the guest speakers to coordinate their arrival to the venue and the ideas of what or how the speaker will present. For the Breakfast of Champions, we have emcees who contribute, and I work with them in coordinating their time and their announcements. As mentioned above, Protocol, who helps coordinate the leadership team schedules (the Colonels in attendance) works closely with me in this to ensure time lines and efficiency of the presentations. We sell tickets for this event as well, and if you’ve never been, it’s great food and a time to connect with other runners as well as hear from our guest speaker in a Q&A format, along with our Race Director, Brandon Hough.

After Party

The After Party is in large part coordinated by our partner, the Greene, but I work with them closely to ensure it matches up with our desires simultaneously. The After Party takes place at the close of the weekend’s events, Saturday evening. This is a free venue, a place where the runners can gather to share stories of the day and have  beer. The Greene coordinates a parachute drop to take place at the kick off of the party. While the parachute drop happens, I’ve worked through the year to coordinate a singer from the Band of Flight to sing God Bless America during this time. I also work with the same person on opening the event with the Star Spangled Banner. In our recent year, we introduced the announcement at the opening of this party for our aircraft for the next marathon. We hope to continue this tradition! Announcing that aircraft involves again working with the entity on base, Protocol, who helps coordinate the appropriate leaders to be there. I work with whichever aircraft will be introduced to have a representative on-site with a potential scale model to reveal. Our team sets up a tent and we are there to greet and congratulate all our participants and offer a few giveaways for the next year. I work with the Greene during the year on knowing the details of the band they coordinate, what games they will have in place and how they plan to host the beer tasting that is part of the event.

Health & Fitness Expo

The Health & Fitness Expo takes a great amount of my time as the Events Manager. We have moved to an online platform for working with all the vendors who wish to attend, so I coordinate with Eventhub on the set-up of that platform for our vendors to register. I manage the live-interactive map of the expo and create the layout of the booths for vendors. The marketing coordinator helps me place the appropriate demographics on that site as well. I create the registration to include all necessary details we need to collect for the vendors. I work through the year communicating with previous vendors, lining up their desires in their booth spaces. A large part is also in working to recruit new vendors to come in to the event. I spend time talking with businesses in the City of Fairborn, discussing ways we can work together to benefit one another. The City of Fairborn brings the FlyZone to our event as well as assisting in many city aspects with police and fire, and it is our desire in the expo to offer back that experience to them. I work on coordination with the sponsors of their booth spaces, hand in hand with the Sponsorship Coordinator. The position requires time working with the Nutter Center and with their catering company in the set up of space for the vendors to have a break room. The Nutter Center provides an excellent venue, and I work closely with them on the floor plan and electric needs. The Nutter Center helps me coordinate security for overnight shifts at the event, as well as a safety plan in play during the days of the event to ensure that in an emergency, our participants would be attended to properly. I also work closely with GEHA, who sponsors the Expo. We work together on their provisions for the event and their set-up space. The Expo takes place over 2 days, and is free to the public, not just the runners.

The Events Manager also manages the Green Program, which we introduced in 2019 and will share more about what that means in another blog.

Written by: Rachael McKinney, Assistant Director (Former Events Manager)


Related Pages:

Charity Partners
Air Force Marathon 2021

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