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SHSU to host 7th Annual “The Mind of a Sport Executive Series” Event

by Carla Clark, SHSU

Influencing and monitoring the financial impact of a major sporting event is something Harris County Houston Sports Authority CEO, Janis Burke, knows very well. Burke, who is responsible for overseeing venues such as the Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, will be the featured speaker at the 7th Annual “The Mind of a Sport Executive Series” event, presented by Sam Houston State University’s Department of Kinesiology – Sport Management program.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is slated for 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 at The Woodlands Center, Room 110. Light refreshments will be served and attendees are encouraged to arrive early as there is a limited seating capacity.

“Janis Burke will be able to give our attendees real life examples of why sporting events provide a tremendous amount of financial impact to a community,” Ryan Zapalac, associate dean of the College of Health Sciences said. “She will also offer tremendous advice for how students can be successful in the sports industry. She has always been a great mentor and resource for our students and we are excited to welcome her to campus.”

Burke has been CEO of the HCHSA since 2006, when she became just the third chief executive and first woman to hold the position since the inception of the organization in 1997.

“Janis Burke is a trailblazer in sports,” Brent Estes, associate professor and graduate coordinator said. “Our students will benefit greatly from her experience and wealth of knowledge as a leader in the industry.”

In addition to overseeing the billion-dollar bond debt service for Houston’s professional sports stadiums, under her leadership, Houston has been awarded major sporting events that include:  Super Bowl LI, the U.S. Olympic Trials, collegiate tournaments, numerous National and World Championships, AAU Junior Olympics, and the Transplant Games of America. Burke also received the 2015 SHSU Sport Management Industry Impact Award, which recognizes sports executives for their significant contributions to the industry.

“I couldn’t be more excited about speaking to the future graduates of Sam Houston because I believe it is one of the most significant things I can do for our industry,” Burke said. “These bright and ambitious young people are the future leaders and they will be the ones taking the reins in the not-too-distant future.  I learn so much from this upcoming generation and can only hope that they feel the same about me and my experiences.  We will be opening the window of what it’s like to lead a sports commission that oversees the debt service on professional sports stadiums, fills the role of landlord to the tenants, and is responsible for marketing or bringing impactful sporting events to the destination.”

David Brady, an SHSU alumnus and Houston Dynamo Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer will be the moderator for the event and has served in that capacity for many years.  He is also the ‘in-stadium voice’ of the Houston Texans and was recognized as the 2012 SHSU Sport Management Industry Impact Award recipient.

The mission of the graduate Sport Management emphasis in Kinesiology at Sam Houston State University is to effectively prepare students for a variety of executive positions within athletic and sport organizations at the community, educational, and/or professional levels. Students will be provided quality instruction, the latest technology, opportunities for research and professional development, and excellent internship experiences. In return, students are required to become acquainted with relevant issues in the field, understand the research process, and represent the program’s goals and objectives in the field. The visibility and prestige of the program will be enhanced through student activities, faculty and student research projects, and involvement with state and national organizations. For more information about the SHSU Sport Management Program, which is in the Department of Kinesiology and under the umbrella of the College of Health Sciences, please visit www.sportmanagement.shsu.edu

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