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Crawford Named Convocation Center Director

eddie.jpgBOONE–Eddie Crawford believes there is no substitute for on-the-job experience. Crawford is the newly appointed director of the George M. Holmes Convocation Center at Appalachian State University.

He got his start in event management as a student stagehand for Louisiana State University’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Crawford has a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and a minor in construction management from Louisiana State University and six years experience in event management. He was operations manager for LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La., for four years and assistant operations manager of the facility for two years.

He knows the Holmes Convocation Center can help spur careers of Appalachian students.

“It represents a great learning tool,” he said of the building’s multi-faceted use

He plans to recruit student workers to set up concerts, sell tickets, and assist with lighting and sound, along with a myriad of other tasks when the building opens. He also hopes to develop internships to aid students majoring in recreation, marketing, music industry and other disciplines. “They can get experience that’s tough to get,” Crawford said. “The more students we can interest in the industry the better.”

Crawford is responsible for scheduling entertainment, athletic and other events in the 200,000-square-foot facility scheduled to be dedicated in September. He also will chair a convocation center advisory committee consisting of faculty, staff, students and community representatives.

He likes the ever-changing nature of event and building management and is excited about the task. “I like the fact you have to be flexible as things change by the moment,” he said. “It’s never boring.”

His days are anything but boring as construction moves toward completion. “I wanted to be involved in a building under construction, with the facility’s opening and in establishing policies for its use,” Crawford said of why he came to Appalachian.

He’ll do all that and more. Crawford is already scheduling events with the university’s athletic department and academic areas, meeting prospective concessionaires and talking to promoters as he explores future activities such as concerts, car shows, family entertainment shows and other events.

He’s also getting to know the building that will be his home. “I walk through it twice a day,” he said. “You see changes every day.” The building contains more than 48,000 square feet of academic space housing the Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science. The arena will seat 8,533 fans when set up for basketball games, or accommodate as many as 9,313 spectators.

As the largest facility of its kind in Northwest North Carolina, the center will serve as a resource to the region as it hosts trade shows, concerts, conventions, exhibits and other activities.

A grand opening Sept. 6 will be the first official university event in the new facility along with convocation Sept. 7. The men’s basketball season begins mid-November with a home opener against UNC-Chapel Hill, while the women’s team will christen the facility with a November matchup against Wake Forest University.

The first non-university event in the center will be the Franklin Graham Festival 2000 Sept. 15-17, which is expected to draw 8,300 people each night.